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The paternal authority is highly reverenced: the son who lives to years of maturity, repays by affection to his parents the charge of his maintenance in infancy, which the language notes by a special word; whilst on the other hand, the Erinnys, whose avenging hand is put in motion by the curse of a father or mother, is an object of deep dread. These latter, engaged for special jobs, or at the harvest and other busy seasons of field labor, seem to have given their labor in exchange for board and clothing: they are mentioned in the same line with the slaves,  and were as has been just observed probably on the whole little better off. Each new item which is introduced appears first as a build-up. But the whole history of this lost letter is very curious, and is rendered intelligible only by the supposition that the Iliad and Odyssey belonged for a wide space of time to the memory, the voice, and the ear, exclusively. When he returned, he found them no longer disposed to endure his dominion, or to continue to him the honors which their previous feelings of gratitude had conferred.
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Rapid Cantonese, Vol. Rapid Greek, Vols. Norse Myths: Viking Mythology wit Cart Help Sign In. The names preserved by the ancient genealogies may be considered of three kinds; either they were the name of a race or clan converted into the name of an individual, or they were altogether fictitious, or lastly, they were real historical names.
An attempt is made, in the four genealogical tables inserted below, to distinguish these three classes of names Of those who are left in the third class i. But I have only placed in the third class those names concerning which there seemed to be little doubt.
The rest are left to the judgment of the reader. Pursuant to this principle of division, Mr. Clinton furnishes four genealogical tables,  in which the names of persons representing races are printed in capital letters, and those of purely fictitious persons in italics.
The names singled out as fictitious are distinguished by no common character, nor any mark either assignable or defensible, from those which are left as real. To take an example p. Besides, there are many other names really eponymous, which we cannot now recognize to be so, in consequence of our imperfect acquaintance with the subdivisions of the Hellenic population, each of which, speaking generally, had its god or hero, to whom the original of the name was referred.
If, then, eponymous names are to be excluded from the category of reality, we shall find that the ranks of the real men will be thinned to a far greater extent than is indicated by Mr. Though Mr.
Clinton does not carry out consistently either of his disfranchising qualifications among the names and persons of the old mythes, he nevertheless presses them far enough to strike out a sensible proportion of the whole. By conceding thus much to modern scepticism, he has departed from the point of view of Hellanikus and Herodotus, and the ancient historians generally; and it is singular that the names, which he has been the most forward to sacrifice, are exactly those to which they were most attached, and which it would have been most painful to their faith to part with,—I mean the eponymous heroes.
Clinton draws between persons real and persons fictitious in the old mythical world, though they might perhaps occasionally, on special grounds, call in question the existence of some individual characters amongst the mythical ancestry of Greece; but they never dreamed of that general severance into real and fictitious persons, which forms the principle of Mr. Setting up the entire list as real, they calculated so many generations to a century, and thus determined the number of centuries which separated themselves from the gods, the heroes, or the autochthonous men who formed in their view the historical starting point.
But as soon as it is admitted that the personages in the mythical world are divisible into two classes, partly real and partly fictitious, the integrity of the series is broken up, and it can be no longer employed as a basis for chronological calculation. In the estimate of the ancient chronologers, three succeeding persons of the same lineage—grandfather, father, and son,—counted for a century; and this may pass in a rough way, so long as you are thoroughly satisfied that they are all real persons: but if, in the succession of persons A, B, C, you strike out B as a fiction, the continuity of data necessary for chronological computation disappears.
Now Mr. Clinton is inconsistent with himself in this,—that, while he abandons the unsuspecting historical faith of the Grecian chronologers, he nevertheless continues his chronological computations upon the data of that ancient faith,—upon the assumed reality of all the persons constituting his ante-historical generations.
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It will be found that, when we once cease to believe in the mythical world as an uninterrupted and unalloyed succession of real individuals, it becomes unfit to serve as a basis for chronological computations, and that Mr. Clinton, when he mutilated the data of the ancient chronolo [p. Clinton, are essentially unavailable for such a purpose. It is right here to add, that I agree in Mr. Clinton, while professing a wish to tell the story of the Greeks as they have told it themselves, seems unconscious how capitally his point of view differs from theirs.
