Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/317

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Mother- Right in Early Greece. 281

it as essential, — a belief by no means inconsistent with father-right. The third is one of a number of stories of the frailties of the goddesses {e.g. Eos, Demeter, Kalypso, Kirke, Euterpe, Kalliope, Aphrodite). We must note that the offsprings of such unions do not inherit the divine rank of their mothers, and are thus worse off than some of the sons of gods and mortal women, for Dionysos, Hermes, Apollo, and Artemis all inherit the divinity of Zeus.

(4) Ritual gives us a few facts suggesting an importance of women hardly consistent with father-right. («) Exclusion of men from certain cults, such as the Thesmophoria, the worship of the VeveTvKKi^e<i KoAta'c^ep, of Dionysos of Brasiai in Lakonia, and finally of Ares VvvaiKoQoLva<i at Tegea.^ {h) Prominence of women in the rites of Hestia (Athens, Delphi), and the Mother of the Gods (Arkadia), and at prophetic shrines (Delphi, Branchidai, etc.). {c) Priestesses in the service of male deities and heroes (Poseidon at Kalaureia, Sosipolis at Elis, Herakles at Thespiai, etc.). Most of these cases are easy to deal with. The Thesmo- phoria and the rites of the Mj;t^7p Qewv and the V evervKKi^e^; are all connected with the fertility either of the soil or of men and animals, or both ; and this from time im- memorial has been women's magic. As to Dionysos' female votaries, official and otherwise, and the frequent, though by no means invariable, occurrence of prophetesses and not prophets, these arise from the simple physio- logical fact that women are more excitable and nervous than men, and so become " possessed " or " inspired " more readily. In the case of Hestia, who is simply the personified hearth-fire, a household under father-right may regard such a deity either as of too great importance to be worshipped by anyone less than the house- father, — (Vedic and Iranian view : but Agni is a much greater person than Hestia), — or as belonging, like

^ I omit the Oriental and comparatively late worship of Adonis.