Historical Reprints Religion Golden Bough - Abridged One Volume Edition - Study of Magic and Religion

Golden Bough - Abridged One Volume Edition - Study of Magic and Religion

Golden Bough - Abridged One Volume Edition - Study of Magic and Religion
Catalog # SKU1607
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 3.00 lbs
Author Name James George Frazer


The Golden Bough
A Study of Magic and Religion

Abridged Edition
One Volume
Sir James George Frazer

THE PRIMARY aim of this book is to explain the remarkable rule which regulated the succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia. When I first set myself to solve the problem more than thirty years ago, I thought that the solution could be propounded very briefly, but I soon found that to render it probable or even intelligible it was necessary to discuss certain more general questions, some of which had hardly been broached before. In successive editions the discussion of these and kindred topics has occupied more and more space, the enquiry has branched out in more and more directions, until the two volumes of the original work have expanded into twelve. Meantime a wish has often been expressed that the book should be issued in a more compendious form. This abridgment is an attempt to meet the wish and thereby to bring the work within the range of a wider circle of readers. While the bulk of the book has been greatly reduced, I have endeavoured to retain its leading principles, together with an amount of evidence sufficient to illustrate them clearly.

The language of the original has also for the most part been preserved, though here and there the exposition has been somewhat condensed. In order to keep as much of the text as possible I have sacrificed all the notes, and with them all exact references to my authorities. Readers who desire to ascertain the source of any particular statement must therefore consult the larger work, which is fully documented and provided with a complete bibliography.

In the abridgment I have neither added new matter nor altered the views expressed in the last edition; for the evidence which has come to my knowledge in the meantime has on the whole served either to confirm my former conclusions or to furnish fresh illustrations of old principles. Thus, for example, on the crucial question of the practice of putting kings to death either at the end of a fixed period or whenever their health and strength began to fail, the body of evidence which points to the wide prevalence of such a custom has been considerably augmented in the interval. A striking instance of a limited monarchy of this sort is furnished by the powerful mediaeval kingdom of the Khazars in Southern Russia, where the kings were liable to be put to death either on the expiry of a set term or whenever some public calamity, such as drought, dearth, or defeat in war, seemed to indicate a failure of their natural powers.

The evidence for the systematic killing of the Khazar kings, drawn from the accounts of old Arab travellers, has been collected by me elsewhere. Africa, again, has supplied several fresh examples of a similar practice of regicide. Among them the most notable perhaps is the custom formerly observed in Bunyoro of choosing every year from a particular clan a mock king, who was supposed to incarnate the late king, cohabited with his widows at his temple-tomb, and after reigning for a week was strangled. The custom presents a close parallel to the ancient Babylonian festival of the Sacaea, at which a mock king was dressed in the royal robes, allowed to enjoy the real king's concubines, and after reigning for five days was stripped, scourged, and put to death.

That festival in its turn has lately received fresh light from certain Assyrian inscriptions, which seem to confirm the interpretation which I formerly gave of the festival as a New Year celebration and the parent of the Jewish festival of Purim. Other recently discovered parallels to the priestly kings of Aricia are African priests and kings who used to be put to death at the end of seven or of two years, after being liable in the interval to be attacked and killed by a strong man, who thereupon succeeded to the priesthood or the kingdom.

With these and other instances of like customs before us it is no longer possible to regard the rule of succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia as exceptional; it clearly exemplifies a widespread institution, of which the most numerous and the most similar cases have thus far been found in Africa. How far the facts point to an early influence of Africa on Italy, or even to the existence of an African population in Southern Europe, I do not presume to say. The pre-historic historic relations between the two continents are still obscure and still under investigation.

Whether the explanation which I have offered of the institution is correct or not must be left to the future to determine. I shall always be ready to abandon it if a better can be suggested. Meantime in committing the book in its new form to the judgment of the public I desire to guard against a misapprehension of its scope which appears to be still rife, though I have sought to correct it before now. If in the present work I have dwelt at some length on the worship of trees, it is not, I trust, because I exaggerate its importance in the history of religion, still less because I would deduce from it a whole system of mythology; it is simply because I could not ignore the subject in attempting to explain the significance of a priest who bore the title of King of the Wood, and one of whose titles to office was the plucking of a bough -- the Golden Bough -- from a tree in the sacred grove. But I am so far from regarding the reverence for trees as of supreme importance for the evolution of religion that I consider it to have been altogether subordinate to other factors, and in particular to the fear of the human dead, which, on the whole, I believe to have been probably the most powerful force in the making of primitive religion.

