How can we prove mythology

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III. The comparative mythology

Overview of individual main mythologies. The aftermath or persistence of mythology into the most recent times Christianity. Enduring value of mythology.

The trilogies of the gods. Egyptian mythology and its animal service. The Indian doctrine of gods, the Persian, the German-Nordic, the Greco-Roman. Importance of comparative mythology and the task of the same. The degeneration of Christianity. Indication of the lasting value of mythology and the use thereof.

[40] If we wanted to continue straight away with the consideration contained in the second section, we would arrive at comparative mythology, which, however, can only be dealt with after a few intermediate steps. First of all, it should be noted in advance that we encounter a trinity of gods here and there, namely, in addition to the main god, two, whose price was set so high that they were either equated with the main god or were worshiped in frequent connection with him, as if they were would be no less influential and powerful than the latter, and that it would therefore be good to call them together, be it for help or as a thank you. The trinity of the Indians, however, does not really belong here. For the three chief gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva did not stand side by side at the same time, but they alternated in their supremacy, since one followed the other, here earlier, there later, while Brahma, pushed back by some tribes, his highness away from other tribes claimed. With the Hellenes, on the other hand, there was a trinity, which was often taken out of the number of the other gods and worshiped collectively, without one deity being placed after the other. Zeus, of course, as the overlord of all, could not be absent from the three number that was estimated to be the most powerful and holy; he was joined by his son Phoibos Apollo and the daughter Pallas Athene, who had sprouted from his head. With the Romans, who essentially reproduced Greek mythology, this position was repeated, only with the modification that Hera was substituted for Apollo; hence the Roman trinity consisted of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The German-Nordic mythology sets up multiple trilogies; Odin as the supreme god was with everyone, even with the oldest, who comprised the three primordial gods Odin, Wili and We. Incidentally, it goes without saying that some tribes of a people chose a particular favorite deity from the number of gods, and that in several mythologies the top roles were reversed.

Apart from the already mentioned figures of the actual star service, it would now be appropriate to enumerate in a brief overview the most excellent gods which are found in the various systems of mythology. We are allowed to join Schelling without turning to his philosophical interpretations, the consideration of which would lead too far. We begin with Egyptian mythology, which is still obscure in many respects, [40] since it is one of the oldest, if not the oldest. Because between Egypt, India and China the investigation is still going on, which age, population and culture of these stretches of earth should shed light on. Perhaps those ethnic groups to which the climate and secure locality had offered a good place to live were also the oldest, or rather the species that had penetrated a human culture earliest.

The very decided "polytheism" first "broke out" in Egyptian and Indian mythology. Schelling regards Osiris-Typhon as the main deity of the Egyptians, a double being, which is otherwise commonly presented and named as two separate personalities, assuming that Osiris is the benevolent, the good, the friendly God, to whom all those good deeds are ascribed by name which the Hellenes would have ascribed to their Dionysus; Typhon, on the other hand, a figure peculiar to Egyptian mythology, is the all-drying, consuming, fire-like principle, i.e. the power that preserves everything in the desert and emptiness, the figure that fetches free, separate life. Under the rule of Typhon stand the desert with the blazing wind that scorches out from it; his other dwelling was the sea as deserted as it was; The planted Egypt, embellished by agriculture, between the sandy desert and the sea was a land reclaimed from the Typhon. The animal consecrated to him is the wild (or perhaps the sticky) donkey, which in the Old Testament is preferably the animal of the desert, so that its name has become the name of the game in general. The polytheism had taken place through a tearing up or dismemberment of Osiris, the good god, for fear of the Typhon and, as it were, to hide around themselves, the gods would have transformed themselves into the bodies of ibises, dogs, hawks, and other animals. It is known that the Egyptian gods were entirely animal, or at least only half-human.

At the side of Osiris and Typhon appear Isis, who according to one story applies to the wife of the former; she mourn the husband torn by Typhon and seek his limbs together again. According to another story, on the other hand, Isis is the sister of Osiris and the wife of Typhon; but Osiris had had secret love with her, and only because of this did the angry Typhon tear her to pieces. The end of the legend then claims that Typhon was finally defeated by Horos, the real son of Osiris and Isis, and fell alive into his hands, and then it was Isis who freed him again and freed him from his chains. Schelling rightly observes that the fable contains contradictions; from which it emerged that the Egyptians themselves were completely unclear about their ideas about Osiris and Typhon. The solution he tried to adopt he adopted into his system.

After his tearing up, Osiris becomes ruler of the underworld, and when the already mentioned son Horos has grown up and conquered Typhon, Isis also follows him into the realm of the dead, and Horos takes the place of Osiris, who as “the Lord of everything Becoming ”appears. At the side of Horos stands in turn his sister Bubastis, who "relates to this in the same way as Isis relates to Osiris". Incidentally, Horos is "the higher unity, that in which Typhon and Osiris are balanced in the higher sense". But we have to refrain from Schelling's discussion, especially since a brief outline of it would be incomprehensible; Likewise, we do not want to add anything more to the Egyptian theogony or the creation of polytheism, but to be content here with naming the individual names. Besides those already mentioned we find the god Thoth (Thoyt or Thauth), the Egyptian Hermes, the goddess Athor, called the Egyptian Aphrodite by the Greeks, and finally the goddess Neith zu Sais, whom the Greeks compare with their Athena. Thus we would have won the figure eight that Herodotus set up for the first oldest order of gods of the Egyptians. According to this historian, a second order of gods should consist of a number of twelve, to which a Herakles is counted, but not Osiris, and therefore not, as Schelling observes, the gods who are decidedly simultaneous with Osiris. We pass over the details, likewise the consideration of a third, most recent order of gods, of which Herodotus speaks, counting a Dionysus among them; We will skip further explanation, I say, because the interpretation of the hieroglyphs, that sacred script from which a certain information could be expected, is still not entirely certain even today. The hieroglyphs were the writing of the priests, who moreover, like the Indian priests, kept all science in their lock, so that it is questionable whether a Greek was allowed to read the secret writing. Several figures remain untouched, which we would otherwise have to remember, such as the goddess Nephtys, who is made the wife of Typhon and is supposed to "correspond" to him, also the god Anubis and a very old god Pan, to whom an uncommon power was attributed.

There are only two things we would like to add to these reports, which, as one can see, are still very obscure. A primordial god is said to have been worshiped before Osiris, called Amun. What was understood by this godly being? As Schelling puts it, Amun was the first supreme god before the other supreme gods were known; According to his philosophical system he was the god in the original concealment, the invisible and hidden, as his name suggests, but a god who could reveal himself and go out of himself, and whom the Egyptians had therefore called and exhorted to become visible and to reveal oneself to them. In short, he was the God before the creation of the world. The Greeks pronounced him Ammon and added the name Zeus, so that they called him Zeus Ammon (the Romans Jupiter Ammon); how then the Greeks were accustomed to adorn every foreign supreme god with the name of their Zeus. Amun's seat was the hundred-door city of Thebes, which Homer described as a wonder of the world; According to the religious tales of the Egyptians, it is said to have been founded by Osiris, whereupon it flourished in such a way that it finally filled the whole width of the Nile valley. A huge temple and enormous monuments, including obelisks made from the most enormous blocks, laid "an external and internal" sign that the highest being was really worshiped here in Amun. Schelling then thinks that the system of Egyptian theology developed in a triad. After Ammon, the god of concealment, was followed by Phtha, the god at the moment of expansion (development), whom Herodotus had given the Greek name Hephestus; on these the god of realized unity emerged, called Kneph (also Chnubis and Chumis), that is, a third god who returned to the original unity and was to a certain extent identical with Amun. The Greeks would have called this Kneph the agathodemon, the good spirit. With the triad composed in this way, Schelling wants to prove the natural origin of higher Egyptian theology, always trying to show here too that his system of mythological development proves itself. We have seen that he posits a God [42] who becomes God, but not as he should, and then becomes in a third appearance what he was first but could not be the same. We only doubt that in this way the right God will have been revealed at some point or up to now.

