The Ancient Library

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chap, xii AUGURY 247

various systemsl would seem to support the hypothesis of their independent origin.

Flight and song, the objects of the augur's attention, give to birds a distinctive isolation in the animal kingdom. They seem markedly to attract the notice of primitive man. When a Melanesian founds a new society he gives it the name of " any object which may strike his fancy"; such associations, our author has pre­viously noticed, are usually, as a matter of fact, named after birds.2 One finds, too, that while in the matter of clans, totems, crests, etc., birds stand in the same kind of position as the rest of the animal world, they tend at the same time to be considered the most remarkable species within that genus.3 It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the cry or flight of birds attracts the attention of primitive man and is regarded by him as ominous. He is terrified by the doleful hoot of the owl, or finds a suggestion of victory in the fierce swoop of the hawk.4 In a fashion exactly analogous to the processes we have discussed,5 the observation

1 Cicero, op. cit. ii. 36 (76).

2 Codrington, The Melanesians, p. 76.

3 See, for example, the tribes of the San Francisco district, Merriam, "Totemism in California," American Anthropologist, N.S. x. p. 561, or Melanesians of Papua, Seligmann, op. cit. p. 9.

4 SeeTylor, Prim. Cult? \. pp. 119-120; Clodd, Folklore, vi. p. 64.

5 See above, p. 164 foil.

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