…you take the blue pill–the story ends…you take the red pill…and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. –
Morpheus in The Matrix
(BEING CONTINUED FROM 10/03/2018)
§ 2. Theory and Ritual of Human Sacrifice.
The sacrifice of a Saviour-God is a specialisation of the general practice of human sacrifice, which takes many forms. 1 The most readily intelligible are those in which (a), after a tribal war, captives are ritually slain to appease or compensate the spirits of those killed in fighting; (b) those in which, in time of pestilence or 1 danger, or by way of precaution, victims are slain to propitiate the deities supposed to be concerned; (c) those by way of thank-offerings to the Gods after a victory; 2 and (d) those in which, on the death of a savage chief, slaves and wives—and, it may be, animals—are slain to accompany him in the “other” life, whatever it may be. The victims in the last case are the analogues of the weapons and the food placed in or on or near the grave in ordinary savage burial.
The fourth form of ritual slaying is sometimes differentiated from human sacrifice “in the true sense” as being simply a provision, dictated by filial piety, for the comfort and dignity of a savage aristocrat in the other world. 3 It is well to note the distinction; but it is no less important to realise how completely the conception in this case fuses psychologically with that behind the express sacrifice of a victim to appease a deity, and, further, how the funeral sacrifice leads up to the “messenger” and “scapegoat” sacrifices, which blend in that of the Saviour-God-Man. All three of the forms specified are common in savage and barbaric life, and it is in the psychic atmosphere of such conventional blood-shedding that there grows up the whole body of the religious doctrine of sacrifice. Human sacrifice, indeed, may be defined as one specialisation of ritual slaughter and sacrament.
Strictly speaking, the “messenger” and “scapegoat” victims are also outside the primary conception of sacrifice inasmuch as
they are not, or not necessarily, offered up to any God by way of propitiation. The pharmakos or “magic-man” (literally “medicine-man,” but not in the received sense of that term) who was ritually beaten and put to death in the festival called Thargelia at Athens was strictly a scapegoat, upon whom were put all evils, the people’s sins included: he took them away, and was killed to complete the process of riddance, but was not “offered up” to any God. 1 But in point of fact the Hebrew scapegoat was specifically a “sin offering”; and of the two goats concerned one was “for the Lord” and the other “for Azazel,” the Goat-God. 2 And even in the Greek case the act of ritual slaying is akin to the others inasmuch as all alike are supposed to work either the salvation or benefit of the community or the good of an eminent individual. As we shall see, the slaying which it most concerns us to trace, that of the Saviour-God, may in some cases be only in this general sense a sacrifice, being conceivably rather an act of ritual magic, like the slaying of the pharmakos, than a propitiation of a God, since the victim (even in the case of the scapegoat) is a God. But, as we shall see, the forms of the slaying assimilated, all being alike “religious,” and the psychic connotations were very much the same. 3
Of the first of the four common forms above specified the typical examples are those furnished by the practice of the North-American Indians, 4 who commonly added cannibalism 5 to their torture-sacrifices, apparently combining the motives which led some savages to eat their dead by way of symbolic “communion,” and those which suggested the eating of brave enemies, or animals, in the hope of acquiring their courage. This last is still common in Africa; where, again, we have instances of individual appeasement of the slain. “In cases of murder or manslaughter a sacrifice is made to lay the spirit of the victim”; 6and among the Nilotic negroes, when a warrior has killed a man, he must in propitiation shave his head, catch a fowl, hang it round his neck by the beak, and cut away the body, leaving the head hanging. 7 Here the fowl is a surrogate for
the man. In the case of funeral sacrifices also, we shall see, the element of cannibalism enters; and here too the primary principle appears to have been that which underlay “kin-eating,” though a new sacramental element begins to be involved. In any case the procedure is clearly religious. A contemporary anthropologist tells that among the Unyoro and other tribes of Uganda, before British rule, on the death of a king,”a circular pit was dug, not more than five feet in diameter, and about twelve feet deep. The king’s bodyguard seized the first nine Unyoro men they met and threw them alive into the pit. Then the dead body of the king was rolled in bark-cloth, and the skin of a cow, newly killed, wrapped round it and sewn. This bundle was then lowered in the midst of the nine men in the pit, no clay was filled in, but another cowskin was stretched tightly across the opening and pegged down all round. A covering of grass was then neatly laid over the skin, and the multitude who were present at the funeral set to work at once to build a temple over the grave. 1 A headman was appointed as watcher, and very many of the personal servants of the deceased were appointed to live in the temple, and their descendants after them. It was the duty of the surrounding country to see that they were supplied with food.”
