Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
And the Greeks, who surpassed all men in ingenuity, appropriated to themselves the greater part of these things, exaggerating them, and adding to them various ornaments which they wove into this foundation in every style, in order to charm by the elegance of the myths. Hence Hesiod and the famed cyclic poets drew their theogonies, their gigantomachies, their mutilations of the gods, and in hawking them about everywhere they have supplanted the true narrative. And our ears, accustomed to their fictions, familiar to us for several centuries past, guard as a precious deposit the fables which they received by tradition, as I remarked when I began to speak; and, rooted by time, this belief has become so difficult to dislodge that to the greater number the truth appears like a story told for amusement, while the corruption of the tradition is looked upon as the truth itselfPhilo of Byblos.
Summing up the most probable results of all his investigations, Darwin states as his opinion that man must be considered as "descended from a hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in his habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World." 1
According to Häckel, this Homo primigenius was a blackish, woolly-haired, prognathous, ape-like being, with a long, narrow head. His body was entirely covered with hair, and he was unable to speak.
In reading most fashionable writers upon ancient mythology and literature, one would think that they conceived of the writers of the Vedic Hymns and the authors of the myths of classic literature as very early and but slightly developed descendants of this hairy Homo Darwinius. Thus, according to Mr.
[paragraph continues] Keary, at the time that the myth of the Cyclops originated, "men really believed that the stormy sky was a being and the sun his eye." 1 Indeed, it might almost appear, from another passage in the same book, that at the period when this Cyclops-faith was reached men had arrived at quite an advanced stage as compared with the earlier one, when as yet they knew too little to look up at the sky at all, and had an idea that the branches of the trees extended quite to heaven. "The power of gazing upward to heaven," he says, "came to us not all at once, but gradually, through lapse of time. Savages are said scarcely ever to raise their eyes, and their heads are naturally inclined with a downward gaze, so that it must be an effort for them to look at the sky and the heavenly bodies. Primeval man lived upon roots and berries, or on the lesser animals and the vermin which he gathered from the soil, and so habit as well as nature kept his eyes fixed upon the ground. We need not therefore wonder if, in their half-glances upward, our forefathers had not leisure to observe that the tree-top was not really close against the sky. They may well have deemed that the upper branches hid themselves in infinitely remote ethereal regions." 2
The work which such men make in interpreting ancient literature and thought is strange enough. The ascription to Agni of the same supreme worship which the bard has just paid to Varuna or Mitra is explained as due to the extreme "shortness of the memory" of early men. 3 Only a knowledge of
a most limited portion of the earth's surface can be conceded to any of the ancient nations. The early Aryans sing of the Ocean and of ships of an hundred oars, but it must not for a moment be supposed that they had ever seen or heard of the real Ocean; they had simply originated in their imaginations a mythical one. 1 In such hands the immortal Iliad becomes merely "a tale of land-battle, the theatre of whose action is limited to the two shores of the Ægæan, the known world of the Greek." 2 Though the Homeric poems betray in various places an acquaintance with astronomy, and actually name various constellations, yet, when the question is raised as to how the poet conceived of the return of the sun during the night from the West to the East, even Mr. Bunbury silences us, telling us that in Homer's day nobody had ever thought of such a question! 3
Illustrations of this worse than mediæval ignorance and distortion of ancient thought and language could be multiplied to almost any extent. But as some selection must be made, it may perhaps be best to confine ourselves to three or four points in a field comparatively familiar to all readers likely to peruse these pages,the field of Homeric cosmology. If we succeed according to our expectation we
shall make it plain that those interpreters of Homer whose conceptions of Greek culture are derived from current Darwinistic anthropology rather than from the poems themselves, demonstrate, by the number and character of their exegetical entanglements, the entire incorrectness of their fundamental assumption. 1
1. The question just touched upon, the Movement of the Sun, is as good as any with which to begin, and by which to show the embarrassments into which accepted interpreters have continually fallen in consequence of denying to the ancients a knowledge of the spherical figure of the Earth.
Opening Keightley, we find the customary assertion that "according to the ideas of the Homeric and Hesiodic ages the Earth was a round, flat disk, around which the river Ocean flowed." Then he says that "men, seeing the sun rise in the East and set in the West each day, were naturally led to inquire how his return to the East was effected." He alludes to the fact that "in the Odyssey, when Helios ends his diurnal career, he is said to go under the Earth;" but he adds that "it is not easy to determine whether the poet meant that he then passed through Tar-taros back to the East during the night." The "beautiful fiction of the solar cup or basin," he thus describes: "If, then, as there is reason to suppose, it was the popular belief that a lofty mountainous ring ran round the edge of the Earth, it was easy for the poets to feign that on reaching the western
stream of Ocean Helios himself, his chariot and his horses, were received into a magic cup or boat, made by Hephaistos, which, aided by the current, conveyed him during the night round the northern part of the earth, where his light was only enjoyed by the happy Hyperboreans, the lofty Rhiphæans concealing it from the rest of mankind. They must also have supposed that the cup continued its course during the day, compassing the earth every twenty-four hours." Of this fiction, however, Keightley confesses, "neither Homer nor Hesiod evinces any knowledge." After quoting various later poets, therefore, he concludes as follows: "From a consideration of all these passages it may seem to follow that the ideas of the poets on this subject were very vague and fleeting. Perhaps the prevalent opinion was that the Sun rested himself and his weary steeds in the West, and then returned to the East." 1 By what passage, however, whether via the North or underneath the supposed "flat disk" of the Earth, Keightley makes no further effort to determine.
The difficulty in the way of supposing that in Homer's thought the nocturnal sun passed underneath the flat Earth-disk, through Tartaros, back to the East, is that the poet invariably represents this Underworld as forever unvisited by sunlight. In view of this, and of the ominous silence of Homer as to any winged cup sailing round the earth to the North, some interpreters warn us against expecting any consistency of thought in poetry so primitive. 2
[paragraph continues] Schwenck goes so far in this direction as to suggest that the island Aiaiè is a creation of the imagination in the far West, called forth for the express purpose of giving the mind a kind of resting-place, where it can leave the sinking Helios without troubling itself with inconvenient speculations as to how he is to get back to the Orient at the appointed hour. He says: "The Homeric poetry could not allow the Sun and the daylight to rest during the night in the Homeric Hades, for in that case Hades would have been illuminated. It therefore supposes an island afar off at the end of the world, where Helios and Dawn, after they have passed over across the heavens, repose at night, and whence, after this repose, they in the morning again ascend the sky. An exact explanation as to how they come westwardly to this island and then in the morning rise in the East lies aloof from the poetry, for in Homer nothing of systems is to be found, and only each object taken by itself is correct and clear." 1
Assume once a spherical Earth, and all these difficulties of the interpreters are at an end. East and West touch each other. Mr. Gladstone, before abandoning fully the flat-earth theory, came as near the truth as he possibly could and not hit it, when, speaking of Helios, he wrote: "The fact of his sporting with the oxen night and morning goes far to show that Homer did not think of the Earth as a plane, but round, perhaps, as upon a cylinder, and
believed that the West and East were in contact." 1 He mistook, however, in suggesting Thrinakia as the place of contact. It was rather on the meridian of Aiaiè, for we are expressly told that
[paragraph continues] "There are the abodes and dance-grounds of Aurora, there the risings of the Sun." 2
Nor could anything be more natural than that the poet, conceiving of the world of living men as Homer did, and sending out his thoughts eastward and westward in search of the meeting-place of evening and morning, should fix upon the meridian opposite his own, the very place and only place where his eastward-journeying thought and his westward journeying thought would of necessity meet. His eastern hemisphere would naturally extend round eastward until it met the edge of the hemisphere extending round westward. On that farthest off meridian, 3 therefore, he made the old day give place to the new, eve to morn. That was the doubtful line on which Odysseus and his companions were no longer clear: "where was East and where was West, where Helios went behind the Earth or where he rose again." 4
2. The false assumption that Homer's Earth is flat has created all the noted controversies connected with his representations of the location of Hades. This question has divided Homeric interpreters into more than a dozen differing camps. Their mutually
contradictory solutions of the problem would be the laughing-stock of the opposers of classical studies, were these latter only sufficiently acquainted with the world's scholarship to be aware of their existence. To review and solve the question in this place would detain the general reader too long, but in the Appendix, Section sixth, the assertions here made will be found abundantly verified.