Second, there is still no need for us to look reluctantly to the "difficult problem" of the Egyptian animal service. A few sentences by Schelling will serve to explain this phenomenon, but we will only give general information in order not to have to take account of his system, which we have thought of above, a system which denies that any object is from the Nature was singled out and idolized for its usefulness or harmfulness. For in general we have to reply that he put man, who, as we now know, grew up among animals, too high in general, especially on the point that our philosopher constitutes an oldest humanity, which is inherent in the Believed the unity of a single, spiritual, invisible Primordial God and stood under this God's spiritual control until polytheism developed, i.e., in our opinion, a terrible regression would have occurred. Something similar happened to the Egyptians, who, according to the general agreement of the reports, had invented the zodiac in the sky, but this could not have happened earlier than after the thought of polytheism had already penetrated this people's consciousness.

“Undisputedly,” says Schelling aptly at the beginning of his investigation, “what is most opposed to our concepts and feelings in the Egyptian religion is the religious cultivation which it shares with some animals, and the wholly or partly animal form of some gods . "He said in part; for it is for the most part only the head (the intelligible part), which is veiled in the animal form, e.g. of a jackal or bird's head. He then tries to make this phenomenon comprehensible, which is otherwise incomprehensible without his system, namely through the assertion, which we rejected earlier, that the Egyptians, to whom "animals were not what they are to us," did not proceed from an observation of animals in order to then adore them, but he now admits that, of course, this reference to their usefulness or harmfulness has not been excluded. For, for example, the ibis in Egypt appears at the same time as the growing, rising Nile and then later consume the snakes and the insects which are perishable to the seeds and which the floods of the Nile have left behind. These circumstances, however, would not have been sufficient to produce the veneration of this bird, rather the Egyptians would have seen the divine earlier, e.g. in the stars, and then the theogonic process brought about that they now saw the divine in the animals. So, he thinks, those natural-historical circumstances only expressed such an effect in connection with the religious mood of the Egyptians in general, in connection with their whole view of natural and divine things, a view that arose for them through inner necessity (i.e. Influence of the primordial god), independent of those external historical facts. For in the periodic rise and fall of the Nile itself the Egyptians would have recognized only one scene of the annually repeated history of their gods, Typhon and Osiris, and those special properties of the ibis would probably have been the reason and could explain it serve why the Egyptians chose the head of this bird from the various birds in his country to designate the god of science, intelligence and therefore also of foresight. [43]

In support of this explanation, which we find unfounded, Schelling goes on later: 'The animal series represents the transition of the real God as such. When God died, he lives in the animals. To the Egyptians the animals are the quivering limbs of the Typhon. The Egyptians regard human beings as "the God who has risen again as spirit, as God who is perfectly capable of himself"; - which, of course, sounds strange enough. We pass over Schelling's investigation of those animals which were found in their burial places treated as mummies in exactly the same way as human corpses; so near the temple of Bubastis mummies belonging to the cat family (cats, lions, tigers) would have been found, and, as the Egyptian mythology tells, Bubastis turned into a cat for fear of Typhon: the cat was an apparition of the Bubastis. What follows is his philosophical view of the character of the latter goddess, who is "the consciousness of Typhon already overcome"; and to this consciousness, which already emerged during the fight, the raging animals would be appropriated, so that it would be thought of as veiled in them: in his opinion significant and significant. For "even in nature," he says, "the raging animals, which we might prefer to call the animals of the will, go straight ahead of man." Consciousness, a breakthrough on which this philosopher's system is built for the purpose of explaining the process of becoming.

Let us turn to another animal cult which, in Schelling's opinion, forms a self-contained circle, for the veneration of the holy bull, the Apis, or, according to some authors, the three Apis. Let us stop with the sacred bull in Memphis, the only one of which Herodotus, the best reporter, has knowledge. The bull was selected for special characteristics: it had to have a white triangle on its forehead, an equally drawn crescent moon on one side and an elevation under the tongue similar to the sacred beetle. If such an individual was found happy after the death of an earlier Apis, the animal (as Mnevis) was tended for four months in a hall at Heliopolis that was open towards morning; only then was the new Apis solemnly brought to the Temple of Phtha in Memphis. As Schelling observed, this bull service had its own story. Because “firstly, the individual as such was worshiped here; secondly, the special idea of ​​a pure conception was connected with it (the cow that threw the Apis should have been fertilized by a sunbeam), and thirdly it was connected with the idea of ​​a transmigration (relocation) of the soul of this Apis.As often as an Apis died, the soul of the deceased wandered into a new Apis. "This does not seem Egyptian at all, says Schelling, and it is also not related to the Egyptians' otherwise accepted theory of migration of souls (according to this, the soul does not go into the Body of another individual of the same kind, but always into an animal of a different kind). There was something strange about this last idea, it was reminiscent of the Lamaic religions; for even in these, when an embodied Buddha dies, his soul wanders into his successor. So if Apis, as Plutarch says, was viewed as a living image of Osiris, or if he was an embodied Osiris, it seems to our philosopher that here a cult of a different kind is only associated with the Egyptian, that is, that one Cult originally [44] belonged to a direction that was actually alien to the Egyptian religion, but which could not be completely defeated or eliminated and was therefore associated with Egyptian ideas. Particularly remarkable in this respect is the insurmountable attachment of the Israelite people to the veneration of the bull, although they only worshiped this bull (the calf, as Herodotus calls it), while in Egypt a living one was worshiped. But the one revered in the picture, speculates Schelling, should probably only be a picture of the real and living. And now our philosopher traces the origin of this veneration, which in Egypt was to the bull itself, back to the beginnings of agriculture. For he does not need to say that it is not the wild bull, but the tamed one, already in the service of the A bull trampled on and subjected to him, which was meant in Apis; this bull serves as a symbol of the transition from nomadic life to the agricultural condition. So-called shepherd tribes (Hiksos) had founded their own city, Heliopolis, where they worshiped the bull before it was brought to Memphis. So it seems that these tribes were no longer pure nomads. The same “probably also applies to the Israelites, at least in the last period of their stay in Egypt; even after their departure they would have been preserved in the desert for forty years, i.e. in the state of nomadic life, apparently in order to be protected from idolatry (polytheism) and the pure faith, as well as the customs of the nomads, which they had forgotten in Egypt, to get used again. ”But the Israelites did not appear as nomads when they reached the promised land! So the whole assumption falls away. Rather, it is the habit of uneducated people to worship something visible as God; just as it is today with the mass of Roman Catholic confessors who cannot exist without images of saints. In all other respects Schelling's conclusion may be correct, which is that the service of Apis was connected with the teaching of Osiris by a special religious tendency in a part of Egypt, by a religious tendency, the trace of which, in his opinion, could not be obscured. Suffice it to say that the holy bull was brought from Heliopolis to Memphis and later declared to be the animated image of Osiris, the god who was venerated as the founder of agriculture.