[paragraph continues]”How any beings could hit on this method of honouring a dead king,” he concludes, “passes the range of the most morbid imagination.” 2 The really surprising thing is that a professed anthropologist in the twentieth century should have been so perplexed. The cruelly simple usage in question is one of the most familiar types of human sacrifice; 3 and even the further development of “messenger” sacrifices, which we shall have to consider later, proceeds on the same primitive and transparent reasoning. In the still later development of the Man-God sacrifice, which partly involves the last-mentioned, the psychic causation is more complicated, and, as we shall see, the variations of practice set up a variety of problems. In some forms it is simple enough. At Benin, for instance, hundreds of criminals were sacrificed annually at one festival, at the rate of twenty-three a day. On these occasions the king, regally attired, “addressed
the victims in a kind voice, telling them he was sending them with a message 1 to his father. They were to salute his father, and tell him that his son was not ready to join him yet, but he sent them, the victims, to be with his father and salute him.” 2 In less primitive societies we shall find the office of messenger doubled with that of the sacrificed God-Man. He in turn appears at times to be doubled with the Scapegoat, or remover of sins and evil spirits; and there are yet other variants—e.g., the simple sacrifices of victims slain in treaty-making as “blood of reconciliation.” 3 But if each phase be handled in a scientific spirit, it will be found to reveal in turn much if not all of its anthropological significance.
The most remarkable of the Man-God-slaying cults which have come under what maybe termed scientific observation, while actually in force, is that which prevailed till fifty or sixty years ago among the mountaineer Khonds, 4 or Kui, of Orissa. The first observer, Major Macpherson, was a man abnormally qualified in his day both for the study of the sacrificial rite and for its peaceful abolition; and science owes him on the former head nearly as much as civilisation does on the latter. It would be hard to find an anthropological research before his day more marked by the scientific spirit.
On the face of his report, there are various reasons for regarding the Khonds as a Dravidian race 5 driven to the hills (where they subjugated other aborigines) by invading Oriyas; and one of several grounds for surmising that their religion derives from ancient Central-Asiatic sources is the fact that, like the Chinese, they show great respect for parents and ancestors. One of their boasts is, or was, “that they reverence their fathers and mothers, while the Hindus treat theirs with contempt.” 6Another reason is their rejection alike of temples and images. “They regard the making, setting-up, and worshipping of images of the Gods as the most signal proof of conscious removal to a hopeless distance from communion with them; a confession of utter despair of being permitted to make any
direct approach to the deity: a sense of debarment which they themselves have never felt.” 1 Yet another reason is the fact that they had no official priesthood, the function being open to anyone who felt called to assume it, and went through the normal preliminary symptoms of a state of trance.
Politically the hill Khonds of Orissa were governed in general by patriarchs, patriarchal councils, and popular assemblies; and there was no trace of Christian influences—the very existence of the tribes having been unknown to the Government before 1835. Their religious system was a normal polytheism, with a Supreme Creator God, known as Boora Pennu or Light God, at the head. Under him were Tari (or Bera) Pennu, 2 the Earth-Goddess, and certain second-class deities of natural or social forces, as rain, vegetation, increase, hunting, war, and boundaries. Next came the deified sinless men of the first age, who were the tutelary Gods of tribes and septs; and under these ranked a multitude of local spirits, all named Gods, who presided over villages, houses, hills, fountains, streams, forests, and so forth. With the second order of Gods was ranked Dinga, the judge of the dead and allotter of retribution, who has some appearance of being taken over from another cult.
It was to Tari, the Earth-Goddess, that human sacrifices were offered; and from the fact that they occurred only among certain tribes, who theoretically admitted the inferiority of Tari to Boora, but gave her their chief devotion and credited her as the Boora-worshippers did Boora with raising fallen man from misery and introducing civilisation, it may be inferred that the cults were originally independent. In the Māliahs (hill districts) of Goomsur, the sacrifice was to “Thadha Pennu,” the Earth-Goddess, symbolised as a peacock. 3 To the last, the sect of Boora regarded human sacrifice “with the utmost abhorrence as the consummation of human guilt, and believed it to have been adopted under monstrous delusions devised by Tari as the mother of falsehood, with a view solely to the
final destruction of her followers.” 1 It is told of Boora, too, that he interfered, through a minor God, according to one myth, to substitute a buffalo for a man as an oblation to Tari; and this miracle is commemorated at an annual great festival of Boora, called the “jakri” or “dragging,” on account of the way in which the buffalo—previously treated as a meriah—is finally handled. According to another account, Boora sent four divine agents to prevent a human sacrifice for which Tari had called. Afterwards, however, her worshippers relapsed. 2
The common relationship of exogamous tribes, who are constantly at war yet habitually intermarry, 3 is the apparent explanation of such a permanent schism. But it seems not impossible that the sacrificial cult was originally that of a conquered race, and that a section of the Khonds adopted it from them, as so often happens where a primitive rite or mystery practised by aborigines is able to appeal to later comers. 4 It was from an apparently subject race who participated in the cult that the Tari-worshipping Khonds purchased their human victims. 5