3. The same flat-earth assumption is further responsible for all the difficulties which interpreters have found in representing the Ocean, and in general the Water System of the Earth, in accordance with the Homeric data.
These difficulties have been neither few nor small. Four of them we will here notice. And, first, that growing out of the statement that from deep-flowing Ocean "flow all rivers and every sea, and all fountains and deep wells." 1 Völcker pronounces this "hard to explain." He says, "An immediate in-streaming of the Ocean into the sea can scarcely be meant, partly because sea-water and ocean-water do not unite, partly because Homer knows of no such in-streamings in the Phasis and at the Pillars of Hercules, and the origination of rivers in this way would not be thinkable." 2 Other writers, devoted to the illustration of ancient thought, seem not to have stopped to inquire whether rivers flowing up-stream from the Ocean to the hills were thinkable or not, and have gravely set before the youthful student diagrams constructed on this plan as the true representation of Homeric thought! 3
A second embarrassing question has been this: "If the Ocean-stream surrounded and constituted the outermost boundary of the Earth-disk, what sustained the Ocean-stream itself and constituted its further shore?" As Völcker says, "Who on the further side held in the billows of the vast World-river, that they did not flow off into the empty spaces of heaven? Was it a narrow strip of the inner Earth, or was it formless chaos, or the descending rim of the sky, or the inner power of the waters themselves?" 1 Buchholz says, "By what the Ocean itself was in turn bounded remains unclear. The child-like imagination of the Homeric age contented itself with that confused halbverschwommene conception." 2 The most natural answer, especially from the point of view represented by Buchholz, who, with Ukert and others, claims that the Homeric heaven was literally metallic, would seem to be Völcker's third supposition, namely, that the rim of the metallic sky constitutes the outer limit of the Ocean-stream. 3 This would correspond, also, with the general notion that the circular disk of the earth "divided the hollow sphere of the universe into two equal parts." 4 It would also exactly correspond to
[paragraph continues] Flach's curious and elaborate representation of the Hesiodic world in his recent work on the Hesiodic cosmogony. 1 Still further it would seem best to accord with Homer's language describing the heavenly constellations as bathing in the Ocean. On the other hand, however, such a supposition would be incompatible with the Homeric representation that the farther shore presented a suitable landing-place, and especially a landing-place situated, like that of Odysseus, in the Underworld. Moreover, it would be incompatible with the current notion that the Homeric heaven was supported upon mountain pillars standing on the Earth inside the Ocean-stream, like Mount Atlas in western Libya. 2 Again, therefore, the question returns, "Given a flat Earth surrounded by the Ocean-river, what constitutes the farther shore, and how can the mariner who lands upon it speak of himself as in the Underworld?" The learned Völcker leaves the subject with the unsatisfying observation, "The poet has not answered our questions."
A third embarrassment dwelt upon by the same advocate of the flat-earth theory is that, as he understands Homer, Hellas was the centre of the circular Earth-disk, and not more than "ten or eleven days sail" from the Ocean in any direction; and yet the poet makes it eighteen days sail by the shortest route from Ogygia to the land of the Phæacians, and at least another in the same direction to
[paragraph continues] Hellas, and yet Ogygia is the navel or centre of the sea. "These," says he, "are insurmountable difficulties for him who would measure with the compasses. Rather should we learn from this example what folk-faith and folk-tales are. Where there is no agreement we should not create one by main force. The Earth is circular and Hellas is its centre; that was the popular faith. But the situation of the Ocean and the extent of the Earth are at the same time such fluctuating ideas, and all any way extended voyages seem to the poet to extend to such a terrific distance, that it may well happen to him to overpass all bounds out in that realm where were, so to speak, the most terrific of all distances." 1 Thus the nodding Homer is again caught in contradiction, and to accommodate his exaggerated and terrific distances even Gladstone at first felt constrained to change the figure of the Earth-disk itself, and to present it as a vast parallelogram more extended from North to South than from East to West. 2
The fourth difficulty involved in the current interpretation is that experienced in harmonizing the poet's representations of the Ocean, as commonly understood, with his representations of the movements of the sun, as commonly understood. The sun at evening certainly ceases to be visible to men. According to the Homeric representation he returns to the flowing of the Ocean. 3 His bright light sinks in it 4 At his rising it is also from the Ocean
that he begins to mount the sky. 1 Yet his setting is also described as a going εἶς ὑπὸ γαῖαν, under or behind the Earth. 2 How now, with a flat circular disk for the Earth, and with a circumfluent Ocean in the same plane, and with an eternally dark and un-sunned Hades just beyond the Ocean-river to the westward, can these data be harmonized? If we attempt to conceive of the Sun as literally sinking in the ocean and hiding his light beneath its waters, he has not gone εἶς ὑπὸ γαῖαν, but rather "in under" the Ocean. Moreover, the old difficulty reappears as to how he shall get round into the East in time for his rising again. Furthermore, if he is the whole night concealed under the waves of the Ocean, descending into it in the far West at his setting and ascending out of it in the far East at his rising, how can we arrange for his rejoicing himself night and morning with his oxen on the island of Thrinakia? 3 But we cannot abandon this whole supposition, and let the Sun set beyond and behind the Ocean-stream, for that would be in the western Hades, where he never shines. Nor yet, again, can we say that he descends to the surface of the Ocean simply, and then, in his "cup," or otherwise, moves round to the Orient by way of the North, for then, the Ocean being in substantially the same plane as the abode of men, they would not be overspread with darkness, but would enjoy, if not the spectacle of "the midnight sun," at least the full light of a sun moving round the
horizon. On this supposition, too, Hades, just west of the river, would also be equally illuminated. Inside the Ocean-stream he certainly does not hide himself in the ground, for that would be incompatible with all the passages associating his rising and setting with the Ocean. But if he cannot be conceived of as setting on the hither side of the stream, nor on the farther side, nor yet as resting on the Ocean, nor yet as hiding beneath it, what possible conception of the matter remains?
All this trouble is the natural result of one false assumption,the assumption that Homer's Earth is a flat disk. Assume that it is a sphere, and every one of these difficulties vanishes. Then, in causing the Sun to descend to the Ocean in which lies Aiaiè the poet makes the bed to which the king of day retires the same as that from which in the morning he rises again. At the same time, from the poet's standpoint and from the standpoint of the lands inhabited by the poet's countrymen, each setting of the Sun was a going "behind the earth," to reappear on the opposite side. This view of the movement of Helios solves every perplexity; and if Homer had the knowledge of the Earth and Heavens involved in the view, we may be sure he also knew as well as we do in what sense the Ocean is the source of all springs and rivers, and for what reason the equatorial Ocean never runs away for the lack of an ultra-terrestrial shore.