In Egyptian mythology, Schelling is inclined to see the first and oldest of the complete mythologies. The latter, however, in spite of their completeness, stand parallel to one another in such a way that a sequence can still be thought of between them. Without hesitation he rejects the opinion that the Indian doctrine of gods contains the original system of all mythologies, the original system that would have split up into the others; on the contrary, he preferred to assign first place to the Egyptian among the complete doctrines of gods. The weighty reasons which he gives for the position of the Indians and Egyptians in world history may be looked up by our readers in his ingenious philosophical systems of mythological contemplation. In order to determine this position all the more precisely, we must at the same time question the critical investigations which Christian Lassen later made in his mighty work "The Indian Antiquity" on the origin of the Indian people. First of all, this great historian affirmed: “The Indians, like most of the peoples of the ancient world, believe that they are autochthonous; their holy legend transfers the creation of the forefathers and their deeds to India itself, and there is no recollection of an origin from a non-Indian country, of an earlier dwelling outside of their Bharatavarsha, namely India proper. Because the latter has received the above name from Brahmanic cosmography, a name which denotes the country located in the south of the Himalayas, i.e. today's India in its entire extent with its real mountains, rivers and peoples. Then, however, Lassen refuted this dream of the Indians of their earth birth by deciding, under multiple considerations, in favor of the view that the Indians once immigrated to India from other origins, from some central point, which the spread of the peoples from common origins according to different Parts of the world probably do. The Indians were only one link in the whole chain, and indeed the most extreme, when the separation of a large number of people, which certainly took place at intervals, took place.

At the same time, according to Darwin's research, we may rightly suspect that the immigrants also found a class of people in India that had worked their way out of the animal condition. The highly blessed area of ​​the earth, later called India, could not have remained without the effect of the primordial cells, i.e. found deserted and barren when new generations entered the struggle for existence.

We must be brief about Indian mythology. They moved the dwellings of most of their gods north into the Himalayas and beyond; the wonderful, holy mountain of the world, Mêru, was sought in the far north. We are convinced that these ideas first developed in India and can be derived from the peculiar nature of the northern mountains: »The daily sight of the snow peaks of the Himalayas radiating far down into the plains and in the truest sense inaccessible, the news of the whole The different nature of the opposite plateau with its wide, quiet areas, the clear, cloudless air and the peculiar natural products, had to make this north the seat of gods and miracles. The holiness is explained by an inevitable influence of the surrounding nature on the mind. "

This is how Lassen is expressed, admittedly not in the sense of Schelling's philosophy, but similar to the simple view that we had to prefer in the above, especially after more recent natural research. Let us follow him further in the performance of the Indian gods, whereby he takes the legend into account more than the later history, which seems all too fragmented. After historically tracing the general naming of God according to the oldest root in the so-called Sanskrit language tribes, he comes to the conclusion that Dêva comes from div, to shine; which proves that among the Indo-European peoples the concept of the divine was formed from that of light, and that the objects of their oldest gods worship were the appearances and effects of light. "These," he says, "emerged most clearly and beneficially in the day-light of the sun that enlightened and fertilized the earth; in the solemn silence of the night it shines towards man from a mysterious distance in the countless stars of the sky. Its terrible and destructive power shows itself in the lightning in the thunderstorms, which, however, also have a beneficial effect in that they bring the fertilizing rain, and the lightning, which tears the clouds, must at the same time dominate the simple view of nature of the oldest people as an act , terrible and benevolent God appear. This explains why the seats of the gods were moved up into the air and into the sky. On earth among people and in their homes, [46] fire with its flame is the representative of light, and it was therefore natural to consider fire as an effect of a divine power as well as light. «The idea of ​​letting corresponds our conception of the theogonic process above, but not Schelling's philosophical system, which, in his opinion, depicts the oldest people as if they did not see and hear, because, under the spiritual influence of the primordial god appointed by him, if I may say so, they would have stood there blind, deaf and willless, as it were, until they reached their present-day consciousness, which was a different one. This much has been agreed, however, today we look to God through nature, while Schelling turns the matter around with regard to his earliest people, claiming that the Godhead revealed itself to them without paying attention to nature, out of and through itself even immediately.

And so Lassen goes on to say: "These views of nature emerge clearly in the oldest and highest of the Vedic gods," those gods named in the sacred Veda books. “The highest of all is Indra, the god of the shining sky, of the blue air, from which he got his common name, and of thunderstorms. He was born before the other immortals whom he adorned with strength. He fastened the swaying earth and rammed into the shaking mountains, he gave mass to the vast circle of air and supported the sky. «His wife is called Çakî, the power, he himself is called Çakra, the mighty; for he wields lightning, or the thunderbolt, with which he kills the evil spirits who hold captive the waters of heaven. On his visit to the evil spirits, Indra is accompanied by the bitch of the gods Saramâ, who visits the cows that had been kidnapped from heaven to the gods and who were held captive in the mountain caves until Indra, who split the caves with his lightning, was again brings back. The cows mean the clouds that disappear behind the mountains and are believed to be trapped in their caves, and Indra leads them back to pour their rain. Therefore, Lassen believes that Indra is the fighting god who conquers the evil spirits of the dark clouds and brings the fertile and refreshing rain to the earth, the flocks and men, the mightiest of gods, protectors and bestowers of treasures. He is the god of battles, to which he, intoxicated by the somatran, sets out on his horse-drawn carriage and overcomes the enemy. The Indians, Lassen continues, also worshiped a special god of rain, a god who is one of the very oldest, because his Indian name Parganja is found as Perkunas among the Litthauers, as Perkons among the Celts and as Perun among the Slaves. Secondly, among the Vedic gods we find a god, named Varuna, who is the god of the outermost, air-encircling celestial vault, and which is why he received his name Umfasser. According to Lassen, the Greek name of heaven, Uranos, the Greek god who is a son of Erebos and Gaea, agrees with him; Actually, Varuna is distorted from Varana (Urana), and from this there is a noteworthy relationship in the oldest gods of the Greeks and the Indians. Incidentally, Varuna has relationships with the light and is a very powerful god, especially in the night region, so that one tries to avert one's anger through prayers and sacrifices: a mysterious, invisible, omnipresent being, who exercises its rule even in the conditions of people. “Among the Vedic gods, Varuna comes closest to the concept of a supreme or universal god; the views of him are the most worthy [47] and the highest, the order in the life of the world and of men is in his hand. «Zeus of the Greeks, as Aeschylos understood him, offers us a figure similar to his character. As the third among the Vedic gods, Lassen calls Agni, the god of fire. He calls the gods, wakes them up and leads them to the sacrifice, and they sit down on his carriage drawn with red mares, mediating the sacrifice between men and gods, protecting house and community, bringing people treasures and food. In short, Agni "was seen early on in a human way as the basis of all gods, who are only its modifications, and as the basis of life pervading the world."

These three chief Vedic gods also had wives whose names are Indrâni, Varunâni and Agnâji. Among the other gods of nature, says Lassen, the gods of light stand out, first of all the sun, from which the stars and the night flee like robbers, and which brings cleansing light to gods and men and thus fills the whole world. His rays (of light) carry up the sun god or the seven red horses which he harnesses to his chariot. But in addition to the only sun god, the heavenly one, named Sûra or Sûrja (also Savitar), there were also twelve individual sun gods, including Mitra, the midday sun, Pusham, the breadwinner, and Aditja, the son of Aditi. Furthermore, one of the most sacred deities was Ushas, ​​the dawn, whose name can be found in the Zend language (Ushas), among the Greeks (Eos and Auos instead of Ausos), among the Romans (Aurora) and among the Litthauer (Austrâ). “She is the daughter of heaven and opens its gates; she is at the same time the daughter of the sun and is born of the night; she is old, but is always reborn and walks the ways of the past dawns, she, the first of the future, who will forever follow each other. Your light is the first of lights; it drives away the night and the darkness, on its arrival the birds, the animals and the people emerge; everything is animated and animated when it shines; it drives to true speech, it brings all the gods to the soma potion on a cart that is drawn by red cows or horses. "Other beings belong to the circle of light, namely the winds (Marut), during the The moon and the planets cannot be considered as Vedic gods. From this it could be concluded that it took a long time before the actual star service among the peoples came about, a circumstance that does not speak in favor of Schelling's system.

