The Myths of the New World - A Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of America
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The Myths of the New World - A Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of America

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Project Gutenberg's The Myths of the New World, by Daniel G. BrintonThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Myths of the New WorldA Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of AmericaAuthor: Daniel G. BrintonRelease Date: September 22, 2006 [EBook #19347]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MYTHS OF THE NEW WORLD ***Produced by Robert Cicconetti, Julia Miller and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (Thisfile was produced from images generously made availableby the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions(www.canadiana.org))Transcriber’s NoteThe corrections mentioned in the Errata have been made. The corrected text is marked and the original text isshown in the popup.A number of typographical errors have been maintained in the current version of this book. They are marked and thecorrected text is shown in the popup. A list of these errors is found at the end of this book.The following less-common characters are found in this book: ă (a with breve), ā (a with macron), ē (e with macron),ū (u with macron). If they do not display properly, please try changing your font.THE MYTHSOFTHE NEW WORLDA TREATISE ON THESYMBOLISM AND MYTHOLOGYOF THERED RACE OF ...

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Project Gutenberg's The Myths of the New World, by
Daniel G. Brinton
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no
cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,
give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg
License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: The Myths of the New World
A Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the
Red Race of America
Author: Daniel G. Brinton
Release Date: September 22, 2006 [EBook #19347]
Language: English
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK
THE MYTHS OF THE NEW WORLD ***
Produced by Robert Cicconetti, Julia Miller and the
Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.netDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
(This
file was produced from images generously made
available
by the Canadian Institute for Historical
Microreproductions
(www.canadiana.org))
Transcriber’s Note
The corrections mentioned in the Errata have been
made. The corrected text is marked and the original
text is shown in the popup.
A number of typographical errors have been
maintained in the current version of this book. They
are marked and the corrected text is shown in the
popup. A list of these errors is found at the end of this
book.
The following less-common characters are found in
this book: ă (a with breve), ā (a with macron), ē (e
with macron), ū (u with macron). If they do not display
properly, please try changing your font.
The Myths
OFThe New World
A TREATISE ON THE
SYMBOLISM AND MYTHOLOGY
OF THE
RED RACE OF AMERICA
BY
Daniel G. Brinton, A. M., M. D.
Memb. Hist. Soc. of Penn.; of Numismat. and
Antiq. Soc. of Philada.; Corresp. Memb.
Amer. Ethnolog. Soc.; author of
“Notes on the Floridian
Peninsula,” Etc.
Owl
NEW YORK
LEYPOLDT & HOLT
LONDON: TRÜBNER & CO.
1868
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year
1868, by
DANIEL G. BRINTON,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United
States for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.PREFACE.
I have written this work more for the thoughtful
general reader than the antiquary. It is a study of an
obscure portion of the intellectual history of our
species as exemplified in one of its varieties.
What are man’s earliest ideas of a soul and a God,
and of his own origin and destiny? Why do we find
certain myths, such as of a creation, a flood, an after-
world; certain symbols, as the bird, the serpent, the
cross; certain numbers, as the three, the four, the
seven—intimately associated with these ideas by
every race? What are the laws of growth of natural
religions? How do they acquire such an influence, and
is this influence for good or evil? Such are some of the
universally interesting questions which I attempt to
solve by an analysis of the simple faiths of a savage
race.
If in so doing I succeed in investing with a more
general interest the fruitful theme of American
ethnology, my objects will have been accomplished.
Philadelphia,
April, 1868.
CONTENTS.CHAPTER I.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS OF THE RED RACE.
PAGE
Natural religions the unaided attempts of man to find
out God, modified by peculiarities of race and nation.
—The peculiarities of the red race: 1. Its languages
unfriendly to abstract ideas. Native modes of writing
by means of pictures, symbols, objects, and phonetic
signs. These various methods compared in their
influence on the intellectual faculties. 2. Its isolation,
unique in the history of the world. 3. Beyond all others,
a hunting race.—Principal linguistic subdivisions: 1.
The Eskimos. 2. The Athapascas. 3. The Algonkins
and Iroquois. 4. The Apalachian tribes. 5. The
Dakotas. 6. The Aztecs. 7. The Mayas. 8. The
Muyscas. 9. The Quichuas. 10. The Caribs and Tupis.
11. The Araucanians.—General course of migrations.
—Age of man in America.—Unity of type in the red
race 1
CHAPTER II.
THE IDEA OF GOD.
An intuition common to the species.—Words
expressing it in American languages derived either
from ideas of above in space, or of life manifested by
breath.—Examples.—No conscious monotheism, and
but little idea of immateriality discoverable.—Still less
any moral dualism of deities, the Great Good Spirit
and the Great Bad Spirit being alike terms and notions
of foreign importation 43CHAPTER III.
THE SACRED NUMBER, ITS ORIGIN AND
APPLICATIONS.
