From Ritual to Romance




   In the previous chapter we considered certain aspects of the attitude assumed by our Aryan forefathers towards the great processes of Nature in their ordered sequence of Birth, Growth, and Decay. We saw that while on one hand they, by prayer and supplication, threw themselves upon the mercy of the Divinity, who, in their belief, was responsible for the granting, or withholding, of the water, whether of rain, or river, the constant supply of which was an essential condition of such ordered sequence, they, on the other hand, believed that, by their own actions, they could stimulate and assist the Divine activity. Hence the dramatic representations to which I have referred, the performance, for instance, of such a drama as the Rishyaçriñga, the ceremonial 'marriages,' and other exercises of what we now call sympathetic magic. To quote a well-known passage from Sir J. G. Frazer: "They commonly believed that the tie between the animal and vegetable world was even closer than it really is-to them the principle of life and fertility, whether animal or vegetable, was one and indivisible. Hence actions that induced fertility in the animal world were held to be equally efficacious in stimulating the reproductive energies of the vegetable1." How deeply this idea was rooted in the minds of our ancestors we, their descendants, may learn from its survival to our own day.
   The ultimate, and what we may in a general sense term the classical, form in which this sense of the community of the Life principle found expression was that which endowed the vivifying force of Nature with a distinct personality, divine, or semi-divine, whose experiences, in virtue of his close kinship with humanity, might be expressed in terms of ordinary life.
   At this stage the progress of the seasons, the birth of vegetation in spring, or its revival after the autumn rains, its glorious fruition in early summer, its decline and death under the maleficent influence either of the scorching sun, or the bitter winter cold, symbolically represented the corresponding stages in the life of this anthropomorphically conceived Being, whose annual progress from birth to death, from death to a renewed life, was celebrated with a solemn ritual of corresponding alternations of rejoicing and lamentation.
   Recent research has provided us with abundant material for the study of the varying forms of this Nature Cult, the extraordinary importance of which as an evolutionary factor in what we may term the concrete expression of human thought and feeling is only gradually becoming realized2.
   Before turning our attention to this, the most important, section of our investigation, it may be well to consider one characteristic difference between the Nature ritual of the Rig-Veda, and that preserved to us in the later monuments of Greek antiquity.
   In the Rig-Veda, early as it is, we find the process of religious evolution already far advanced; the god has separated himself from his worshippers, and assumed an anthropomorphic form. Indra, while still retaining traces of his 'weather' origin, is no longer, to borrow Miss Harrison's descriptive phrase, 'an automatic explosive thunder-storm,' he wields the thunderbolt certainly, but he appears in heroic form to receive the offerings made to him, and to celebrate his victory in a solemn ritual dance. In Greek art and literature, on the other hand, where we might expect to find an even more advanced conception, we are faced with one seemingly more primitive and inchoate, i.e., the idea of a constantly recurring cycle of Birth, Death, and Resurrection, or Re-Birth, of all things in Nature, this cycle depending upon the activities of an entity at first vaguely conceived of as the 'Luck of the Year,' the Eniautos Daimon. This Being, at one stage of evolution theriomorphic - he might assume the form of a bull, a goat, or a snake (the latter, probably from the close connection of the reptile with the earth, being the more general form) - only gradually, and by distinctly traceable stages, assumed an anthropomorphic shape3. This gives to the study of Greek antiquity a special and peculiar value, since in regard to the body of religious belief and observance with which we are here immediately concerned, neither in what we may not improperly term its ultimate (early Aryan), nor in what has been generally considered its proximate (Syro-Phoenician), source, have these intermediate stages been preserved - in each case the ritual remains are illustrative of a highly developed cult, distinctly anthropomorphic in conception. I offer no opinion as to the critical significance of this fact, but I would draw the attention of scholars to its existence.
   That the process of evolution was complete at a very early date has been proved by recent researches into the Sumerian-Babylonian civilization. We know now that the cult of the god Tammuz, who, if not the direct original of the Phoenician -Greek Adonis, is at least representative of a common parent deity, may be traced back to 3000 B.C., while it persisted among the Sabeans at Harran into the Middle Ages4.