It is undoubtedly right that the early history if so it is to be called of the Greeks should be told as they have told it themselves, and with that view I have endeavored in the previous narrative, as far as I could, to present the primitive legends in their original color and character,—pointing out at the same time the manner in which they were transformed and distilled into history by passing through the retort of later annalists. It is the legend, as thus transformed, which Mr.
Clinton seems to understand as the story told by the Greeks themselves,—which cannot be admitted to be true, unless the meaning of the expression be specially explained.
In his general distinction, however, between the real and fictitious persons of the [p. Enough has been said to show that the witnesses upon whom Mr. Clinton relies, blend truth and fiction habitually, indiscriminately, and unconsciously, even upon his own admission. Let us now consider the positions which he lays down respecting historical evidence. He says Introduct. The presumption is in favor of the early tradition, if no argument can be brought to overthrow it. The persons may be considered real, when the description of them is consonant with the state of the country at that time: when no national prejudice or vanity could be concerned in inventing them: when the tradition is consistent and general: when rival or hostile tribes concur in the leading facts: when the acts ascribed to the person divested of their poetical ornament enter into the political system of the age, or form the basis of other transactions which fall within known historical times.
Hercules was a real person. His descendants in many branches remained in many states down to the historical times.
Above all, Hercules is authenticated by the testimonies both of the Iliad and Odyssey. These positions appear to me inconsistent with any sound views of the conditions of historical testimony. What Mr. Clinton here calls the early tradition , is in point of fact, the narrative of these early poets. The word tradition is an equivocal word, and begs the whole question; for while in its obvious and literal meaning it implies only something handed down, whether truth or fiction,—it is tacitly understood to imply a tale descriptive of some real matter of fact, taking its rise at the time when that fact happened, and originally accurate, but corrupted by subsequent oral transmission.
Understanding, therefore, by Mr. The presumption in favor of an asserting witness is either strong or weak, or positively nothing, according to the compound ratio of his means of knowledge, his moral and intellectual habits, and his motive to speak the truth. It cannot be shown that they possessed any means of knowledge, while it is certain that they could have no motive to consider historical truth: their object was to satisfy an uncritical appetite for narrative, and to interest the emotions of their hearers.
Fiction may be, and often is, extravagant and incredible; but it may also be plausible and specious, and in that case there is nothing but the want of an attesting certificate to distinguish it from truth. Now all the tests, which Mr.
Clinton proposes as guarantees of the reality of the Homeric persons, will be just as well satisfied by plausible fiction as by actual matter of fact: the plausibility of the fiction consists in its satisfying those and other similar conditions. Without any doubt, the Iliad appealed most powerfully to the reverence for ancestral gods and heroes among the Asiatic colonists who first heard it: the temptation of putting forth an interesting tale is quite a sufficient stimulus to the invention of the poet, and the plausibility of the tale a suffi [p.
It is to be recollected that all the persons and facts, here defended as matter of real history, by Mr. Clinton, are referred to an age long preceding the first beginning of records. I have already remarked that Mr. Clinton himself respecting the [p. Clinton remained in many states down to the historical times. I dispute the propriety of quoting the Iliad and Odyssey as Mr.
Clinton observes Introd. How much, or what particular portions, may be true, no one can pronounce. The gods and heroes are, from our point of view, essentially fictitious; but from the Grecian point of view they were the most real if the expression may be permitted, i. They not only formed parts of the genealogy as originally conceived, but were in themselves the grand reason why it was conceived,—as a golden chain to connect the living man with a divine ancestor. The genealogy, therefore, taken as a whole, and its value consists in its being taken as a whole, was from the beginning a fiction; but the names of the father and grandfather of the living man, in whose day it first came forth, were doubtless those of real men.
Wherever, therefore, we can verify the date of a genealogy, as applied to some living person, we may reasonably presume the two lowest members of [p.