Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/298

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272 Greek Votive Offerings.

as he would act towards a powerful chief. To pleasure him, he offers a gift. And here come in the " material " things that constitute the first main division of Dr. Rouse's list. The gift may be small or it may be big. In either case we call it a votive offering. But there is one kind of gift which, from a modern point of view, merits special consideration, viz. that of a human being. For the sake of distinction it should be called devotive as opposed to votive. Obviously we have here to deal with two sub-divisions : {a) the devotion of others, and {b) the devotion of oneself. Dr. Rouse does not use this nomenclature and is nowhere very clear as to the inter-relation of the facts. In his chapter on " Later Uses of the Votive Formula " he does indeed realise that the dedication of captives to the gods, whether for service or sacrifice (p. 335, cp. p. 102 f.), the emancipation of slaves by sale to a god (p. 335 f.), and the usage of ritual imprecation (p. 337 f.), are so many developments of the votive offering : i.e. he recognises sub- division {a). But apparently he is not very sure as to its connexion with his main subject; for he oddly says that " an investigation of this topic does not lie within our scope" (p. 335).

More serious is his failure to recognise sub-division {b) ; inasmuch as that forms, or should form, the very climax of all votive offerings. What greater thing can man give to God than himself ? The Greeks had no Juggernaut ; but examples of self-immolation and ritual suicide are not wanting, at any rate in their mythology. Even in every- day life the existence of temple-slaves, lepoSoyXoi, etc., was a visible proof that the god, like the chief, had a body of retainers ; A\hile the right of sanctuary shows that a man might voluntarily enter his service and so secure his pro- tection. But to do this would of course be to cut himself off from ordinary civic life. Hence those who desired to honour their god by swelling the number of his retinue, and yet to escape the inconveniences attaching to a personal