   While much relating to the god and his precise position in the Sumerian -Babylonian Pantheon still remains obscure, fragmentary cuneiform texts connected with the religious services of the period have been discovered, and to a considerable extent deciphered, and we are thus in a position to judge, from the prayers and invocations addressed to the deity, what were the powers attributed to, and the benefits besought from, him. These texts are of a uniform character; they are all 'Lamentations,' or 'Wailings,' having for their exciting cause the disappearance of Tammuz from this upper earth, and the disastrous effects produced upon animal and vegetable life by his absence. The woes of the land and the folk are set forth in poignant detail, and Tammuz is passionately invoked to have pity upon his worshippers, and to end their sufferings by a speedy return. This return, we find from other texts, was effected by the action of a goddess, the mother, sister, or paramour, of Tammuz, who, descending into the nether world, induced the youthful deity to return with her to earth. It is perfectly clear from the texts which have been deciphered that Tammuz is not to be regarded merely as representing the Spirit of Vegetation; his influence is operative, not only in the vernal processes of Nature, as a Spring god, but in all its reproductive energies, without distinction or limitation, he may be considered as an embodiment of the Life principle, and his cult as a Life Cult.

   Mr. Stephen Langdon inclines to believe that the original Tammuz typified the vivifying waters; he writes: "Since, in Babylonia as in Egypt, the fertility of the soil depended upon irrigation, it is but natural to expect that the youthful god who represents the birth and death of nature, would represent the beneficent waters which flooded the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates in the late winter, and which ebbed away, and nearly disappeared, in the canals and rivers in the period of Summer drought. We find therefore that the theologians regarded this youthful divinity as belonging to the cult of Eridu, centre of the worship of Ea, lord of the nether sea5." In a note to this passage Mr Langdon adds: "He appears in the great theological list as Dami-zi, ab-zu, 'Tammuz of the nether sea,' i.e., 'the faithful son of the fresh waters which come from the earth6."

   This presents us with an interesting analogy to the citations given in the previous chapter from the Rig-Veda; the Tammuz cult is specially valuable as providing us with evidence of the gradual evolution of the Life Cult from the early conception of the vivifying power of the waters, to the wider recognition of a common principle underlying all manifestations of Life.
   This is very clearly brought out in the beautiful Lament for Tammuz, published by Mr Langdon in Tammuz and Ishtar, and also in Sumerian and Babylonian Psalms7.
"In Eanna, high and low, there is weeping,
Wailing for the house of the lord they raise.
The wailing is for the plants; the first lament is 'they grow not.'
The wailing is for the barley; the ears grow not.
For the habitations and flocks it is; they produce not.
For the perishing wedded ones, for perishing children it is; the dark-headed people create not.
The wailing is for the great river; it brings the flood no more.
The wailing is for the fields of men; the gunu grows no more.
The wailing is for the fish-ponds; the dasuhur fish spawn not.
The wailing is for the cane-brake; the fallen stalks grow not.
The wailing is for the forests; the tamarisks grow not.
The wailing is for the highlands; the masgam trees grow not.
The wailing is for the yarden store-house; honey and wine are produced not.
The wailing is for the meadows; the bounty of the garden, the sihtu plants grow not.
The wailing is for the palace; life unto distant days is not."
   Can anything be more expressive of the community of life animating the whole of Nature than this poignantly worded lament?
   A point which differentiates the worship of Tammuz from the kindred, and better known, cult of Adonis, is the fact that we have no liturgical record of the celebration of the resurrection of the deity; it certainly took place, for the effects are referred to:
"Where grass was not, there grass is eaten,
Where water was not, water is drunk,
Where the cattle sheds were not, cattle sheds are built8."
   While this distinctly implies the revival of vegetable and animal life, those features (i.e., resurrection and sacred marriage), which made the Adonis ritual one of rejoicing as much as of lamentation, are absent from liturgical remains of the Tammuz cult9.
