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IMMORTALITY AND THE
George A. Gordon, D. D.
to the Doctrine.

NEW

THEODICY.
1897.

By

i6mo, ^i.oo.

HUMAN IMMORTALITY: Two
By
i6mo, $1.00.
1898.

Professor

supposed Objections William James.

DIONYSOS AND IMMORTALITY: The
in Immortality as affected

Greek Faith

By

President

by the rise of Individualism. Benjamin Ide Wheeler. i6mo, $1.00.

1899.

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN &
Boston and

CO.

New York.

DIONYSOS

AND IMMORTALITY
THE GREEK FAITH IN IMMORTALITY AS AFFECTED BY THE RISE OF INDIVIDUALISM
*

BY

BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER
PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AND INGERSOLL LECTURER FOR 1898-99

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
1899

COPYRIGHT,

1899,

BY BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

REP. GEN.

UB.

'-'*-'

17.9^0^1

access.no.

GIFT
cfe Fu-ss'e^v*;

THE INGERSOLL LECTURESHIP
Mxtraci from the will of Miss Caroline Haskell Ingersoll^ •who died in Keene^ County of Cheshire^ New Hampshire, Jan. 2b, iSqs.

In carrying out the wishes of my late First. beloved father, George Goldthwait Ingersoll, as declared by him in his last will and testament, I give and bequeath to Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., where my late father was graduated, and which he always held in love and honor, the sum of Five thousand dollars ($5,000) as a fund for the establishment of a Lectureship on a plan somewhat similar to that of the Dudleian lecture, that is one lecture to be delivered each year, on any convenient day between the last day of May and the first day of December, on this subject, *Uhe Immortality of Man," said lecture not to form a part of the usual college course, nor to be delivered by

any Professor or Tutor as part of his usual routine of instruction, though any such Professor or Tutor
be appointed to such service. The choice of is not to be limited to any one religious denomination, nor to any one profession, but may be that of either clergyman or layman, the appointment to take place at least six months before the delivery of said lecture. The above sum to be safely invested and three fourths of the annual interest thereof to be paid to the lecturer for his services and the remaining fourth to be expended
said lecturer
in the pubHshment and gratuitous distribution of the lecture, a copy of which is always to be furnished by the lecturer for such purpose. The same lecture to be named and known as " the Ingersoll lecture on the Immortality of Man."

may

^^885847

DIONYSOS AND IMMORTALITY

SJO

people has ever possessed a

reli-

^ gion more
its

delicately responsive to

moods than the people of ancient
an
ecclesiastical organiza-

Greece.

This they owed in large measure

to the absence of
tion.

The Greek

instinctively abhorred all

mechanism, for mechanism, as guaranteeing
like
like

and constant output to
material, ignored

like

time and

free personality,

and

this free personality

was to the Greek
all

the one recognized source of

creative

movement.
ecclesiastical

Least of

all

did he need the

machine.

There

was

no

priestly hierarchy either for

Greece as a
not

whole or for

single

cantons;

even

among

priests of the

same

cult in different

cantons was there organized cooperation.

Some

popular shrine or oracle might win
local

more than

prestige and secure the

4

Dionysos and Immortality

protection and support of various neighbor-

ing states, but there the drift toward centralization

and organization found

its limit.

At no

time did there exist an organized

authority which could formulate standards
of faith or dictate the usages of religious
etiquette.

Ritual, seeking that

which

in

matter and manner was believed to be well
pleasing to the gods, followed the traditions
of the individual shrines,

and there were no

better theologians than the poets.

Dogmas
Tnrlip,

there were none.

In

cbntrast with^JJj^

religious experience of

a^lapd

lil^p^

Greece stands at the extreme.
ligio njvas

There

re-

imposed as
it

j^jystfim frmp withs ocial

out,
i

here

sprang as a

and

civic

mpulse from within.
This fundamental characteristic endows

the study of Greek religious thought at

once with singular charm and with singular
difficulty.

We

know on the one hand
ritual to

that

if we can penetrate through the thick-tangled

meshes of mythology and

the un-

spoken faiths lying behind, we

shall find


The Greek Religion

5

them hard by the
views of
life

life

conditions and the

which were their source.

On

the other hand, as no authority essayed
to formulate

what Greeks should believe, so
in con-

no contemporary was moved to state

nected form, nor presumably even to think,

what they did

believe.
itself in

Research has spent
shifting forms of
glade,

following the

the mythology through
grotto, until

and

fen,

and

they prove

themselves most mere will-o'-the-wisps,
light-winged fancies, whether of poets
write, or of poets

who

who dream and

write not.

Sometimes they are mirror flashes from the
ritual

thrown upon the valley mist, some-

times they are dim ghosts of a storied past,

sometimes they are shadowy images of nature and her signs, but seldom are they
trusty guides into the land of reality.

Other

guides

we must

a knowledge of stayed their

we would come to the plain faith by which men
follow
if

lives,

measured their duty,
of life's beginning

esti-

mated the meaning
life's

and

end.

6
I

Dionysos and Immortality

p ropose

in

what follows to speak of one
plain, inner faith
t he life

phase of

t his

amoag_the

Greeks, the belief in

after death ,

and, lest 1 wander toofar afield, to speak
in particular of the marvelous

quickening

and development which that

belief under-

went during one most
the national
to
life.

significant

epoch in

It is in its

readjustment

changed conditions

of life

and new views

of the world that a people*s faith best be-

trays whither

its

face
it

is

really set.

tDiaL

which conditions

then becomes the/bgckJ
it.

ground against jwhiich we measure
I

In ^ undertaking this task we do not shut
fact that in

pury%yes to the

Old Greece

there were, as now,
minds,/

many men and many
and
districts, that
intelli-

— that

there was diversity in the

beliefs of different tribes

there were strongly marked strata of

gence or

culture, that survivals
it

from

earlier

horizons of belief, be

through the forms

of ritual or through the revered texts of the

national

epic,

continually intruded

them-

selves to confuse the bearings in the new,

Primitive Dualism

^
human
that

but

still

there

is

a law in things

that which holds itself below the attacks of

systematic reason tends toward homogeneity

and

unity,

— and Greece

in the period with

which we deal had not yet
losophy.

fallen

ill

of phi-

As

part of the

common stock

of primitive

human thought the Greek inherited
unbounded by non-being.
one gate of annulment.

the nat-

ural consciousness for being as absolute, as

To forget is The common

the
hu-

xr/^alp/ij

man be lief in the shadowy second-self, rei> may -yvpll V>P^ in fVi^ f^vpAn'^nr^^c
and dreams,
his bel i ef,
s wr^^^pc
ar»ri

of sleep

^r>cfac;^<^

was alao
and
soul.

and to him man was body

vVTYCii a

man

dies,

the soul issues forth
'

from the SSdy t O ^6 ek Olhei 1 esidence
not mar>\c|Jif e alone
is

.

And
life,

thus dual

;

all

of

b east, of

tree, of

the river current, oL^the
.<;i;r>rm-d^"<^,
^'s

founta in, of the wind and the

m ade up of bndy anH snni— For the primitive
Greek as for the primitive man^ t^^r^ wag

no other way

in

which to think of

life.

;

8

Dionysos and Immortality
it

Even philosophy when

made
all

its first at-

tempts began in terms of this same s imple
dualism which dominated
the
apxfi,

thought, and

water,

air,

or

fire,

which Thales,
after,

Anaximenes, and Herakleitos inquired

was conceive d
it

in th e analogy of the

^x^
we
^

was the
If

world-soul.
it

we

are to believe, as

seems

likely

mustjj:hat the religion of primitive
receive dL
conciliate
its

m an

character in the struggle to
at

and be

peace with

soul-life

dwelling and wandering in his environment,

then

we can

say that the primitive Greek
if

religion, or,

we
this,

dare use the term, the

Indo-European
advance upon

religion,^

had made so much
it

that

had introduced
and

certain classifications, a certain system

order, certain limitations into th^ ^^^^s of

soul-dreads anr^ <^mi1-wn rships.

It

had de-

veloped the family, the greater family or
clan,

and the

tribe as definite organizations

existing for the purpose, or held together

by

the usage, of caring for the souls of ancestors, the family the nearer, the tribe the

Soul'WorsUp and Nature-Worship
remoter.
It

g

had and

restricted

the care for

spirits resident in natural objects

mostly to

specific cults

shrines,

and through gen-

eralization

upon naturaL- objects and phenocertain types of the so-

mena had obtained

called, " nature-gods."

Nature-gods as such,

however, there were none.

Between soul-worship and nature-worship,
at least
ligion,

from the point of view of Greek
line of

re-

no sharp

demarcation

is

to

be

drawn.