As normally practised, the rite was not totemistic, 6 but of the nature of “sympathetic magic,” and the purpose was to promote agricultural fertility; but it was also resorted to as a special means of propitiation in the case of a pestilence or other sign of divine displeasure, such as a calamity in the family of a chief; and individual families similarly made propitiation for individual disaster. 7 The victim, called the meriah, or tokki, or keddi, 8 was in all cases either purchased from the procuring caste (who at times kidnapped children from the plains for the purpose) or bred as a hereditary victim, a number of families being set apart and cherished for the purpose, so that he—or she, for it was often a woman—was either personally willing to be slain on religious grounds or was the property of the sacrificers. As it was the universal conviction that
the meriah became a God by the act of sacrifice, there was no difficulty in keeping up the supply; and in times of famine Khonds would sell their own children as victims, considering the sacrificial death a highly honourable one. And the Meriah, being consecrated from the beginning, had unlimited sexual liberty, his intercourse with the wife or daughter of any tribesman being welcomed as a boon from the deity. Generally, however, he had assigned to him a wife, herself a destined victim, and mother of victims to come. 1
The special religio-ethical feature of the rite was the universally accepted doctrine that the victim, if not a volunteer, must be “bought with a price,” 2 and died “for all mankind,” not merely for the Khonds; 3 and this view was set forth in the ritual, though it also expressed distinctly the local demand for greater wealth. An odd feature of it was that, although the flesh of the slain victim was cut up into shreds so that a piece might be buried in every field, the recited myth told that Tari demanded blood because when the earth was soft mud she made it firm by the blood she dropped when she cut her finger. 4 And there was put in her mouth the injunction: “Behold the good change! cut up my body to complete it.” 5 It thus appears that originally the victim had represented the Earth-Goddess herself; and in a variant of the Khond legend in which two women, Karaboodi and Thartaboodi, figure as the “only two females on the earth,” each with a male son, the former, finding that a drop of her blood hardens the wet earth, tells her son to cut her up, which he does. Thereafter the God “Boora Panoo” comes upon the scene, and the cult of human sacrifice is methodically established, the spirit of Karaboodi insisting on its continuance when her descendants offer a monkey as a substitute for a man. 6 Obviously it is an agricultural rite; and it may be that the pretence of drying up the soft mud was a magical device to put the evil spirits of drought on a false scent.
The sacrificial rite lasted three or five days. On the first, the meriah’s hair, previously kept long, was shaved off—save in cases where it had been shorn ten or twelve days before—and the people
passed the night in a licentious revel. 1 On the second, he was carefully bathed and newly clothed, taken in procession to the sacred (or taboo) Meriah grove, where he was fastened to a stake, 2 seated, and anointed with ghee, oil, and turmeric 3 (red dye), garlanded with flowers, and worshipped during the day by the assembly, who again spent the night in debauchery. On the third day he was given milk to drink, and the final act of ritual and sacrifice began. At this stage we are struck by the importance of the priest: “a great and fitly instructed priest alone can officiate”; and it is to be gathered from the accounts of the Janni, as well as from the ritual (1) that he was traditionally a celibate and recluse, parading his austerities and securing sanctity by personal uncleanness; (2) that it was primarily his function to brave the curse of the sacrificed and deified victim; and (3) that it was thus the priestly influence that maintained the sacrifice. Four days after the sacrifice of the meriah there was sacrificed a buffalo, of which the remains were left for the meriah’s spirit 4—a safeguard against blood-guiltiness. 5 The ritual, however, was so framed to begin with as to distribute the responsibility over the village headman or patriarch and the body of the people. On the one hand, the victim reproached his slayers while avowing the belief that he was made a God by the act; on the other hand, the priest and the headman, pleading this, defended themselves by reciting the circumstances under which he was purchased and dedicated, he consenting as a child. The idea seems to have been to set forth thoroughly both points of view, so that there should be no misunderstanding about the religious nature of the act, and the responsibility of the entire community for it; but whether by way of sympathetic imagination on the part of some ritual-making priest, or by simple adoption of the actual language of some past sufferer, the victim in one form of the ritual was made to invoke a curse upon the priest, while the latter declared that it was he, as minister of the Creator God, who gave the death its virtue, and threatened to deprive the resisting one of a place among the Gods. 6 Finally he was either fastened to a cross of which the horizontal bar, pierced by the upright, could be
raised or lowered at will, 1 or placed in the cleft or split made in a long branch of a green tree, which was made to grasp his neck or chest, the open ends being closed and tightly tied so as to imprison him in the wood, and make as it were a cross, of which he was the upright; and it appears to have been at this stage that there occurred one of the most significant acts in the entire ritual. It being essential that the victim should finally not resist, his arms and legs, or, where the arms were sufficiently secured, the legs only, were broken, save in cases where the end was attained by drugging him with opium or datura. 2 This accomplished, the priest slightly wounded the victim with an axe, and the crowd instantly cut him to pieces, leaving untouched the head and intestines. These, after being carefully watched in the interim, were next day, in some cases, burned to ashes with a whole sheep; and the ashes were spread over the fields, or laid as a paste over the houses and granaries. In the same spirit, the portions of flesh were solemnly carried to the participating villages, religiously divided among the people, and buried in the fields, each man placing his piece in the earth “behind his back without looking.”
