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Herodias the Wild Huntress in the Legend of the Middle Ages. II.

Author(s): Waldemar Kloss Source: Modern Language Notes, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Apr., 1908), pp. 100-102 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2916935 . Accessed: 08/10/2013 07:23
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100

MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES.

[Vol. xxiii, No. 4.

is, forinstance, a familiar fact that the Greeks and Romans obstinately on identifying insisted their ownGodswith theDeities worshipped bythe nations and tribes withwhomthey gotin contact, or viceversa. In the tentl century the wide spread attained by Ratherius, by theHerodiaslegendis attested bishop ofVerona(t 974), in hisPreloquia. He gives expression to his deep indignation as folYale University. lows: "W slhall I say of thoseimpious hWbat people who utterly of theirimmortal forgetuli souls,do reverenit homageto Herodiad,the murderess of Christ's alndBaptist, and acknowledge precursor heras theirsovereign, nayas their Goddess. In HERODIAS THE WILD HUNTRESS IN their lamentable claimthatthe de-mentation, they THE LEGEND OF THE thirdpart of the worldis suibject to her soverMIDDLE AGES. II. eignty. As ifthiswas a fitreward for themurder In a pseudo-Augustinian De fideetspe, oftheprophet. It clearly treatise, that thedemons appears datesbacktothesixth which century anid is abso- havetheir handin thematter, whoby their hellish lutelyfreefrom all influence of Germanic deluide and somethe unhappy myth- prestiges women, thelegendof Diana, Herodiasand timeseven meni, we find ology, wlho more deserve severe censure in a form Minervathe WVild Huntresses almost thanthewomeln." identicalwiththatin theCanon iEpicopi. This The pioIIs bishop very naturally sees in the offers a very strong argumentagainst Jacob Herodiasan instrument sent forth from out the Grimm's that thelegendof Herodias, theory the gatesof hellto work the destruction of Christian leaderof the FuriousHost, nay,all the horrible souls. "TThe thirdpart of the world" which delusions of witchcraft whichculminated in the popularfancyawardedto Herodiasin the tenth " of hundred ' piousincineration ofthousands of century, admits of different It is, interpretation. wretched womenhave attained their fuill clear thata spiritual is undergrowth however, kingdom on the soil of Germanic mythology.Tlle myth- stood. Later onl, we shall find thisthird part of ological conceptions of our forbears, as Grimm theworld defined as theunbaptized children and admits, of no incarnate knowy of Evil. elves,gnomes, thepeoplebelieved principle beingswvhom to This occasional remark of JacobGrimm amounts be in possession of immortal soulsand capableof to a complete refutation of his theory, forit is the salvation. personified principle of Evil, and nothing A very interestinig short of testimony concerniing our it, that is required in order to understand these legendin the twelftlh is found in theseccentury dreadful delusions. ondbookofthePolycraticus of JohnofSalisbury, According to the ideas embodied in Germanic bishopof Chartres (t 1182). This learnedand mythology, the practice of magicartswas no sin, truly manwas in manyrespects upright ahead of no horrible transgression; nay,Wotanis praised his time; but JulesBaissac who quotes the pasas the source of all magiclore. No natural reli- sageof thePolycraticus on page 286 of hiswork, gion has ever reachedthe abstraction "Iabsoluite does, in my opinioni, a verypoorservice to the good" no morethan ";absolute Evil." Dissent- bislhop, by intimating thathe was too muchening from Grimm's theory as to the originof the lightened to believe in the reality of the Devil. Herodiaslegend, I, however, byno means intend Baissac seemsentirely to forget that the combat to dellyaccretions from German mythology, parti- against the infernal powerswas by all ecclesiastic cularly, thatHerodiashas traits in common with authorities considered thetrue ofthechurch. object Holda or Bertha. Thiskind of syncretism rules He has forgotten his ownremark on page 48: supreme throughout the realm of mythology.It "Le diable n'est pas tout le christianisme, the last do not appear before divided interest century. At the end of decade of the twelfth by the genuine theyare supplanted the century of advenor thenarrative tale of social customs ture. Should Galeract be assignedto the years 1192 and 1197, there is a strong probabetween the date limit would include this time bility that its of composition. F. M. WARREN.

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April, 1908.1

MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES.