It would be impossible to describe the change of the Indian divine circles here any further. Even Indra did not remain the highest god, but it was the sun that was conceived as the soul of the universe; only with the people did Indra maintain his highest position and in the post-Vedic period was raised to the supreme god of the Dêwa, called the highest; a title, however, that passed to the supreme god of speculation, Brahmâ. The old gods sank to a humiliated position in the imagination of later times, as epic poetry attests. One finally began to look for a name for the highest personal God; the supreme divine, which was unknown and universal, was called, in a more specific way, that Brahmawhich was explained for that "from which all beings arise, through which they, when born, live, where they strive, and into which they enter again, for knowledge and bliss." The original concept of the word, that of prayer and devotion, says Lassen, was extended first to that of a religious act in general [48] and then to that of the supreme divine. For a long time there was a search for a name for the highest personal god, and the name "Brahmâ had the advantage of also designating the priests whose highest god and creator he was." But "he never became a god of the people and therefore never has one Maintaining cult, “rarely just a celebration through festivals.

In addition to Brahmâ, two highest gods were worshiped, Vischnu (Vishnu) and Çiva (Shiva). Various names were assigned to them, which were to express their character now this way, now different. Brahmâ, who was the only supreme god in the pre-epic scriptures, was given the name Nârâjana because he meant the Creator; Yet Narajana was also "not a god of the people, but of the Brahmin schools." The creation of Brahma was also represented as "a sacrifice made by all gods, in which all things and beings arose from the parts of his body." declaring himself a god of the highest order, Lassen reminds that his place in the sky was the highest, and that the sun was also considered the highest deity; and Vishnu was indeed the youngest of the sun gods, to which Indra also belonged, but at the same time the highest: which is why he was often called together with Indra, less often with the actual sun gods, a sign that the latter were not put on an equal footing with him.The quality of that Naranaana was now passed on to Vishnu, and since Naranaana was of the opinion that he sacrificed himself in order to create the world, this view, as Lassen thinks, could easily be extended to Vishnu of his divine nature expressed himself to rid the world of evils. This last activity, he observes, is peculiar to him among the three great gods of the later system. A lot of incarnations or avatars were gradually ascribed to him, first in the epic poems; a proof against Schelling, who may not know much about the influence of the poets on mythology, according to his system, which is directed towards a direct influence of God and therefore to a certain extent excludes the imagination of the poets. We cannot go into these embodiments of Vishnu here, but must content ourselves with referring to their critical discussion of Lassen. It should also be noted that »the worship of Vishnu in the period between Buddha and Kandragupta must have found widespread use among the people, because there is no other explanation for the fact that the Brahmins took him into their system as one of the great gods, «While it was seldom thought of in the epic poems.

Finally, as Lassen darthut, the veneration of the Shiva was also very widespread. A main seat of these was Gangâdvâra in the Himalayas, then the northern highlands; His cult in Kaçmîra was also introduced at an early stage. Reminiscent of the throne in the Himalayas, his wife is called Pârvatì (the mountain-born) and Durga (mountain pass): she is a daughter of the mountain. He also took up the Ganga falling from the sky. His name means "probably" the one who grows: he is "the god of the mighty procreative power of nature, of which even the gods fear." It applies to the lord of animals, and the bull has been given to him as a symbol; why he is called the bull-banner-bearer. Other names prove that he was worshiped as a great god; for his name was firstly the ruler (Içvara), secondly the great god (Mahâdêva), thirdly the god of gods (Dêvadêva) and the lord of all gods (Sarvadêweça). As a special weapon he wields the trident (Triçûla), which means violence, and [49] a net (Pâça), which is a symbol of his special rule over animals. An animal sacrifice was brought to him by the gods alone. Furthermore, there is no lack of names which on the one hand denote his charity or his creative power; how Sôma was added to it with its nature fertilizing power. On the other hand, by transferring the views of Agni and Rudra (storm god) to him, the Shiva was made into a destructive deity, the god of death, who as such wears a necklace of dead skulls. Like the three-eyed Rudra, a third eye was also added to it, which, as Lassen suspects, should indicate the omnipresence of God. In the meantime, Shiva was "by no means exclusively the destructive god," on the contrary, an eater of evil spirits. His veneration under the image of the linga (phallus) remains undiscussed; it took place particularly in southern India and, in Lassen's opinion, was probably passed on to this god by the indigenous people of this area where the linga was found. Humans paid attention to the character of conception at an early stage, with animal interest, but also in this respect essentially differing from animals, which all obey only blind instinct. But let it stop at these details.

We present the whole thing with Lassen in the following brief overview. With Shiva, the great antiquarian remarks, it must be assumed, as with Vishnu, that he was originally considered the highest god among his worshipers, and that the worship of these gods was too deeply ingrained among the people to be able to be repressed again. It was therefore necessary for the Brahmins to recognize them as such and to give them such a position that their own god Brahma could assert his dignity alongside them. The means of letting all three exist side by side and of bringing them together under a higher unity offered the view expressed in the Veda that the highest being has three states, creation, persistence and destruction; that the world is eternally in him, emerges from him and dissolves in him again. Brahma became the creator, Vishnu the sustainer, Shiva the destroyer. Epic poetry recognizes these three gods as the highest side by side, but their unity does not emerge decisively, and the doctrine of Trimurti, the unity of the three great gods, must first be ascribed to the subsequent period. Whether or not the system of the three great gods was already a complete one in the epoch when the Buddha appeared is not known with certainty from the traditions, but Lassen considers it more probable that with the appearance of the Buddha the view of three great gods which was ruling. The same uncertainty prevails over the wives of the latter. Only from the Shiva's wife, as Lassen thinks, can one reasonably assume that she was established in the time of the Buddha. As with her husband, it is also true of her that names and ideas were transferred to her from older goddesses; one could suspect the same of the wife of Brahma, the Sarasvatî, whereas the wife of Vishnu, the Laxmî, undoubtedly arose from the union of several earlier separate goddesses into a single figure, just as it was the case with her husband himself may be.

Lassen mentions and judges a lot of legends from lesser gods, like that of the god-bird Garuda (Garutmat), which, although he was a god, was made his servant by Vishnu, namely his bearer through the air. He also commemorates the age-old custom of worshiping the gods through sacrifices, initially the widespread Soma sacrifice, which was already in use early on among the Aryan [50] Indians; the latter had already been introduced to the followers of his doctrine before Zoroaster and passed from Bactria to the Medes. Then he mentions the Indian sacrifice by fire, in which the abandoned butter of holy cows was offered, the most valuable thing one possessed at the time of shepherd life. But also animal sacrifices were celebrated and - human sacrifices. Among the animal sacrifices, the horse sacrifice was most valued, followed by cattle, goats, and sheep. There was "the view that the maker of an animal sacrifice thereby ransom himself from sin, and that the more noble the animal is, the greater the effectiveness of the sacrifice". Since man "is the lord of creatures and the most noble animal," human sacrifices were also proceeded, at least in the earliest epoch, as has recently been demonstrated. However, according to the oldest sources, only a single person was sacrificed. Not only Brahmins, who always acted as high priests, also kings could make such a sacrifice. There were also allops in which all five victims occurred (i.e. human, horse, child, goat and sheep). At last it seems that means were sought to eliminate the real human sacrifice; they replaced it with a sacrificial cake, with a golden or earthen image instead of a real person, and they created legends in which certain people are saved by gods for sacrificial death. If, by the way, Lassen observes, "the ancient Indians cannot be acquitted of the charge of having allowed the atrocities of human sacrifice, they share this fate with the Romans, the pagan Germans, Scandinavians and Slavs." We may add that it even with the Greeks in their so-called heroic epoch, according to their poets, gave individual human sacrifices until, with increased culture, they broke away from the malicious, aiming proposals of their priests. From everything it can be seen that the ancient Indians did not fall into the immoderate wickedness of that Moloch service, of which we have thought above, and whose hideous degeneration by no philosophy will ever find a match that would be more than a miserable cover-up.

