Abbildungen der Seite

strangled, and hung on a ladder. Firing and yelling succeeded, and half an hour later the animals were taken into a house," where the people's sins were transferred to them.” The carcasses were afterwards burnt on a pyre of wood. According to the Rev. Mr. Kirkland, who wrote last century, the ashes of the pyre upon which one of the white dogs was burnt were carried through the village and sprinkled at the door of every house.” Formerly, however, as we have seen, the Iroquois expulsion of evils was immediate and not by scapegoat. On the Day of Atonement, which was the tenth day of the seventh month, the Jewish high-priest laid both his hands on the head of a live goat, confessed over it all the iniquities of the Children of Israel, and, having thereby transferred the sins of the people to the beast, sent it away into the wilderness.

The scapegoat upon whom the sins of the people are periodically laid, may also be a human being. At Onitsha, on the Niger, two human beings used to be annually sacrificed to take away the sins of the land. The victims were purchased by public subscription. All persons who, during the past year, had fallen into gross sins, such as incendiarism, theft, adultery, witchcraft, and so forth, were expected to contribute 28 ngugas, or a little over £2. The money thus collected was taken into the interior of the country and expended in the purchase of two sickly persons “to be offered as a sacrifice for all these abominable crimes one for the land and one for the river.” A man from a neighbouring

[ocr errors]

1 W. M. Beauchamp, “The Iroquois White Dog Feast,' American An. tiquarian, vii. 237.

? Ibid. p. 236 ; T. Dwight, Travels in New England and New York, iv. 202.

3 Above, p. 72 sq.

4 Leviticus xvi. The word translated “scapegoat” in the Authorised Version is Azazel, which appears rather to be the name of a bad angel or demon, to whom the goat was sent away. There is some ground for thinking that the animal was killed by being thrown over a certain crag that overhangs a rocky chasm not far from Jerusalem. See Encyclopaidia Biblica, ed. T. K.

Cheyne and J. S. Black, s.7'. " Azazel."
Modern Jew's sacrifice a white cock on
the eve of the Day of Atonement, nine
days after the beginning of their New
Year. The father of the family knocks
the cock thrice against his own head,
saying, “Let this cock be a substitute
for me, let it take my place, let death
be laid upon this cock, but a happy
life bestowed on me and on all Israel.'
Then he cuts its throat and dashes the
bird violently on the ground. The
intestines are thrown on the roof of
the house. The flesh of the cock was
formerly given to the
Buxtorf, Synagoga Judaica, ch. xxv. p.


508 599.


town was hired to put them to death. On the twenty-seventh of February 1858 the Rev. J. C. Taylor witnessed the sacrifice of one of these victims. The sufferer was a woman, about nineteen or twenty years of age. They dragged her alive along the ground, face downwards, from the king's house to the river, a distance of two miles, the crowds who accompanied.her crying, “Wickedness! wickedness!" The intention was “to take away the iniquities of the land. The body was dragged along in a merciless manner, as if the weight of all their wickedness was thus carried away.” 1 In Siam it used to be the custom on one day of the year to single out a woman broken down by debauchery, and carry her on a litter through all the streets to the music of drums and hautboys. The mob insulted her and pelted her with dirt; and after having carried her through the whole city, they threw her on a dunghill or a hedge of thorns outside the ramparts, forbidding her ever to enter the walls again. They believed that the woman thus drew upon herself all the malign influences of the air and of evil spirits. The Battas of Sumatra offer either a red horse or a buffalo as a public sacrifice to purify the land and obtain the favour of the gods. Formerly, it is said, a man was bound to the same stake as the buffalo, and when they killed the animal, the man was driven away ; no one might receive him, converse with him, or give him food.” Doubtless he was supposed to carry away the sins and misfortunes of the people.

Human scapegoats, as we shall see presently, were well known in classical antiquity, and even in mediæval Europe the custom seems not to have been wholly extinct. In the town of Halberstadt, in Thüringen, there was a church said to have been founded by Charlemagne. In this church every year they chose a man, who was believed to be stained with heinous sins. On the first day of Lent he was brought to the church, dressed in mourning garb, with his head muffled

i S. Crowther and J. C. Taylor, The Gospel on the Banks of the Niger, pp. 343-345. Cp. J. F. Schön and S. Crowther, Journals, p. 48 sq. The account of the custom by J. Africanus B. Horton (West African Countries and Peoples, p. 185 sq.) is taken entirely

from Taylor.

? Turpin, “History of Siam," in Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels, ix. 579.

3 Ködding, “Die Bataksche Götter," Allgemeine Missions - Zeitschrift, xii. (1885), pp. 476, 478.



an ass.

At the close of the service he was turned out of the church. During the forty days of Lent he perambulated the city barefoot, neither entering the churches nor speaking to any one. The canons took it in turn to feed him. After midnight he was allowed to sleep in the streets. On the day before Good Friday, after the consecration of the holy oil, he was readmitted to the church and absolved from his sins. The people gave him money. He was called Adam, and was now believed to be in a state of innocence. At Entlebuch, in Switzerland, down to the close of last century, the custom of annually expelling a scapegoat was preserved in the ceremony of driving “ Posterli” from the village into the lands of the neighbouring village.

“ Posterli” was represented by a lad disguised as an old witch or as a goat

Amid a deafening noise of horns, clarionets, bells, whips, and so forth, he was driven out. Sometimes “Posterli ” was represented by a puppet, which was drawn on a sledge and left in a corner of the neighbouring village. The ceremony took place on the Thursday evening of the last week but one before Christmas.?

