Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 2).djvu/115

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101
EGYPTIAN SURVIVALS OF TOTEMISM

empire the learned priests may have thought it well to attribute a symbolical sense to certain bestial deities. But whatever they may have worshipped in Thoth-Ibis, it was a bird, and not a hieroglyph, that the first worshippers of the ibis adored."[1] M. Meyer is of the same opinion, and so are Professor Tiele and M. Perrot.[2]

While the learned have advanced at various periods these conflicting theories of the origin of Egyptian animal-worship, a novel view was introduced by Mr. M'Lennan. In his essays on Plant and Animal Worship, he regarded Egyptian animal-worship as only a consecrated and elaborate survival of totemism. Mr. Le Page Renouf has ridiculed the "school-boy authorities on which Mr. M'Lennan relied."[3] Nevertheless, Mr. M'Lennan's views are akin to those to which M. Maspero and MM. Perrot and Chipiez are attached, and they have also the support of Professor Sayce.

"These animal forms, in which a later myth saw the shapes assumed by the affrighted gods during the great war between Horus and Typhon, take us back to a remote prehistoric age, when the religious creed

  1. Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, vol. i.
  2. Meyer, Geschichte des Alterthums, p. 72; Tiele, Manuel, p. 45; Perrot and Chipiez, Egyptian Art, English transl., i. 54. Hist. Egypt. Rel., pp. 97, 103. Tiele finds the origin of this animal-worship in "animism," and supposes that the original colonists or conquerors from Asia found it prevalent in and adopted it from an African population. Professor Tiele does not appear, when he wrote this chapter, to have observed the world-wide diffusion of animal-worship in totemism, for he says, "Nowhere else does the worship of animals prevail so extensively as among African peoples."
  3. Hibbert Lectures, pp. 6, 30.