Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/243

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and horses, sheep and dogs, had long been domesticated. The bow was a favourite weapon, and warriors fought in chariots, like the Homeric Greeks and the Egyptians. Weaving was commonly practised, The people probably lived, as a rule, in village settlements, but cities or fortified places were by no means unknown.[1] As for political society, "kings are frequently mentioned in the hymns," and "it was regarded as eminently beneficial for a king to entertain a family priest," on whom he was expected to confer thousands of kine, lovely slaves, and lumps of gold. In the family polygamy existed, probably as the exception. There is reason to suppose that the brother-in-law was permitted, if not expected, to "raise up seed" to his dead brother, as among the Hebrews.[2] As to literature, the very structure of the hymns proves that it was elaborate and consciously artistic. M. Barth writes,[3] "It would be a great mistake to speak of the primitive naïveté of the Vedic poetry and religion." Both the poetry and the religion, on the other hand, display in the highest degree the mark of the sacerdotal spirit. The myths, though originally derived from nature-worship, in an infinite majority of cases only reflect natural phenomena through a veil of ritualistic corruptions.[4] The rigid division of castes is seldom

  1. Ludwig, Rig-Veda, iii. 203. The burgs were fortified with wooden palisades, capable of being destroyed by fire. "Cities" may be too magnificent a word for what perhaps were more like pahs. But compare Kaegi, The Rig-Veda, note 42, Engl. transl. Kaegi's book (translated by Dr. Arrowsmith, Boston, U.S., 1886) is probably the best short manual of the subject.
  2. Deut. xxv. 5; Matt. xxii. 24.
  3. Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, i. 245.
  4. Ludwig, iii. 262.