The

primitive belief in the residence
all

of souls in natural objects colored
later

the

developments of the theogony, and

the great gods, the " nature-gods," carried

up with them from

their origin

the sem-

blances of ancestor-gods,

and as such always

had the character of persons, members of
the community,
state.
first

citizens of

tribe

or

Thus Hermes, who always bears
character suggestions of the

in his

phenomena

of

the wind, and develops attributes determined

by the impression which these phenomena

make upon the minds

of

men,

is

a fellow-

lo
citizen,

Dionysos and Immortality

an honorary member of the

state-

guild,

an embodiment of the purpose and
of society

meaning
for

and the

state.

Respect
;

him

is

a constituent part of loyalty

im-

piety toward

him and

his kind

is

treason,

and treason has no other
impiety.

definition than

After the analogies of ancestor-worship
kings traced their descent back to these
gods,

who were thus

joined

by the geneal-

ogies to the fate and fabric of the state.

The

gods, too, were related

among them-

selves,

and their organization into a bond
gave color to the instinct of

of relationship

among the diverse tribes who owned them as kin. One of- them bore, indeed,
unity

from

Indo-European
(Zev Trdrep,

times,
Jupiter),

the

title

of
re-

"father"

and he

mained

in his character as father the per-

sonal sponsor for Hellenic unity.

All tb^
thei r

()b«^'"rv;iTir^'i

of

the

rifinl

tpnlr

form from the primitive usages
iiirih

of

frnjijc nnd rntrrtniiiiii^

The

feast
of

for <4»A.Hpqrlj Qt ^^Th^rh in fhp innpr

fljfrlfi

1

Festival

and

Sacrifice

1

the family the soul of the depart ed was es t eemed

the guest of honor, dfflered in^ subthe
its

stance no whit from

great
great

sacrifices

which the state offered
fu neral

gods. The

games

for Patroklos

were of the

same significance as those offered for e n-

tertainment of Zeu g

I'n

thP'p\^\n nf
life

mympjp^

Throughout the whole
of

and practice

Greek

religion the festivals retained the

scantly disguised form of entertainments in

honor of the gods as
the state, the
sacrifices
tribe, or

"first citizens" of

the association.
at

The

were feasts

which the god and

his entertainers dined together

and partook
life.

of the

same

food,

if

not of the same

The

priests

were the

specialists in divine

etiquette

who knew what

portions and what

manners were pleasing to the personages

who were

the guests of honor.

The games
to the guests
grati-

were an entertainment offered

which were as certainly believed to be

fying to their sight as a review of troops
or

a

deer-hunt to a

modern European

sovereign.

!2

Dionysos and Immortality
return
i,

To

now
it

to our characterization of

primitive,

^.,

prae-Homeric

Greek

religi on,^

we know
that

that

maintained a system of

offerings to the souls of the departed,

and

to

which on occasions they were won^ to

return.

They were

offerings of food, in

^mchjtheoffering ofJbk>odjpkyeij,.,pi:^ nent part ai^ d wer e intended to appfia, gft
,

^ nd p revent t he ban eful intrusion of their wrath into the
and conciliate the
sn^^ ]^ ^

life

of living men.

A belief in a
we re

place beneath the earth, a
all

deep cavernous abode where
assembled,

the

s ouls

not for punishment or

blessing,

but simply for residence, was a

part of the earliest faith, apparently derived

from prae-Greek, probably Indo-European
^
faith.

The Vedic

idea of a residence for

is,

as

Oldenberg^
beneath

has
nn

made almost

cer-

tain,

a

'inbstjtiitg for

earliftr bHif^f in

an

abndft

the ^arfh

In the Indo-

Cultus of the Dead
Iranian beliefs which
rate Indian
lie

ij

behind the separeligions the

and Iranian
to

dead

were^

as

he seems

have demonstrated,

conc eived of as residing in the eartTiTand
i

n conformity to

this

view the cult of the

dead was originally celebrated.
the soul to r etire into this
of the dead
is

To induce common abode

and there find contented rest apparently <->>p QnprPmP qitt^ ppH pnrpngfi
the rites ofj-he grave

of

among the early

\A.indoos as am ong the early Grgeks^
In marked contrast
faith

and

practice,

now with this early which we have thus far

been considering, the religion represented
in the

Homeric poems discovers an almost
" the
life-e nergy

complete atrophy of the cultus of the dead.

Once
"st out
tered
''

had

left

the white

bonesl^^'^ana
force
flesh

tne^ funeral pyre

with

i ts

\

i

of

gleaming

fire

o'ermas -

V^*^--^.^,,^^

and bones, then the psyche
a dreani
is

"flitt ing off like

flown" to the

" asph odel moors'' beyond the rive r.

There
without

it

tarries in a

shadowy existence
and without
in-

memory

or will,

14
terest
ji

Dionysos and Immortality

Lthe

affairs of

men, or powe r to
.

intrudeitsel f_into

them

The

recurring

observances at th e tom b had ceased.
feeding of souls and
all

The

the

rites of soulfor, after

worship^ad been discontinued,
the soul had once been led by
"

Hermes the
and under

guidedown

" the

dank ways
it

"the niisty gloom/'

never retraced the

path nor crossed the river again.

Some
whose

strange wind of skepticism, some cold, clear

tramontana of

spiritual agnosticism,

source and meaning

we may never know,
air of

had purged of ghosts the
world.^

Homer's

Proper burial was the one condi-

tion of purgation.

So much

at least lin-

gered of the

old.

As

Achilles slept in the night after slaystill

ing Hector, the psyche of Patroklos,
free to

wander about; while the body
still

re-

mained" unburied,

possessed of reason
Achilles'
self, in

and

will,

came and stood above
and

head, " altogether like to his very
stature, fair eyes,
;

voice,

and

like in

the
:

raiment he wore " and spoke to him thus

The Souls in Hades
" So thou dost sleep, Achilles, but hast forgotten.
remiss, but

75

me

thou

Not when
that I

I lived

wast thou

now

am

dead.

Make
wide

haste and bury me, that I
gates of Hades.
aloof,

may
keep

pass the

The

spirits

me

these phantoms of the weary dead,

nor suffer
river,

me

to join with
I

them beyond the
Nay, give me,
ii

and vainly do

roam around the wideI
i

doored house of Hades.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^,,^,^1^^

entreat of thee, thy hand, for nevermore w iiwi M
mif<
i
i,

iiiiiiii

mil l

il

.

i

from, Hadfi&Vklldiii»toM shairrcom^^ yejia^g^^d me once ^^y ^"** ^j, fifHnimftBidi. nevermore among the living sh^\gg^g|t

without the circle of our

comrades

and

there take counsel with each other

'^*^"'''*^

TEe psyches, like vain shadows, "strengthless

heads of the dead,'* reft of

t\iQ

fkreneSf

the organs of will and emotion,®

flitted hither

and thither without plan or purpose or hope.

Thus

at the close of Achilles' vision

:

"

So

spake he, and stretched out his hands but

grasped him not, for vapor-like the

spirit

vanished into the ground with squeaking,
gibbering cry.

And

in

marvel sprung up

i6
Achilles,

Dionysos and Immortality

and smiting

his

hands together

uttered the word of woe,

Ay me, verily then
Hades a
slain
spirit,
all/*

there

is

in the dwellings of
hxnt phrenes it

a phantom,

hath not at

And
ors
:

so after

Odysseus has

the

suit-

" Cyllenian

Hermes summoned
wand
that
is

to-

gether the shades of the suitors; and he
held in his hands the

golden

and

fair,

wherewith he closes to sleep the
will,

eyes of whomsoever he

while others

he wakens
started

from

sleep.

Therewith
led

he

them

forth and

them

along,

while they followed on gibbering cry.

with

squeaking,
bats fly

And

just as

when

chirping about in the depth of
strous cave,

some monfrom the
fast

and one has

fallen

cluster on the rock, and they cling

one to the other, so they went on and
chirped as they went,
helper went on leading

but

Hermes the
of Oceanus,

them down the

dank ways, past the streams
past the

White Rock, along by the gates
till

of the Sun, past the parish of Dreams,

they come to the

asphodel

moor, where

Odysseus and the Psyches

//

the spirits have their abode, the phantoms
of

way-worn men."

^^

The psyches
sented as without
recognition,

are

fuj;thermor(^>

repre-

memory
in the

or the power of

and

N^^j^-^^^
blood from
ta-

through drinking the

sacrificial

Odysseus* trench that these are restored

them.^

" And I drew

my sharp blade from
much
it

my

thigh and therewith dug a pit as

as a cubit this

way and
for

that.

Around

I

poured

my libation

all

the departed,

first

with the milk and the honey, then with

sweet wine, and thirdly with water; and
over
it

barley-meal white I strewed."
flocked

Then the shades

about
off

the

trench, but Odysseus kept

them

with

his sword, waiting to catch sight of the seer
Teiresias,

who was
"

the prime object of his
the psyche

search.
of his

Among them he saw
;

mother

and

I

wept

at sight of her

and

pitied her in

my

heart, but

even

so,

sore grieved as I

was

I suffered
till

her not to

draw nigh to the blood,
quired of Teiresias."

