A History of Greek Religion by Martin Persson Nilsson

By Martin Persson Nilsson

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The firm ground on which the neo-historical school desires to place the history of the myths has begun to quake suspiciously. he oldest forms of the myths are deduced is a more or less unknown quantity. ose sources have, moreover, first to be hypothetically determined. Thus subjectivity and hypo. thesis are present from the very beginning. The attempt to connect the epics with particular places is attended with no less difficulty, for the minstrels were wandering singers, one of the intellectual connecting-links in the disintegrated Greece of the archaic period.

But it is a unique feature that the 5pirit of vegetation should be imagined as a little child. We have reason to think that this is a Minoan peculiarity. If these suggestions are to be regarded as well founded, they are of primary importance for the understandmg of the deep religious movement which the spreading of the Dionysiac religion caused In the older historic age of Greece. I venture to think that the strength of this movement may be better understood if it is regarded as involving not the importation of an entirely foreign deHy, but only the revival of ancient Minoan religious Ideas which had for a time fallen into the background.

11der's Herakles. The natural-mythological school, whose best-known representatlVe was Max Muller, dominated the hterature of some decades ago. Its views are set forth with particular clearness in the earlier portions of the mythological work of refe18l1ce, ROscher's Lexikon del' Mytltologie, where unfortunately the hypotheses are too often allowed to overshadow the facts. The most dtstinguished mythographer of our time, the late C. Robert, has recently published three parts of his great work, Die gr~ec"tsclle Heldensage (the fonrth 1S forthcoming), a fresh treatment of the material designed to supersede PreUer's Griecllische JvIytholog~e, vol.

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