The Ancient Library
 

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2 GREEK DIVINATION chap.

the origins of Greek civilisation. But in neither direction have the feet of science reached firm ground; we have fled the worse, but have not yet found the better. On the one hand, the results of Ethnology are as yet uncertain and insecure, and, despite the courageous attempt of M. Reinach, the time when a satisfactory sketch of the course of religious development can be written has not yet arrived. On the other hand, while a corner of the curtain which veils the prehistoric period of Aegean history has been raised, our knowledge alike of victors and of vanquished in that struggle between an ancient civilisation and the invasion of an alien stock is meagre indeed. We are still groping in a Dark Age ; and the instruments at our disposal are faulty. We possess a mass of mythology; much of it of late tradition, and some of it to a considerable degree worked over.1 In the light of survivals in cult, hints

1 Apart from the fact that almost every Greek mythographer is biassed by some theory, whether it be an interest in astronomy, Euhemerism, etymology, rationalism, or philosophic allegory, that curious phenomenon of the exploitation of mythical history from political motives, a process partly deliberate and partly unconscious, shows us how much our material must already in antiquity have been modified and worked over. The great examples are, of course, the saga of the Dorian invasion and the Heraklidai, or the story of the colonisa­tion of Ionia: cf. the use of mythical history in politics and diplomacy in Herodotos i. 82, vi. 138 foil., iv. 33 (with Pausanias i. 21. 2), iv. I79i v- 94> ™- '5°" '59> *6i ; Diodoros iv. 23. 2-3.

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