I first

had

in-

i8

Dionysos and Immortality
Finally, after

Odysseus had found the

seer and talked with him, he asks

him how

he may bring
son
:

his

mother to recognize her

" I see the spirit here of
silent

my departed

mother;

she

sits

beside the blood,

but has not ventured to look into the face
of her son nor speak with him.

Pray
it is I.

tell

me, master, how she
I spoke,

may know

So
his

and straightway he gave

me

answer:

*An

easy saying will I
:

tell

thee

and

fix it in

thy heart

whomsoever of those
draw
he

who

are dead and gone thou lettest

nigh to the blood, he will speak the word
of truth
will
;

whom

thou dost begrudge
his place.'

it,

go back to
entered

So
of

saying, the

spirit

the house

Hades, the
told the

spirit of

great Teiresias,

who had
I

decrees of the gods.

But

kept

my

place

on the

spot,

till

my

mother came near and
Straightway she

drank the dark

blood.

knew me."
It
is

to

Rohde and
it

his

famous book

"Psyche''^ we owe

—a

book which

I

cannot help thinking has in other regards

The Hades of Homer
set

19

many

simple things awry

— that

this

service

of blood has

been recognized as

a reminiscence or survival from a horizon
of faith that has passed away.
It lingered

with other rites
as

in the ceremonies of burial
earlier faith,

mere form divorced from the
it

which alone gave
can give
it

meaning and which alone
It is

now

interpretation.

a part

of the old cult of souls, the feeding of the

dead.

it was no

cheerful place,

this

land of

Hades where the shades abode. Slimy and wet were its paths, where the gloomy black
poplar and willows grew, misty and

was
the not

murky The "asphodel moor " whither souls were led by guide Hermes was the green pastures. The pale, ghastly
its air.

asphodel, blooming from

its

unsightly stem,

haunts in the upper world,
barren lands, and played below.
that
of

we know,

the
it

was the part

"Son
of

Laertes, seed of

many wiles, what seekest Zeus, Odysseus thou now, wretched man } Why hast thou
left

the light of the sun to

come here and

20

Dionysos and Immortality

look on the place? "13

dead and see

this

joyless

Onrg ^nd
damanthys

p T^ce only, in

Homer there is an

allusion to the Elysian Fields w1iefe"KKadwells,

and where Menelaos,

another kinsman of Zeus, will find a place
of rest, " where
storrn,
is

no snow,

iand

no wintry

nor ever the torrent of rains, but

ever the light-breathing zephyrs Oceanus

sends from the west with cooling for men."

But

this, like

the later refuge in the blessed

islands, is only for here and. there

one of

the great ones of this earth, such as are
really of the kin of gods, alro^lt^was' indeed,

as such, a reminiscence

of the old

hero-

worship,

now

for a time in abeyance, but to

revive again in a reinvigorated Hellas.

For men
ment.

after the flesh, the future life

offers prospect neither of bliss

nor of punish-

The

passage, Odyssey

XL

566-631,

which

tells of

the punishments of Tityos,

Tantalos, Sisyphos, has been unmistakably
identified

by Wilamowitz-Moellendorff ^^

as

the product of a

much

later period, the

The Homeric Despair

21

times of Solon and Peisistratos, and infused

with a

spirit

and with ideas for which Hoplace.

meric

life

had no

For Homer's men, there was no hope
a future
life in

for

/

wlncS action and personaliiy ti.
derived

t/

were continued with values

and
'

,

transplanted from the world of sunlight f

and sense.

Hades was a dreary land
trikl

of

banishment, where there was no

or joy,

nothing to risk and nothing to achieve.
All this belonged to the
blessed sunlight, and
life

under the

'^'

when
its

that closed, the

mission of personality was at an end.
earlier faith

The
V

had found

solace in the con-

^

tinuation of personal life through the family

"""^**««fe

and the tribe, as symbolized
sacrifices for the dead.

in the continued

Homeric thought

while living
tribal

still

under the shadow of the
ils^^v

idea had lost in lar2:e measure

cohsoTatioh,

and could coritent

itself

only
^^

with recognition of the harsh inevitable.

Homer
thought.

stands at the end, not the belife,

ginning of an order of

civilization,

and

His voice

is

the swan's song

22

Dionysos and Immortality
all,

of an order that like

both
lost,

men and
before or

communities, which have
since,

the power to trust and hope, was
It

going down the ways of death.

told

the tales of a mighty world whose record
is

left in

the walls and art and treasure

of Mykenai, Tiryns,

Orchomenos, and told

them

in

a guise of thought and speech
^^

peculiar to the old Ionian
cracy, itself
its lifeless

tribal aristo-

doomed,

in its materialism

and

adherence, to the forms without

the

spirit of

the

old, to extinction

and death.
life,

Between Homer and the new Hellenic
that found
sistratos
fixed,
its

centre in the Athens of Pei-

and

Perikles, there is a
it

deep gulf
of

and across

come only the words

Homer and
But
it

the thud of the rhapsode's foot.
gulf which

is

this

made Homer's

words the message from another world,

and transformed the lays to a sacred book.
In the period between 750 and 600
b. c.

Greece passed through a change that made
it

new from

the foundations.

It

was the

period of the. transition from mediaeval to

The National Awakening
classical GreecCj^^^^^^he

23

phenomenally rapid

colonialexpansion of the century from 750
to

650

B. c.

marks the occasion, and to a
Within
this cen-

large extent the cause.

tury, prosperous mercantile colonies

were

formed along the coasts of the Euxine, the
iEgean, the Mediterranean from Kolchis

and the Crimea
Marseilles on

at the east to

Cumae and
con-

the west.

Through the
and

trast with peoples of other race

and tongue,
cities

the Greek people of

many

tribes

awoke

to a consciousness of national unity,

and the Greater Greece was born, named
with the

new name

Hellas.
colonies,

Trade with the
the colonies

and through

with distant inland popula-

tions, burst into

sudden

vigor.

Everywhere

the Phoenician trader yielded to the Greek.
Industries rapidly developed to supply the

demands

of trade.

The

smith, the cutler,

the potter, the weaver, the dyer, the wheelwright, the shoemaker, and the shipbuilder,
all

were spurred to

their

utmost to supply

the demands of the

new

export trade.

24

Dionysos and Immortality

The demand for labor brought in the a new element. Thus far Greece had known only the serf. Wealth poured into
slave,

the land, luxury increased, the demands of
life

became greater and more

diversified.

The
way

coinage of money, just begun, rapidly
Barter and local exchanges gave

extended.
to the

money

standard.

Prices were

no longer fixed by

local conditions,

but the

remotest villages became part of the eco-

nomic world

at large.

Men

flocked from the farms and pastures

into the cities.
into the
bility.

The new wealth came

often

hands of others than the old no-

Timocracy for a time

displaced

aristocracy.

The new

population of the

mercantile and manufacturing centres, con-

fused of merchants, tradesmen, manufacturers,
cial

and laborers, sundered from their old so-

and

political ties, could

no longer respect

the traditional usages and classifications of
tribal aristocratic institutions,

which

in the
vil-

undisturbed

life

of the

home and the

lage had never been questioned.

New
The new

Legal and Political Conditions

25

old law

and the old methods

of ad-

ministering justice no longer suffice.
conditions

The
all,

demand one law
laborer,

for

nobleman and
tained

and a court main-

by the

state,

and they demand that

the caprice of the judge shall be limited by
definite written statutes.
this

Hence appear

at

time

all

over Greece the great codifiers,

Zaleukos the Locrian, Charondas of Katana, Pheidon of Corinth, Pittakos of Mitylene,

Dracon, then Solon, in Athens.
political life,too,

In the

the old sacks would

not do for the

new

wine.

The

old ruling

class admits to its ranks here

and there the

holders of the

promises with the
tiers dtaty

new wealth and so comnew situation, but the
(or

the demos, pushes for a hearing,
ekklesia) gradually

and the assembly

asserts its claim to be the state.

In the

rapid

shifting of
it

conditions

political

and

economic,
try squire

was the peasant and the counsuffered most, but as
is

who

al-

ways the case when economic and

social
his-

dislodgments such as this occur in the

;

26

Dionysos and Immortality

tory of a people, discontent muttered on

every hand.

Discontent and joy are both

the legitimate children of opportunity.

The
in

breaking of the traditional moulds
tribal life

which the old

was

set

had

re-

leased the individual from bondage to the

destiny of that group into which he was
born, and given

him the opportunity, and

thrown upon him the responsibility of a
man.

He

became the bearer
rise

of

his

own
and

destiny.

With the

of

individualism,

culture, thought, literature, institutions,
life

hastened in widely branching differen-

tiation to

assume the many-sided type that

sets the

Greece of the sixth and following

centuries in such
plain nai've

marked
of

contrast- to the
its

monotony

earlier

days

for Greece

had then passed out

of child-

hood
hood.

into the years of discretion

and man-

The

rapid change of attitude which had
re-

thus passed over the Greek people in

spect to the world of politics, of society, of
justice, of

economics, could not

fail

to seek

c

Individualism in Religion
its

27

expression in terms of the greater world

of ultimate destiny

and purpose.

