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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: LECTURE III ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE GREEK EPIC TRADITION OUTSIDE HOMER In the remains of the earliest Greek poetry we are met by a striking contrast. As Mr. Lang has told us, 'Homer presents to the anthropologist the spectacle of a society which will have nothing to do with anthropology.' By Homer of course Mr. Lang means the Iliad and the Odyssey ; and we may add to those poems a stream of heroic tradition which runs more or less clearly through most of our later literature, and whose spirit is what we call classic, Homeric, or Olympian. But there is also in the earliest epic tradition another stratum, of which this Olympian character does not hold. A stratum full of the remains, and at times even betraying the actuality, of those ' beastly devices of the heathen' which are dear to the heart of us anthropologists—if a mere Greek scholar may venture to class himself among even amateur anthropologists: ceremonies of magic and purification, beast-worship, stone-worship, ghosts and anthropomorphic gods, traces of the peculiar powers of women both as 'good medicine' and as titular heads of the family, and especially a most pervading and almost ubiquitous memory of Human Sacrifice. This stratum is represented by Hesiod and the Rejected Epics—I mean those products of theprimitive saga-poetry which were not selected for recitation at the Panathenaea (or the unknown Ionian archetype of the Panathenaea), and which consequently fell into neglect—by the Orphic literature, by a large element in tragedy, most richly perhaps by the antiquarian traditions preserved in Pausanias, and in the hostile comments of certain Christian writers, such as Clement and Eusebius. Now the first thing for the historian to observe about this non-Homeric stratum is this : that non- Homeric is by n...
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