4. The same hermeneutical myopia which has thus minified and misconceived every feature of Homer's cosmography has introduced and maintained the now universal dogma that in the Homeric poems "Olympos is always the Thessalian mountain" of
that name. 1 All our youth are taught that "the early poets believed that the gods actually lived upon the top of this mountain separating Macedonia and Thessaly. Even the fable of the giants scaling heaven must be understood in a literal sense; not that they placed Pelion and Ossa upon the top of Olympos to reach the still higher heaven, but that they piled Pelion on the top of Ossa and both on the lower slopes of Olympos to scale the summit of Olympos itself, the abode of the gods." 2 To settle the question negatively as well as positively, revered German erudition solemnly declares, "The gods of Homer never live in heaven." 3 Such dogmatism challenges a fresh investigation of the question.
Taking up this subject, Keightley remarks that if we were to follow the teachings of Comparative Mythology we should have to locate the abode of Homer's gods in the heights of heaven. His language is: "Were we to follow analogy, and argue from the cosmology of other races of men, we would say that the upper surface of the superior hemisphere was the abode of the Grecian gods." 4 He goes on to allude to the conceptions of the Scandinavians and some other peoples, and adds, "Hence we might be led to infer that Olympos, the abode of the Grecian gods, was synonymous with heaven, and that the Thessalian mountain and those others which bore the same name were called after the original heavenly hill."
It is a pity that the learned author could not have
accepted this very sensible conclusion; but he did not. Rejecting the admitted intimations of Comparative Cosmology, he says, "A careful survey, however, of those passages in Homer and Hesiod in which Olympos occurs will lead us to believe that the Achæans held the Thessalian Olympos, the highest mountain with which they were acquainted, to be the abode of their gods."
The only passage specially referred to by Keightley, as establishing this view, is the Iliad, xiv. 225 seq., where the language employed is not at all inconsistent with the idea that, in descending from the summit of Olympos, Hera descended from the northern sky. More elaborate is the argument of Völcker, 1 but its logical cogency is by no means admissible.
The true Homeric conception of the abode of the gods is far loftier, grander, and more poetic than that given us by such interpreters. According to the poet's real representation, that abode is "the wide heaven,"not the atmospheric heaven, οὐρανὸν ἐν αἰθέρι καὶ νεφέλῃσιν, for this is a special possession of Zeus (Iliad, xv. 192); it is the upper sky,
the celestial dome in which sun, moon, and stars wheel silently around the Pole. To the early Greek, as to the early Perso-Aryan, it was easy to conceive of this celestial dome as a heavenly mountain, vast, majestic, of unearthly beauty, and peopled with glorious beings invisible to mortals. And this heavenly mountain he called Olympos. The Thessalian mount, the Bithynian, and all the dozen others of the same name 1 were sacred only so far as they symbolized and commemorated their heavenly original. In the Odyssey, xi. 315, it is plain that Homer speaks of the Thessalian Olympos along with other Thessalian mountains; 2 but in general he means by Olympos the heights of the northern heaven viewed as the proper abode of the gods. 3
The proofs of the incorrectness of the current
interpretation appear on almost every page of the Homeric poems. The designation of the gods by the formula οἳ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσιν occurs twice in the Iliad and sixteen times in the Odyssey, but the expressions "who possess the wide heaven," in Odyssey, xix., line 40, and who possess Olympos," line 43, are plainly identical in meaning. 1 So in the Iliad, "the immortals who possess the Olympian mansions" and "the gods who possess the wide heaven" are unquestionably interchangeable phrases. 2 Hence also "the Olympians," "the Uranians," and "the Epouranians" are names of the same beings. 3 In Hesiod's Theogony the expression ἐντός Ὀλύμπου, "within Olympos," occurs no less than three times. 4 To translate it according to the current interpretation of Homer is to locate the palace of Zeus in the heart of an earthly mountain and to transform the "Lichtgestalten" of his heavenly court into Trolls.
In book twenty-four of the Iliad, verse ninety-seven,
we are told that Iris and Thetis were impelled up "to heaven" (ἐς οὐρανὸν). But the moment the Father of gods and men begins discourse, he says, "Thou hast come to Olympos, O goddess Thetis;" and in verse one hundred twenty-one the bard resumes, "Thus he spoke; nor did the silver-footed goddess Thetis disobey, but rushing impetuously, she descended down from the tops of Olympos." 1
One of the most vivid of the pictures of Olympian life in the whole Iliad is that portraying (book xv. 14 ff.) the punishment of Hera by Zeus. In the literal translation of Buckley, it is thus rendered: "O Hera, of evil arts, impracticable, thy stratagem has made noble Hector cease from battle, and put his troops to flight. Indeed, I know not whether again thou mayst not be the first to reap the fruits of thy pernicious machinations, and I chastise thee with stripes. Dost thou not remember when thou didst swing from on high, and I hung two anvils from thy feet, and bound a golden chain around thy hands, that could not be broken? And thou didst hang in the air and clouds, and the gods commiserated thee throughout lofty Olympos; but standing around, they were not able to release thee; but whomsoever I caught, seizing, I hurled from the threshold of heaven till he reached the earth, hardly breathing."
Although the words "of heaven" are supplied by the translator, the contrast required by the expression
[paragraph continues] "reached the earth" compels the supply in order to make good sense.
In book first Hephaistos gives his own account of this same hurling out of heaven. He says, "Be patient, my mother, and although grieved restrain thyself, lest with my own eyes I behold thee beaten, being very dear to me; nor then, though full of grief, should I be able to assist thee, for Olympian Zeus is difficult to be opposed. For upon a time before this, when I desired to assist thee, having seized me by the foot, he cast me down from the heavenly threshold (βηλοῦ θεσπεσίοιο). 1 The whole day was I hurled, and at the setting of the sun I fell on Lemnos, and but little of life remained in me."
Nothing can well be plainer than that this whole scene is conceived of as occurring high in the vault of heaven. To locate it on any "many-peaked mountain" every way embarrasses the imagination. 2 Moreover, Lemnos is not situated under Thessalian
[paragraph continues] Olympos, nor could the word κάππεσον describe Hephaistos's motion in space from the one to the other. So irresistible, indeed, is the right interpretation that Keightley, unconscious of his inconsistency, elsewhere says, "The favorite haunt of Hephaistos on earth was the isle of Lemnos. It was here he fell when flung from heaven by Zeus for attempting to aid his mother Hera." 1 In like manner Professor Geddes, with a forgetfulness equally entertaining, writes of Zeus "hurling Hephaistos over the celestial battlements," and of his being "able to draw gods and earth and sea aloft into the sky." 2
The not less famous passage in the opening lines of book eighth is even more conclusive: "Whomsoever of the gods I shall discover, having gone apart from the rest, wishing to aid either the Trojans or the Greeks, disgracefully smitten shall he return to Olympos; or, seizing, I will hurl him into gloomy Tartaros, very far hence, where there is a very deep gulf beneath the earth, and iron portals, and a brazen threshold, 3 as far below Hades as heaven is from earth; then shall he know by how much I am the most powerful of all the gods. But come, ye gods, and try me, that ye may all know. Having suspended a golden chain from heaven, do all ye gods and goddesses suspend yourselves therefrom; yet would ye not draw down from heaven to earth your supreme counselor Jove, not even if ye labor ever so much: but whenever I, desiring, should
wish to pull it, I could draw it up together, earth, and ocean, and all; then, indeed, would I bind the chain around the top of Olympos, and all these should hang aloft. By so much do I surpass both gods and men."