Upon this ritual there were many local variations. Major-General Campbell, who had followed Macpherson in the Khond agency, tells of a form of the rite in which the victim was first drugged, then taken to the place of execution, where his head and neck were placed in the cleft of a strong split-bamboo, the ends of which were secured and held; whereafter the priest with his axe broke the joints of the legs and arms, and the sacrifice was consummated by the people in the usual frightful way. 3 Among the Khonds of the Māliahs of Goomsur there was much feasting and intoxication for a month prior to the sacrifice; on the day before the rite the victim was intoxicated with toddy, garlanded, bound to a post bearing the peacock effigy of the Earth-Goddess, 4 and ritually addressed as a God. On the next day he was again intoxicated and anointed with oil, of which each one present sought to obtain a touch for his own head. Finally a hog was sacrificed; and the
victim was stifled in the mud made with its blood, then cut in pieces. A buffalo calf was afterwards maimed in front of the post, and on the third day was killed and eaten, 1 visibly as a surrogate. Among the hill tribe called Codooloo, as among the Khonds, there were two sects, of which one offered human sacrifices to the God “Jenkery.” In this case the purchased victim had absolute sexual liberty and the right to eat and drink whatever he would. From the moment of seizure till the sacrifice he was kept intoxicated. The signal for slaughter was a wound in the stomach, with the blood from which the image of the God was besmeared. Then he was cut to pieces, everyone trying to secure a morsel, to be presented to the God of his own village. 2
In yet other cases, according to M. Elie Reclus, the two methods of preventing the victim’s struggles were combined. “She must not die in her bonds, since she dies voluntarily, of her own freewill, as they say. He [the priest] loosens her from the stake, stupefies her by making her gulp down a portion of opium and datura, then breaks her elbows and knees with the back of the hatchet. 3 Other variations are noted in the use of the drug; 4 and in different districts the entire sacrifice varied. Thus among the Kotaya hill tribes the victim was taken before the image of the Earth-Goddess, and rice, coloured (red) with turmeric, was thrown on his hair, 5 while he was kept under the influence of opium. In this case the victim had enjoyed special privileges for an unspecified period, all his wishes being granted, and every woman in the village being at his command as a concubine. 6 No quasi-crucifixion is specified, the victim being simply stabbed “in the stomach,” and the blood used to bathe the idol, whereafter he was cut to pieces by the crowd. 7 In yet another case (at Ramgherry and Lutchampore) the victim was placed in irons, new clothed, made drunk with arrack, and forced into the “temple” of the Goddess, a hole three feet deep. There his throat was cut and his head cut off; the remains being
covered with earth and with a pile of stones. When the next victim was to be sacrificed, the hole was cleared out afresh for the purpose.
In this district occurred yet another variation. Every third year two victims were sacrificed in honour of the Goddess; and, whether thus triennially or annually, at Bundair in Jeypore there were sacrificed to the Sun-God at one festival three victims, “one at the east, one at the west, and the third in the centre of the village.” 1 In this case each victim was tied by the hair to a post near his grave, over which he was suspended horizontally with the face downwards, his legs and arms being held outstretched by the assistants. 2 He was then beheaded, and the head, stuck on the stake, was there left to decay. A further variation was in the direction of the principle that the infliction of pain made the sacrifice specially efficacious. 3 In some districts the victim, after being exposed on a couch, and led in procession round the place of sacrifice, was put to death by slow burning, or by applying hot brands to the body on a sloping pyre, and tortured as long as possible, “it being believed that the favour of the Earth-Goddess, especially in respect of the supply of rain, will be in proportion to the quantity of tears which may be extracted.” 4 It is needless to recapitulate the further variants at any length. “Victims were stoned, beaten to death with tomahawks or heavy iron rings……; they were strangled; they were crushed between two planks; 5 they were drowned in a pool in the jungle, or in a trough filled with pig’s blood……Sometimes the victim was slowly roasted……; sometimes he was despatched by a blow to the heart, and the priest plunged a wooden image into the gaping wound, that the mannikin might be gorged with blood.” 6
All that is constant is the principle of a redemptory bloody sacrifice. But by way of synopsis it may be noted that there prevail certain principles of procedure and symbolism, especially (1) that of (2) stupefying or laming the victim to secure apparent acquiescence; the counter-principle of the need either for suffering as such or for such suffering as shall cause the victim to weep much—a conception belonging to sympathetic magic; (3) the anointing, and the
consequent sanctification of the oil; (4) the deification of the victim; (5) the according to him of remarkable privileges, sexual and social; and (6) a certain propensity to the symbol of the cross.