The

in-

dividualism which had received in the marts

equal opportunity, and had
courts equal justice,

demanded

of the

and was demanding of
life

the state equal hearing, and which in
carried the burden of
its

own

responsibility,

could no longer be satisfied before

the

oracles of religion with a destiny that in

arbitrary violence robbed personality of its
fulfillment or

merged

its

fate

and

its

hope

in the fate of the clan or the race.

The

period with which
rise,

we have been

dealing marked the

and the following

or sixth century the full development, of

the Greek faith in personal

irxunortality.

From the seventh century on, new elements and new states, Corinth and iEgina, Megara
and Sparta and Thebes,
to the front in
later

Athens, came

Greek

affairs.

The,

ivilization localized
life,

in the eastern

hem of Greek
sents,

that which

Homer

repre-

and which bears the name of Ionian,
itself

burned

out with luxury and material-

28

Dionysos and Immortality
its

ism in the exuberance of
bloom.

precocious

From
in

the sturdy mountain peoples

of central

Hellas,

who had

thus far reiso-

mained
lation

the background, and in their

from the culture of the iEgean had

preserved the old standards of simplicity

and the old usages of

religion,

came a fresh
aggressive
It

infusion of Hellenic blood,
vigor,

new

and above

all

a sturdier

faith.

was

preeminently the Dorian elements which
lent to this second
its

wave

of the

Greek

tide

strength and mass.
it

As

it

advanced

into eastern Greece,

took on the color

of the "Extern culture, but Jts Jife-strg^

was the primitive

old

Greek

spirit.

Everywhere the old simplicity
earlier Greek-jidigiQiLxaYiyed^a^^

of

the

the standard; indeed, with these peoples

themselves

it

had never flagged
all its
th,e.,

norTai[eff.

Soul-worship in

various forms,joffer-

ings for the dead^

household^odS|^ the

go3s of

clans, institutions like the pryta-

neion table as a feast with the gods of the
state,

hero-worship, the worship of

cave


The
spirits

New

Quest of Faith
spirits,

29

and mountain
and

consultation of

spirits

oracles, in all these

and many

other

forms emerged, and

emerged not
a

from long

sleep, butJ»om.4oiig-GonG€alment.

While the

old jgjyJ^mMr.sto^Qg
vision

soil

upon which a new

and assurance of

the mission and fate of the soul beyond the

^ave might

arise, it

could not in

itself

afford that vision or satisfy the

newborn

craving of men.

It dealt

only with the re-

lations of the livi ng to the

d ead^ not with

those^i)iJll^ii3d^^
.iWjrf**'**"*'*''

en wanted som^..M ESbi^what they were themselves to be and do in
the other
life,

M

mk^&&^
c)e

and not merely to

occ
of the

pied with Q^^
spirits

toward this

life.

That they shoma"! (r^
;

live after death, this

they knew

no forme

_..---

of Tjreek faith

had ever implied or taught

{^lUS^^
<^^

anytmngeTse
'

;

no Greek

of the folk
;

had

eveFtKoB^Sf anything
were to
live,

else

but

Aow theyJU^.

that

was what the

individual in

hisTSngcfousness qf a personality possessing worth, meaning, and responsibility, de-

V

50
sired to
teries

Dionysos and Immortality

know.

To

this desire the
first.

Mys-

of Eleusis gave answer

In the isolation of the Thriasian plain

had been maintained
Demeter.

at Eleusis, time out of
"Of

mind, the peculiar^cult

the earth-goddess
its

Something had invested

strange rites with an unusual sanctity, but
still its

repute, like the

membership

in its

guild,

remained until near the end of the

seventh century well-nigh restricted to the

immediate
tion,

locality.

It

was a

local institu-

owned and

controlled

by a few great

families of the parish.

After the union of Eleusis and Attika,
however, and the
reception
of

the cult

under the protection and guarantee of the
state,

an entirely new and larger
especially

careei:

was opened,

when

Peisistratos,

as the tribune of the people, reformed and

broadened the organization of the worship
so as to open
it

it

to universal use and
state.

make

worthy of the

So

it

became, in contrast to the cults of

phratry and clan, in which

membership

Eleusis

J/

was determined by

birth,

an

eminently

democratic and popular association.

No

one was excluded, whatever his
Citizens
slaves

city or tribe.

and

metics,

men and women,
were admitted.
It

and

children, all

was as

individuals that

they came to be

cleansed,
/'""tuture

and to gain the assurances of

blessin^^wlSch the mysteries had to

give,

anT*so no wonder that

it

was the
awakened
t-—-~^^_
I

sixth century, the century of the

individualism, in which the mysteries ac-

quired their unique popularity.

No

one of the thousands

initiated

to
de-

the rites has

ev^ betm^
ButJJiey.JDau&t..lKfe^^,an

bated secret.

be

\/

^erSin, have offered something which an-

sweredlo Hfg^pgTof IKreHeir
is

'^:^

he,"

sjLy^^.,JP^j4ai^^^^^

having seen

these rites goeth under the earth.

He
its

knoweth the end

of

life,

he knoweth too

"TKrice hagpy they among mortals who
depart into Hades after their eyes^ have

seen these rites: yea, for them alone

is

32
there a
ill;"

Dionysos and Immortality
life
;

for jother^^men^l^
in

is

and Plato

the

Phaedo:!^

"The

"founders of the mysteries would appear to

have had a
ing

real

meaning, and were not talk-

nonsense,

when they

intimated in

a

figure long ago, that
sanctified

he who passes un,

and unmitiated

into

the.

world

below

will lie in a slough,

but that he

who

arrives there after initiatiQn

and

pydfifica-

tion wTfl dwell wit h^,th^,^^Qd^;^^^

in the

Frogs Aristophanes lightens the

gloom of
in-

the nether world with the song of the
itiates, ^^

who now dance

in veritable flow-

ery

fields,
:

— the
light,

song

ending with

the
its

words

"

We

alone have the sun and

gladsome

we who have taken
a^^l^fe^^

the

sacred vow, and have lived
fear of
friend."

in,J:he

god toward stranger and toward

J

Th^*iS5i!SSSX..9?

^^^

antiquity to the in-

spiring and uplifting influence of the.,mysteries is impre^iyjim^uaa;^333^9!jij5.

No voice
lay their

K

raised in

criticism.

Wherein

influence and

convincing

power we can

The Mysteries

5^
It

only surmise from the
certainly
trine or

sum

of allusion.

was not conveyed through doccreed,

argument or exhortation,

but rather through some fqroi of^rj^JS^^

which the

loss

and t^i^^^§aJ!,p^^

,m^!^£^

sephone wa|.jh|,^j:S»t^^
like

the Christian drama of the
fjaith,^^^^

mass,**
t<>^-

quickening the dormant

the beholder some suggestion of a definite
State

and condition

of future existence.

No

one seems to have questioned the
*

validity

or authority of the assurance that the initiated,

and they

alone, should find peace.

They who saw knew, and they who knew
must needs
authority.
attain.

It

was no question of

Thejr^belie^^

constrained

by

their yearning to
^

,bdie;v;ip.

The "faith
themselves.

and^its

j^^^

mm,,wM^

Among
ally

the reforms of the Eleusinian

worship, which in

th^skth centui^
and gave
fonn, and which

virtuit

made the

cult anew,

its

universally

human

all

tend

to attach themselves to the sponsorship of

J4

Dionysos and Immortality

Peisistratos, there is

one which

is

almost

certainly his work,

and which apparently
to give

more than any other thing served
the Mysteries
their
distinctive

character.

This was the introductTon" BrtEe youth
lakchos and
his^

worsKp'Tnfon^^

family

and bond

of

Demeter and

Persephone.

Most^quently
sent

the shifting myths repre-

him

as son of

Zeus and Persephone,

rescued from the slaughter of the Titans to

a new resurrection

life.

Sometimes he

is

a son of Demeter, sometimes of Dionysos,
again he seems merely a^l^aSpwQ^^^^
SOS himself, but whatey^r iie was, certain
it is

that his character and spirit

was

entirely

the product of the J^^i^iZSg^SSIgljia^

shapen into the mystic forms of the Orphic
theoRJgyT^

He

was unmistakably the child

JJonysos permanently^jgparated and difFerentiated^^QjUtJ3£-^l^ -whok-stoiy-of ^^i^^

and made a

distinct type

by himself.

