Primitive Mythology (The Masks of God)

Primitive Mythology (The Masks of God)

Joseph Campbell

Language: English

Pages: 528

ISBN: 0140194436

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Primitive Mythology (The Masks of God)

Joseph Campbell

Language: English

Pages: 528

ISBN: 0140194436

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The author of such acclaimed books as Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth discusses the primitive roots of mythology, examining them in light of the most recent discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, and psychology

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very style of a tale contrived in the Middle Ages. One need only read the folktales gathered by Jeremiah Curtin in the west of Ireland in the 1880s 5 and compare them with Standish H. O'Grady's translations of the tales of the Fianna and Irish saints from a series of fifteenth-century Irish manuscripts 6 to be convinced. The ability of traditional story-tellers to hold their precious tales in mind to the minutest detail had already been noticed by the Brothers Grimm in the course of gathering

from Arabian Syria and Iraq, and Arabian Egypt. Frobenius, however, adds to this view a new and extremely in­ teresting hypothesis based on his own collection of stories from the Sudan; namely, that there may have been a common source from which both the Persian tales and the Sudanese were derived, issuing from South Arabia, Hadramaut, that land "beyond the Eastern Sea" (the Red Sea) from which the fabulous slave Far-limas came to the court of the Nap of Napata. "Is our Sudanese tale perhaps from

king is probably that in Duarte Barbosa's Description of the Coasts of East Africa and Malabar in the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century. The god-king of the south Indian province of Quilacare in Malabar (an area having a strongly matriarchal tradition to this 166 PRIMITIVE MYTHOLOGY day) had to sacrifice himself at the end of the length of time required by the planet Jupiter for a circuit of the zodiac and return to its moment of retrograde motion in the sign of Cancer—which is to say,

rotted, the bones were gathered into the hide of a bull.* * Cf. supra, p. 165. 188 PRIMITIVE MYTHOLOGY Could Persephone ever have been pictured in this manner, as offered to a serpent, so that the figures of wheaten flour might have represented such a version of her tale? Indeed she could, and indeed they might! For have we not already been told that she was playing in a meadow, culling flowers with the daughters of Okeanos, god of the all-embracing sea? But Okeanos, precisely, is the great

to say, is not conceived to be a reference, a mere sign or symbol to arouse in us a train of thought, but is God himself, the Creator, Judge, and Savior of the Universe, here come to work upon us directly, to free our souls (created in His image) from the effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (which we are to suppose existed as a geographical fact). Comparably, in India it is believed that, in response to con­ secrating formulae, deities will descend graciously to infuse their

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