Comment is unnecessary. Until the whole of a thing can be suspended upon and supported by a part of itself, no interpreter can make the top of Olympos in this passage signify the top of a mountain in Thessaly. 1
If any further evidence can be needed to show that no mountain of earth can meet the requirements of the language of the Iliad respecting Olympos, it is surely afforded in the passages already alluded to where suppliants, addressing the gods as "Olympian," are said to stretch forth their hands toward "the starry heavens." An example of this is the following: "But the guardian of the Greeks, Gerenian Nestor, most particularly prayed, stretching forth his hands to the starry heaven: 'O Father Zeus, if ever any one in fruitful Argos, to thee burning the fat thighs of either oxen or sheep, supplicated that he might return, and thou didst promise
and assent, be mindful of these things, O Olympian, and avert the cruel day.'" 1
Nor is the language of the Odyssey less opposed to the prevailing interpretation. Here Olympos is metaphorically spoken of precisely as we speak of heaven: "For Olympos hath given me grief" (iv. 722). Again, in a memorable passage, it is depicted in terms which plainly belong to no sublunary sphere: "Thus having spoken, blue-eyed Athenè departed to Olympos, where they say is forever the firm seat of the gods; it is neither shaken by the winds, nor is it ever bedewed by the shower, nor does the snow approach it; but a most cloudless serenity is spread out, and white splendor runs over it, in which the blessed gods are delighted all their days. To this place Athenè departed when she had admonished the damsel." 2
In book xx. 30, Athenè descends "from heaven" (οὐρανόθεν καταβᾶσα), while in line 55 her return is described as "to Olympos." So in line 103 Zeus thunders
but in line 113 the same thundering is described as
As in the Iliad, so in the Odyssey, suppliants address their prayers toward "the starry heaven;" 3
and the gods who possess Olympos are called ὕπερθε μάρτυροι, or the "witnesses on high." 1
So unmistakable is this language and the entire usage of the Odyssey that various recent writers, not emancipated from the traditional view as respects the Iliad, have yet perceived and admitted the identity of Ὄλυμπος and the upper οὐρανός in the former work. Among German scholars, Faesi 2 and Ihne 3 have expressed themselves in this sense, and prominent among the Scotch, Professor Geddes. 4 The latter says, "There is nothing in the Odyssey which obliges us to think of Mount Olympos." Testimony from such a quarter is of course all the more convincing.
In Homeric thought, then, the abode of the gods was where we should antecedently expect to find it, namely, in the heights of heaven. Considered with reference to the august sovereign of gods and men,
the polar sky-arch was a palace, the royal residence, the δῶμα or δόμος of Zeus. 1 Viewed with reference to its tints, steel-blue and gold, it was described as metallic, σιδήρεος, χάλκεος and πολύχαλκος, terms which metallic interpreters like Voss and Buchholz and Bunbury have pushed to absolute literalness. 2 Conceived of as an ethereal height, it was pictured as a heaven-high mount, "snowy" as its own white clouds. Then to the climbing imagination, mounting height above height in the vain attempt to reach the summit, the mountain became αἰπύς (Il., V. 367, 869; xv. 84); μακρός (II., i. 402, and in ten other passages); πολυδειράς (Il., i. 499; v. 754; viii. 3); and πολύπτυχος (Il., viii. 411; xx. 5). This last description, "the Olympos of many layers, or thicknesses," is peculiarly expressive. Instead of signifying the "ridges" of a mountain or range of mountains, as Geddes and so many before him have affirmed, it
pictures that world-old conception of a firmament, not single-storied, but with heaven above heaven, to the "third," or the "seventh," or the "ninth." These heavens were conceived of by Homer himself as in layers one above another, like the curved laminæ (πτυχαὶ) of a shield. 1 And what adds to the fitness of the comparison and to the fitness of the cosmic adornment of Achilles shield is the fact that to the omphalos of a shield there corresponded the central and ever-abiding Omphalos of the Skies.
5. Finally, our larger and more rational interpretation of Homeric ideas beautifully explains "the tall Pillars of Atlas," and solves the multiform perplexities of the ruling authorities on this question.
In approaching the study of this subject several questions occur to every thoughtful beginner, the answers to which he can nowhere find. For instance: How can Homer speak of the Pillars of Atlas, using the plural, when elsewhere in the early Greek mythology the representations always point to only one? Again, if there is but one, and that in the West, near the Gardens of the Hesperides, 2 what corresponding supports sustain the sky in the East, the North, and the South? Or, if Atlas's Pillar
is only one of many similar ones supporting heaven around its whole periphery, how came it to be so much more famous than the rest? Or, if Homer's plural indicates that all of them belonged to Atlas, how came the idea of one Pillar to be so universally prevalent? If the support of heaven was at many points, and at its outermost rim, how could Hesiod venture to represent the whole vault as poised on Atlas's head and hands? 1 Again, if it is the special function of Atlas, or of his Pillar, to stand on the solid earth and hold up the sky, he would appear to have no special connection with the sea: why, then, should Homer introduce the strange statement that Atlas "knows all the depths of the sea"? This certainly seems very mysterious. Again, if the office of the Pillar or Pillars is to prop up the sky, they of course sustain different relations to earth and heaven. They bear up the one, and are themselves borne up by the other. Yet, singularly enough, Homer's locus classicus places them in exactly the same relation to the two. 2 Worse than this, Pausanias unqualifiedly and repeatedly asserts that, according to the myth, Atlas supports upon his shoulders "both earth and heaven." 3 And with this corresponds
the language of Æschylus. 1 But what sort of a poetic imagination is this which represents a mighty column as upholding not only a vast super-incumbent weight, but also, and at the same time, its own pedestal? Is this a specimen creation of that immortal Hellenic genius, which the whole modern world is taught almost to adore?
Turning to the authorities in textual and mythological interpretation, our beginner finds no help. On the contrary, their wild guesses and mutual contradictions only confuse him more and more. Völcker tells him, with all the assuring emphasis of leaded type, that "in Atlas is given a personification of the art of navigation, the conquest of the sea by means of human skill, by commerce, and the gains of commerce." 2 Preller instructs him to reject this view, and to think of this mysterious son of Iapetos as a "sea-giant representing the upbearing and supporting almightiness of the ocean in contrast with the earth-shattering might of Poseidon." 3 The classical dictionaries only perplex him with multitudinous puerilities invented by ignorant Euhemeristic scholiasts,stories to the effect that the original Atlas was merely the astronomer who first constructed an artificial globe to represent the sky; or that he was a Northwest African, who, having ascended a lofty promontory the better to observe the heavenly bodies, fell off into the sea, and so gave
name both to the mountain and to the Atlantic Ocean. Schoemann does not profess a positive and certain understanding of the matter, but suggests that the mysterious Titan was in all probability "originally a gigantic mountain-god" of some sort. 1
Bryant at first makes Atlas a mountain supporting a temple or temple-cave, called Co-el, house of God, whence "the Clus of the Romans," vol. i., p. 274. In the next volume, however, he says that "under the name of Atlas is meant the Atlantians." And quoting the Odyssey, he translates thus: "They [the Atlantians] had also long Pillars, or obelisks, which referred to the sea, and upon which was delineated the whole system both of heaven and earth; ἀμπὶς, all around, both on the front of the obelisk and on the other sides." 2
If our investigator asks, as did an ancient grammarian, how Atlas could stand on the earth and support heaven on his head, if heaven was so far removed that an anvil would require nine days and nights in which to fall through the distance, Paley kindly explains that "the poet's notion doubtless was that Atlas held up the sky near its junction with earth in the far West." 3 In this case, of course, a reasonably short giant would answer the purpose. If, after all his consultations of authorities, our youth is still unsatisfied, and to make a last effort for light turns to the illustrious Welcker, he learns as an important
final lesson that when an ancient author says "heaven and earth," it is not for a moment to be supposed that he literally means "heaven and earth," and that, if they had remembered this, writers on mythology would have spared themselves "a vast amount of brain-racking and ineffectual pro-and-contra pleading." 1 With this as the sole outcome of all his researches, may not a beginner well despair of ever getting any knowledge of the meaning of the myth, if, indeed, he can still imagine it to have had a meaning?