101

a corruption probably l'a dit Vol- the name. It is, howrever, 1'a cru,ou du moins, comme comme essentielle from taire; mais il en est partieint6grante, bonasocia, " goodcompanion." The name the kilndly temper of the mythological mdme. Dieu et le Diable, ailnsique s'exprime expresses " of nearrelation la religioln. tlhus to be a very Nicole,c'esttoute seems trs justement who lady, reads,as fol- the fairyA-bundia The passage in the Polyeraticus who plays such a prominent of part in the Ro)nan (de la Rose. lows: "The Evil Spirit,withthe permission Alverlius(Guillaumed'Auvergne), of his malice Gtulielmnus God has pushedso far the license and falsely attribute bishopof Paris (t 1248), in the secondpart of thatsomepeoplemiserably chapter12, complainsof realityto what happens olnlyin their his treatis eDe Universo, external Domina concerning spreadsuperstition imagination. thewvidely perverted of their minds, on account He bonae mulieres. A bundia and the and assert Satia or deluded Thussuch lamentably persons of these namesin the followthat a certainNoctiluca(an epithetof givestheetylology affirmn, queen of the ilng sentence: ". . . et vocant eani Satiam a Diana) or Herodiad,as sovereign Abundiam et Domninam pro abundantia great satietate whbere nightly assemblies, Night,convoques praestaredicuntdomibusquas frebanquetsare served. Here, as quaameanm and magnificent that a remark requLires takeplace, and quentaverit." It hardly of exercises theyclaim,all kilnds of the Evil One. others rewarded to lhe sees hereinthe prestiges according someare punished, Gerinto mythological believethat chil- Dame Abondetranslated theirmerits. They,moreover, Ifolda. We use in modern to the lamies, manwouldbe Vrowe are sacrificed dren at thosefeasts " In this "In Hiille undFiille. thetermII later Gerinan are cut into piecesand eagerlydevoured, combination Huille, probablypoints to thekindness alliterative up and, thaniks theyare thrown is no digTession, to life and back to Ilolda. This remark of thesovereign queeu,again restored of the presentation to theircradles. Who can be blind for in the mostinteresting transferred ages,Herodiasis but a Herodiaslegendin the muiddle enoughnot to see thatall this is nothing We expressly by the demolns? identified withPharaildis,i. e., Fr-au illusionwrought malicious the fact thatthoseto whom HIilda. must not overlook are mlostly poorwomen Thus we come to the secondpoint,the love happen, suchmonstrosities in the Herodias legend. The idea of and stupid menl. The best remedy elemnent or ignorant to Faith Herodias, or Salome being in love with the thismaladyis to hold on firmly against of in theDesert,"w whohad his raiment and to lend no ear to suchlies anidnot to pay preacher to such follies." It wouldhave camel's hair, and a leatherngirdle about his muchattention and wildhoney," if this loins; and hismeat was locusts forEuropeancivilization beena goodthing in Heine's Atta Troll,Sudermann's wisewordof thebishopbad been bornein mind as presented and OscarWilde's Slome, is liable to centuries. In Johannes of thefollowvinig by thetheologians faccritical of Johnof Salisbury thereis a feature impress, even a man of considerable thereport of ulty,as distinctly in thetrials romantic, perverted, mnodern, whichattainedan awfulcelebrity in has itsorigin of chil- etc. The love element, however, to wit thekillingand devouring witches, and was introduced oftheroam- the twelfth by the theleader century ofHerodias, drenin honour comIsengrimus, (or rather authorof Reinardus ing witches. ofThomas by F. Voigt, Halle, 1884), a Aquinas, pare the edition Froma closecontemporary thearroholdsup to ridicule wvhich we have a satirical poenm AngeriusII, EpiscopusConseranus, and greediness of themonks and of the gance,ignoranice of the popular superstition statement ofClugny alnd Citeaux. Herodiasis associated theexaggerLated asceticism wherein roamings, nightly versificatioln rightly praisesthe elegant withDiana and Bensozia. He tellsus like John Gervinus theauthor but charges with low of Salisbury: "This jaulntis a delusionof the in elegiacmetre, to say about nothing Devil." He seems to have in mindthe same motives; he has, however, who in 1836 ofpersonality. the "Herodias episode." N1one, or amalgamation dream-like change of Latinitatis, publishedthe Reinarduswith the assistance et infirnae Ducange,Lexicon rnediae as marksthis episode of theetymology of Jacob Grimm, by brackets his absolute admits ignorance

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102

MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES.