I hope that after this explicit disclaimer I shall no longer be taxed with embracing a system of mythology which I look upon not merely as false but as preposterous and absurd. But I am too familiar with the hydra of error to expect that by lopping off one of the monster's heads I can prevent another, or even the same, from sprouting again. I can only trust to the candour and intelligence of my readers to rectify this serious misconception of my views by a comparison with my own express declaration.


Subject Index
Chapter 1. The King of the Wood
Chapter 2. Priestly Kings
Chapter 3. Sympathetic Magic
Chapter 4. Magic and Religion
Chapter 5. The Magical Control of the Weather
Chapter 6. Magicians as Kings
Chapter 7. Incarnate Human Gods
Chapter 8. Departmental Kings of Nature
Chapter 9. The Worship of Trees
Chapter 10. Relics of Tree Worship in Modern Europe
Chapter 11. The Influence of the Sexes on Vegetation
Chapter 12. The Sacred Marriage
Chapter 13. The Kings of Rome and Alba
Chapter 14. Succession to the Kingdom in Ancient Latium
Chapter 15. The Worship of the Oak
Chapter 16. Dianus and Diana
Chapter 17. The Burden of Royalty
Chapter 18. The Perils of the Soul
Chapter 19. Tabooed Acts
Chapter 20. Tabooed Persons
Chapter 21. Tabooed Things
Chapter 22. Tabooed Words
Chapter 23. Our Debt to the Savage
Chapter 24. The Killing of the Divine King
Chapter 25. Temporary Kings
Chapter 26. Sacrifice of the King's Son
Chapter 27. Succession to the Soul
Chapter 28. The Killing of the Tree-Spirit
Chapter 29. The Myth of Adonis
Chapter 30. Adonis in Syria
Chapter 31. Adonis in Cyprus
Chapter 32. The Ritual of Adonis
Chapter 33. The Gardens of Adonis
Chapter 34. The Myth and Ritual of Attis
Chapter 35. Attis as a God of Vegetation
Chapter 36. Human Representatives of Attis
Chapter 37. Oriental Religions in the West
Chapter 38. The Myth of Osiris
Chapter 39. The Ritual of Osiris
Chapter 40. The Nature of Osiris
Chapter 41. Isis
Chapter 42. Osiris and the Sun
Chapter 43. Dionysus
Chapter 44. Demeter and Persephone
Chapter 45. Corn-Mother and Corn-Maiden in N. Europe
Chapter 46. Corn-Mother in Many Lands
Chapter 47. Lityerses
Chapter 48. The Corn-Spirit as an Animal
Chapter 49. Ancient Deities of Vegetation as Animals
Chapter 50. Eating the God
Chapter 51. Homeopathic Magic of a Flesh Diet
Chapter 52. Killing the Divine Animal
Chapter 53. The Propitiation of Wild Animals By Hunters
Chapter 54. Types of Animal Sacrament
Chapter 55. The Transference of Evil
Chapter 56. The Public Expulsion of Evils
Chapter 57. Public Scapegoats
Chapter 58. Human Scapegoats in Classical Antiquity
Chapter 59. Killing the God in Mexico
Chapter 60. Between Heaven and Earth
Chapter 61. The Myth of Balder
Chapter 62. The Fire-Festivals of Europe
Chapter 63. The Interpretation of the Fire-Festivals
Chapter 64. The Burning of Human Beings in the Fires
Chapter 65. Balder and the Mistletoe
Chapter 66. The External Soul in Folk-Tales
Chapter 67. The External Soul in Folk-Custom
Chapter 68. The Golden Bough
Chapter 69. Farewell to Nemi

Softcover, 8¾" x 10¾", 550+ pages

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