Deme-

ter searching in the darkness for ^er child
that-^wafi.-*last<

— symbol

of

the seed-corn

buried in the earth, offered a ready analogy

Dionysos-Iakcbos
to the fostering lov£^a^^^

35
which
Jifysi^e,

the Maenad nurses tended thQ ba.be of

— the springing vegetation
ginnii}^ y^ar.

of the new^^b^^

Though

it

has been ques-

tioned -- 1 think on insufficient grounds
that the legend of


,
>

Demeter and Persephone

has

its

source in the alternate 4ist^i^®^i^P«ice
of the grain,
it

L^

and reappearance
doubted
that
it

cannot be

came

to

be interpreted

in connection with that

phenomenon and

received
analogy.

much

of

its

character from the
')

In the cult of Dionysos-Iakchos,

however, resided from the beginning a direct

meaning
ual

for the
life,

ex^^^^

/ it

human

and

was through

this

V

type of lakchos that the mystery of Persephone's xetura.^iKaa..giwn4t^fik^
application to the resurrection

ho^e

of hu-

manity.

The mysteries, in other words, ingraftwere made what they^wgrg^^J^^^

ing ^he^J3iQ|^^,s..^pirit.
j

The
of

rise of

Dionysos worship

is

the most

Lm

important single phenomenon in the history

Greek

religion.

Unknown

to the loni-

S6

Dionysos and Immortality

ans of Homer's day except as a local or a
stranger's worship,

and having no place
circle, it

within the Olympfen
its

arose from

obscurity,

and

coming out from

the

mountains and from the villages of peasants,

witF the fresh
century
it

flbod'o^^

seventh
Greece,

brought

into

eastern

swept into city and state as the

Solvation
fiance of

Army
all

of the tiers ^taty

and

in de-

the opposition of the staid con-

servatives

and of the j^^-fe^^

who, cling-

ing to the old Ipqal and private worships,

would hear nothing of Demeter or Dionysos, it forced its

way

into public sud. official

i^gggsM9B.^P^^^"^^%^ ^-Atta^a^ dominated the popular interest, infused a
life

new

into

the dead formalism of religion,

quickened^^and _ enej^ed- ..tk^
lectual

and ^,,$piritual
It

life

of Greece .to..the
religion of

very^^fingep^tips.

was the

J

Its

primitive form

from the practices
Thracians,

we know in outline observed among the

who

like their brother Phrygi-

Genesis of Dionysos Worship

^7

ans were distinguished as

its

devotees, and

through

whom

indirectly the worship

may

well have found introduction into Greece,

but usages and a belief in general analogous, and resting upon the
attitude

same general

toward nature, are found widely

scattered

among European

peoples.
life

A
of

primitive belief that regards the

and death of vegetation

after the analogies

human

life,

attributes

the withering
t^^^^^

winter ai>d the revival of spring

de-

parture and return, or the slumbering and

reawakening, of the psyches or
reunion with matter
spirits
all life

spirits

whose

consists.

The

ox(daimonts of the vegetation which

has slumbered^thrqugh_the

w
sprine:..

,

needs be wakened or recalled in

In the wild dances and cries of those

who

,

act the life of the spirits they wish to re-

ca^the

bacchagiaJ^ecstas^
;

their root

the blood of the J^orn victini
^catter^^^^

'•*'^^,,g,|f

which the maenad
is

then a reminiscence of Jheblo^^

/
to con -

feeds the spirits aad..,brin^

them

}8

Dionysos and Immortality
;

sciousness and activity

the maenad

who

devouri''tTile f^W'lteSh'"'^^^^
is

drinks the blood

herself inspired to the ecstas}r \vhich re-

preseiits the revived

and

restore^, life

;

the ?

"

satyrs

who

followed in the thiasos of Dionyif

sos are in their first signification,

this all

be

true, nielfiemBodirnents of

^h^daimm^es

of vegetation conceived in the form. of- Jd

victim through
lif

whose death they come

to*

erand following

in the train of their lord
first-

Dionysos himself, whois Zagreus, the
fruits of the resurrection.

The limitation

of

his festivals to the period
solstice, as

between the winter

the primitive Christmas, and the

vernaTequino^ as the primitive Easter, and
his occupation of the Delphic shrine during

\^
vii%''
*^

the winter months while Apollo withdrew,
|/
t}

^ould

also

conform to

this explanation of

^^^ c^ijyisinv^

and4;^yal
be or be not the native
rites, certain it is

oftheveg^tatioa, 4^^

But whether

this

source of the bacchanal

that their central feature f;f:jgm-ik^ earliest

obtainable evidence

is tl^^

**

ecstasy J) of the

Genesis of Dionysos Worship
or^ia.

59

In

many

different

forms among

people of various civilization there appear
ever and anon these practices whereby with
different

means the body

is

benumbed or

otherwise brought into apparent subjection

and annulment in order that the soul may

wander

in realms

other^than those of

its

everj^^ajLejgDerienci,^^^
spirits

with

V
\J
^

outside of and above the known.

The reiterated cadences of music, the rhythm
of the dance, the repetition of words, con-

/

tinued swaying or whirling of

^t^^^^^^

influences of narcotics or stimulants, are all

S^

used to produce in most various types, from
that of the Indian medicine

the

man to that of Mahomedan dervish, these superpersonal
whereby one thinks to
spirit jw^yi.
its

states

lose himself in

union with the

Though profoundly tempered from
primitive crudity
in

the

atmosphere

of

Greece, and particularly in the sobering

atmosphere of Attika, the holy madness of
the Dionysos revels was in genesis and in
spirit

one and the same with them

alL

40

Dionysos and Immortality
this,

Except as we appreciate

we cannot
in-

understand the various outgrowths and

fluences of the Dionysiac religion, nor indeed

that religion

itself.

Even the drama,
^,

choicest of

its
it

products,

and impersonation, upon which
for its existence, arise out
effort to
<)f

depends

the Dipnysiac
life

M

/
(^

break loose from one

livelSnotiliii"'

^

and

the be-

ginning the charm of the drama, and has
been, so far as
is its
it is

true to

itself,

ever since,
it

power
littje

to release those

who behold

for a

while from the Jgurden 'and

,in-

thrallment of the commonplace, workaday
life,

and batKeTfieir wearied souls
is

in dreap^j^^

This

the very heart of Dionysos, and
claim to control of the fruit

this, too, is his

of the vine.
is
is

But

his relation to the vine
incident.

no more than an
to
lift

His mission

men out of themselves^ angLi^^fcli^^
into

ing

them

cominunion and -assoaklfen

witii that

above and withoaitJ:henv.to^which

they are unwittingly akin,and which is nobler,
higher,

and purer than

they, t^

pm^e^and

The Orphic Theology

41

renew them.

He

is

the god of the cleans-

ing in the ideairTis'sucff TTTefies^
EeFpollution, calls upon

him by the

lips of

the Sophoclean chorus to "
ing foot

come with ovei^heslo£)e^^;^^
strait." ^i

cleans-

the

moaning

His
ticism,

faith lay

hard by the gate of mysin.

and men entered abundantly
Italy, Sicily,

In

Southern

and Attika, there

arose during the sixth century the strange
appariti on of the
its
J

&f|Smcth^^

With

doctrine of the

body as a prison house

and

of the soul as akin,, to

G^.jof the long

toil of liberation,
-"-'flifinriaiii*

and the devious

wavto
indeed,

reunion with

its

own, and the "wheelof

birtihsT^it is a strange

phenomenon
to

and has tempted

men

dream

of

some

mysterious channel of Easte]|^

^^influence.

co?necpig, despite chron^oggjj^^jjgj^ with

Buddha, which
Pythagoras as
contrast
is

should explain
well.22

this

and

But sharp as the

with the traditional

mood of Heldirectly

lenic faith,

both Orphism and Pythagoras
ajtid

are the^^^o^yg^^mistakably

42

Dionysos and Immortality

of Dionysos.

The Orphic
with

religion is

merely

a speculative theology of the Dionysiac
faith,

confused

weird

fancies

and

popular
mouldj^

superstition,

and

ca.st , iiiL^^^,^oetic

— that and nothing more.
essential

Between the
dian thought

Pantheism of In-

and the mystical Idealism

involved in that feature of Greek thought

we

are

now

discussing, there

was
tl|e

in reality

no highway.

To
is

the one

AlDis the
is
;

\god
*

;

the visible world of matenal
;

his

urLMdigg
is

there

from

it

no escape

weal
the

found

in submisSiolT

and accord.

To

Other the material things of sense are the

^ouTsJb^ll

and^
is

the divine has cre-

ated them, but

not in them and they are

f
I

flight.
is

The Dionysiac "i^ay
way
of liberation

of salvatioipL*'

\
.,

the

and

cleahsine^.

The
its

soul
sin
\

is in
it

essence divine.

Because of

I

is

shut off

in,, .the,,
jl^-a

world of body

and matter. /The ,,fe,,Q4yi
\

-priso^

^^

Now and

again in ecstatic vision the godits

born spul^esgapes from

duress, realizes

The Uplifting Power of the
its

New

Insight

4)
U--

higher being and mission, and revels in
its

communion with
forever
of

own.

Howlo

be

rid

the ball

and chain,

how

to

turn the brief vision into a continuous life
that
is

V^x*-*-^

the Dionysiac problem of salvation.
will

^^\

Death

not accomplish

it.

