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obviously based on a tradition of customs which once existed in the North. Even in comparatively modern times the Swedes and Pomeranians killed their old people in the way which was indicated in the passages quoted above. Perhaps a tribe of poor and hungry men would easily fall into the habit of killing the useless members of the family; and the practice may have survived long after the dreadful necessity had ceased. We find a notice of the custom in the Saga of Göttrek and Rolf. “ Here by our home,” says the hero, “is Gillings-rock : we call it the family-cliff, because there we lessen the number of the family when evil fortune comes. There all our fathers went to Odin without any stroke of disease. The old folk have free access to that happy spot, and we ought to be put to no further trouble or expense about them. The children push the father and mother from the rock, and send them with joy and gladness on their journey to Odin.” The situation of several of these “Valhalla Cliffs" is still well known in Sweden. The lakes, which stretch below, were called “Valhalla-meres” or “Odin-ponds."
“ The old people, after dances and sports, threw themselves into the lake, as the ancients related of the Hyperboreans": but if an old Norseman became too frail to travel to the cliff, his kinsmen would save him the disgrace of “dying like a cow in the straw," and would beat him to death with “the family-club."! “Similar stories are told of the Heruli
1 Geijer, Hist. Sweden, 31, 32. One of the family clubs is said to be still preserved at a farm in East Gothland. For the Heruli, see Procopius, De Bell. Goth. ii. 14, and Gibbon, Decline and Fall, c. 39. For instances among Icelanders, Westphalians, Slavs, and Wends, see Grimm, Deut. Alterth., 486, 489. “Die Kinder ihre altbetagte Eltern Blutfreunde und andere Verwandten, auch die so nicht mehr zum Kriege oder Arbeit in the dark forests of Poland”; and among
the Prussians “all the daughters except one were destroyed in infancy or sold, and the aged and infirm, the sick and the deformed, were unhesitatingly put to death”:' practices as remote from the poetry of the Greek description as from the reverence for the parents' authority which might have perhaps been expected from descendants of “the Aryan household."
We have not time to investigate the other minutie of history which might be illustrated by the Greek novels, and of some of these works it is sufficient to know the names and subjects. One Amometus published a poetical account of a nation of “Attacosi” in a sunny country beyond the Himalayan range, which seems to have closely resembled the account of the Hyperboreans, and to have dealt with the habits of certain cannibal tribes who were supposed to live in the Scythian deserts. Jamblulus, a writer who is best known by Lucian's parody, described the inhabitants of the Canaries, or Fortunate Islands ; but he seems to have known nothing of the real story of the interesting Guanche race. His imaginary voyage may be studied in “ Purchas's Pilgrims ;” and it will be found that he was responsible for the creation of many of the mon
dienstlich, ertödteten darnach gekocht und gegessen, oder lebendig begraben, &c.” (ibid. 488).
1 Maclear, Conversion of the Slavs, 166. Keysler, Antiqu. Septent. 148, cites several curious instances of this custom in Prussia from writers of local authority. A Count Schulenberg rescued an old man who was being beaten to death by his sons at a place called Jammerholz, or “woeful wood”; and the intended victim lived as the Count's hall-porter for twenty years after his rescue. A Countess of Mansfeld, in the 14th century, is said to have saved the life of an old man on the Lüneberg Heath under similar circumstances.
strous kinds of men, whose fantastic manners and customs threw so much discredit on the true reports of the first explorers of the world. We may use the words of Tacitus who refused to admit the creatures of fancy into his
Germany." All the rest is legend, as that these people have the faces and looks of men but the bodies and limbs of beasts, and the like: of which matters I know nothing for certain and therefore will leave them alone."1
1 Tac. Germ. C. 46.
Recapitulation.— Later Greek travellers.—Artemidorus.—Posidonius the Stoic-His
travels in Western Europe.-Condition of the Celts in Britain.—Difficulty of framing general rules.—Division of population into three stocks.—British Gauls.Insular Britons.- Præ-Celtic tribes. -Methods of finding their ancient settlements. -Antiquarian research.— Philological method.- Division of the Cel languages.Living forms in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Man, Brittany.-Dead forms: Welsh of Strathclyde, Pictish, Cornish, Gaulish, Celtic of Thrace and Galatia, Celtiberian. --Originals from which the groups are derived.—Lingua Britannica.—Affinities of Old Welsh–Whether more related to the Irish or the Gaulish.— Theory of the division of the Celtic stock, Gael and Cymry.—Origin of the Theory.—Similarity of Welsh and Gaulish languages. — The likeness explained.-Arose from independent causes.—The languages not similar at the same time.—Likeness between old forms of Welsh and Irish._Welsh and Irish at one time united.—Occupation of Britain by one Celtic horde.-Separation of Welsh and Irish languages. - British language distinct from Gaulish.-Practical result of accepting the theory.
E have dealt, as best we might, with a subject
that must always remain obscure. We have seen how Pytheas revealed a new world to the Greeks, and how the story became confused with legend until it seemed no better than an idle fancy, as if a name and a tale were invented about a country which never had been.” By the aid of the ancient criticisms we are able to guess very near to what the traveller said, even where his personal authority cannot now be cited, and wherever his actual words remain we may, of course, feel confidence in the reconstructed history. It is possible, however, that an incident here or there, a Gallic or a German custom, should rather be attributed to Posidonius the Stoic, or to Artemidorus the famous geographer of Ephesus, or some other of the Greek explorers who followed on the track of Pytheas.
1 Plutarch, Jul. Cæsar, 16.
Of these later travellers Posidonius? is the most important. He seems to have visited every corner of the West, soon after the destruction of the Cimbric horde; and his lively descriptions, first published in his lecture-room at Rhodes, are still among the best authorities for the customs of the peoples whom he visited. He received from the lips of Marius the story of the massacre of the Teutones, and drew that strange and brilliant picture of the barbarian armies which Plutarch has preserved in his biography of the Roman conqueror.
We have already taken from Posidonius some parts of his description of Northern Spain, where stood “those mountains of uncoined money heaped up by some bounteous Fortune," where the soil was not so much “rich” as “absolutely made of riches": we have borrowed from the sketches of life in Cornwall, and on the mud-flats of the German shore, which are believed to be fragments of his History; and his authority will be cited again, when we come to consider the manners of the Gauls in Britain. But his work survives only in extracts which cannot now be pieced together. Enough remains to show his enthusiasm of research, and the vividness and elegance of his style : but the loss of his volumes on the Celts and the Germans must always be counted among the great disasters of literature.
From the remains of such ancient descriptions, and
1 See Bake's Posidonius (Leyden, 1810); and for extracts and anecdotes from the fifty volumes of the “Histories,” see Strabo, iii. 217, iv. 287, vii. 293 ; Diod. Sic., v. 28, 30; Athenæus (Deipno soph.) iv. 153, vi. 233; Eustath. in Odyss., viii. 475; and in Iliad., p. 915, 35.