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Arthur J. Enans, ''Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult and Its Mediterranean Relations'', in. The Journal Of Hellenic Studies, Vol.21 (1901), pp.99-204

Arthur J. Enans, ''Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult and Its Mediterranean Relations'', in. The Journal Of Hellenic Studies, Vol.21 (1901), pp.99-204

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Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult and Its Mediterranean RelationsAuthor(s): Arthur J. EvansSource:
The Journal of Hellenic Studies,
Vol. 21 (1901), pp. 99-204Published by: The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic StudiesStable URL:
Accessed: 30/06/2010 02:57
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MYCENAEAN TREEAND PILLARCULT AND ITSMEDITERRANEANRELATIONS.
WITHILLUSTRATIONSFROMRECENTCRETANFINDS.[PLATEV.]
?
1.-Cretan CavesandHypaethralSanctuaries.
AMONG
thegreatermonumentsoractual structuralremainsoftheMycenaeanworldhitherto madeknown,it isremarkablehowlittle there istobe foundhavingaclearand obvious relation toreligiousbelief.Thegreatwealth ofmanyof thetombs,the rich contentsofthepit-gravesofMycenaeitself,the rock-cutchambers,themassivevaultsofthe bee-hivetombs,are allindeedsomanyevidences of ahighlydevelopedcult ofdeparted Spirits.Thepit-altarovergraveIV.of theAkropolisarea atMycenae,and the some-whatsimilar erectionfound intheCourt-yardofthePalace atTiryns,takeusastepfurther inthisdirection;but it still remainspossiblethat thesecond,likethefirst,mayhavebeendedicatedto the cultofthe ancestorsofthehousehold,and itsuppliesinitself noconclusiveevidencesofaconnexionwithanyhigherformofworship.InthegreatSouth-WesternCourt,andagainintheCentral Area of thePalaceofKnossos,havenow,however,beenbroughttolightthefoundations ofwhatseem tohavebeentworectangularaltars;andthespecialrelationinwhich thisbuildingstoodtothe GodoftheDoubleAxe makes adedicationto theCretanZeus in thiscaseextremelyprobable.InCrete indeed we are onsomewhatdifferentground.Throughouttheisland areaseriesofcaves,containingvotive andsacrificialdeposits, goingback fromthe borders ofthehistoricperiodtoMycenaeanand stillmoreremoteantiquity.Thetwogreatestofthese,ontheheightsofIda andDikta,areconnectedbyimmemorial traditionwiththecultofthe ancientindigenousdivinitylaterdescribedbytheGreeksastheCretanZeus,whosespecial symbolwasthedoubleaxe.Thecolossal rock-hewnaltar at themouth oftheIdaean Cavewasunquestionablydevotedtotheserviceof thisGod.1Inthesteatitelibation-tablefound at thebottomof the votivestratum oftheDiktaeanCave
2
we havean articleofcultthespecial
1F.Halbherrand
P,
Orsi,Antro diZeusIdeo,p.3 andTav.xi.SJ.H.S.xvii.(1897),p.350seqq.
11H2
 
100 ARTHURJ. EVANSsignificanceofwhichwillbepointedout
ini
asucceedingsection.'Thethoroughexplorationofthiscave,nowcarriedoutbyMr.D.G.Hogaith,2onbehalf of theBritishSchool atAthens,hasconclusively provedthattheoldtraditionsofthebirth-placeand oracular shrineof theCretanZeusattachedthemselvesto thisspot.Theblastingawayof thefallenrocksthatencumberedtheupper partof thegrottohasinfactrevealedarudesacrificial altarand temenoscovered witha votivedepositsomeseven feetdeep,whilethe characterof thedivinityworshippedwassuffi-cientlyindicatedbythelargenumberofvotivedoubleaxes foundbothhere andinthe innersanctuarybelow.These doubleaxes,as weshallsee,mayhaveactuallyembodiedthepresenceof theGodhimself.Hisactualimageinanthropomorphicshapewas notneededbythereligionofthat time. Thegreatmass of votivefiguresfoundin thesacrificialdepositsoftheseCretancavesbearnodistinctive attributes ofdivinity.Theyseem,for themostpartatleast,to besimplyminiaturerepresentationsofhumanvotaries andtheir domesticanimals,whothus,accordingto awide-spread practice, placedthemselves andtheirbelongingsunderthespecialprotectionofthehigher powers.It ispossible,asIhaveelsewheresuggested,3thatinasmallbuildingwhichoccupiesa mostconspicuous positionin thegreat prehistoriccityofGoulas,inCrete,wehaveactuallybefore usthe remainsofoneoftheseMycenaeanshrines,originally containingasacred tree.This is asmalloblong building,about nineyardslongbyfourwide,withwallsoriginallybreasthigh,consistingoftwotiersoflargeroughly-squaredblocks,theupperof whichshowsexternallyaprojectingborder,whichrecallson a smallerscaletheparapetofagreatterracewallthat risesbeyondit.The entrancetothislow-walled enclosure on the smallsideto thenorthhas mortisedslabsoneither side fortheinsertionofjambs,and musthave consistedofadoor-wayhigherthan thewallsthemselves,and whichmaythereforehaveservedsomesacralpurpose,thesanctityof thetrilith orritualdoorway beingwidelyprevalentinearlyreligiouscult,notablyamongthePhrygians.4Here,asinthecaseofaKnossiancult-scene,to bedescribedbelow,thedoorwayoftheenclosuremayhave hadeitherin it orbeforeita sacredpillar,whilethetreeitselfstoodwithinthehypaethralshrine,spreadingitsboughsoveritslow walls and lintel. Infrontofthis entranceisalargerock-cutcistern,originallynodoubt,likeothercisternsofGoulas,roofedinwiththe aid oflime-stone beams.In thisconnexion itmaybe noticedthattheritualwateringofsacredtrees,either fromanaturalor artificialsource,is aregularfeatureofthisform ofworship.IntheMycenaeancultthisis illustratedbytheVapheio
1Seebelow,p.113seqq.
2
SeeAnuzealofthe British School atAthens,1900.3Seemyletter totheAcademy,July4,1896,p.18,and'Goulas,theCityof Zeus'(AnnualoftheBritishSchoolat Athens, 1896).The recentFrenchexcavationson thissite,conductedbyM.DeMargne,haveshownthatapartofitatleast wasoccupied bytheinlandLat6.Butthefactremainsincontest-ablethat theoverwhelmingmassofexistingremainsbelongsto theprehistoricperiod.
4
Seebelow,p.181.

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