Seeing that the drinking of the soma was primordially a religious act in the East, and that intoxicants play a similar part among modern Polynesians, 1 it seems not impossible that the drugging or intoxicating of the victim was a development from a form of the rite in which he took part in a common banquet; but of this no clear trace had been left, save among the Native Americans of the past. 2 It is to be noted, too, that while the destined child victim among the Khonds went about freely, in some cases at least the adult victim was kept fettered, though well fed, in the house of the village patriarch. 3
Very significant, further, is the horrible stratagem employed by the Bataks of the Malay Peninsula to secure acquiescence from the boy victim in their Pangulabalang, a sacrifice of one “to be sent out for the overthrow of enemies.” “A boy is taken from a stranger tribe, and for a time well-fed with titbits, till he has grown quite trustful. Then one day he is taken and blindfolded; a hole is dug, and he is put in it; and the sorcerer comes and asks him: ‘Wilt thou go where we send thee?’ ‘Wilt thou do only good to us, and evil to our enemies?’ ‘Wilt thou aid us in war and overthrow our enemies?’—and so on. To all the questions the trusting boy answers ‘Yes.’ Meanwhile lead has been melted on the fire; it is thrown suddenly on his neck, whereof he dies. The corpse is burned; but the ashes and fat are carefully preserved. These remains are now precious magic-medicine, for through them the spirit of the dead may be forced to do all he promised in life.” 4 Here too the victim is evidently deified, and his ritual “willingness” is an essential element in the efficacy of the sacrifice.
It is to be noted, finally, that when, by the persuasions of Macpherson or the menaces of his successors, open human sacrifices were put an end to among the Khonds, they treated the henceforth substituted buffalo very much as they had treated the meriah. The ritual accosts him as a human being, and commiserates him, as it
did the meriah, for being sold; he is frequently anointed; he is implored to be a willing sacrifice; cakes are offered to him; he is promised a happy immortality in the paradise of the Earth-Goddess; and he is instantly cut to pieces, and the fragments buried in the fields, as was done with the flesh of the human victim. A song preserves (inaccurately) the memory of the work done by Macpherson and Campbell. 1 Among the Koyis “a langur monkey is frequently substituted” for the human victim, “and called for occasion Ekuroma Potu—i.e., a male with small breasts. This name is given in the hope of persuading the Goddess [Māmili or Pele] that she is receiving a human sacrifice.” 2 The sheep or goats offered by the same tribe to the smallpox-Goddess are given toddy to drink; their acceptance is regarded as of good omen; and when they are eaten the women are excluded from the repast, 3 as happens in so many cannibal banquets. 4 And, again, there is record that it is or was recently “the practice, a few years ago, at every Dassara festival in Jeypore, Vizagapatam, to select a specially fine ram, wash it, shave its head, affix thereto red and white bottu and nāman (sect marks) between the eyes and down the nose, and gird it with a new white cloth after the manner of a human being. The animal being then fastened in a sitting posture, certain pūja (worship) was performed by a Brahman priest, and it was decapitated.” 5
Here we have the plainest substitution of the animal for the man; and the process entitles us to credit the old record in the Satapatha Brāhmana that “in the beginning the sacrifice most acceptable to the Gods was man,” and that “for the man a horse was substituted, then an ox, then a sheep, then a goat, until at length it was found that the Gods were most pleased with offerings of rice and barley.” 6 What has happened under our own eyes is very likely to have happened in progressive periods of ancient civilisation. The progression from man to animals has repeatedly occurred, 7 and it is impossible to explain such cases as either survivals or revivals of totem sacrifices. The victims are the
ordinary domestic animals; 1 and they are ceremonially invested with the attributes and the divinity of the human being. It is reasonable to assume that the same evolution as is here traced took place in at least some of the ostensible surrogate sacrifices in Greece 2 and elsewhere, seeing that there are so many records or traditions of the suppression of human sacrifices in the countries in question. And all this is in keeping with the theory of the present inquiry.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
by John M. Robertson
105:1 For lists of instances in all times and countries see Adolf Bastian, Der Mensch in der Geschichte, 1860, iii, 110-112; Constant, De la religion, liv. xi, ch. ii (ed. 1833, vol. iv, p. 158 sq.); and Kalisch, Comm. on Leviticus, 1867, i, 326 sq.
