Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion

By Eli Edward Burriss | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
NATURALISM AND ANIMISM

THE subject of animism was discussed in the introductory chapter,1 and the reader is referred to the principles laid down there. It remains, however, to enlarge upon and illustrate these principles with special reference to Roman life. But first let us say something about a period which, according to some scholars -- who are probably right -- antedated animism. To this period the name naturism or naturalism has been given.2 Man, in this period, conceives of things as living, not because they possess spirits like himself, but because they possess powers, usually evil, such as he observes in lightning, in the wild beast, in the river. Certain it is that the Romans often directly addressed objects, in an entirely impersonal way. We have already noted this in the case of the worshiper at the Festival of Pales, who prays to "the springs and the spirits of the springs."3 Vesta, too, the Roman goddess of fire, must have been thus ad

____________________
1
Chapter I, pp. 16-24.
2
Edward Clodd, Animism, p. 22.
3
Chapter I, p. 23.

-195-

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Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Chapter I - Mana, Magic and Animism 1
  • Chapter II - Positive and Negative Mana (taboo) 25
  • Chapter III - Miscellaneous Taboos 84
  • Chapter IV - Magic Acts: the General Principles 124
  • Chapter V - Removing Evils by Magic Acts 144
  • Chapter VI - Incantation and Prayer 177
  • Chapter VII - Naturalism and Animism 195
  • Index 241
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