Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/534

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496 Reviews.

therefore a Dioscure, even though Nearchus is not his brother. This name however was, on Dr. Rendel Harris' showing, a common one in Asia Minor ; and Mr. F. C. Conybeare in his Monuments of Eai'ly Christianity maintains that our Polyeuctes (he of Melitene) was a real person, and that the early extant Acts of him contain portions of a still earlier, probably authentic, narrative of his martyrdom. The Acts of another pair whom Dr. Rendel Harris will have none of, i.e. Donatianus and Rogatianus, are held to be genuine by so impartial a critic as Prof. Bardenhewt-r; those of Phileas and Philoromus, who ought according to analogy to be Dioscuri, are accepted by both Bardenhewer and Harnack ; whilst an apparently genuine Passion of St. Dioscurus has recently been discovered by Dom Quentin in two Latin MSS. of the British Museum. But even in the case of saints whose Acts are partly or even wholly legendary, are there no other hypotheses which will account for them, and at the same time allow for the manysidedness of human nature and the complexity of human motives, apart from the assumption that general and reckless mendacity was a leading characteristic of the early Jhristians ? Dr. Rendel Harris is compelled by his theory to bring this charge against men of such high character as St. Ambrose and St Augustine. It is not as though the burden of blame could be laid upon the much-abused Middle Ages. The fourth century martyrologies contribute their quota of names which a little ingenuity might easily convert into Dioscuri. The names of Perpetua and Felicitas have an artificial appearance, and if our information about them were little less reliable and precise they might easily have been added to the Dioscuric catalogue. We should be interested to hear Dr. Rendel Harris' account of our own Hengist and Horsa. To allow that in the Acts of martyrs there were sometimes introduced features borrowed from pagan myths is quite another thing from asserting that the veneration and invocation of the martyrs was not of native Christian growth and a spontaneous product of the belief in the resurrec- tion and future life. We recommend those who are anxious to have some hints on the manner in which early, very early, and genuine Acts of Martyrs were composed to read the