Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/360

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gods possessing mansions in Olympus. These retain, from the earliest religions, the guardianship of morality, though they may be far from moral in their own conduct. It is to be remembered that this conception of the gods as punishers of crime and rewarders of virtue is not absent even from the zoomorphic deities of Australia. Yet even to the gods of Greece cling the ancient legends, which the consecrative religious instinct of priesthoods and the no less strong conservatism of popular superstition retain in many places even to this day. In Egypt the old instinct showed itself by the maintenance of actual animal gods, and by the addition of bestial heads, those of birds, cats, jackals, and so forth, to the divine statues in art. In Mexico the figure of the god was accompanied by the representation of some older animal divinity, or was specialised by the addition of some trait of animal form. Even in Greece most gods were represented in art with their favourite animal attendants, mouse, cuckoo, or what not. They were invoked, like Apollo, by a number of names derived from various animals; they were even, in very archaic art, figured with animal heads, like the horse-headed Demeter, or were worshipped, like the bull Dionysus, under completely animal form. While these survivals remained in art and in ritual, myth notoriously retained the most absurd relics of savage thought. Lustful and adventurous gods in India and in Greece accomplished their amours and achieved their adventures under dozens of bestial disguises, just like sorcerers in the Red Indian or Maori märchen.