In the above sentences we almost always quote Christian Lassen in his own words. He sifts through the traditions with historical rigor, and we only regret that, for lack of space, we have to rule out his criticism of the Indian castes and the (as he says) clearly verifiable origin of them. But allow us to add one of his words about the Indian idols. The earliest mention of these, he reports, can be found in the "Adbhuta Brahmana", where it is reported that "they laugh, scream, sing, dance, sweat and blink"; namely, the people believed that the images of gods displayed in temples "were animated by the deities they represented."

Finally, let us say a word about the interesting result of his investigation into the kingdom of heaven, as one dreamed of the same thing according to the Veda in ancient Indian times. There should be a home into which people without exception go after their death, and which will not be taken from them again. Jama is the name of the king and gatherer of the people who are now saved; he himself walked the path of death; he is considered to be "the first to arrive in the realm of immortals," and therefore appears as the natural head of those who followed him. With the Iranians, the heavenly paradise, according to the change in Indian legend, has become an earthly one, and the blessed life of the dead in heaven has become a happy age on earth. [51] Lassen comes to the conclusion: »The ancient Indians believed in immortality early on, but thought of their life in a simple, somewhat sensual way. The immortals lived on in untroubled joy under a beautifully lined tree. They imagined heaven in the innermost part of space or in the sacred spaces of the world of gods. "

Schelling interprets Indian mythology differently (we are not surprised), namely according to his system. However, we cannot teach anything here of the development of his views; They boil down to the fact that he, probably still unknown with the historical and linguistic evidence provided by Lassen, establishes a triad (Trimurti) of the three great gods as an original and fixed one, but at the same time makes the Shiva the middle link, placing him in front of Vishnu . Although Schelling's assertion is correct that people's ideas often go beyond the oldest traditions and writings and go back to a higher antiquity, in the present case we are concerned that he trusts the most ancient of antiquity to have such an idea, an idea which would evidently indicate a very perfect first view. And at the same time shouldn't the slightest trace of this cult be left in the legends and books of the Indians? Rather, let us believe that Schelling is also artificial here in order to persistently implement his system. We only want to convey his view of Buddha. Buddhism, he says, is by no means a mere unitary teaching, although it is something very definite and positive. The basic concept says that "Buddha is the God who not only has no one of his own, but nothing outside of him." Or by looking at the Koran (a huge leap in history, of course!), Where God the Creator (beginner) Heaven and earth means, he fully recognizes the meaning of the Buddha-idea and maintains: "Buddha is absolutely nothing but himself presupposed, no matter, no matter apart from himself for his production need;" for he is matter to himself in that he is the God who materializes himself. «How the famous philosopher continues to connect Buddhism with the Zend doctrine and seeks to show that the former includes a dualism, but not exactly the Persian antithesis between the good and bad principle: we would like to advise readers who would like to delve deeper into these questions to consider this.

Schelling explains the many-godly mythologies for actual mythologies. In the Persian doctrine of gods he sees something hostile to or opposed to mythology. The Persians did not advance towards polytheism in the sense of other peoples, but they by no means lacked gods. Above the two representatives of the good and bad principle, the gods Ormuzd and Ahriman, already mentioned above, a primordial god is said to have stood, a supreme being, whatever one might understand and call it. Schelling now thinks that the Persian consciousness had "the exclusive God" in mind from the beginning, who, as was the case with other peoples, found in this consciousness the transition to the God who "gives space to diversity"; He therefore assumes an "universal god" of the Persians, since their consciousness has denied successive polytheism, in the "Mithras". The latter is then a single God; according to this system, he is "the two" gods together, the relatively spiritual and at the same time the unspiritual God; he is the two "whom he does not let apart, although they are constantly fighting each other." Strangely enough, however, Herodotus does not know any syllables of Mithras. Rather, he knows, as Schelling clearly sums up the Greek's historical account of the Persian doctrine of gods, “only those ancient gods worshiped without temples, altars and images, which in later Persian history are still called the patriotic gods, dei patrii, and accordingly, in contrast to younger gods, he knows only that highest god of heaven, whom other Greeks also call the Persian Zeus, sun and moon together with the elements. "Cyrus therefore prayed to Xenophon:" O fatherly Zeus and the sun and all gods, accept this «. It is evident from this and similar passages that those ancient gods in Persia were not antiquated, but were still venerated, and from this it can be concluded that the later religious development in Persia did not follow the same path as among other peoples, e.g. the Greeks, who would have looked down on worshiping the sun and moon as barbaric. The latter, however, is correct, only with the restriction that in Apollon (Phöbus, Helios) and in Artemis the sun and moon were represented by gods of the first rank. The fact that Herodotus knew about a miter, that is, a female deity, is of no consequence to us in this place; However, Schelling does not fail to establish the connection between Mithra and Mithras in his own way. We only emphasize once again that it is correct to acknowledge historically with this philosopher that »the Persians, even in the time of Herodotus, worshiped the sky, sun, moon and the elements, without temples or images, in a way that they neither of the Phoenicians, still venerated by the Egyptians, Indians or Greeks ”. The later moments, Schelling adds, are completely absent in Persian mythology, namely the moments as they developed in the system of gods of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Indians and even the Greeks. After the Macedonian conquest of Persia (that is, some time after Herodotus), later Greek reports speak of Mithras as the chief god of the Persians, and we also point out that the Mithras service later transplanted itself far beyond the West and the Roman Empire Cult with mystical consecrations, public and general celebrations, happy folk dances and revelers. Schelling deals in detail with the origin and change of this veneration. But we cannot absolutely agree with what he claims about the character of Persian mythology as an unmythological doctrine of gods, because we do not forget that the Persians, it seems, at all times had an abundance of subordinate gods, spirits, and geniuses. Your mythology was a strange one.

In several basic features it had a great resemblance to the German-Nordic (Nordic-Germanic), in the mighty competition of a good and bad principle, in the apparent victory of the latter, in the transience of the gods, in the fall of the earth through fire and in the eventual resurrection a perfect world. We only list the main gods of this legendary circle, which is widespread in northern Europe. In this there is also a primordial god who stands above the earth, the gods and the universe, the All-Father (Alfadur). Of course, this name is also given to Odin, the supreme god and at the same time the first of the gods who was there and reigned to the end; otherwise also called Wodan (Wuotan). His wife was called Frigg, the daughter of a Joten (giant), and six sons, Thorr, Tyr, Hermodr, Bragi, Baldur and Hödur, sprang from their marriage.The number of these eight gods increased to twelve; for there were added: Heimdal, [53] a son of Odin from another marriage, and three gods who belonged to a particular sex, the sea god Oegir, and the siblings Freyr (the sun god) and Freyja (the goddess of love and the Spring), both taken over from a tribe that was formerly hostile, namely from the tribe of the Wanen, which is still unknown today. They called themselves in their current twelve number Asen, from Asaheim, a land that should be in the east. But it did not stop with these members of the dreamed kingdom of the gods among the Nordic peoples of Europe, new ones were added and an innumerable number of personalities of subordinate rank, namely female, increased the sum of immortal beings. Odin ruled the male deity, Frigg the female deity. Earthly life was continued in the heavenly realm, as it were under embellishment.

The good, world-ruling deities, however, were opposed to evil, hostile and horrible ones, who united to overthrow the Asenchore and, with joint forces, prepared and finally brought about the end of the world. They all came from terrible giants; the noblest were Loki with his terrible clan and Surtur, the god of fire, the king of Muspelheim, a world of fire. Besides, Hel, a hideous daughter of Loki, was of excellent rank; for she was the queen of the realm of the dead, a special world in the depths of the universe, just as the realm of the Persian Ahriman lay beneath the earth in the opposite direction to heaven. The realm of this terrible goddess was called Helheim.