Here, as everywhere, the truth at once explains and removes all the difficulties which a false and groundless presupposition has created.
Once conceive of the Homeric world as we have reconstructed it, and how clear and beautiful the conception of the Pillars of Atlas becomes! They are simply the upright axes of earth and heaven. Viewed in their relation to earth and heaven respectively, they are two; but viewed in reference to the universe as an undivided whole, they are one and the same. Being coincident, they are truly one, and yet they are ideally separable. Hence singular or plural designations are equally correct and equally fitting. Transpiercing the globe at the very "navel or centre of the sea," Atlas's Pillar penetrates far deeper than any recess of the waters bed, and he may well be said to "know the depths of the whole sea." Or this statement may have reference to that primordial
sea in which his Pillar was standing when the geogonic and cosmogonic process began. In this sense how appropriate and significant would it have been if applied to Izanagi! 1
Again, the association of Atlas with the Gardens of the Hesperides, so far from disproving our interpretation, actually affords new confirmation, since Æschylus, Pherecydes, and the oldest traditions locate the Hesperides themselves, not in the West, but in the extreme North, beyond the Rhiphæan Mountains, in the vicinity of the Hyperboreans. 2 In fact, there are very strong reasons for believing that these Gardens of the Hesperides were nothing other than the starry gardens of the circumpolar sky; that therefore the Hesperides were called the "Daughters of Night," and that the great serpent
which assisted the nymphs in watching "the golden apples" was none other than the constellation Draco, whose brilliant constituent Alpha, the astronomer's Thuban, was, less than fifty centuries ago, the Pole-star of our heaven. 1
Once more, our interpretation perfectly harmonizes the passages which represent Atlas as a heaven-supporter with those which represent him as equally supporting earth. More than this, it reveals the curious fact that Homer's description of the tall Pillars of Atlas identifies them with the axes of earth and heaven so unmistakably that, in order to blunder into the common mistranslation of it, it was first necessary to invent, and get the lexicographers to adopt, a span-new special meaning for the words ἀμφὶς ἔχεινa meaning necessitated by no other passage in the whole body of Homeric Greek. Homer's beautifully explicit language is,
[paragraph continues] "Who, of his own right, possesses the tall Pillars which have around them earth and heaven." 2 Nowhere in Homeric, if indeed in any ancient Greek, does the expression mean "to prop asunder." 3
Finally, as to the supposed difficulty of imagining a heaven-upholder so tall that it would take a brazen anvil nine days and nights to fall from his head to his feet, if Professor Paley had remembered Sandalfon, the Talmudic Atlas, he would hardly have
thought it necessary to locate the Hesiodic one on the edge of the earth where the sky is low. Of Sandalfon, Rabbi Eliezer has said, "There is an angel who standeth on earth, and reacheth with his head to the door of heaven. It is taught in the Mishna that he is called Sandalfon; he exceedeth his companions as much in height as one can walk in five hundred years, and that he stands behind the chariot [Charles's Wain] and twisteth or bindeth the garlands for his Creator." 1
Atlas's Pillar, then, is the axis of the world. It is the same Pillar apostrophized in the Egyptian document known as the great Harris Magic Papyrus, in these unmistakable words: "O long Column, which commences in the upper and in the lower heavens!" 2 It is, with scarce a doubt, what the same ancient people in their Book of the Dead so happily styled "the Spine of the Earth." 3 It is the Rig-Veda's vieltragende Achse des unaufhaltsam sich drehenden, nie alternden, nie morschwerdenden, durch den Lauf der Zeiten nicht abgenutzten Weltrads, auf welchem alle Wesen stehen. 4 It is the Umbrella-staff of Burmese cosmology, the Churning-stick of India's gods and demons. It is the Trunk of every cosmical Tree. 5 It is the shadowless Lance of Alexander;
the tortoise-piercing (earth-piercing) Arrow of the Mongolian heaven-god; the Spear of Izanagi; the Hacha de Cobre on which the heavens of the Miztecs rested. 1 It is the Cord which the ancient Vedic bard saw stretched from one side of the universe to the other. 2 Is it not the Psalmist's "Line" of the heavens which "is gone out through" the very "earth" and on "to the end of the world"? It is the Irminsul of the Germans, as expressly recognized by Grimm. It is the Tower of Kronos. It is Plato's Spindle of Necessity. It is the Azacol of the North African Sunis. It is the Ladder with seven lamps in the rites of Mithra. It is the Talmudic Pillar which connects the Paradise celestial and the Paradise terrestrial.
In the foregoing discussions of Homeric cosmology we have had a sufficient exhibition of the cause and cure of currentmalpractice shall we call it?on the part of interpreters of Homeric poetry. Their baseless assumptions and blunders have been renewed and multiplied in nearly every field of archæology,Assyrian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Persian, Indian. Whithersoever "modern research" has gone it has carried with it, as a kind of first principle and rule of interpretation, the assumption that the early nations cannot possibly have known anything about the world, beyond what undeveloped tribes and peoples
would of necessity observe within their own contracted boundaries. The inconsistencies of ignorance and of half-knowledge and of an undisciplined, "child-like" imagination are therefore to be expected at every step. Even the squarest contradictions must not surprise. Indeed, in respect to Homer, the learned Sengebusch has actually formulated the universal proposition that the results of investigations in different departments of Homeric study "will always be found to contradict each other." 1 In view of the accepted modern results of investigation into Homer's cosmology one is tempted to justify the proposition, only qualifying it in a mild degree, as follows: The results of all Homeric investigations based upon the assumption that Homer was too "primitive" a man to know where the sun sets will always be found self-contradictory.
Against all such barbarizing misinterpretation of ancient literature it is high time that a protest should be heard. Long enough has the beauty and the breadth of ancient thought, in poetry and myth and even in word-building, been obscured and hidden by this conceited assumption of the modern teacher. It was bad enough when the old grammarians, assuming that Homer could have had no idea of other than the nearest waters, mutilated the grand proportions of the Odyssey to fit the voyagings of its hero into the western basin of the Mediterranean, or, worse yet, into the Euxine. 2 But this, after all, was an altogether pardonable offense
compared with the currently accepted procedure of scholars, who, brought up apparently on magazines of popular science, and imagining that Columbus was the first man to whom the idea ever occurred that the earth is round, approach the study of antiquity merely as the study of an older department of barbarian folk-lore. Surely it is time to investigate the great creations of ancient mind in a different spirit. 1 It is nothing short of deplorable to consider the mass of senseless argument and false explanation annually crowded into the memories of successive classes of academic and collegiate youth,arguments and explanations which neither to teacher nor taught have even the poor merit of intelligently illustrating the evils of wrong principles of classical hermeneutics. The discussions and results of the present treatise have at least disclosed a conceivable beginning of human history, according to which the early generations of men can hardly have failed to acquire that knowledge of the mechanism of the heavens which all the oldest traditions of the race ascribe to them. 2 And if, in consequence of the
acceptance or even the discussion of the proffered results, the eyes of scholars shall at last once more be directed to the study of the great literary and other art-works of ancient mind in a new and more modest spirit, the gains which are sure to accrue therefrom will be neither few nor small.