   A detail which has attracted the attention of scholars is the lack of any artistic representation of this ritual, a lack which is the more striking in view of the important position which these 'Wailings for Tammuz' occupy in the extant remains of Babylonian liturgies. On this point Mr Langdon makes an interesting suggestion: "It is probable that the service of wailing for the dying god, the descent of the mother, and the resurrection, were attended by mysterious rituals. The actual mysteries may have been performed in a secret chamber, and consequently the scenes were forbidden in Art. This would account for the surprising dearth of archaeological evidence concerning a cult upon which the very life of mankind was supposed to depend10."
   In view of the fact that my suggestion as to the possible later development of these Life Cults as Mysteries has aroused considerable opposition, it is well to bear in mind that such development is held by those best acquainted with the earliest forms of the ritual to have been not merely possible, but to have actually taken place, and that at a very remote date. Mr Langdon quotes a passage referring to "Kings who in their day played the role of Tammuz in the mystery of this cult"; he considers that here we have to do with kings who, by a symbolic act, escaped the final penalty of sacrifice as representative of the Dying God11.
   The full importance of the evidence above set forth will become more clearly apparent as we proceed with our investigation; here I would simply draw attention to the fact that we now possess definite proof that, at a period of some 3000 years B.C., the idea of a Being upon whose life and reproductive activities the very existence of Nature and its corresponding energies was held to depend, yet who was himself subject to the vicissitudes of declining powers and death, like an ordinary mortal, had already assumed a fixed, and practically final, form; further, that this form was specially crystallized in ritual observances. In our study of the later manifestations of this cult we shall find that this central idea is always, and unalterably, the same, and is, moreover, frequently accompanied by a remarkable correspondence of detail. The chain of evidence is already strong, and we may justly claim that the links added by further research strengthen, while they lengthen, that chain.


   While it is only of comparatively recent date that information as to the exact character of the worship directed to Tammuz has been available and the material we at present possess is but fragmentary in character, the corresponding cult of the Phoenician-Greek divinity we know as Adonis has for some years been the subject of scholarly research. Not only have the details of the ritual been examined and discussed, and the surviving artistic evidence described and illustrated, but from the anthropological side attention has been forcibly directed to its importance as a factor in the elucidation of certain widespread Folk-beliefs and practices12.
   We know now that the worship of Adonis, which enjoyed among the Greeks a popularity extending to our own day, was originally of Phoenician origin, its principal centres being the cities of Byblos, and Aphaka. From Phoenicia it spread to the Greek islands, the earliest evidence of the worship being found in Cyprus, and from thence to the mainland, where it established itself firmly. The records of the cult go back to 700 B.C., but it may quite possibly be of much earlier date. Mr. Langdon suggests that the worship of the divinity we know as Adonis, may, under another name, reach back to an antiquity equal with that we can now ascribe to the cult of Tammuz. In its fully evolved classical form the cult of Adonis offers, as it were, a halfway house, between the fragmentary relics of Aryan and Babylonian antiquity, and the wealth of Medieval and Modern survivals to which the ingenuity and patience of contemporary scholars have directed our attention.
   We all know the mythological tale popularly attached to the name of Adonis; that he was a fair youth, beloved of Aphrodite, who, wounded in the thigh by a wild boar, died of his wound. The goddess, in despair at his death, by her prayers won from Zeus the boon that Adonis be allowed to return to earth for a portion of each Year, and henceforward the youthful god divides his time between the goddess of Hades, Persephone, and Aphrodite. But the importance assumed by the story, the elaborate ceremonial with which the death of Adonis was mourned, and his restoration to life fêted, the date and character of the celebrations, all leave no doubt that the personage with whom we are dealing was no mere favourite of a goddess, but one with whose life and well-being the ordinary processes of Nature, whether animal or vegetable, were closely and intimately concerned. In fact the central figure of these rites, by whatever name he may be called, is the somewhat elusive and impersonal entity, who represents in anthropomorphic form the principle of animate Nature, upon whose preservation, and unimpaired energies, the life of man, directly, and indirectly, depends13.
