Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/310
in the mysteries, we have seen that the Greek s retained plenty of the usages now found among the remotest most backward races. We have urged against the suggestion of borrowing from Egypt or Asia that these survivals are constantly found in local and tribal religion and rituals, and that consequently they probably date from that remote prehistoric past when the Greeks lived in village settlements. It may still doubtless be urged that all these things are Pelasgic, and were the customs of a race settled in Hellas before the arrival of the Homeric Achæans, and Dorians, and Argives, who, on this hypothesis, adopted and kept up the old savage Pelasgian ways and superstitious. It is impossible to prove or disprove this belief, nor does it affect our argument. "We allege that all Greek life below the surface was rich in institutions now found among the most barbaric peoples. If the Greeks did not evolve nor inherit these things, but, being in a purer civilisation, borrowed them, so much the worse for their taste. These institutions, whether borrowed or inherited, would still be part of the legacy left by savages to cultivated peoples. As this legacy is so large in custom and ritual, it is not unfair to argue that portions of it will also be found in myths. It is now time to discuss Greek myths of the origin of things, and decide whether they are or are not analogous in ideas to the myths which spring from the wild and ignorant fancy of Australians, Cahrocs, Nootkas, and Bushmen.