326:1 Descent of Man, Pt. II., ch. 21.
327:1 Outlines of Primitive Belief. 1882: p. 27.
327:2 Ibid., p. 58.
327:3 Ibid., p. 115.
328:1 Ch. Ploix, "LOcéan des Anciens," Revue Archéologique, 1897, vol. xxxiii.. pp. 47-54.
328:2 Keary, Primitive Belief, p. 296.
328:3 "How the sun was carried back to the point from which it was to start afresh on its course, it is probable that no one in his day ever troubled himself to inquire." (!) Hist. Ancient Geography, vol. i., p. 34. This does not well accord with the statement of Bergaine: "Le séjour et létat du soleil quand it a disparu sont des questions qui préoccupent vivement les poëtes védiques." La Religion Védique, tom. i., p. 6.
329:1 In W. Helbig's new work, Das Homerische Epos von den Denkmälern erläutert, Leipsic, 1884, we have some symptoms of a new and better type of Homeric archæology. The author holds that in Homer's day there were evidences of "lost arts," and in the treasures found at Mycenæ he sees the products of a pre-Homeric civilization.
330:1 Mythology, pp. 47-50. Here, as usual, Keightley closely follows Völcker. For the "mountainous ring" see Ukert's map.
330:2 "Of popular views and conceptions one must not demand consistency p. 331 or completion. They go up to a certain point, apprehend only a part, and this only as it appears at first blush; they leave one side all conclusive reflection, and are unconcerned about contradictions since they are not conscious of any."J. F. Lauer in Anhang to Ameis's Odyssey, x. 86.
331:1 Cited in Ameis, Odyssey, Anhang, xii. 4.
332:1 Juventus Mundi, p. 325.
332:2 Odyssey, xii. 3, 4.
332:3 That the son of Odysseus by Kirkè should have been named Telegonos, "the far-away begotten," thus becomes peculiarly significant.
332:4 Odyssey, x. 189-192.
333:1 Iliad, xxi. 896.
333:2 Homerische Geographie, § 49.
333:3 See the older Classical Atlases. "According to Homer," says p. 334 Theodore Alois Buckley, in his translation of the Iliad, "the Earth is a circular plane, and Oceanus is an immense stream encircling it, from which the rivers flow inward,"of course, therefore, up-hill.
334:1 Hom. Geog., § 49. Compare Keightley: "As it was a stream it must have been conceived to have a further bank to confine its course." Mythology of Greece, p. 33.
334:2 Homerische Realien, I. 1, p. 55.
334:3 In his earlier work, Die Mythologie des Japetischen Geschlechtes, Giessen, 1824, p. 60, Völcker distinctly represents this as the ancient Greek conception: "Wo der Himmel sich wahrhaft an den Okean schliesst and dem kühnen Schiffer das letzte Ziel geworden."
334:4 Keightley, Mythol., p. 29.
335:1 Hans Flach, Das System der Hesiodischen Kosmogonie. Leipsic, 1874. (Diagram prefixed.)
335:2 Maury, Histoire des Religions de la Grèce Antique. Paris, 1857: vol. i., p. 596. In like manner Bunbury, History of Ancient Geography, vol. i., p. 33, represents the solid Homeric vault as resting on the outermost edge of the circular earth just inside the Ocean-stream.
336:1 Hom. Geographie, § 50.
336:2 See his map. Comp. Juventus Mundi, p. 493.
336:3 Iliad, xviii.. 240.
336:4 Iliad, viii. 485.
337:1 Iliad, vii. 422; Odyssey, xix. 433.
337:2 Odyssey, x. 191.
337:3 Odyssey, xii. 380. The only diagram based upon this conception which I remember to have seen is in the rare and curious work by Johannes Herbinius, Dissertationes de admirandis mundi Cataractis. Amstel. 1678: p. 83.
339:1 Ameis and Hentze, Ilias, i. 44.
339:2 Smith's Classical Dictionary, Art. "Olympus."
339:3 Völcker, Homerische Geographie, pp. 9, 12.
339:4 Mythology. Fourth Edition. London, 1877: p. 34.
340:1 Homerische Geographie and Weltkunde, pp. 4-20. Copied by Buchholz, Hom. Realien, I. § 12. Professor Blackie's reasoning is entirely subjective: "In a spiritual religion, like Christianity, the word heaven will always be kept as vague as possible; in an imaginative and sensuous religion, like the Greek, it must be localized. A Zeus with human shape and members must sit on a terrestrial seat; and the only seat proper for him is the highest mountain in the country to which he belongs. Now, as the original seat of the Greeks, when they rested from their long journey by the Caspian and Euxine westward, was the plains of Macedonia and Thessaly, the necessary locality for the throne of the Supreme God and the council of the Immortals was Olympos, the extreme east end of the long Cambunian range separating Thessaly from Macedonia, to the north of the Peneios and the defile of Tempe." Homer and the Iliad. Edinburgh, 1866: vol. iv., p. 174.
341:1 Heyschius professed to have knowledge of fourteen mountains bearing the name of Olympos.
341:2 To all who deny that heaven was to Homer the abode of the gods this passage presents insurmountable difficulties. To place Ossa upon Olympos, then upon Ossa Pelion, in order, by means of the three, to climb up into an abode situated on the top of the undermost of the three, is the problem! No wonder that Völcker thinks Homer has been overpraised for his knowledge of localities and of the arrangement of mountains: "Der Olymp muss auf jeden Fall zu unterst kommen, und die Folgerung aus dieser Stelle für die Homerische Localkenntniss und Grundlage der Wirklichkeit in Anordnung der Berge müssen wir dahin gestellt sein lassen." Hom. Geog., p. 9. Truly amusing is the haughty remark under which Hartung beats a retreat: "Warum aber sollte ein Gelehrter über solche Wiedersprüche sich Scrupel machen da die religiöse Vorstellung sich niemals daran gestossen hat?" Die Religion und Mythologie der Griechen, Th. iii., 6. But one German, and he a Swiss, seems to have apprehended the inevitable implication of this passage: "Jedoch war dem Griechen wohl bewusst, dass die Götter nicht eigentlich und wirklich auf dem Olymp wohnten, wie aus der Beschreibung des Kampfes des Otus und Ephialtes gegen die olympischen Götter hervorgeht." Rinck, Die Religion der Hellenen. Zurich, 1853: vol. i., p. 207.
341:3 Compare Pictet, Les Origines. Paris, 1877: tom. iii., p. 225.
342:1 Comp. xii. 339; also the Homeric Hymn, In Apollinem, ii. 320, 334. In the Iliad, viii., lines 393 and 411, the selfsame portals are called now "gates of heaven," now "gates of Olympos."