Sometimes the scapegoat is a divine animal. The people of Malabar share the Hindoo reverence for the cow, to kill and eat which“ they esteem to be a crime as heinous as homicide or wilful murder.” Nevertheless “the Bramans transfer the sins of the people into one or more Cows, which are then carry'd away, both the Cows and the Sins wherewith these Beasts are charged, to what place the Braman shall appoint.” 3 When the ancient Egyptians sacrificed a bull, they invoked upon its head all the evils that might otherwise befall themselves and the land of Egypt, and thereupon they either sold the bull's head to the Greeks or cast it into the river. Now, it cannot be said that in the times known to us the Egyptians worshipped bulls in general, for they seem to have commonly killed and eaten them. But a good many circumstances point to the conclusion that originally all cattle, bulls as well as cows, were held sacred by the Egyptians. For not only were all cows esteemed holy by them and never sacrificed, but even bulls might not be sacrificed unless they had certain natural marks; a priest examined every bull before it was sacrificed ; if it had the proper marks, he put his seal on the animal in token that it might be sacrificed ; and if a man sacrificed a bull which had not been sealed, he was put to death. Moreover, the worship of the black bulls Apis and Mnevis, especially the former, played an important part in Egyptian religion ; all bulls that died a natural death were carefully buried in the suburbs of the cities, and their bones were afterwards collected from all parts of Egypt and buried in a single spot; and at the sacrifice of a bull in the great rites of Isis all the worshippers beat their breasts and mourned. On the whole, then, we are perhaps entitled to infer that bulls were originally, as cows were always, esteemed sacred by the Egyptians, and that the slain bull upon whose head they laid the misfortunes of the people was once a divine scapegoat. It seems not improbable that the lamb annually slain by the Madis of Central Africa is a divine scapegoat, and the same supposition may partly explain the Zuni sacrifice of the turtle.?

1 Aeneas Sylvius, Opera (Bâle, 1571), p. 423 sq.

? H. Usener, “ Italische Mythen," Rheinisches Museum, N.F., xxx. (1875),

Religion, ilanners, and Learning of the
People of Malabar, pp. 6, 12 sq.

* Herodotus, ii. 39.

6 Herodotus, ii. 38-41; Wilkinson, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, iii. 403 599. (ed. 1878).

p. 198.

3 J. Thomas Phillips, Account of the

Lastly, the scapegoat may be a divine man. Thus, in November the Gonds of India worship Ghansyam Deo, the protector of the crops, and at the festival the god himself is said to descend on the head of one of the worshippers, who is suddenly seized with a kind of fit and, after staggering about, rushes off into the jungle, where it is believed that, if left to himself, he would die mad. However, they bring him back, but he does not recover his senses for one or two days. The people think that one man is thus singled out as a scapegoat for the sins of the rest of the village. In the temple of the Moon the Albanians of the Eastern Caucasus kept a number of sacred slaves, of whom many were inspired and prophesied. When one of these men exhibited more than usual symptoms of inspiration or insanity, and wandered solitary up and down the woods, like the Gond in the jungle, i Herodotus, loc.

3 Panjab Notes and Queries, ii. p. 2 See vol. ii. pp. 371 999., 439 sq.

54, § 335.

the high priest had him bound with a sacred chain and maintained him in luxury for a year. At the end of the year he was anointed with unguents and led forth to be sacrificed. A man whose business it was to slay these human victims and to whom practice had given dexterity, advanced from the crowd and thrust a sacred spear into the victim's side, piercing his heart. From the manner in which the slain man fell, omens were drawn as to the welfare of the commonwealth. Then the body was carried to a certain spot where all the people stood upon it as a purificatory ceremony. This last circumstance clearly indicates that the sins of the people were transferred to the victim, just as the Jewish priest transferred the sins of the people to the scapegoat by laying his hand on the animal's head; and since the man was believed to be possessed by the divine spirit, we have here an undoubted example of a man-god slain to take away the sins and misfortunes of the people.

In Tibet the ceremony of the scapegoat presents some remarkable features. The Tibetan new year begins with the new moon, which appears about the fifteenth of February. For twenty - three days afterwards the government of Lhasa, the capital, is taken out of the hands of the ordinary rulers and entrusted to the monk of the Debang monastery who offers to pay the highest sum for the privilege. The successful bidder is called the Jalno, and he announces his accession to power in person, going through the streets of Lhasa with a silver stick in his hand. Monks from all the neighbouring monasteries and temples assemble to pay him homage. The Jalno exercises his authority in the most arbitrary manner for his own benefit, as all the fines which he exacts are his by purchase. The profit he makes is about ten times the amount of the purchase money. His

i Strabo, xi. 4. 7. For the custom of standing upon a sacrificed victim, compare Demosthenes, Or. xxiii. 68, p. 642 ; Pausanias, iii. 20. 9. With the practice of anointing the victim we may compare the treatment which Plato proposes in jest to accord to such poets as write clever but dangerous verses. He would worship bards of that sort as sacred, but would


anoint their heads with unguent, wreathe them with wool, and send them away to some other city (Republic, iii. p. 398 A). Dio Chrysostom, who refers to this passage of Plato, tells us that what the philosopher proposed to do to the poets was what women did to swallows (Or. liii. vol. ii. p. 165, ed. Dindorf). Both these passages were pointed out to me by my friend Dr. Henry Jackson.

« ZurückWeiter »