   Before proceeding to examine these rites there is one point, to which I have alluded earlier, in another connection, upon which our minds must be quite clear, i.e., the nature of the injury suffered. Writers upon the subject are of one accord in considering the usual account to be but a euphemistic veiling of the truth, while the close relation between the stories of Adonis and Attis, and the practices associated with the cult, place beyond any shadow of a doubt the fact that the true reason for this universal mourning was the cessation, or suspension, by injury or death, of the reproductive energy of the god upon whose virile activity vegetable life directly, and human life indirectly, depended14.
   What we have need to seize and to insist upon is the overpowering influence which the sense of Life, the need for Life, the essential Sanctity of the Life-giving faculty, exercised upon primitive religions. Vellay puts this well when he says: "En réalité c'est sur la conception de la vie physique, considérée dans son origine, et dans son action, et dans le double principe qui l'anime, que repose tout le cycle religieux des peuples Orientaux de I'Antiquité15."
   Professor von Schroeder says even more precisely and emphatically: "In der Religion der Arischen Urzeit ist Alles auf Lebensbejahung gerichtet, Mann kann den Phallus als ihr Beherrschendes Symbol betrachten
16." And in spite of the strong opposition to this cult manifested in Indian literature, beginning with the Rig-Veda, and ripening to fruition in the Upanishads, in spite of the rise of Buddhism, with its opposing dictum of renunciation, the 'Life-Cult' asserted its essential vitality against all opposition, and under modified forms represents the 'popular' religion of India to this day.
   Each and all of the ritual dramas, reconstructed in the pages of Mysterium und Mimus bear, more or less distinctly, the stamp of their 'Fertility' origin17, while outside India the pages of Frazer and Mannhardt, and numerous other writers on Folk-lore and Ethnology, record the widespread, and persistent, survival of these rites, and their successful defiance of the spread of civilization.
   It is to this special group of belief and practice that the Adonis (and more especially its Phrygian counterpart the Attis) worship belong, and even when transplanted to the more restrained and cultured environment of the Greek mainland, they still retained their primitive character. Farnell, in his Cults of the Greek States, refers to the worship of Adonis as, a ritual that the more austere State religion of Greece probably failed to purify, the saner minds, bred in a religious atmosphere that was, on the whole, genial, and temperate, revolted from the din of cymbals and drums, the meaningless ecstasies of sorrow and joy, that marked the new religion18."
   It is, I submit, indispensable for the purposes of our investigation that the essential character and significance of the cults with which we are dealing should not be evaded or ignored, but faced, frankly admitted and held in mind during the progress of our enquiry.
   Having now determined the general character of the ritual, what were the specific details?
   The date of the feast seems to have varied in different countries; thus in Greece it was celebrated in the Spring, the moment of the birth of Vegetation; according to Saint Jerome, in Palestine the celebration fell in June, when plant life was in its first full luxuriance. In Cyprus, at the autumnal equinox, i.e., the beginning of the year in the Syro-Macedonian calendar, the death of Adonis falling on the 23rd of September, his resurrection on the 1st of October, the beginning of a New Year. This would seem to indicate that here Adonis was considered, as Vellay suggests, less as the god of Vegetation than as the superior and nameless Lord of Life (Adonis= Syriac Adôn Lord), under whose protection the year was placed19. He is the Eniautos Daimon.
   In the same way as the dates varied, so, also, did the order of the ritual; generally speaking the elaborate ceremonies of mourning for the dead god, and committing his effigy to the waves, preceded the joyous celebration of his resurrection, but in Alexandria the sequence was otherwise; the feast began with the solemn and joyous celebration of the nuptials of Adonis and Aphrodite, at the conclusion of which a Head, of papyrus, representing the god, was, with every show of mourning, committed to the waves, and borne within seven days by a current (always to be counted upon at that season of the year) to Byblos, where it was received and welcomed with popular rejoicing20. The duration of the feast varied from two days, as at Alexandria, to seven or eight.
   Connected with the longer period of the feast were the so-called 'Gardens of Adonis,' baskets, or pans, planted with quick growing seeds, which speedily come to fruition, and as speedily wither. In the modern survivals of the cult three days form the general term for the flowering of these gardens21.