Through
toil

the long circuit of births thesbul must
on, freeinsf itself
drosSj^jLintil at

more and more from the
"rescued

the distant goal,

from misery

it

breathes free at last/'f*
liberation,

IntEe'rec^e for cleansing and

/mortification of the body and moral ;^sceti-

cism found smalljplace, or none at
question..of

aj[l.

The

morals ^ was
It was,

for that matter in
if

jio wise involved.
I

we may

so term

jM

it,

a

ir^t^aj>fiysical salvatio]6i^

not a moral one,
of

that

men weresegg^jg.

The means

re^

cue, too,

which was proposed, was

positives

not negative,

ike expulsive pozvcr of J^d^

^^^^iW^
^^^

^'^^^i^^

|P^hfagH3i^^l!^. or better,

Igiiililiiliiii(lii[p<l^

The

force and influence of this
life of

new

de-

parture in the

Greece did not exhaust
It laid

itself in religious fervors.

hold upon

44
all

Dionysos and Immortality
the thought of

men and gave
of

shape even

to the forming moulds
flection.

philosophic re-

Without Dionysos and Orphism

there could tetve--4)ee»y-f#r- Jastance, no
Plafor~iFlat6's philpsophy builds

oi a

faith,

and t hat

faith is Dionysisrii)

Everywhere
and ex-

in his thinking 2^ religion

gleams through

thejl^ijn Ifauze of philosophic form,

cept his system be understood as a religion

and as a part
ligion, it yields

of the history of

Greek

re-

no

self-consistent interpreits

tation,

and

is

not intelligible either in

whence or whither.
various he has to
tell

The

things

many and
in a doc-

about the Ideas refuse

to take orderly place

and position

trine of logical realism ^uch as metaphysics

teaches, but. are

5^^:1566^^-9}^^^
life,

of spirituality and the higher

such as

poetry and

religion

can preach.
is

The

universe which Plato feels

in sub-

stance the universe which the Dionysos en-

thusiasms presuppose.

There

is

a world of

th^ outward and material, ever shifting, unsteady, perishable, behind
it. is

a vwld^of

V

Plato's Religion

45

the

unchanging norm, the essential pur-

pose, the

supreme reaHty.

To

the former

belongs the body, to the latter by nature

andjgigjgg the

soul.

This mortal

life is

an

entanglement of the soul in the meshesjDf
the materSli'
Still,

through the pervertins:
of that

and obscuring medium
it iGGe

which enfolds

soul catches glimpses of the "true,
of its

and gathers intimations

own

kinship

with the ideal and the abiding.

All the

Platonic arguments for the immortality of

the

soul, in

the Phaedrus, in the Republic,^^
*

in the Phaedo, diverse as they seem, unite

as being merely^,,:v:ariQu§^^^ayj5 g^^^d^^
for setting forth a central faith
inspiration

i

whose

fixsJ: I

had come frpm the Dignysps

cult.

The
covers

influence of Eleusis and of Dionysos
all

X

the latter day of Hellenic,Jife,
is
it

but peculiarly strong
the thought

written upon

and

in the literature of the

closing years of the sixth century and of

the greater pcSionl of tfie

fifth.

The

sixth
reli-

century marked a period of genuine

hM^^ — not

a revival merely of ob-

46

Dionysos and Immortality
rites,

servances and

but a stirring of the
matters of faith and

personal interest

in

personal destiny that approaches the devel-

opment-t5f -^^Xmae^^
ligion.

re-

We miss, to be sure, from our point

of view, the firm outlines of a formulated

theologic faith concerning personal relation
to the eternal, such as
tify

we

are

wont

to iden-

with personal religion; but

men were
responsi-

thinkin§^^J^Qa^,^gfed^^
bilitjr,

and forms

of theology distinct

from

Jthe state and tribal

tj^os^^^^^Q^^trgmg

an^d'Were preparing the

way

for the rgjipnlitera-

alism of which Euripides stands in

^^

ture as the early exponent.

Expressions
death, however

concerning the

life

after

much they

rnigjit cling to

the traditional moulds of the old-time, or to

what we may
ing the

call

the Homeric, faith regardas

geoggijj^^jfj^^^^

contrasted with the Homeric view, a radical

change

in

the conception ,.o£.^^

life

itself.

Thus

Pindarics

"Victory setteth free the essayer from

Pindar

4y

the struggle's griefs, yea, and the wealth
that a noble nature hath

made

glorious

bringeth power for this and that, putting
into

The

iieart of

man a deep and
light
if

eager

mood, a staFTfar seen, a

wherein a

man

shall trust,

but the holder thereof
shall be,

knoweth the things that
,

how

that

of all^who die the guilty souls

pay penalty,

for

all

the sins sinned in this realm of Zeus
earth,

One judgeth under

pronouncing sen-

tencS'by unloved constfainfr'"
" But evenly ever in sunlight night and

day an unlaborious
neither with
violent

life

the good receive,

hand vex they the

earth ngrttae^aterr
\gyrld
;

but with

th^e

ji^

whosoever had pleasure in keeping.ofi^
thejr^ossess a tearless life; but the other
part sufiEa:4iaku^o dire to look upon,

" Then whosoever harcTJeeSoF^gooH' cour-

age

to

the abiding steadfast

thrice

on

either

side of death,

and have refrained
the road

their souls

from

all^inijui]^^^

of

Zeus unto the tower

of

Kronos

;

there

:

48

Dionysos and Immortality

around the islands of the blest the ocean
breezes blow, and golden flowers are glowing,

some from the land on
the water

trees of splenleedetti,

dor,'^nd some

with

wreaths whereof they entwine ffielr'TSands

So

ordereth RhacSmanffios' ''] ust'^^^^d^^
at his

whom
above

own

right

hand hath ever the

father Kronos, husband of Rhea, throned
all

worlds."

Similarly in the following fragments of
dirges
:

"For them

shineth below the strength
it

of the sun while in our world

is

night,

and the space of crimson-flowered meadows
before their city
is

full

of the

^^

shade of

frankincense trees, and of

f ruits-rf--gold.

And some
some
in

in horses,
dice,
;

and

in bodily feats,

and

and some

in

harp-playing
all

have delight

and among them thriveth
;

fair-flowered T)liss

and fragrance streameth
land,

ever

through—the—levely^-

as

they

mingle incense of
altars of the gods.^

every kind upon the

"

By happy

lot travel all

unto an end that

Pindar
giveth

49

them
is

rest

from

tojls.

And

the body

indeed
death,

subject unto the great power of

but

there

remaineth yet alive a
this oiily is

shadow
the gods
eth,

of the life; for
;

from

and while

the, lijiihs stir, it sleep-

but unto sleepers in dreams discover-

eth oftentimes the judgment that draweth

nigh for sorrow or for joy/*

^
how
Dioitself in

Most

significant here, as betraying

fully Pindar's

thought shaped

nysiac or Orphic moulds, are the expressions

"this only

is

from the gods," and "while
sleepeth."

the limbs

stir, it

The

real ex,

istence of th£ soul as thedivine element of

man's
'
l
i

life is

the existence freed from the
tifM«m¥mi*9mimt

\

constraint of the bod y which dulls it and ---iiwmwi^i w witAioBwfey^--iii t -^^y^.ry^
I

!

iiii

iJ

i

mmX

\/

This

is

Paul's

"Now we

see in a mirror

darkly."^

Another more
is

distinctively

Orphic touch
:

involved in a third fragment

" But from

whomsoever Persephone accepteth atone-

ment

for pn^^oxdent woe, their souls

unto

the light of the sun above she sendeth

:

$0

Dionysos and Immortality
year.

back again in the ninth
those
swift

soHls^.^prjjig.,jiiQhle.

And from .finp^ men

and strong and

in

wisdom very great

and through the alter'time they are cd^
holy heroes^amoii^menr^ar^^

^"Sophocles represents his Antigone as acting in this present world of transitory and
superficial

law in respect for the " unwrit-

ten, irrefragable ordinances of the

gods,"^

which "not for to-day alone and for yester-

day but forevSr'Ii^e

their, life,
'

— and no
^^

man knoweth

wh^^^

are.

'

These

laws are the laws of Hades as the great
other, outer world of the eternal,

and they
of J)ik6,

govern

\]^^i^.,^^i^^/d^^

who

" dwells with the netJte'gads/*^^^^^^^^^

ance of

temporal

la32^,,§fegu.«^
:

the
it

bu;rial rites of
is

her brother

"Fair thing
;

for

me

in

doing this to die

dear shall

I

lie

with him

my
;

dear one, having wrought
the time that I
those up
li<^''

a pious crime

for^ long<^x is

m^l jiJe3L^&jth§jp«Les.4)^^
here
;

since there forev^r^^^^ll J

^ In

obeying the laws of the nether kingdom

-

Sophocles

5/
its

she counts herself already
its citizen
;

subject and

such she has become that she
unto those of her kindred who
it.

