Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/315

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Mother-Right in Early Greece. 279

general name of Hellenes, who, somewhere in the second millenium B.C., entered the lands which they occupied in historical times.

Religion, Cult-legends, and Ritual?

(i) Minoan Crete. I include this because it is just possible that the population was in some sense Hellenic, or that their customs may have lingered on into later times. Here, side by side with what looks like hero- worship, we find evidences of the adoration of a great goddess, probably one of those countless personifications of the Earth who, variously styled Ma, Artemis of Ephesos, Gaia, Terra Mater, and what not, meet us at every turn in the Mediterranean region. But of a god we see little ; a gem or two show us a small figure coming apparently through the air to pay his respects to the great goddess. Here we have what might seem to be a " matriarchal " family reflected in heavenly society. No such explanation, however, is necessary. Starting with a goddess so powerful and so prolific as the All-Mother, her worshippers would sooner or later introduce, as the father of her numerous progeny, some god, — perhaps one already existing, perhaps merely a male doublet of the goddess, like the consort of the Winged Artemis shown on an ivory plaque from Sparta.* Whoever he was, the importance of his consort would inevitably dwarf him. Thus even Apollo, at Ephesos, follows humbly in the train of his great sister, — a pro- ceeding as much at variance with matrilinear as with patrilinear customs. In any case, to draw sociological conclusions from religious beliefs and practices is always a

' In this section most of my material comes from a paper of Dr. Farnell's in Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft, Bd. vii., p. 70, ("Sociological hypotheses concerning the position of women in ancient religion"). I take this oppor- tunity of acknowledging my deep indebtedness to him here and elsewhere. Mr. R. R. Marett has also made several valuable suggestions.

See The Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. xxix. (1909), p. 292.