   The most noticeable feature of the ritual was the prominence assigned to women; "ce sont les femmes qui le pleurent, et qui l'accompagnent à sa tombe. Elles sanglotent éperdument pendant les nuits, - c'est leur dieu plus que tout autre, et seules elles veulent pleurer sa mort, et chanter sa résurrection22.''
   Thus in the tenth century the festival received the Arabic name of EI-Bûgat, or 'The Festival of the Weeping Women23.'
   One very curious practice during these celebrations was that of cutting off the hair in honour of the god; women who hesitated to make this sacrifice must offer themselves to strangers, either in the temple, or on the market-place, the gold received as the price of their favours being offered to the goddess. This obligation only lasted for one day24. It was also customary for the priests of Adonis to mutilate themselves in imitation of the god, a distinct proof, if one were needed, of the traditional cause of his death25.
   Turning from a consideration of the Adonis ritual, its details, and significance, to an examination of the Grail romances, we find that their mise-en-scène provides a striking series of parallels with the Classical celebrations, parallels, which instead of vanishing, as parallels have occasionally an awkward habit of doing, before closer investigation, rather gain in force the more closely they are studied.
   Thus the central figure is either a dead knight on a bier (as in the Gawain versions), or a wounded king on a litter; when wounded the injury corresponds with that suffered by Adonis and Attis26.
   Closely connected with the wounding of the king is the destruction which has fallen on the land, which will be removed when the king is healed. The version of Sone de Nansai is here of extreme interest ; the position is stated with so much clearness and precision that the conclusion cannot be evaded -we are face to face with the dreaded calamity which it was the aim of the Adonis ritual to avert, the temporary suspension of all the reproductive energies of Nature27.
   While the condition of the king is the cause of general and vociferous lamentation, a special feature, never satisfactorily accounted for, is the presence of a weeping woman, or several weeping women. Thus in the interpolated visit of Gawain to the Grail castle, found in the C group of Perceval MSS., the Grail-bearer weeps piteously, as she does also in Diû Crône28.
   In the version of the prose Lancelot Gawain, during the night, sees twelve maidens come to the door of the chamberwhere the Grail is kept, kneel down, and weep bitterly, in fact behave precisely as did the classical mourners for Adonis - "Elles sanglotent éperdument pendant la nuit29,"- behaviour for which the text, as it now stands, provides no shadow of explanation or excuse. The Grail is here the most revered of Christian relics, the dwellers in the castle of Corbenic have all that heart can desire, with the additional prestige of being the guardians of the Grail; if the feature be not a belated survival, which has lost its meaning, it defies any explanation whatsoever.
   In Diû Crône alone, where the Grail-bearer and her maidens are the sole living beings in an abode of the Dead, is any explanation of the 'Weeping Women' attempted, but an interpolated passage in the Heralds' College MS. of the Perceval states that when the Quest is achieved, the hero shall learn the cause of the maiden's grief, and also the explanation of the Dead Knight upon the bier:
"del graal q'vient aprés
E purquei plure tut adés
La pucele qui le sustient
De la biere qu'aprés vient
Savera la vérité adonques
Ceo que nul ne pot saveir onques
Pur nule rien qui avenist."
fo. 180vo-181.
   Of course in the Perceval there is neither a Weeping Maiden, nor a Bier, and the passage must therefore be either an unintelligent addition by a scribe familiar with the Gawain versions, or an interpolation from a source which did contain the features in question. So far as the texts at our disposal are concerned, both features belong exclusively to the Gawain, and not to the Perceval Quest. The interpolation is significant as it indicates a surviving sense of the importance of this feature.
   In the Perlesvaus we have the curious detail of a maiden who has lost her hair as a result of the hero's failure to ask the question, and the consequent sickness of the Fisher King. The occurrence of this detail may be purely fortuitous, but at the same time it is admissible to point out that the Adonis cults do provide us with a parallel in the enforced loss of hair by the women taking part in these rites, while no explanation of this curious feature has so far as I am aware been suggested by critics of the text30.