342:2 Book i. 18; ii. 13, 30, 484; v 383, 404, et passim. See Völcker, Homerische Geographie, p. 13 (§ 9).
342:3 Book i. 399, xx. 47, and often; i. 570; v 373, 898, etc.; vi. 129, 131, 527. Compare i. 497:
[paragraph continues] A similar identification occurs in Hesiod, Theogony, v. 689. See L. Preller, "Daher der Himmel and der Olymp auch ganz gleichbedeutend gebraucht werden können." Griechische Mythologie. Leipsic, 1854: vol. i., p. 48.
342:4 Lines 37, 51, 408. The interpreters of Hesiod have found this so great a crux that Göttling and Paley make it a ground for questioning the genuineness or antiquity of the passages. See also Schoemann, Die hesiodische Theogonie ausgelegt and beurtheilt. Berlin, 1868: p. 303. Yet Pfau, in Pauly's Real-Encyclopaedie, Art. "Olympos," affirms that we find in Hesiod "exactly the same conceptions of Olympos" as in Homer.
343:1 Similar cases occur; Iliad, i. 195, 208, compared with 221; v. 868 with 869; xix. 351 with 355; xx. 5 with so; Od., xi. 313 with 316; xx. 31 with 55; also 103 with 113. It is astonishing that Faesi can say that the case in the text is the only one found in the Iliad. Odysee, Einleitung, p. xvii.
344:1 "Heavenly threshold" is Buckley's rendering of this term, though he elsewhere distinguishes Olympos from heaven, as in note on book xvi. 364. In ancient cosmology the "door of heaven" was situated at the North Pole of the sky. Khândogya-Upanishad, xxiv. 3, 4, 7, 8, II, 12. Sacred Books of the East, vol. i., Pt. I., pp. 36, 37. For the rabbinical usage see Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, Bd. ii., p. 402.
344:2 Thus Völcker, after reminding the reader that "there can be no doubt that the gods are here represented as on Olympos, and not where Hera hung ἐν αἰθέρι καὶ νεφίλῃσιν," exclaims very naturally, "Where now is the end of the rope made fast?" He immediately adds as his answer, "Ohne Zweifel περὶ ῥίον Οὐλύμποιο!Without doubt around the peak of Olympos!" No wonder he places an exclamation point after such a masterpiece of interpretation. Possibly the French savant, M. Boivin, who to explain Od., vi. 40 ff., contended that Homer conceived of Olympos as an inverted mountain, having its snowy top near the earth and its snowless and rainless roots in heaven, caught his idea from Völcker's exegesis of this passage!
345:1 Mythology, p. 97.
345:2 The Problem of the Homeric Poems, p. 133.
345:3 Here is the Underworld door and threshold corresponding to the upper, north polar one from which Hephaistos was hurled down to earth. Compare also Hesiod's description.
346:1 The heroic manner in which Professor Geddes accepts this grave alternative and shifts his own embarrassment to the shoulders of the poet is somewhat discouraging to interpreters who have an inclination to find a rational meaning in their author. He says, "The manner in which this ῥίον Οὐλύμποιο is referred to in a concrete form shows that it was not only a visible but [also a] commanding object in the poet's landscape; so much so that it embarrasses his physical speculations and conceptions of the Cosmos [sic], since it is made the pinnacle on which the world of sea and land is to be suspended by the golden chain. The ῥίον here, however, must be a part of the veritable mountain, not any idealized Olympos." (!) Wm. D. Geddes, LL. D., The Problem of the Homeric Poems. London, 1878: p. 257. This is as bad as the exclamatory arbitrariness of Völcker, on the same passage, Geog., § 11.
347:1 Book xv. 371, 375. Comp. x. 461; iii. 364; vii. 178, 201; 365; xvi. 232; xix. 257; xxi. 272; xxiv. 307, etc.
347:2 Book vi. 40. On p. 65 of his Mythology, Keightley quotes this passage as apparently somewhat inconsistent with his view, but nevertheless renews his assertion that "the Greeks of the early ages regarded the lofty Thessalian mountain named Olympos as the dwelling of their gods." Compare Völcker: "In nearly all poets such contradictions are found." Geog., p. 6.
347:3 Odyssey, ix. 527, and elsewhere.
348:1 Odyssey, xiv. 393, 4.
348:2 Note on Iliad, i. 420, and in Einleitung to the Odyssey, p. xvii.
348:3 Smith's Dictionary of Biography, Art. "Homer," p. 510.
348:4 Op. cit., §§ 155, 156, pp. 260-263. Professor Geddes elaborate argument to prove that "the Olympos of the Achilleid" is "a veritable mountain, and that in Thessaly" is entirely inconclusive. The use of ἀγάννιοφος no more necessitates a literal interpretation than does a poet's application of the term "snowy" to a living bosom, or "fleecy" to the clouds. So πολύπτυχος proves nothing at all to his purpose, since Euripidesnever having read the Professor's instructive statement, "The epithet πολύπτυχος, applicable only to mountains, is a sufficient barrier to prevent the identification with οὐρανός "applies it again and again to many-strata-ed Ouranos. Even the Professor's one only evidence not by his own concession merely "presumptive," to wit, the "great simile" of the Iliad, book xvi. 364, tells against rather than for him, for the ἀπ᾽ Οὐλύμπου νέφος cannot possibly come αἰθέρος ἐκ δίης into the atmospheric οὐρανὸν where clouds move, unless Olympos be where the divine ether is, high above the atmospheric heavens. Völcker's treatment of the passage is so absurd that Geddes does not even attempt to follow it. Hom. Geog., § 13.
349:1 The house of Hephaistos in Olympos is plainly styled "starry." Iliad, xviii. 370, comp. with 146, 148. Moreover, Aristotle, or whoever wrote the "Letter of Aristotle to Alexander on the System of the World," in one passage expressly identifies Ouranos and Olympos, saying that for diverse etymological reasons we call the outermost circumference of heaven by both names. See Flammarion, Astronomical Myths, or History of the Heavens, p. 156. Even Völcker, in first laying down the thesis which has so misled all his successors ("dass Uranus and Olympus nie als synonym bei Homer gebraucht werden"), frankly confesses that this is "gegen die bisher allgemein gehegte Meinung;" that is, "contrary to the opinion hitherto generally held." Homerische Geog., p. 4. With gods of Homeric size, a single one of whom required seven acres for his couch, the idea of placing the whole Olympian Court and Götterleben on the sharp, narrow, clearly visible peak in Thessaly is ridiculous.
349:2 Buchholz (Hom. Realien, Bd. i. 1, p. 3) declares the metaphorical interpretation "zu gekünstelt," for those early times, and roundly asserts that, "according to the idea of the Homeric Greek, heaven is eine metallene Hohlkugel." He should have added that to the same infantile mind Aphrodité was a solid gold image (Odyssey, viii. 337), and the voice of Achilles (Iliad, xviii. 222) a brass projectile.
350:1 See Homer's own τρίπτυχος, Il., xi. 353, in just this sense. Compare the marvelous description in Plato's Republic, 616. Depuis had caught the right idea when he penned the words, "lOlympe, composé de plusieurs couches sphériques." Origine de Tous les Cults, tom. i., p. 273. So a recognition of the fact that the nine subterranean, or south polar, Mictlans, or abodes of the dead, of the Aztecs were simply the counterparts of their nine celestial, or north polar, Tlalocans, or heavens, instantaneously clears up the long-standing difficulties of the interpreters of that mythology. See Bancroft, Native Races, vol. iii., pp. 532-537.
