Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/308

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282 Greek Votive Offerings.

in an age of decadence, the second childhood of religion. {b) Inanimate attributes, according to Dr. Rouse, are with but few exceptions (thyrsus, aegis, thunderbolt) " things of every day : club, bow, and spear, or battleaxe, helmet and shield ; travelling boots, hats conical or flat ; fawnskin or lionskin ; sheaves of corn, a bunch of grapes ; torches, hunting spear or harpoon. They are, in fact, simply the properties of a character costume" (p. 376). They " do not distinguish one deity from another" (p. 377), and merely mark the fact that the god bearing them is at the moment discharging a certain definite role. The same role may be taken by a second or third god ; and the first god may take a different role. Dedications of these objects are not, therefore, symbolic. Rather, we should recognise in them spoils of war, firstfruits, thank-offerings for healing, &c. Again one feels that Dr. Rouse has somewhat overshot the mark. After all, the trident does commonly distinguish Poseidon, the caduceus Hermes, &c., though these articles are sometimes borne by others. Nevertheless Dr. Rouse has shown that there is during the Hellenic period no clear case of the dedication of such an object in a symbolic sense. But this is hardly to be won- dered at. For inanimate attributes, being in the nature of arms, tools, clothes, and the like, are not quite on the same footing with the animal form of the god. If in any case the inanimate object was thought to be the outward embodiment of the god, there we might expect to find the symbolic dedication of it. Now there are at least two such objects, the aegis or palladium and the thunderbolt. And it is precisely here that our evidence of symbolic dedication is strongest. Dr. Rouse apparently admits it in and after the fourth century B.C., citing (p. 384) the gold aegis dedicated above the theatre in Athens by Antiochus (Paus. 5. 12. 4) and (p. 379) the gilded thunderbolt of forty cubits in length that was carried in the procession of Ptolemy (Athen. 202 c). "To the thunderbolt," he says (p. 376), "were