By Martin Persson Nilsson
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Extra resources for A History of Greek Religion
It is an artistic form which, coming probably from I 1 Treated most lecently by G. Radet, CybCb6 (Bibl. des Universites Ill' midi, :xiii). Minoan-Mycenaean Religion the East, became very popular in the archaic period. It is possibly due also to a combination of the human form of the goddess with the Minoan form of her epiphany as a bird. If we take into account the continuity of the artistic type, the religious continuity becomes more probable. We can then better understand why certain forms of the great Nature-goddess in Asia Minor, for example, the Ephesian goddess, came to be identified with Artemis.
But the EUlopean folk-tale, like the Greek myth, is an artistically finished composition, although within the frame-work of the whole the motifs may be interchanged and vary. Folk-tale motifs entcr into the Greek myths in greater number than is commonly supposed, and the demonstration of this fact is of fundamental importance. Motifs may vary according to the nature of the culture and new ones are added with its advance, but even in the tales of the most highly developed peoples there is a fundamental stock, the peculiar nature of which betrays its origin in the childhood of the human race.
But we may have here an aetio~ logic,Ll tale, as is almost certainly the case with the Lykaon story. Human sacrifices formed part of the cult of Zeus on :Mount Lykaion even in historic times. Social conditions, too, arc otten said to be reflected in the preference of the folk-tale for the youngest son.
A History of Greek Religion by Martin Persson Nilsson