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Vedas, Brahma, Vishnu, Iswara,

dra, .

222

Ganesa, Menu, Lachamee, In

Narayda, Seeva, &c. 221 Seshanaya, Yamen, Carticeya,

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CHALDEAN, PHOENICIAN, ARABIAN, SYRIAN, AND

&c.

223, 224

OTHER MYTHOLOGIES

Oannes, Omorca, Chronos,

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229

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MYTHOLOGY OF NORTHERN EUROPE.

Odin, his conquests, his arrival in the North, and the changes he there made General idea of the ancient religion of Northern Europe.

Of the religion of Northern
Europe, since Odin

Tenets of the Celts in refer

ence to the future state,
and to the last destinies
of this world

Progress of the religion of
the people of the North
Researches into the ancient

religion of the primitive

254

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inhabitants of Great Bri

tain

286

263

Religious tenets of the ancient
Britons

290

Of the Druids,

292

267

268

Of the different classes of
priests; their manner of
living; their dress and

functions

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Doctrine of the Druids; their
superstitions; ceremony
of the Oak-misletoe

277

297

Principal Maxims of the Dru

282

ids

299

Of the Druidesses

300

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CATECHISM OF MYTHOLOGY.

INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF MYTHOLOGY.

MYTHOLOGY, taken in an extensive sense, signifies an explanation of any fabulous doctrine; but its import is commonly applied to the history of the gods and heroes of antiquity. The study of the Grecian and Roman Mythologies, in particular, is justly deemed important to every one who aspires to the dignity of sound scholarship. The word Mythology is derived from the Greek words Mythos, a fable, and Logos, a word, or description.

Its origin has been attributed to that most prominent cause, passion. The natural desire of man, when destitute of a knowledge of the true God, to worship some object for the blessings which he receives, the artifices of priests and legislators, the fictions of poets, and the extreme ignorance of the great mass of mankind in the primitive times of society, generated Mythology.

Polytheism was the religion of the ancients. They acknowledged a plurality of gods.

The ancients worshipped divinities by various representations, called idols. The Babylonians worshipped Bel or Baal as their idol, and so on.

The Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and many other nations of antiquity, paid adoration to objects in the skies, on earth, in the water, and to fire, un

der different forms and names, and attributed to them certain powers and qualities; but, as very few of their works have been transmitted to us, a knowledge of their mythology is not essentially necessary to a liberal education.

The ancients are supposed to have borrowed much of their fabulous history from the Bible. The Egyptians were acquainted with the religion of the Jews, and their priests appear to have decked out in the robe of fiction many historical facts recorded in Scripture; thus enveloping the history of the creation, and other sublime truths, in the obscurity of fable.

The ancient Greeks, who, at first, were the most rude and uncivilized of all nations, admired whatever related to the worship of the gods that had been brought into their country by the colonies from Phonicia and Egypt; so that they soon greatly increased their number, by bestowing divine honours on such as ranked high in the scale of fame. In time they excelled in civilization and refinement. They represented their gods in human shape of the most excellent character. Every thing enchanting in female beauty, majestic, noble, muscular, or powerful, or whatever excellence the eye could discover in the figure of man, was displayed in the statues of their deities.

The natural consequence of raising mortals to the rank of gods, was, that the actions attributed to them, blend the mighty with the mean, and represent them, when considered literally, as guilty of the most extravagant follies and the most atrocious crimes.

The study of mythology enables us to understand, and become acquainted with, antique statues, medals, paintings, and the like; to read the classic authors advantageously; and to comprehend the writings of our poets, who make frequent allusions to the supposed actions of the fabulous deities.

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