105:2 “Those thank-offerings are not as a rule spontaneous; the Gods demand them, as their fruits of the victory, through the priests” (A. B. Ellis, The Ewe-speaking Peoples, 1890, p. 119).
105:3 Cp. Major Mockler-Ferryman, British West Africa, 2nd ed. 1900, p. 389; Mary H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, 1897, p. 442.
106:1 See the argument of Miss J. E. Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, 2nd ed. 1908, pp. 95-109.
106:2 Lev. xvi, 5-11. Marg.
106:3 Miss Harrison (p. 109) begs the question when she says that “the ceremonials of sacrifice and riddance express widely different conditions and sentiments in the mind of the worshipper.”
106:4 Lafitau, Mœurs des sauvages ameriquains, 1724, ii, 266 sq.; Waitz, Anthropologie der Naturvölker, iii, 159.
106:5 Not always. The Pani and the Natchez are said not to have practised cannibalism, though the latter at times and the former customarily offered human sacrifices (waltz, iii, 159). But these tribes were among the least savage.
106:6 Livingstone, Popular Account of Missionary Travels and Researches, 1861, p. 292: ed. 1905, p. 405. Compare the slaughter of Polixena on the grave of Achilles. Euripides, Hecuba, 535 sq.
106:7 Sir H. H. Johnston, The Uganda Protectorate, 1002, ii, 794.
107:1 There is here suggested the interesting question whether the adytum or cave which was the nucleus of Semitic and other ancient temples (see Christianity and Mythology, 2nd ed. p. 306) was originally a victim-pit or grave. On the other hand compare the usage as to “upper chambers,” noted hereinafter.
107:2 Uganda and its Peoples: Notes on the Protectorate of Uganda, especially the Anthropology and Ethnology of the Indigenous Races, by J. F. Cunningham, F.R.G.S., F.Z.S., 1905, 0. 31. Cp. pp. 56, 318.
107:3 Mr. Cunningham notes (pp. 32-33) that the nine victims must belong to the king’s tribe. The reason is obvious: they must be his friendly servants. This is quite clear in the case of the Baganda kings, whose chief attendants were sacrificed. Cp. Allen and Thomson, Narrative of the British Expedition to the Niger, 1848, i, 328. In other parts of Africa the number of twelve victims is common: see Great Benin, by H. Ling Roth, 1903, p. 70. It is hardly necessary to recall the sacrifices of twelves in the Hebrew cult, or that of the twelve Trojans to the manes of Patroclus by Achilles. In the latter case the theory would be that the slain would serve as slaves to Patroclus in the Shades, an office for which, in the circumstances, only enemies were available.
108:1 “The slaying of victims to convey messages is a later modification; and is seemingly at variance with the accepted idea that the dead are cognizant of what is taking place in the world.” Sir A. B. Ellis, Ewe-speaking Peoples, p. 118.
108:2 C. Punch, cited by H. Ling Roth, Great Benin, 1903, p. 74.
108:3 Major Glyn Leonard, The Lower Niger and its Tribes, 1906, p. 444.
108:4 The name is often spelt Kandh or Khand, but it is officially declared that the proper spelling is Kondh. See Thurston’s Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Madras, 1909, iii, 356. Kondh or Khond (from the Telugu word Konda, a hill) is a name given by neighbouring peoples. Those so named call themselves Kui. The race is found, in various stages of civilisation, and with varying dialects, in other parts of southern India. Id. pp. 357, 367.
108:5 Cp. Elie Reclus, Primitive Folk, pp. 247-8; Tyler, Primitive Culture, 3rd ed. ii. 271. Dalton, Ethnography of Bengal, p. 243, classes the Khonds as certainly Dravidian. So Grierson, in Thurston, iii, 357.
108:6 Memorials of Service in India. From the Correspondence of the late Major S. C. Macpherson, C.B. Edited by his brother, William Macpherson. London, 1865, p. 67.
109:1 Id. p. 103. It is open to question whether the psychological analysis here does not partly stand for the thought of the observer. Lack of art, and of permanent dwellings, may be the true explanation. See above, Pt. I, ch. ii, p. 71 note, and cp. the Memorials, p. 106, n., as to similar phenomena among mountaineers in Siam. See also Lubbock, Origin of Civilisation, 5th ed. p. 374, as to the lack of temples and images among the Malagasy, the wild tribes of Cambodia, the Toorkmans, and other races of Siberia; and Turner, Nineteen Years in Polynesia, 1861, p. 88, as to the primitive Tannese, who “have no idols.” Dapper, a seventeenth-century Dutch traveller, who sojourned at Benin, describes the natives as holding that it would be absurd to make images of “God” who is invisible, though they have many images of their “idol-Gods.” Here again the psychology of the observer is suspect. (Roth, Great Benin, 190 t, p. 50.)