We have already touched on the names of two world regions, the muspelheimischen and the helheimischen. For the universe, as the peoples of the north of Europe imagined it, had several divisions; These were developed in a similar way to the increase in the persons of the gods, through the imagination of individual heads, and brought to the number of nine regions or realms, each of which was given its specific boundaries, natural conditions and inhabitants.

In the highest sky was Asgard, the native seat of the Aesir, the Olympus of the north, an empire with splendid palaces and beautiful flat corridors; in a straight line immediately below Asgard was Licht-Alfheim, a world inhabited by the good Alfar or the bright elves; the latter joined again below Midgard (the middle garden), so called because this world was the center of the universe: it was the abode of men, that is, the earth with its valleys, mountains, seas and rivers. Down again, in the same direction as Earth, Licht-Alfheim and Asgard, one thought to be Schwarz-Alfheim, the lightless realm of the black or evil elves. This finally followed in the extreme depths of space, forming the opposite pole from the uppermost Asgard, the dark, cold realm of death, night and misery, Helheim, an area which, as I said, was ruled and named by the above-mentioned Hel, and which took in all people who did not enjoy the privilege of being transferred to the heavenly Asgard by honorable death in battle, by falling in strife and war. Those who died of illness lived on below, miserable and miserable.

The other four worlds lay to the side of these five other towers, piled up in a vertical line; namely two of the same to the right and left of Asgard, but a distance below the latter, the kingdom of heaven: in the north Niflheim [54] or Nebelheim, an ice-cold and stormy area, often confused, it seems, with Helheim; in the east then Jotunheim, the residence of the Joten (giants). The last two realms had their place on the right and left side of Helheim, the deepest realm, but a stretch above it: in the west Vanaheim (Wanaheim), the land of the rather enigmatic Vanen (Wanen), who were enemies of the Asen family in prehistoric times , and in the south Muspelheim, the fire world, inhabited by the Muspel sons with their king Surtur, who often break out to set the seat of the Sitzsir on fire. We want to describe the location of the four side worlds in more detail: Niflheim and Jotunheim extended sideways at the top between Asgard and Licht-Alfheim, while Vanaheim and Muspelheim extended sideways in the depths between Helheim and Schwarz-Alfheim, so that between the two above and the two the lower realms was quite a distance, but it was the same as the earth at the center.

The universe thus divided, however, was thought to be held and supported by an immense ash tree, which with its trunk and branches stretched through all the worlds mentioned and had three main roots, one in Midgard, the second in Niflheim and the third in Jotunheim , while its treetop, named Läradh, soaring into the air, towers over the battlements of Asgard and gathers the meadows daily under its shadow. This largest and most beautiful tree, which is immortal at the same time and even survives the ancient burning of the world, is named Yggdrasil (literally the bearer of terror). Reaching the origin of this idea, according to one of the assumptions expressed by the author of these lines, we can see the Milky Way gleaming in the sky, which shimmers particularly brightly on the cloudless nights of the cold north, so that its unmistakable shape appears in the giant ash the imagination might create the impression of a giant tree embracing the world.

The life of the Nordic gods, their various rulings, their shortcomings and mistakes, which in the end result in the twilight of the gods Ragnarokr or the end of the world, we can no more describe here than the lot of the inhabitants of the earth, their intercourse with the sir, giants, alps, good people and evil demons. Nordic German mythology, however fully developed it may otherwise appear, is characterized by a certain cloudy coloring which is quite far removed from the cheerful outlook which generally characterizes the Greek doctrine of gods. The former corresponds to the dark and rough sky under which it was conceived, the latter to the bright and laughing firmament of the happier Mediterranean coasts.

In general, the Greek system of gods appears to us to be the most perfect of all other systems of many gods. The mythology of the Greeks is the last, or, according to Schelling's view already mentioned, it forms "the end of a process in which mythology arises," and indeed, as this thinker thinks, a process forced upon man by elemental force, which is different I brought systems one after the other, so that the earlier was the basis for the later. To what extent this has happened is a difficult question, especially in relation to the Hellenes, who used to deal with everything foreign on their own. We must not only ignore what Schelling said about the old Germanic and Scandinavian doctrine of gods, but also his reflections on the development and completion of the Greek system. And the outline of the latter may be very brief, if I am allowed to refer to my "catechism" [55] of the mythology of all civilized peoples, 1 in which one finds, despite its compactness, a hopefully sufficient overview of Greco-Roman polytheism. For this reason, only so much is discussed here, without the completeness of the presentation. With the Greeks we meet three gods appearing one after the other, of which the third and last asserted itself from then on. In the first Uranus and Gaea held the scepter, in the second Kronos and Rhea; Along with his mother, Kronos dethroned Uranus, his father. Zeus, the youngest son of this couple, ousted him and Rhea; he now founded the third regiment, which presented itself as a milder one and therefore became permanent, consisting of himself and his family, whose members were furthermore called the "younger" gods, in contrast to the overthrown older ones. When the dispute was resolved, the first thing to do was to divide the universe, as was determined by Zeus, the head of the third rule. Since the latter had two older brothers, Poseidon and Pluton, whose claims had to be taken into account, he demarcated three special realms, the sky (with the solid earth), the sea area and the underworld (the Hades). He himself read out the heavens for himself, while Poseidon had to make do with the water kingdom, Pluton with the underworld: everyone was head of the district assigned to him, only that Zeus continued to assert the highest decision over everything, his will from heaven at will proclaiming. For in heaven (Olympos) he himself pitched his throne, surrounded by chief gods, whose number was fixed at twelve, including himself. Poseidon also belonged in this twelve number because he had his kingdom in the sunlight of the upper world; the subterranean pluton, on the other hand, was excluded from participation in this circle. As a result, the gods were often divided into two headings, upper and lower, superi and inferi, light gods and night gods. The twelve deities of heaven represented a closed state of gods; they were called after their Greek and Roman names: Zeus (Jupiter), Hera (Juno), Phoibos Apollon (Phöbus Apollo), Artemis (Diana), Pallas Athene (Minerva), Hermes (Mercurius), Ares (Mars), Aphrodite (Venus ), Hephestus (Vulcanus), Demeter (Ceres), Hestia (Vesta) and Poseidon (Neptunus). Zeus was at the head of the whole, the other members were given special offices; their king, however, asserted himself on all sides, and otherwise no inviolable boundaries had been drawn for the individual fields of each. For, as I said, they had their own functions, but several of them interfered with the effectiveness of their fellow gods when the circumstances brought it about, and they might at times give rise to arguments; some of the twelve were gradually endowed richer and richer, with those who called them at times ascribing to them the influence of other deities. This was not the case with Zeus, who, as the supreme ruler, inalienably retained the powers to which he was entitled and extended his power over everything, over the greatest and the smallest, the closest and the most distant. How great one imagined his apparition was, we already learn from Homer's Iliad; but in the most sublime image, almost like the only God of Christians, Aeschylos shows him to us when he sings in the tone of the psalms: [56]


Eternal supremacy rule in good health

The decisions of Zeus are always inexplicable;

Nevertheless they shine all around

Even in night, and blindness was part of it

The stooped dust son.


Meanwhile, walk victoriously and upright

The finished work that evoked Zeus' forehead!

Runs through wastelands

His will's path, through the cloudy night

And veiled abyss.


His bullet throws in dust

The towering madness of the poor day sons

He wins in a storm without a tank,

Heavenly and light, without complaint; Everything he winks,

Never leaving his throne, resplendent in noble light.

