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VICTIMS ON THe tables of THE GODS. 189
Mexico and of the countries south of it: "All the Nahua nations practised this religious cannibalism. That cannibalism as a source of food, unconnected with religious rites, was ever practised, there is little evidence. Sahagun and Las Casas regard the cannibalism of the Nahuas as an abhorrent feature of their religion, and not as an unnatural appetite."1
Réville, treating of the native religions of Mexico and Peru comes to a similar conclusion with Dorman; and he argues that the state of things which was there was the same the world over, so far as it related to cannibalism. "Cannibalism," he says, "which is now restricted to a few of the savage tribes who have remained closest to the animal life, was once universal to our race. For no one would ever have conceived the idea of offering to the gods a kind of food which excited nothing but disgust and horror." In this suggestion, Réville indicates his conviction that the primal idea of an altar was a table of blood-bought communion. "Human sacrifices" however, he goes on to say, "prevailed in many places when cannibalism had completely disappeared from the habits and tastes of the population.
Thus the Semites of Western Asia, and the Çivaïte Hindus, the Celts, and some of the populations 1 Origin of Prim. Supers., p. 150.
2 Native Relig. in Mex. and Peru, p. 75 f.
of Greece and Italy, long after they had renounced cannibalism, still continued to sacrifice human beings to their deities." And he might have added, that some savage peoples continued cannibalism when the religious idea of its beginning had been almost swept away entirely by the brutalism of its inhuman nature and tendencies. Referring to the date of the conquest of Mexico, he says: "Cannibalism, in ordinary life, was no longer practised. The city of Mexico underwent all the horrors of famine during the siege conducted by Fernando Cortes. When the Spaniards finally entered the city, they found the streets strewn with corpses, which is a sufficient proof that human flesh was not eaten even in dire extremities. And, nevertheless, the Aztecs not only pushed human sacrifices to a frantic extreme, but they were ritual cannibals, that is to say, there were certain occasions on which they ate the flesh of the human victims they had immolated."1
And as it was in India and in America and in the Islands of the Sea; so it seems to have been wherever the primitive idea of cannibalism as a prevalent custom has been intelligently sought out.2
1 Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru, p. 76.
2 See references to cannibalism as a religious rite among the Khonds of Orissa, the people of Sumatra, etc., in Adams's Curiosities of Superstition.
DRINKING THE BLOOD OF GRAPES. 191
7. SYMBOLIC SUBSTITUTES FOR BLOOD.
As the primitive and more natural method of commingling bloods, in the blood-covenant, by sucking each other's veins, or by an inter-transference of blood from the mutually opened veins, was in many regions superseded by the symbolic laving, or sprinkling, or anointing, with blood; and as the blood of the lower animals was often substituted, vicariously, for human blood;-so the blood and wine which were commingled for mutual drinking in the covenant-rite, or which were together poured out in libation, when the covenant was between man and the Deity, came, it would appear, to be represented, in many cases, by the wine alone. First, we find men pledging each other in a sacred covenant, in the inter-drinking of each other's blood mingled with wine. They called their covenant-draught, "assiratum," or "vinum assiratum"; "wine, covenant-filled." By and by, apparently, they came to count simple wine-" the blood of grapes "-as the representative of blood and wine, in many forms of covenanting.
This mutual drinking, as a covenant-pledge, has been continued as an element in the marriage ceremony, the world over, down to the present time. It would even
1 Gen. 49: II; Deut. 32: 14; Ecclesiasticus 39: 26; 50: 15; I Macc. 6: 34.
seem that the gradual changes in the methods of this symbolic rite could be tracked, through its various forms in this ceremony, in different portions of the world. Among the wide-spreading 'Anazeh Bed'ween, the pouring out of a blood libation is still the mode of completing the marriage-covenant. "When the marriage day is fixed," says Burckhardt,1 "the bridegroom comes with a lamb in his arms to the tent of the father of his bride, and then, before witnesses, he cuts its throat. As soon as the blood falls upon the earth, the marriage ceremony is regarded as complete." Among the Bed'ween of Sinai, as Palmer tells us, the bride is sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, before she is surrendered to the bridegroom. Lane's mention of the prominence of outpoured blood at the weddings of the Copts in Cairo, has already been cited. Among the Arabs, since the days of Muhammad, wine has been generally abjured, and coffee now commonly takes its place as a drink, in all ordinary conferences for covenanting.
In Borneo, among the Dayaks, the bride and the bridegroom sit side by side, facing the rising sun. Their parents then besprinkle them with the blood of some animal, and also with water. "Each being next presented. with a cup of arrack, they mutually pour half into each 1 In Beduinen und Wahaby, p. 86 f.
2 Desert of the Exodus, I., 90.
3 See page 72, supra.
THE FIXING POINT OF THE COMPACT. 193
other's cup, take a draught, and exchange vessels."1 In Burmah, among the Karens, water is poured upon the bride as she enters the bridegroom's house. When she is received by the bridegroom, "each one then gives the other to drink, and each says to the other, 'Be faithful to thy covenant.' This is the proper marriage ceremony, and the parties are now married." 2
The blood of an ox, or a cow, is caused to flow at the door of the bride's house, as a part of the marriage ceremony, in Namaqua Land.3 A similar custom prevails among the Kafirs of Natal; and an observer has said of this blood-flowing, in the covenanting rite: "This appears to be the fixing point of the ceremony"; this is "the real matrimonial tie." 4
Again it is the sharing from the same dish in drinking, as well as in eating, that the bride and the bridegroom covenant in marriage, in the Feejee Islands." The liquor that is made the common draught, as a substitute for the primitive blood-potion, is commonly the spirituous drink of the region; whether that drink be wine, or arrack, or whiskey, or beer. The symbolism is the same in every case.
1 Wood's Wedding Day, p. 144.
2 Mason, in Journ. of Asiat. Soc. of Bengal, Vol. XXXV., Part II., p. 17; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., V., 9.
3 Andersson's Lake Ngami, p. 220 f.
Shooter's Kafirs of Natal, p. 77.
Williams and Calvert's Fiji and the Fijians, p. 134.