109:2 Dr. John Shortt, “Contribn. to the Ethnology of Jeypore” in Trans. of Ethnol. Soc. N.S. vol. vi (1868), p. 271, gives the names of the two deities in another district as Bona Peimu and Tari Peimu.
109:3 Report of Mr. Russell, 1837, in Selections from the Records, Govt. of India, No. V. Human Sacrifice and Infanticide, 1154, cited by E. Thurston, Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, 1906, p. 511; also in Castes and Tribes of Southern India, iii, 372.
110:1 Macpherson, p. 98. Cp. p. 131, and Shortt, as cited, p. 271.
110:2 Macpherson, pp. 108. 109; Shortt, as cited.
110:3 Macpherson, p. 69.
110:4 See Memorials, p. 124; and cp. Short History of Freethought, 2nd ed. i, 43-44. The Sect of Boora represent that the Tari-worshippers, debased by her tuition, lived like savages “until by intercourse with us, as in receiving wives, they became civilised” (p. 110). But tribes of the Boora-worshippers practised female infanticide (p. 113).
110:5 Id. pp. 65, 114, 115.
110:6 In one case, where an Elephant-God was worshipped, the victim was fastened to and swung by the proboscis of a wooden elephant, and thus identified with the God (Major-General Campbell, Narrative of Thirteen Years’ Service among the Wild Tribes of Khondistan, 1864, pp. 51, 126). This rite may have been totemistic; but where the Earth-Goddess was figured as a bird, and the Earth-God as a peacock, these creatures were not sacrificed (Id. pp. 51. 54).
110:7 So also in the Māliahs of Goomsur. Russell, cited by Thurston, p. 511. Both motives were acted on in the human sacrifices of the Pawnees and the Dakotas in North America. Lindesay Brine, Travels amongst American Indians, 1894, p. 132.
110:8 Meriah is the Oriya word; the others are Khond terms. The former probably means “messenger”—the victim being a messenger to the deity. Dalton, Ethnography of Bengal. 1872, p. 29.
111:1 Macpherson, p. 116.
111:2 Shortt, as cited, p. 273; Campbell, as cited, p. 52; Russell, as cited by Thurston. Among the Khonds of the Māliahs of Goomsur, private families purchased children, and reared them as future victims. “Criminals, or prisoners captured in war,” says Russell, “are not considered fitting subjects.”
111:3 Macpherson, pp. 98, 115, 116, 117, 122, 136.
111:4 Shortt, p. 271; Macpherson, pp. 121, 124.
111:5 Macpherson, p. 121; Shortt, p. 271. M. Elie Reclus (Primitive Folk, pp. 312-313, 316- 317) makes the doctrine more explicit, saying that according to the Khond legend “Tari had intended each time to submit to the sacrifice in her own person,” saying, “I am the meriah: I come to be immolated,” and that her worshippers in each case persuaded her to accept a proxy.
111:6 Thurston, Castes and Tribes, iii, 368-370, following the statement of Mr. A. B. Jayaram Moodaliar.
112:1 Macpherson, pp. 107, 117, 118; Shortt, as cited.
112:2 Sometimes placed between two shrubs. Macpherson, p. 118.
112:3 Turmeric is a principal crop with the Khonds, and part of their argument for a blood sacrifice was that blood was needed to secure the deep red colour of the plant.
112:4 Macpherson, p. 130. Cp. p. 108, as to the buffalo sacrifice to Boora Pennu. And see hereinafter as to the buffalo sacrifice among the Bataks.
112:5 The primitive sense of the danger incurred by the sacrificer is often apparent in these Dravidian rites. See Thurston, Castes and Tribes, iv, 313.
112:6 Macpherson, pp. 120-7. An abbreviated account of the ritual is given in J. Ludlow’s British India, its Races and its History, 1858, i, 25-30.
113:1 See the photograph of a preserved “Meriah sacrifice post,” given by Thurston, Notes, p. 510; Castes and Tribes, iii, 377.
113:2 Shortt, p. 274; Macpherson, p. 119. The main details are confirmed by Major-General Campbell (Narrative of Thirteen Years’ Service among the Wild Tribes of Khondistan, 1864), who, following the report of Mr. Russell, describes the victims as being stupefied with toddy” (pp. 54-5). Similarly in the human sacrifices formerly offered by the nomad tribe of Koravas, the victim (tricked) was made drunk. Thurston, Castes and Tribes, iii, 464.
113:3 Narrative cited, pp. 112-113.
113:4 There appears to be some confusion, as the effigy was further associated with the village deity Zakaree Pennu, represented by three stones. This deity appears to be of the generic type elsewhere called “Jenkery,” and propitiated in the same fashion. Thurston, Ethnographic Notes, pp. 512-513; Castes and Tribes, iii, 374-5.
