Page:Primitive Culture Vol 1.djvu/357

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339
SUNSET AND SUNRISE MYTHS.

The well-known modern interpretation of the myth of Perseus and Andromeda, or of Herakles and. Hesione, as a description of the Sun slaying the Darkness, has its connexion with this group of legends. It is related in a remarkable version of this story, that when the Trojan King Laomedon had bound his daughter Hesione to the rock, a sacrifice to Poseidon's destroying sea-monster, Herakles delivered the maiden, springing full-armed into the fish's gaping throat, and coming forth hairless after three days' hacking within. This singular story, probably in part of Semitic origin, combines the ordinary myth of Hesione or Andromeda with the story of Jonah's fish, for which indeed the Greek sculpture of Andromeda's monster served as the model in early Christian art, while Joppa was the place where vestiges of Andromeda's chains on a rock in front of the town were exhibited in Pliny's time, and whence the bones of a whale were carried to Rome as relics of Andromeda's monster. To recognize the place which the nature-myth of the Man swallowed by the Monster occupies in mythology, among remote and savage races and onward among the higher nations, affects the argument on a point of Biblical criticism. It strengthens the position of the critics who, seeing that the Book of Jonah consists of two wonder-episodes adapted to enforce two great religious lessons, no longer suppose intention of literal narrative in what they may fairly consider as the most elaborate parable of the Old Testament. Had the Book of Jonah happened to be lost in old times, and only recently recovered, it is indeed hardly likely that any other opinion of it than this would find acceptance among scholars.[1]

    bear and walrus and thrown up again), and Bastian, 'Mensch,' vol. ii. pp. 506-7; J. M. Harris in 'Mem. Anthrop. Soc.' vol. ii. p. 31 (similar notions in Africa and New Guinea).

  1. Tzetzes ap. Lycophron, Cassandra, 33. As to connexion with Joppa and Phœnicia, see Plin. v. 14; ix. 4; Mela, i. 11; Strabo, xvi. 2, 28; Movers, Phönizier, vol. i. pp. 422-3. The expression in Jonah, ii. 2, 'out of the belly of Hades' (mibten sheol, ἐκ κοιλίας ᾅδου) seems a relic of the original meaning of the myth.