Outside that twelve number stood several powerful deities, Eros, Dionysus and Pan; the latter referring to an Egyptian model. But Zeus and other chief gods were assigned a greater or lesser number of sub-gods, a retinue of servants, some of whom exercised a great power, and some a less important power: through their cooperation they completed the state of gods or the Greek mythological system. The demigods also increased the brilliance: for various heroes and heroines (heroes and heroines) either conquered the sky or achieved such a reputation that they were divinely worshiped. Finally, the lowest rank was occupied by a motley army of nymphs, partly in the country, partly living in the water and associating with people. With the Greeks the world does not perish, the thought of immortality lives in them; for they not only hold the gods for eternity, but also assume the continued life of men after their death, as the idea of ​​the underworld or the realm of shadows that they have dreamed already shows; the latter is a double one, one rewarding and one punishing. Pluton ruled over this area, and the wicked were expelled to Tartarus, the place of punishment of the realm of death, while the good were admitted to the Elysium, the island of the blessed. In the opinion of the Greeks, there was not just a continued life, but also wages and punishment in this continued life. We leave other legends, such as the robbery of Persephone (Proserpina), a daughter of Demeter (Ceres), the mystery service that was connected with them, and the interpretation, explanation and interpretation of these and other religious customs, the cult of individual deities and the stories of heroes unexplained; for in part there is still a darkness in this area, the solution of which, if it is possible at all, can only be hoped for with a more extensive knowledge of the tradition.

We conclude this cursory encounter with Greek mythology with the observation that the Romans made the religion of the Hellenes theirs for the most part, through and through, without major changes. The imagination of the real Roman people was never self-creative. When the founders of Rome came from Greece as colonists and assigned a native primordial god, such as Janus, to the gods they had brought with them, they basically only did what their Greek ancestors had once done, which on the one hand were the outlines of ancient Pelasgian deities found during their immigration on the other hand, used various Egyptian types in the gradual formation of their system of gods, which nevertheless turned out to be peculiar enough. But to decide, or even to state with some certainty, what and how much the Greeks, after their settlement [57] on the Mediterranean Sea, of neighboring Asia Minor or Egypt in the religious area appropriated in order to translate the foreign, as it were, into Greek That will obviously not be possible until the book of mythology has become a world-wide one through the collection and comparison of all legends, from the earliest traditions to the latest; only in this way would the researcher succeed in directing his gaze with clarity on the ultimate doctrine of gods, the Greek.

The consideration, limited to mere fragments, as it has been since then, excludes an overview of the whole, and such an overview is necessary if we want to explain the entire religious movement of the human race with good success with regard to its beginnings, its successive spread, its imitation, Reshuffle, kinship. It is the task of comparative mythology to dismantle and fathom the web of this immense network of ideas, a science which is the creation of the German spirit, as it was primarily based on Adalbert Kuhn. Christian Lassen, who recognizes the great merit of this scholar, also remarks that this science only became possible after acquaintance with the Rigveda, the oldest literary monument of the Indocelts; This substantial work would have enabled us in several cases to return the gods of related peoples and the myths of them to their original meaning. Lassen then draws a preliminary result, which we want to remember literally because of its importance. »The deities more or less common to these peoples are with their Indian names the following: Indra or Djupati or Divaspati, Sarameja, Parganja, Saranjû, Varuna, Sûrja or Savitar, Ushas, ​​Idâ or Ilâ, Gandharva and Ribhu. Mitra and Soma were only worshiped by the Indians and the Iranians, but the idea of ​​a progenitor, named Manu, can be demonstrated among many Indo-Europeans. Of the remaining agreements, only two may be emphasized here, because they are among the most widespread. The first is the myth of the descent of fire and the divine potion. Different people appear among the different peoples; also the birds are different which bring down fire from heaven. Since it would lead too far if I wanted to prove this in detail, I will limit myself to the remark that the name Prometheus is to be explained from the Sanskrit word pramâtha, to seize; the interpretation of this name by foresight arose on Greek soil. The second legend is that of the battle of the God of the air phenomena with the evil spirits who hold the cows, i.e. the clouds, captive. With the Greeks, Apollo appears in this capacity when he visits the kidnapped cows. Furthermore, the Greek myth of Heracles and Geryones and the Roman of Hercules and Cacus can be traced back to Indra's fight with Vritra; the Greeks call the latter Orthros and thought of him as two-headed.The belief of the German people in the wild hunter and the furious army is a distortion of the idea that Wodan, riding on a white horse and accompanied by dogs, storms through the air to fight the evil spirits. This agrees that Indra is accompanied by the dog of the gods Sarameja and rides on the white steed of Ukkaihçravas; with this horse the lightning and thundering horse Pegasus of Zeus can be compared. In the German heroic saga Siegfried finally takes the place of Siegmund, who is an epithet of Odin [58] and to whom the killing of a dragon is ascribed, like that of the serpent Ahi to Indra. "

So far. The Siegfried saga last mentioned by him, the most famous and widely ramified in Nordic-Germanic antiquity, which was often spun out in a confused, clumsy and contradicting manner, has, as is well known, found its best conclusion in the Nibelungenlied. We see the course of this carefully discussed in a diligent work by Karl Steiger, which has just appeared; The talented young scholar traces the origin of the saga of Siegmund or Siegfried, apparently without knowing the above passage, to the myth of the sun god Freyr, for reasons worthy of note.

Schelling does not escape the importance of comparative mythology either. We can actually say that his "Philosophy of Mythology" is basically nothing more than a comparison of the most distinguished directions which have emerged in the entire mythological process. The basis of his system was, of course, as we could not hide from ourselves above, an arbitrary one and therefore failed; But the example given by him will continue to have an effect and give rise to new attempts to shed light on the manner in which mankind developed spiritually in its childhood. Because an endless field is open to comparative mythology.

First, it is up to the researcher to investigate the main features which are not only common to the Indocelts, but also to be found in the inhabitants of almost all regions of the sky, namely the idea of ​​the divine or of a divine primordial being with which the existence of the universe is connected. Second, the main features that recur in a number of peoples, mostly imitated or transformed, must be taken into account: the idea of ​​a good and bad principle, a dwelling place for gods, a paradise, an immortal survival after death, an Elysium and a place of punishment, an end of the world or of creation. Thirdly, it is important to remove those gods from the polygod systems who seem to be related to each other, to consider the character, the effectiveness and the traits which are reported of them according to their peculiarity or resemblance and, above all, to assign the best known gods that one encounters in the imagination of most peoples: the god of love, the goddess of love, the god of heaven, the sun god, the thunder god, the god of battle, the god of victory, certain good and bad demons. Fourth, the heroic sagas must be ascertained in their origins, transmissions and changes, insofar as they seem to have any connection with one another. Because warriors of good and bad character, giants and fighters of unusual strength, huge miracle animals of the most diverse genus and species, who appear to us as phantoms, go through the mythologies of the Orient and Occident. We had no room to particularly commemorate those figures in the above; but comparative mythology cannot avoid paying decisive attention to these phenomena. It wants us to believe that many powerful beings whom we are accustomed to view for the birth of the fable may have a real background; namely, we suspect that the distant and late descendants of the human race have dark memories of so many extraordinary figures who accompanied and surrounded their ancestors eye to eye in very gray epochs. Reports of the latter of their former dangers, struggles, and deeds [59] passed on indisputably from sex to sex and from country to country for infinite periods of time. If it is proven that those giant animals existed, mammoth, mastodon, plesiosaurus, megalosaurus, iguanodon and many other species, of which elephant, crocodile, whale fish and African forest snakes are the last examples: why should it be foolish to think of the primeval existence of a griffin, a bird Rock to believe a unicorn? Today's natural science apparently takes away the doubts that have existed since then; the Sphinx used to be a riddle, now it has come to life! At the same time, we can conclude from this point of view that there used to be men and women of gigantic bodies who were able to victoriously take up the quarrel with those contemporary monsters and to protect themselves and their children in the struggle for existence. So what next? From such ancient news the ongoing notion of giants of both good and bad character had developed; for among these powerful individuals, alongside the nobler ones, there would hardly have been a lack of raw monsters who did not spare their peers themselves, since they were in no way inferior in ferocity to the animal monsters as soon as they were able to devour the weaker fellow men. It is undisputed that at that time people did not yet acknowledge a gender that had its own and more than animal justification. Yes, we only go one step further when we believe the old myth of water nymphs, nereids, tritons, river gods drawn from reality by assuming that there were human organisms in the earliest prehistoric times that were amphibiously formed, i.e. both were able to live in water than on land; afterwards the organs of the people could gradually develop differently, as a result of a different way of life. Science, if it holds fast to the development theory it has now put forward, would hardly want to reject this assumption. Likewise, we do not venture too much when we see a reminder of reality in the saga of the dryads, the nymphs of trees and forests: once, as there is no doubt, people endangered by animal fellow creatures were on the high side Trunks of trees and withdrawn under the cover of leafy branches, where they set up their abode, like the monkeys, away from the flat ground. The weaker women might want to protect themselves and their young families from the claws of hostile creatures: the trees and forests looked animated long afterwards. Furthermore, the once believed existence of giants in caves and mountain crevices offers its explanation from a similar memory; for primitive men often chose, which was quite natural, their camp in the same fixed and protected hiding places as snakes and other wild animals, in order to be better protected from attack. It was easy to see a kind of mountain ghost in the inhabitants of such hiding places, who had wonderful strength and form. At last we feel tempted not to smell a mere creation of an exaggerated imagination in the Seilenen and Bockfüssler either, but rather believe that their figures reach back to the prehistoric pastoral life of wild communities, but were not completely forgotten in the cultural era, but under a fantastic one Decoration kept their memory. Specifically, the sexual sensual pleasure, which was said to be a non-beneficial character trait, points to an epoch in which no homely order was thought of, but the will of the stronger over the weaker sex passionately attacked; this might take a long time and not even stop in better conditions [60]. In the beginning, human coexistence hardly rose above the socialization of animals in the raw state of nature.