   We may also note the fact that the Grail castle is always situated in the close vicinity of water, either on or near the sea, or on the banks of an important river. In two cases the final home of the Grail is in a monastery situated upon an island. The presence of water, either sea, or river, is an important feature in the Adonis cult, the effigy of the dead god being, not buried in the earth, but thrown into the water31.
   It will thus be seen that, in suggesting a form of Nature worship, analogous to this well-known cult, as the possible ultimate source from which the incidents and mise-en-scène of the Grail stories were derived, we are relying not upon an isolated parallel, but upon a group of parallels, which alike in incident and intention offer, not merely a resemblance to, but also an explanation of the perplexing problems of the Grail literature. We must now consider the question whether incidents so remote in time may fairly and justly be utilized in this manner.


1 Cf. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, p. 5.
2 In this connection not only the epoch-making works of Mannhardt and Frazer which are more specifically devoted to an examination of Folk belief practice should be studied, but also works such as The Mediaeval Stage, E. K. Chambers; Themis, J. E. Harrison; The Origin of Attic Comedy, F. Cornford; and Sir Gilbert Murray's essay on the evolution of the Greek, published in Miss Harrison's Themis. The cumulative evidence of works is most striking.
3 A full study of this evolutionary process will be found in Miss Harrison's Themis. A Study in Greek Social Origins, referred to above.
4 Baudissin, in his exhaustive study of these cults, Adonis und Esmun, comes to the conclusion that Tammuz and Adonis are different gods, owing their origin to a common parent deity. Where the original conception arose is doubtful; whether in Babylon, in Canaan, or in a land where the common ancestors of Phoenicians and Babylonian Semites formed an original unit.
5 Cf. Tammuz and Ishtar, S. Langdon, p. 5.
6 It may be well to note here that the 'Life' deity has no proper name; he is only known by an appellative; Damu-zi, Damu, 'faithful son,' or 'son and consort,' is only a general epithet, which designates the dying god in a theological aspect, just as the name Adðni, 'my lord,' certainly replaced a more specific name for the god of Byblos. Esmun of Sidon, another type of Adonis, is a title only, and means simply, 'the name.' Cf. Langdon, op. cit. p. 7. Cf. this with previous passages on the evolution of the Greek idea from a nameless entity to a definite god. Mr Langdon's remarks on the evolution of the Tammuz cult should be carefully studied in view of the theory maintained by Sir W. Ridgeway - that the Vegetation deities were all of them originally men.
7 From a liturgy employed at Nippur in the period of the Isin dynasty, Langdon, op. cit. p. 11. Also, Sumerian and Babylonian Psalms, p. 338.
8 Cf. Langdon, Tammuz and Ishtar, p. 23.
9 What we have been able to ascertain of the Sumerian -Babylonian religion points to it rather as a religion of mourning and supplication, than of joy and thanksgiving. The people seem to have been in perpetual dread of their gods, who required to be appeased by continual acts of humiliation. Thus the 9th, 15th, 19th, 28th, and 29th of the month were all days of sack-cloth and ashes, days of wailing; the 19th especially was 'the day of the wrath of Gulu.'
10 Cf. Langdon, op. cit. p. 24.
11 Cf. Langdon, op. cit. p. 26.
12 The most complete enquiry into the nature of the god is to be found in Baudissin, Adonis und Esmun. For the details of the cult cf. Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, Vol. II. ; Vellay, Adonis (Annales du Musée Guimet). For the Folk-lore evidence cf. Mannhardt, Wald und Feld-Kulte; Frazer, The Golden Bough, and Adonis, Attis, Osiris. These remarks apply also to the kindred cult of Attis, which as we shall see later forms an important link in our chain of evidence. The two cults are practically identical and scholars are frequently at a loss to which group surviving fragments of the ritual should be assigned.