350:2 Hesiod, Theogony, 517. Atlas pflegt immer mit den Hesperiden genannt zu werden. Preller, Griechische Mythologie, vol. i., p. 348.
351:1 Theogony, 747. Moreover, how could one limited being have charge of so many and so widely separated pillars? "It can scarcely be doubted that the words ἀμφὶς ἔχουσιν, Odyssey, i. 54, do not mean that these columns surround the earth, for in this case they must be not only many in number, but it would be obvious to the men of a myth-making and myth-speaking age that a being stationed in one spot could not keep up, or hold, or guard, a number of pillars surrounding either a square or a circular earth." Cox, Mythology of the Aryan Nations. London, 1870: vol. i., p. 37 n.
351:2 "For that both heaven and earth are meant, not heaven alone, is proved by various poetic passages, and by other testimonies."Preller, Griechische Mythologie, vol. i., p. 348.
351:3 Book v. II, 2; 18, 1. One interpreter makes the profound suggestion p. 352 that in Homer's passage the γῦν is "added by a zeugma"! Merry and Riddell, Odyssey, i. 53.
352:1 Prometheus Bound, 349, 425 seq.
352:2 Mythologie des Japetischen Geschlechts, p. 49 seq. Followed by K. O. Müller, Keightley, Anthon, and many others.
352:3 Griechische Mythologie, vol. i., pp. 32, 348. Followed by Faesi and called by Professor Packard "the usually accepted."
353:1 G. F. Schoemann, Die hesiodische Theogonie ausgelegt. Berlin, 1868: p. 207.
353:2 Analysis of Ancient Mythology. London, 2807: vol. ii., 91.
353:3 The Epics of Hesiod, p. 229. On the other hand, another English interpreter would give us a giant with shoulders as broad as the whole heaven, and translate ἀμφὶς ἔχουσιν "which support at either side; i.e., at the East and west." Merry and Riddell, Odyssey, i. 53. 23
354:1 "Viel Kopfbrechens and vergeblichen Hin-und Herredens hat der Ausdruck des Pausanias gemacht ἐπὶ τῶν ὤμων κατὰ τὰ λεγόμενα οὐρανόν τε ἀνέχει καὶ γῆν, der auch bei dem Gemälde von Panänos (5, 11, 2) wiederkehrt: οὐρανὸν καὶ γῆν ἀνέχων παρέστηκε, indem man οὐρανὸν καὶ γῆν buchstäblich verstehen zu müssen glaubte."Gr. Götterlehre, vol. i., pp. 746, 747.
355:1 Compare the Vedic statement, "He who knows the Golden Reed standing in the waters is the mysterious Prajapati." Muir, Sanskrit Texts, vol. iv., p. 21. Garrett, Classical Dictionary of India, Art. "Skambha." Still another explanation is suggested by the Rig-Veda, x. 149: "Savitri has established the earth by supports; Savitri has fixed the sky in unsupported space; Savitri, the son of the waters, knows the place where the ocean supported issued forth." Muir, Sanskrit Texts, vol. iv., p. 110 (comp. Ludwig's German version). According to this, he would be conceived of as knowing the depths of the whole ocean, because its celestial springs are about his head, and its lowest depths at his feet.Since the foregoing was first printed the author has met with the remarkable diagram, published four hundred years ago in the Magarita Philosophica, in which Atlas is represented as a venerable man, with his feet at the inferior and his head at the superior Pole of the heavens, precisely according to our interpretation. A reproduction of it can be seen in Flammarion, Astronomical Myths, p. 150. See, moreover, Aristophanes, Aves, 180 foll., for the significant etymology of πόλος.
355:2 Preller, Griechische Mythologie, vol. ii., p. 149. Völcker, Mythologische Geographie, pp. 133 seq. Wolfgang Menzel, Die vorchristliche Unsterblichkeitslehre, vol. i., p. 98. On "la Colonne dite Boréale," spoken of by a Greek geographer B.C. 275, see Beauvais, Revue de lHistoire des Religions. Paris, 1883: p. 711 n. Comp. p. 700.
356:1 Gustav Schlegel, Uranographie Chinoise. La Haye, 1895: pp. 506, 507, 685.
356:2 Compare Odyssey, xv. 184.
356:3 Buttmann (Lexilogus, English translation, 5th ed., pp. 94-104) is no more successful in showing such a meaning than are the older dictionary-makers.
357:1 Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, Bd. ii., p. 402 (Eng., vol. ii., p. 97). In all ancient cosmologies "the door of heaven" is at the North Pole. Sacred Books of the East, vol. i., pp. 36, 37.
357:2 Records of the Past, vol. x., p. 152. Other references to the Heaven-supporting Pillar may be seen in Brugsch, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Ægyptiacarum, i. 82, 83, 87, 197 et passim. Comp. fig. opposite p. 195, and fig. No. 12, p. 124.
357:3 Chap. cxlii.
357:4 Rig Veda, i. 164. Grossmann and Ludwig.
357:5 Ludwig, in his version of the Veda, finds repeated occasion for the use of the expression "Stengel der Welt."
358:1 F. Gregorio Garcia, Origen de los Indios del Nuevo Munda. Madrid, 1729: p. 337. Here, the "pole-axe" of ignorance has supplanted the pole-axis of ancient science. Bancroft, Native Races, vol. iii., p. 71. Compare the "Golden Splinter" of Manco Capac. Réville, Hibbert Lectures, 1884: p. 131.
358:2 Rig Veda, X. 129, 5.
359:1 Hoffmann, Homerische Untersuchungen, vol. i., p. 30.
359:2 Mr. W. J. Stillman, in the The Century Magazine for 1884, has just resketched in this antiquated fashion "The Track of Ulysses," confessing, however, that for his location of the all-decisive Ogygia "there is no evidence:" pp. 562, 563. See his map.
360:1 "Je tiefer Dr. Schliemann bei Troja grub, desto höhere Cultur liess sich aus den Funden erschliessen; so können auch wir sagen, je älter die Nachrichten sich zeigen, desto grössere Bildung der Vorfahren verrathen sie." Anton Krichenbauer, Beiträge zur homerischen Uranographie, Wien, 1874, p. 13. Comp. 68, 69 et passim. The statement has reference to astronomical science among the earliest Greeks.
360:2 "Among the Jews there are traditions of a very high antiquity for their astronomy. Josephus says: 'God prolonged the life of the patriarchs that preceded the Deluge, both on account of their virtues and to give them the opportunity of perfecting the sciences of geometry and astronomy, which they had discovered; which they could not have done if they had not lived 600 years, because it is only after the lapse of 600 years that the great year is accomplished.'
"Now, what is this great year or cycle of 600 years? M. Cassini, p. 361 the director of the Observatory of Paris, has discussed it astronomically. He considers it as a testimony of the high antiquity of their astronomy. 'This period,' he says, is one of the most remarkable that have been discovered; for if we take the lunar month to be 29 days, 12 h. 44 m. 3., we find that 219,146½ days make 7,421 lunar months, and that this number of days gives 600 solar years of 365 days, 5 h. 51 m. 36 s.' If this year was in use before the Deluge, it appears very probable, it must be confessed, that the patriarchs were already acquainted to a considerable degree of accuracy with the motions of the stars, for this lunar month agrees to a second, almost, with that which has been determined by modern astronomers."Flammarion, Astronomical Myths. Paris, p. 26.