The imagination of the people, however, was and is inexhaustible. Therefore we do not want to claim that not much has been added to the real phenomena just mentioned. In addition, we would like to admit that without any further factual cause one has also proceeded to populate the world with a kind of wonderful creatures, which in shape were directly opposed to the giants and giants, yes, their own body mass, namely with dwarfs, Gnomes, elves, flower spirits and whatever else they are called in the various mythologies. The opposition to the former has probably evoked them, just as one created and wanted to see fairies, good and bad spirits; otherwise their invention could not be explained. Even up to modern times, and even up to the present day, the phantasy continues, partly to produce such dreams, partly to hold onto them and to carry them on.

We come here to the general popular belief. As is well known, the silent thought of sorcery and supernatural effects still persists. The European sailor pays attention to so-called "Catherine chickens" that follow a ship; as he believes, they imply that there is a murderer on board, or that a murder will take place in the ship. Nor have the legends of the witches of the Harz Mountains and of the Rübezahl of the Giant Mountains, of elves and elf queens, mermaids, goblins of the mountains, brownies and other miraculous good and bad beings disappeared from the minds of the crowd. The memories of the dreamlike ideas of the old Germanic-Nordic peoples are indelible up to our days. So the poet fantasizes that there are summer nights as they are said to have once lay over old Swedish lakes, secretly enlivened and pervaded by figures of gods, illuminated by wonderful twilight. Clouds of fog shimmering through the moon then drift, white and light, tearing into individual strips, like a swarm of elves from the Edda, across a lake and float around the ship's boat in the gentle play of the waves. The legends of water women and mermaids, which are still common and exist today, are probably more related to the tradition of ancient nymphs and to the belief that material nature is all animated; a belief that has been outlined above.

The savage peoples are not free from such ideas. The Hottentots cling to ancient illusions. Clever fellows from among them boast of being endowed with magical powers, partly knowledgeable, partly self-confident deceivers, who use a superficial knowledge of nature and medicine for their personal advantage. They are mentioned as having the power to both cause and deter lightning, thunder, rain and storms. If the incantation happens to be successful, the better; if it fails, excuses are at hand and occasionally start over. In a word, they proceed in the same way as so many priests in Europe have done since the Middle Ages, who rely on miraculous faces, apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, oracles and prophecies in order to rule the great crowd for their misanthropic purposes.

The most radical role still asserts everywhere the evil principle, the devil. Just one example of this. The Votyaks, who are part of the great Finnish tribe, have kept their customs and costumes unchanged since time immemorial, as well as their glaring superstitions, which have an unspeakable influence on all their actions. That they believe in good and bad days, of course, they have in common with the majority of the inhabitants of western and southern Europe; Likewise, it is nothing special that they indicate the cry of a bird in the forest as luck or bad luck. But the fear of the "Shaitan" (devil) is paramount to them. A ray of weather that smashes a tree, in their opinion, kills a devil living in it. A horse thief falls to the devil; the latter cooks the soul of such a man in a pitch kettle when he dies. However, being great lovers of beautiful horses, they steal horses wherever they can in the hope of not being discovered.

But let's return to comparative mythology. Fifthly, when the Orient and Occident of pagan antiquity have been surveyed as thoroughly as possible, and the multifarious legends of the new world and of the oceanic islands have also come to a comprehensive appreciation, the point in time will appear when this science has the highest and ultimate task has to meet. We are hardly mistaken when we say: the researcher, armed, as it were, with the weapons brought in from the most varied of ages, will not only feel the inclination, but also, in our opinion, the need to also place Christianity or the revealed religion as the touchstone of a thorough criticism subject. He will ruthlessly have to investigate whether the Christian teaching is an independent one, a new, extraordinary teaching with which people have been gifted. No hesitation should prevent him from undertaking a precise examination whether the content of Christianity is not partly a fruit of paganism, or, in other words, whether the doctrine of the only God who has taken the place of polytheism is outside mythology or Not. For there are many features that could lead us to believe that the mythological process in no way ends, as Schelling said, with ancient Greek doctrine, but, to put it briefly, that Christianity has such a connection with the prehistoric world that the same thing means no more than a new mythology! A frightening opinion, however, when we see in front of our eyes that the entire culture of contemporary humanity, the culture in its for now highest bloom, rests on Christian teaching. We know nothing better than the latter; the advances it has made on earth for nearly two millennia are astonishing. Peace, freedom and bliss draw with her into the hearts of those people who, truly guided by her, act and walk according to her. The purest humanism is its result, true humanity its goal.

Christianity, however, has to put up with the verdict of criticism, and comparative mythology in particular has an important part to say here, as will be evident from the following. Their task is only slightly indicated. The world overview, which it must have at its command, will enable this science to first designate the sum of the pagan elements, those from Asiatic mythologies, and the Jewish ones, those from the religion of the Jews into Christianity at that time entered when the apostles were teaching. For it is not to be doubted that the latter did not by any means set up the pure image of the great world teacher in all traits, but that they, carried away by their noble enthusiasm or out of some consideration for the enhancement of their work, on the impression of the new doctrine which they wished to bring forth among the peoples who were deeply sunk at that time - that the apostles, [62] I say, here embellished the personality of the divine master and the deeds performed by him as wonderfully as possible, there the original form of his words according to taste of the Orientals and Israelites, but not always simple and German. We are happy to admit that they acted unsuspectingly, and that their procedure was necessary and appropriate to the times, if they wanted to expand and strengthen the secret Christian covenant, to win the hearts of the common people and to steel them against external attacks in need and death. But today, when we no longer need to fear enemies after Luther has recaptured evangelical freedom, we can ask deeper questions; Our understanding demands inevitably that we seek the basic truths out of the dross and the core of the doctrine, for the sake of which its exalted Creator is praised as Redeemer, Savior, Blessed One and Savior of the human race, in a disproportionately higher sense than ever a God of the Gentiles was praised. We no longer adhere to the idioms of the preachers; the general watchword of our age is: clarity in all things! Mythology can therefore make an incalculable contribution to religion in terms of its value. Theological mists must be dispelled; sheer belief