Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/319

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of jüngsten recht, the wide-spread custom which makes the youngest child the heir in chief.[1] But how did the sons of Cronus come to have his property in their hands to divide? By right of successful rebellion, when "Zeus imprisoned Cronus beneath the earth and the unvintaged sea." With Cronus in his imprisonment are the Titans. That is all that Homer cares to tell about the absolute beginning of things and the first dynasty of rulers of Olympus. His interest is all in the actual reigning family, that of the Cronidæ, nor is he fond of reporting their youthful excesses.

We now turn from Homer's incidental allusions to the ample and systematic narrative of Hesiod. As Mr. Grote says, "Men habitually took their information respecting their theogonic antiquities from the Hesiodic poems." Hesiod was accepted as an authority both by the pious Pausanias in the second century of our era—who protested against any attempt to alter stories about the gods—and by moral reformers like Plato and Xenophanes, who were revolted by the ancient legends,[2] and, indeed, denied their truth. Yet though Hesiod represents Greek orthodoxy, we have observed that Homer (whose epics are probably still more ancient) steadily ignores the more barbarous portions of Hesiod's narrative. Thus the question arises, Are the stories of Hesiod's invention, and later than Homer's, or does Homer's genius half unconsciously purify materials like those which Hesiod presents in the crudest form? Mr. Grote says, "How

  1. See Elton, Origins of English History, pp. 185–207.
  2. Timæus, 41; Republic, 377.