By Martin Persson Nilsson
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Additional info for A History of Greek Religion
In her cult occur orgiastic dances and the sacred bough; none of the great gods is so closely connected with the tree-cult. The resemblance to the Mmoan tree,cult and orgiastic dance is obvious, but is still no proof of any historical connexion. tubbornly persisted, for instance, in Teutonic folk-lore. In the artistic type of the divinity the connexion is evident. A favourite subject of archaic art is the figure formerly called • the Persian ArtemIs', now the ' Mistress of Animals' (n6rvL¢ 01JpOOll), a woman holding in her hands four-footed animals or birds of different kinds.!
Envious foes who try to rob the hero of the fruits of victory are also found in the Greek myths. o shame. This is a wide-spread folk-talC', which in Greece is told about Alkathoos and Pele\ls. The flight amid dangers is often combined with speciaL difficulties. The hero, like Theseus in the Labyrinth, cannot find the way. Then the beloved prince'i:; is at hand with her Ariadne thread. This occurs in modern folk-tales also, but more D2 GREEK RELIGION commonly a line of pebbles is laid on the way in, or else grains of corn or crumbs of bread are thrown down which the birds come and devour, whereby the difficulties are increased.
W. Persson, Der Ursprllng det eleusiniscllen Mysterkn, ARw, XXI, Ig:ZZ, pp. 287 et seq. t 2 Mi,Jtoan-Mycenaean Religio1~ 3! On the strength of the comparison with Magna Mater, at whose side her youthful lover Attis stands, it is generally believed that the Minoan Nature-goddess too had a youthful paramour. But certain indications seem to me to point to quite another and a peculiar idea. No Greek myth is so curious as the story of the birth of Zeus. This myth is especially Cretan and the Zeus of the story is very unlike the 'king of heaven' of Greek mythology.