Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/229

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King Midas and his Ass's Ears. 199

piece of sympathetic or mimetic magic intended to promote the fertility of men, animals, and crops, the god was repre- sented at his marriage in animal form, Dionysus, for instance, appearing as a bull.*^

These forms of ritual, combined with the theriomorphic cult of animal deities, seem to have left numerous traces in the ^gean area where the tale of Midas appears to have originated. Thus we have the strange fresco at Mycenae, with figures bearing the heads not of horses but of asses, as is evident from the long ears and general outline of the mouth with its lips and nostrils.^® These ass-headed figures have been identified with those of demons " which belong to the earliest conceptions of the Greeks," ^'^ but they are more probably a record of incidents in a primitive ritual. Again, a lenticular carnelian shows a figure clothed in the skin of an ass, bearing a pole on his shoulder.*^ In a gem from Phigaleia we have two upright figures dressed in the skins and heads of horses.^^ Images probably representing the mother goddess Cybele in the form of a horse's head were found by Schliemann at Troy.^^ On an archaic vase from Rhodes, Medusa is depicted with the body of a woman and the head of a horse.^^

In the same way, to account for the horns which appear in so many variants of the Midas cycle, we have the countless images in the form of terra-cotta cows found at Tiryns and Mycenae, as well as cows' heads of gold, women with cow's horn-like, crescent-shaped projections

^^Frazer, Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship, pp. 174 e/ seq. ; Miss Harrison, Prolegoynena to Greek Religion, p. 537. ^^A. B. Cook, op. cit., pp. 81 et seq.

  • ^ Schuchhardt, Schliemann^ s Excavations, p. 292.

^ h. B. Cook, op. cit., p. 84.

^ Ibid., p. 138 ; cf. Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, vol. iii., pp. 56 et seq. 50 Troy and its Remains, p. 353.

^^ Frazer, Pausanias, vol. iv., pp. 407 et seq., who gives references to similar cult images.