[V'ol. xxiii, No. 4.

sufficient HeiniichHeine says concerning Herodias(Sait seemsto me without an interpolation, beingthemost lome'smotlher): forepisodes reason; thepropensity of theauthor. The question feature conspicuous Undi das diitte Frauenbild, of this episode is, the authenticity concerning Das deinHerzso tief bewegte, Wares eine'Teufelin, forour purpose, of no greatimportance however, die andern zweiGestalten ? WVie in doubt. dateis not inivolved as theapproximate Obs ein Teufel oder Engel, of theRe'inard'u8 of the author In the version ichniclit. GenaubeiWV,eibern Weiss bears no or I8engrimus,Herodias,the daughter, Weissmanniemals woderEngel of Johnthe forthe murder moralresponsibility und derTeufel Aiufbhrt anfangt. and innocent a charming Baptist. The prinicess, generally, applies by John the WhatHeine saysabout women maiden, was deeply impressed to a all is mythological personalities; there truly desiredto be unitedto Baptist and earnestly " Heraclitic evolution alnd upwards downwards" him in true love. King Herod, considering There is no coniception of absolute oIn thefairescutcheon about thenm. such an alliancea tarnish in or absolute Mongood evil popular mythology. to the execution of his royal house, resorted in D. his cure instructive DemonConway, book, of the Saint; especiallybecause the love-lorn oaththatshewould ologyand Devlil Lore, has given a strongarray of had taken a solemn princess fromn comparatively theexecu- instancesfor this evolution man'sspouse. After becomeno other to deities bad and vice good ones comparatively theBaptist, thedistracted John tionofherbeloved versa. princessgave order to bring his head to her. I mention this article, onlyas a tlies to clasp the bleeding In concluding While she tearfully the in curiosity etymology-quoted Ducange-by head of the belovedmanand to kisshislips,the (t 1418), who to GobelinusDecanus Bilefeldensis head of the irate Saint drewback and begani the reduces legend of Herodias to a combination its It theni took at hard her. through way blow of thetwowords Hera and Diana. theunhappy girlintothe and corruption the impluviumwhirling against enraged poetis rather air. Thesentimental WALDEMAR KLOSS. of thegirlhe whose persecution JohntheBaptist, Mass. Cambridge, had neverloved, seemsto him wantoncruelty; that the Saints do rathercynically he observes whatsoever theyplease. Thus Herodias is not sufferto eternal allowedto die, she is condemned till the midnight ing and unrest. " Only from SIR THOPAS AND SIR GUY. II. shesitsonoaksand hazeltrees;the cock-crow first theairfollowed Passing fromthe storyof the two poemsto through restofhertimesheroams third part their to wit,time retinue, we againfind by an innumerable form, Chaucer's poemstrongly as Pharaildis, suggestive of Sir Guy. At first of the world. Now she is known the comsight, Herodiastheincomparable parisonis disappointinig she hlowasformerly forthe Auchinleck Guy the lnew name does not begin in the tail-rhyme dancer." Mone triedto explaini strophe which of Herodiasbythelifeof a saintof thatnamein Chauceruses. This is important, because it is is nottheslightest connec- evident butas there that muich Planiders; of thepointof theparody lies hlismerits in theuse of this measure. Indeed,it seems such a saint,whatever tion between the the chiefpointin common may have been, and Herodias-Pimaraildis, amongthe " romances of " It is gratifying, has no value. Here we prys,"so faras we knowtbem. explanation attempted from my- therefore, Teutonic tofilnd thatthetranslator have to do withan accretion of Guyadopts as mentioned at abotut above. At the bands of thismeasure thology lilne 7300, wlhere he makes no other poet Salome receivedsuch tenderly makesher a Oscar WVilde treatment; reverential 27 To this Ypotis is an exception, as it is in coupletform. killedbyorder This, together ofiuiquLity. She is finally monster withthe absenceof any phrasesparallel to by herdia- Chaucer's, makesornea little suspiciousthatit is notthis of the tyrant Herod,who is shocked partictular poem to whichhe refers. bolicalwickedness.

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