13 In this connection note the extremely instructive remarks of Miss Harrison in the chapter on Herakles in the work referred to before. She points out that the Eniautos Daimon never becomes entirely an Olympian, but always retains traces of his 'Earth' origin. This principle is particularly well illustrated by Adonis, who, though admitted to Olympus as the lover of Aphrodite, is yet by his very nature forced to return to the earth, and descend to the realm of Persephone. This agrees well with the conclusion reached by Baudissin (Adonis und Esmun, p. 71) that Adonis belongs to "einer Klasse von Wesen sehr unbestimmter Art, die wohl Uber den Menschen aber unter den grossen Gottern stehen."
14 Cf. Vellay, op. cit. p. 93. Dulaure, Des Divinités Génératrices. If Baudissin be correct, and the introduction of the Boar a later addition to the story, it would seem to indicate the intrusion of a phallic element into ritual which at first, like that of Tammuz, dealt merely with the death of the god. The Attis form, on the contrary, appears to have been phallic from the first. Cf. Baudissin, Adonis und Esmun, p. 160.
15 Op. cit. p. 83.
16 Cf. L. von Schroeder, Vollendung des Arischen Mysterium, p. 14
17 It may be well to explain the exact meaning attached to these terms by the author. In Professor von Schroeder's view Mysterium may be held to connote a drama in which the gods themselves are actors; Mimus on the contrary, is the term applied to a drama which treats of the doings of mortals.
18 Op. cit. Vol. II. p. 647.
19 Op. cit. p. 115. Much of the uncertainty as to date is doubtless due to the reflective influence of other forms of the cult; the Tammuz celebrations were held from June 20th to July 20th, when the Dog-star Sirius was in the ascendant, and vegetation failed beneath the heat of the summer sun. In other, and more temperate, climates the date would fall later. Where, however, the cult was an off-shoot of a Tammuz original (as might be the case through emigration) the tendency would be to retain the original date.
20 Cf. Vellay, op. cit. p. 55; Mannhardt, Vol. II. pp. '277-78, for a description of the feast. With regard to the order and sequence of the celebration cf. Miss Harrison's remark, Themis, p. 415: " In the cyclic monotony of the Eniautos Daimon it matters little whether Death follows Resurrection, or Resurrection, Death."
21 Cf. Mannhardt, supra, p. 279
22 Cf. Vellay, op. cit. p. 103. This seems also to have been the case with Tammuz, cf. Ezekiel, Chap. viii. v. 14
23 Cf. Frazer, The Golden Bough, under heading Adonis.
24 Vellay, p. 130 Mannhardt, Vol. ii. p. 287; note the writer's suggestion that the women here represent the goddess, the stranger, the risen Adonis.
25 Cf. Vellay, p. 93.
26 Vide supra, pp. 20, 21.
27 Supra, p. 21.
28 Cf. Potvin, appendix to Vol. iii.; Sir Gawain at the Grail Castle, pp. 41, 44 and note.
29 My use of this parallel has been objected to on the ground that the prose Lancelot is a late text, and therefore cannot be appealed to as evidence for original incidents. But the Lancelot in its original form was held by so competent an authority as the late M. Gaston Paris to have been one of the earliest, if not the very earliest, of French prose texts. (Cf M. Paris's review of Suchier and Birch- Hirschfeld's Geschichte der Franz. Litt.) The adventure in question is a 'Gawain' adventure; we do not know whence it was derived, and it may well have been included in an early version of the romance. Apart from the purely literary question, from the strictly critical point of view the adventure is here obviously out of place, and entirely devoid of raison d'etre. If the origin of the Grail legend is really to be found in these cults, which are not a dead but a living tradition (how truly living, the exclusively literary critic has little idea), we are surely entitled to draw attention to the obvious parallels, no matter in which text they appear. I am not engaged in reconstructing the original form of the Grail story, but in endeavouring to ascertain the ultimate source, and it is surely justifiable to point out that, in effect, no matter what version we take, we find in that version points of contact with one special group of popular belief and practice. If I be wrong in my conclusions my critics have only to suggest another origin for this peculiar feature of the romance -as a matter of fact, they have failed to do so.
30 Cf. Perlesvaus, Branch II. Chap. 1.
31 Throwing into, or drenching with, water is a well-known part of 'Fertility' ritual ; it is a case of sympathetic magic, acting as a rain charm.