114:1 Russell, cited by Thurston, Notes, pp. 511-13.
114:2 Report of Mr. Arbuthnot, 1837, cited by Thurston, Notes, pp. 513-514; Castes, iii, 375.
114:3 Elie Reclus, Primitive Folk, Eng. tr. p. 319. In the matter of references M. Reclus is notably careless, and I have been unable to trace all of his authorities. His own special studies, however, give his synopsis a measure of authority. The inadequacy of our English works of reference in regard to India is more surprising than the laxities of M. Reclus. Even the valuable recent compilations of Mr. Thurston, a monument of disinterested scientific devotion, does not give all the details; but he appends a bibliography to his article on the Kondhs.
114:4 H. B. Rowney (Wild Tribes of India, 1882, p. 105) follows Russell’s report (cited also by Campbell, pp. 54-55).
114:5 So among the Coodooloo, who coloured the rice with saffron, and brought the victim before the God. Arbuthnot, as cited. Among the hill Koyis (kin of the Khonds) of the Godavari district, again, sheep sacrificed to the Goddess of small-pox and cholera “have garlands hung round their necks, their heads are adorned with turmeric, and pots of cold water are poured over them.” Thurston, iv, 59. 7
114:6 Arbuthnot, as cited.
114:7 Shortt. pp. 274 5.
115:1 Shortt, p. 275.
115:2 On this method cp. Dalton, Ethnography of Bengal, 1872, p. 292.
115:3 This concept is found among the Ostiaks of Siberia, who used to sacrifice reindeer “in the manner of a bloody atonement,” killing them slowly by stabbing in different parts, or suffocating by repeated immersion. Erman, Travels in Siberia, Eng. tr. 1848, ii, 54.
115:4 Macpherson, pp. 118, 130; Shortt, p. 274.
115:5 For this see Campbell, as cited. pp. 57-58.
115:6 Reclus, Primitive Folk, pp. 319-330. M. Reclus (in translation) always speaks of the single victim as a woman, but either sex served.
116:1 “There is no public rite whatsoever, and scarcely any in private, at which the ceremony of drinking cava does not form a usual and often most important part.” Mariner, Tonga Islands, 1827, ii, 150. Cp. p. 167, and Turner, Samoa, 1884, pp. 20, 51, 334; also Cook’s Voyages, iii (by King), 1785, p. 161.
116:2 Cp. Lafitau, Mœurs des sauvages ameriquains, 1724, ii, 295.
116:3 Hunter, Orissa, ii, 97; Shortt, as cited, p. 273. Major-General Campbell, whose attempts to discredit some of Macpherson’s statements recoiled badly on himself, states first (p. 53) that meriahs “are seldom subjected to any restraint,” and again that “when of age to understand for what purpose they are intended they are chained; two had been years in chains; one so long that he could not recollect ever having been at liberty” (p. 57).
116:4 Wurm, Handbuch der Religionsgeschichte, etc., Aufl. 1908, p. 70; Warneck, Die Religion der Batak, 1909, pp. 64-65.
117:1 Thurston, Castes and Tribes, iii, 371, 378-9, 381-2-4-5.
117:2 Id. iv, 58.
117:3 Id. iv, 59.
117:4 This is the probable explanation of the throwing of clods by the women at the men in the surrogate sacrifice of the buffalo among the Khonds of the Ganjam Maliahs. Id. iii, 385.
117:5 Id. iv, 379.
117:6 R. W. Frazer, Lit. Hist. of India, 1898, p. 43, citing the Satapatha Brāhmana, xii, 3, 5. Cp. p. 85, citing the Aitareya Brāhmana, iii, 8.
117:7 Among the natives of the Gold Coast, where human sacrifices are a matter of simple killing and use of blood, “a regularly descending scale of sacrifice, from human victim to bullock, from bullock to sheep, and from sheep to fowl, may be traced. The Chama god Prate, to which human victims were formerly offered, has now a bullock sacrificed to him; and Behnya, the war-god of Elmina, has descended from human victim to bullock, and from the latter to sheep. Fohsu, at the Salt Pond at Cape Coast, has within a short period descended from sheep to fowl,” A. B. Ellis, The Tshi-Speaking Peoples, p. 72,
118:1 There are reasons, hereinafter set forth, for seeing in the sacrifice of cocks, in certain cases, an old substitution for human sacrifices; and the same surmise arises in some sacrifices of goats. (See Thurston, Castes and Tribes, i, 74; iv, 193; v, 235; vi, 76: as to cocks see v, 106, 392, 467, and as to sacrifice of he-goat and three cocks, ii, 376.) But the point can be made out in the case of other animals in recent times.
118:2 Cp. Paul Stengel, Opfergebräuche der Griechen, 1910, p. 93, citing his Kultusaltertümer, 117 sq.