The number Four sacred in all American religions, and
the key to their symbolism.—Derived from the
Cardinal Points.—Appears constantly in government,
arts, rites, and myths.—The Cardinal Points identified
with the Four Winds, who in myths are the four
ancestors of the human race, and the four celestial
rivers watering the terrestrial Paradise.—Associations
grouped around each Cardinal Point.—From the
number four was derived the symbolic value of the
number Forty and the Sign of the Cross 66
CHAPTER IV.
THE SYMBOLS OF THE BIRD AND THE SERPENT.
Relations of man to the lower animals.—Two of these,
the Bird and the Serpent, chosen as symbols beyond
all others.—The Bird throughout America the symbol
of the Clouds and Winds.—Meaning of certain
species.—The symbolic meaning of the Serpent
derived from its mode of locomotion, its poisonous
bite, and its power of charming.—Usually the symbol
of the lightning and the Waters.—The Rattlesnake the
symbolic species in America.—The war charm.—The
Cross of Palenque.—The god of riches.—Both
symbols devoid of moral significance 99
CHAPTER V.THE MYTHS OF WATER, FIRE, AND THE
THUNDER-STORM.
Water the oldest element.—Its use in purification.—
Holy water.—The Rite of Baptism.—The Water of Life.
—Its symbols.—The Vase.—The Moon.—The latter
the goddess of love and agriculture, but also of
sickness, night, and pain.—Often represented by a
dog.—Fire worship under the form of Sun worship.—
The perpetual fire.—The new fire.—Burning the dead.
—A worship of the passions, but no sexual dualism in
myths, nor any phallic worship in America.—Synthesis
of the worship of Fire, Water, and the Winds in the
Thunder-storm, personified as Haokah, Tupa,
Catequil, Contici, Heno, Tlaloc, Mixcoatl, and other
deities, many of them triune 122
CHAPTER VI.
THE SUPREME GODS OF THE RED RACE.
Analysis of American culture myths.—The Manibozho
or Michabo of the Algonkins shown to be an
impersonation of Light, a hero of the Dawn, and their
highest deity.—The myths of Ioskeha of the Iroquois,
Viracocha of the Peruvians, and Quetzalcoatl of the
Toltecs essentially the same as that of Michabo.—
Other examples.—Ante-Columbian prophecies of the
advent of a white race from the east as conquerors.—
Rise of later culture myths under similar forms 159
CHAPTER VII.
THE MYTHS OF THE CREATION, THE DELUGE,
THE EPOCHS OF NATURE, AND THE LAST DAY.Cosmogonies usually portray the action of the Spirit on
the Waters.—Those of the Muscogees, Athapascas,
Quichés, Mixtecs, Iroquois, Algonkins, and others.—
The Flood-Myth an unconscious attempt to reconcile a
creation in time with the eternity of matter.—Proof of
this from American mythology.—Characteristics of
American Flood-Myths.—The person saved usually
the first man.—The number seven.—Their Ararats.—
The rôle of birds.—The confusion of tongues.—The
Aztec, Quiché, Algonkin, Tupi, and earliest Sanscrit
flood-myths.—The belief in Epochs of Nature a further
result of this attempt at reconciliation.—Its forms
among Peruvians, Mayas, and Aztecs.—The
expectation of the End of the World a corollary of this
belief.—Views of various nations 193
CHAPTER VIII.
THE ORIGIN OF MAN.
Usually man is the Earth-born, both in language and
myths.—Illustrations from the legends of the Caribs,
Apalachians, Iroquois, Quichuas, Aztecs, and others.
—The under-world.—Man the product of one of the
primal creative powers, the Spirit, or the Water, in the
myths of the Athapascas, Eskimos, Moxos, and others
—Never literally derived from an inferior species 222
CHAPTER IX.
THE SOUL AND ITS DESTINY.
Universality of the belief in a soul and a future state
shown by the aboriginal tongues, by expressedopinions, and by sepulchral rites. The future world
never a place of rewards and punishments.—The
house of the Son the heaven of the red man.—The
terrestrial paradise and the under-world.—Çupay.—
Xibalba.—Mictlan.—Metempsychosis?—Belief in a
resurrection of the dead almost universal 233
CHAPTER X.
THE NATIVE PRIESTHOOD.
Their titles.—Practitioners of the healing art by
supernatural means.—Their power derived from
natural magic and the exercise of the clairvoyant and
mesmeric faculties.—Examples.—Epidemic hysteria.
—Their social position.—Their duties as religious
functionaries.—Terms of admission to the Priesthood.
—Inner organization in various nations.—Their
esoteric language and secret societies 263
CHAPTER XI.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE NATIVE RELIGIONS ON
THE MORAL AND SOCIAL LIFE OF THE RACE.
Natural religions hitherto considered of Evil rather than
of Good.—Distinctions to be drawn.—Morality not
derived from religion.—The positive side of natural
religions in incarnations of divinity.—Examples.—
Prayers as indices of religious progress.—Religion and
social advancement.—Conclusion 287
THE MYTHS OF THE NEW