Iniiay minister

dwell within

Her
aid,

sister

Ismene,

who

in

fear of the laws of the upper world has

withheld her
world.
"

she counts as of this

Thou

art alive, but

my

soulldtig

since passed into death, to mtdtstcr^ unto

those

who

are dead."

^

_^
I

It is in the light of thisjsense for a con-

tinuance of personal ties beyond the grave,
that the Attic segulchral monuments, with
their peaceful scenes of family reunion
associatiQ^^ mu.st
ta^iipn.

and

fittdtb^ rightful interprePlato, in har-

It

remained now for
this

mony with

newly quickened conception

of a real personal continuance after death

and continuance,
to the
life

in a life bearing relations
first philo-

on earthr to £ffer the

sophic argument for
soyJL

tJxoi^

thej

The

chirping psyches of Homer's nether
apologies to a

world were rnex^^^^j^
stolid, helple§j§.,Jb^ef in

continuance; the

52

Dionysos and Immortality
the

offerings^
early
to the idea

non-Homeric Greeks were a tribute

olXj^^d^MdmxlYM^ity- This

was

all

that the older faith of the Greeks

could

offer.

.^^ith Dionysos, however, therecame
/Greek
f

into

religion

and thought a new element,

an

utterly n<sw point of view.

He

taught
life

,

his followers to
\

know
it

that the inner

of

^

man, the
godsj^

soul, is of like

substance with the

and that

may commune

with the

divine.

Before the days of his revelation

y

there had been between the generations of

nxgrJaUaen,
leaves,
is

who

fell like

the ^enfj^^^

of

and the undying gods whose food

ambrosia and wjiose drink nectar, a gulf

fixed

d eep §nd impassable.

After his reve-

lation
I

the soul was divine and might claim
like to that of tlie.gods.

an immortality

Dionysos had waited long

m the vales

of

Nysa and

Parnassos, buried like the uncut

gem

m

crude^as^jJlJ^uth j^ds^^ when

A

Touch of Human Need
hand, lifting
its

5^

A

human

grasp toward
consoul

immortality, stands a

mute witness to a

sciousness arising in the single
that
it

human
that
it

has a meaning in

itsett,

has a
it

purpose and a mission of

its

own, that

holds direct account with the heart of the
world, and of a worMlio^wfiSlSe peerage ^It

belongs and with whose plan" and reason

it

has rights and a hearing.

'*"

'

The
rious

faitHs of

men

are quoted under vaset

names and
but

are

forth

in

vari-

we may thereby, for men are men
ous
articles,

not be confused
control of nature

;

has grown stronger and history longer since the

day when

Greece

first

frankly and

straight looked nature

and

life in

the face,

but

man

himself stays

much

the same,

given the same conditions, the plain touch
of

need makes

all

the centuries kin.

If in thejttoghjOf^JDtoiaysos' passion

men
of

seem

to gain

an insight into the
aatur%. and

spiritual

harpaai»€S'^*<rf'

intimations

^^^Sm^M^^b^SM^m^

M

divine,

whiQb cold reason and duUsense had not

54

Dionysos and Immortality
it

availed to give,

was

still

dim, groping
set thither,

vision; l)ut yet the face
wEiere, in a later

was

day, — a

day for which

Greece

and

Dion ysos _ prepared.

— men
to

learned through the Convincing

Love

know and

live

the Jjsmiyjjjjjtjhjn them.

NOTES
Note
J.

i,

page

8.

Lippert:

Die Religionen der europdischen
E. Rohde

Culturvolker in ihrem geschichtlichen Ursprungey
Berlin, 1881
;
:

Psyche; Seelencult und

Unsterblichkeitsglaube unter den Griechen^iAtA,^

Freiburg, 1898, pp.
cient City^

i ff

;

De
28

Coulanges: The
fif.

An*

Eng.

transl. pp.

Note

2,

page

8.

It certainly is unsafe to

speak of an Indo-Euro-

pean religion without making some explanation of

what may be meant by such a term, and what may
be supposed
to

be known or knowable concerning
It is

such a subject.
all

no longer

to

be assumed that

the peoples

who appear

in history, possessed of
all

an Indo-European tongue, are necessarily in
their

make-up descendants of what

is called
is

the

Indo-European race.
it,

The presumption

against

and so

is

the ethnological evidence.
;

There was
therefore

certainly

an Indo-European language
it.

there

was once a people who spoke

The

exten-

sion of the language through conquest

— the

con-

5^

Notes

quered peoples gradually accepting the language
of the conquerors

is

doubtless a
its

more important

point of view than that of
tion

extension by migra-

and increase of the racial stock.
it

The breaking
seems
likely,

up

into distinct languages must,

be accounted for in large measure through the
influence of the alien tongues of the elements ab-

sorbed.

The

Greeks, for instance, were evidently
;

not of one race

/.

e.,

those

who

at the

beginning

of history were speakers of Greek, were to a large
extent representatives of the primitive populations

inhabiting Greece before the Indo-European north-

men

entered the land.

The

fair-haired, blue-eyed

people were, in the earliest times, a superior class,
distinguished from the dark-complexioned peoples

who

gradually absorbed the former, so far as phy-

siological type

was concerned.

The

early hopes of the science of comparative

religion, as represented

by Kuhn and Max

Miiller,

were based on a

false confidence in the
It

methods of
that

comparative philology.

was expected

com-

parison of the various cults of the different Indo-

European peoples would

yield a restoration of the

primitive proethnic cults, just as the comparison of

word-forms yielded a possible restoration of the
primitive

Indo-European vocabulary.

The

result

has defeated these hopes.

Comparison

fails to dis-

cover any considerable number either of names of

Notes

^7
The
organization

deities, or of fixed outlines of divine personalities,

or of systematic forms of belief.

of the difEerent religions of the so-called Indo-

European peoples

is

evidently in the

main

their

own

separate achievement.

Whether this has been

brought about through the influence of the local
beliefs

and

cults of the

absorbed populations, or

developed directly out of the materials of a primitive

Indo-European

religion,

has not yet proved

determinable, but

many

facts point in the direction

of the former view.

When we

speak, therefore,

of a proethnic Indo-European religion,

we cannot

refer to a definite system of personified powers, but

only to a general attitude in character of belief

which the broadest comparison of the
ligions

different re-

shows to be present as a basis

in all of

them.

Note

3,

page

12.

When we
religion,
it

venture to

refer to a prae-Homeric

must be understood

that

we

are here
Inre-

beyond the range of documentary evidence.
ferences from the
ligion,

known

facts of later

Greek

from the facts of other Indo-European

religions,

and from the scanty and as yet imperMycenaean
civiliza-

fectly interpreted remains of

tion constitute our only guidance.

The

altar-pit in

the courtyard at Tiryns, and the evidence that the

5^

Notes

Mycenaean tombs were virtually houses of the dead,
to which the altar-pits above

them brought the

blood-offering and food for the departed, join with

the prior facts of Indo-European religion and the
later facts of historic

Greek

religion to confirm

a

tolerably certain line of historical development.

Note 4,
cult, eine

page

12.

" Wir haben hinreichenden Grund, einen Seelen-

Verehrung des im Menschen

selbst ver-

borgen lebenden, nach dessen Tode zu selbstan-

digem Dasein ausscheidenden Geisterwesens auch
in Griechenland, wie wohl iiberall auf Erden, unter

den

altesten

Bethatigungen der Religion zu verin

muthen.

Lange vor Homer hat der Seelencult

den Grabgewolben zu Mykene und an anderen
Statten altester Cultur sich
erbaut."
seine

Heiligthiimer

E. Rohde

:

Die Religion der Griechen,
Except as
this

Rectoratsrede, Heidelberg, 1894.

fundamental point, established by the

brilliant ar-

gument

of

Rohde

in his Psyche^ is accepted,

no

in-

telligible

connection between the Greek faiths of

different times
is

and places

is

possible,

— and what

more, no connection of the Greek faith with the
it.

Indo-European that lay behind

Note
H. Oldenberg
:

5,

page

12.
£E.

Die Religion des Veda^ pp. 543

Notes

5P
13.

Note

6,

page

See Odyssey

XL
page
ff.)

220 fiE.

Note
Rohde
practice

7,

14.

(Psyche,

pp. 27

connects

the

Ho-

meric freedom from dreamed-of ghosts with the
of cremation. of

He

even attributes the

introduction

the

practice ;o a desire to be

rid of the spirits through

help of the "cleansprimitive

ing force of
the
spirits

fire."

The

notion that

haunted the place where the body
itself,

remained, and hung about the body

would

naturally lead to the belief that the total destruction of the
spirits

body would remove

this

lure to

the

and take from them the way of approach to
of

the

homes

the

living.
is,

The

difficulty
it

with

Rohde's suggestion

however, that

takes no

account of the fact that cremation appears as an
institution so widespread

peoples as to

among Indo-European demand almost certainly a place
certain

among primitive Indo-European usages. It may have been in vogue only among
tribes, or

have been employed at certain times, as in
for certain

war or during absence from home, or
classes, as the kings

and

chieftains

;

no solution

of the strange problem has yet been found, but
surely

we

are not justified in connecting a

new de-

parture in faith, such as

Rohde thinks the Homeric

6o
liberation

Notes
from the
is

soul-cults

represents, with a

practice

which

old and not new.

The

history of

cremation in
liefs

its

connection with the primitive be-

concerning immortality is a subject demanding
careful

a

much more

and comprehensive
it.

investi-

gation than has yet been accorded

Facts in

abundance are known concerning the usages of
various times and peoples, but no principle yet dis-

covered has served to give these facts an
gent connection.

intelli-

Note
See ///^^ XXIII. 66

8,
ff.

page

1 5.

Note

9,

page

15.

Teiresias the seer alone an exception.

Note
See Odyssey

10,

page

17.

XXIV.

i ff.

Note

ii,

page

17.

See Odyssey XI. 24 ff.

Note

12,

page

18.

E. Rohde: Psyche j Seelencult

und

Unsterhlich-

keitsglaube unter den Griechen^ 2d ed., Freiburg,
1898.

Note

13,

page

20.

See Odyssey XI. 92 ff (Teiresias to Odysseus).

Notes

6i
20.

Note

14,

page

See Homerische Untersuchungen^ i99fE.

Note
The fundamental
source.
this,

15,

page

22.

materials of the

Homeric epic

are undoubtedly iEolic or North Greek in their

The language

alone

is

enough

to betray

^olic forms of the language have been pre-

served in the midst of the prevailing Ionic whereever the Ionic equivalents would not suit the metrical necessities.

This concerns, however, only the

formation of the peculiar, half-artificial idiom which
finally

became the rhapsodic fashion of speech.
the songs as

The civilization to which

we have them
life

were addressed was that of the old Ionic
central coast of Asia Minor,

of the

and in the current ideas
believe the setting of

of this civilization

we must
life

the stories was moulded.
sents preeminently the

Homer

therefore repre-

and atmosphere of the
rise

early Ionia in the period

which antedates the

of extensive

commerce and the sending out of the
That which gave Homer so

commercial colonies.

soon in the ears of the succeeding generations the
ring of the remote and the heroic
shifting in scene

was the rapid

and conditions introduced by the
Life changed from

ninth and the eighth centuries.

the tribal-patriarchal to the urban-commercial basis.

Coupled with

this

was the circumstance that the

;

; ;

62

Notes
civilization

memories of the old Achaean
yielded the
first

which had

materials of the stories were rapidly

dulled into remote traditions

by the disappearance
This disappearance

of the states and the peoples that had carried the

burden of
in

this civilization.

is

some way connected with the emergence of the
Here we confront the

Dorians in eastern Greece.

problem of the " Dorian Migrations."

Note
Pindar
:

i6,

page

31.

Bergk, Poet. Lyr, Fragm,, 137.

Note
Sophocles
:

17,

page

31.

Fragm,, yig (Dind.).

Note
Plato
:

18,

page

32.

PhcBdo^ p. 69 (transl. Jowett).

Note
" Let us hasten

19,

page
let

32.
fly

us

Where the lovely meadows lie Where the living waters flow Where the roses bloom and blow.
Heirs of immortality.
Segregated, safe and pure,

Easy, sorrowless, secure
Since our earthly course
is run,

We behold a brighter sun.

Notes
Holy
lives

6s

— a holy vow —

Such rewards await them now."
Frere's transl. of Aristophanes, Frogs^ 448-459.

Note

20,

page

33.

For a most illumining view of the influence of
the mysteries upon the early Christian ritual, see

E. Hatch

:

The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages
1888.

upon the Christian Church, Hibbert Lectures,
Lect. X. pp. 281
ff.

Note
Sophocles
:

21,

page

41.

Antigone^ 1143-45.

Note
For the most

22,

page 41.

explicit statement

and discussion

of such views, see, e,g.^ Leopold von Schroeder:

Pythagoras

und die

Inder, Leipzig, 1884; Richard

Garbe

:

The Connection between Indian and Greek

Philosophy,
Philol.

An

address

delivered

before

the

Congress at Chicago, July, 1893 (JHonist,

1894, p. 176

and following).

Note
The Orphic
would
find for
its

23,

page 43.

theology has often been pronounced

un-Hellenic in character and tone.
it

Those who

an Eastern or Egyptian origin

emphasize

supposed discord with Greek ideas.

"

64
Surely
it

Notes
would be a stranger and interloper
if it

proposed to a Greek world an ethical reformation
based upon a code of morals.

Nothing could have
that.

been more un-Hellenic than

But herein

lies

the core of the misunderstanding.

Orphism conits ec-

tained no suggestion of moral reform, and
stasies

no more proposed an influence upon conduct
the " blessed seasons " of a negro
If

or

morab than

revival meeting.

Orphism

is

non-Greek, then

is

also the idealism of Plato,

which in
are,

its religious

bearings

is its offspring.

Both

however, proy/

foundly Greek, and only reflect the all-pervading

dualism of the popular psychology.
in

What was new
was

Orphism and

in its

common

basis Bacchism

the element of enthusiasm, the
divine. It
It

communion with the

was the " evangelical " religion of Greece.
for

may be cause

wonder that a religious moveand have exercised

ment of such freshness and vigor should apparently
have
lost itself in the marshes,

no more

definite influence

upon the thought of the
first

after-world.

To

this
its

it

can

of

all

be said that

the real extent of
underestimated.

influence

may easily have been
organized form
fifth

Orphism

in its

passed quickly out of sight in the
its

century, but

fundamental idea as expressed in Bacchism was

al)sorbed into the
Boust furthermore

common thought
be noticed that

of Greece.
it

It

came as an

infusion into Greek religion at a time

when

this

Notes
religion

6j
Greek

by reason

of shifting historical conditions inevitable decline.
re-

was moving toward
ligion

was a thing of thepolis, the
tribes

city built of the

amalgamated
stood,

and
fall

clans.

With

the poh's

it

and with the
it fell.

of the jolt's as a unit of

government
of the
guilds.
poll's,

Its

gods were chief citizens
of the associated

members honorary
and ideas

When

a greater world of commerce, interarose, in

course, manners,

which the cities

came more and more,
contrary, to be no

in spite of all theory to the

more than

nuclei of population,

the city gods and the city religions did not arise
to

meet

its

need.

Not even Olympus

raised Zeus
allegiance

high enough to oversee the land.
of

The

men
it

gradually transferred

itself

from ihefolis to

the empire as the greater state,

— even when they
state.

knew

not,

and even when the empire was scarcely
vision dimly discerned through the

more than a

warring fragments of Alexander's

This they

personified in the heroic form of Alexander, son of

Ammon,

— the

new Zeus;
Rome.

his successors

became
ideal
after-

the emperors of

Through them the

of a Holy Empire was transmitted to the
world.

Through
in

all

this shifting of

the scenes

Bacchism
and more
pulse
it

outward form of organization could
its spirit

not hold itself erect, but
to

came ever more

be the thought of the world.
to

The im-

had awakened found

no

slight extent its


66
Notes
;

satisfaction in Christianity

and, on the other hand,
against the propaits fittest
its

Paganism

in its last struggle
it

ganda of the Cross, when

chose

armor,
foe,

chose that most like the weapons of

Neo-Platonism, the last expression of the Dionysos
faith.

Note
The
ment,

24,

page

44.

essential tone of Plato's writing is admir-

ably set forth in the following statement,
it

—a

state-

should, however, be said in justice to the

author, not intended to support any such theory of
Plato's connection with

Orphism and Dionysos wor-

ship as that presented in the text;

"He

transmits

the final outcome of Greek culture to us in no quintessential distillation of abstract formulas, but in

vivid dramatic pictures that

make us

actual partici-

pants in the spiritual intoxication, the Bacchic revelry of philosophy,

as Alcibiades calls
intense,

it,

that

accompanied the most

disinterested,

and

fruitful outburst of intellectual activity in the an-

nals of mankind."

Paul Shorey, Plato, in Libr. of

World's Best Literature.

Note

25,

page 45.

Republic, pp. 609, 6ro, presents a form of argument

which has often been said

(cf.

Grote: Plato,

II. p.

190) to be entirely distinct from the other Platonic

arguments.

.

Notes

6y
46.

Note
Pindar: Ofymp.
II.

26,

page

95

ff.

(transl.

Myers).

Note
:

27,

page

48.

Pindar Fragm. Thren,^

I. (transl.

Myers).

Note

28,

page

49.

Pindar: Fragm. Thren.,

II. (transl.

Myers).

Note

29,

page

50.

Pindar: Fragm, Thren.^ III.

(transl.

Myers).

Note

30,

page

50.

Sophocles: Antigone^ 454.

Note
Sophocles
:

31,

page
ff.

50.

Antigone, 456

Note
Sophocles
:

32,

page

50.

Antigone,

"ji ff

Note
Sophocles
\

33,

page
ff.

51.

Antigone, 559

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