The Arrow, the Hunter, and the State
In the study of ancient statecraft one is constantly running
across references to a gadget that seems so minor and so mechanical that its
great importance is easily overlooked as a key to the nature and origin of
empire. It is the contention of this paper that the marked arrow supplies
decisive evidence for describing the process by which hunters were able to
impose a system of government on the world. The marked arrow not only supports
the growing suspicion that the peasant societies of the great river valleys
became conquering empires by virtue of a discipline forced on them from
without,1 but goes on to show how such a transformation could take place.
Whereas only farmers possess the industry and stability necessary to sustain a
great state, the marked arrow indicates that it was nomad hunters of the
steppe, with their expansive and aggressive ways, who first brought such a
state into existence. Both elements, expansion and stability, must be combined
if real empire—not a mere adding of fields to fields on the one hand, or
the quick plunder of a continent on the other, but a program and technique of
permanent, universal rule—is to be achieved.
The present study undertakes to show how, by using marked
arrows in a peculiar way, prehistoric hunters solved the problem of exercising
dominion over vast and scattered areas and then applied the same solution to
the more difficult problem of welding peasant and nomad cultures into some sort
of union, resulting in the great centralized state of historic times. Three
basic questions only will be treated: what the marked arrow was, how it worked
in exercising its control over the closely knit and widely ranging tribes of
the steppes, and how those tribes used it to coerce the unwilling tillers of
the soil to cooperate in bringing forth the great state.
Modern observers have described how the native hunters of
the northwestern coasts of America secure their harpoons and arrows by putting
marks of identification on them, thus guaranteeing both the return of the
weapon to its owner and the right of the latter to possess the game it has
slain.2 In this as in other things these people have preserved the ways of
that Magdalenian hunting culture of which their own has long been held to be
the last direct survival.3 From the same venerable source are descended the
marked arrows formerly found all along the northern steppe of Asia and among
those Scandinavian bear—and whale—hunters who in ancient as in
modern times placed their legally registered marks on hunting arrows and
harpoons (which they also called "arrows") to insure their return to
their owners and lawful possession of the kill.4 This practice of marking
arrows was once general among the American Indians5 and still survives among
primitive hunters in various parts of the world.6 Indeed, nothing could be
more natural than to put some mark of identification on a highly prized object
designed to be risked in the gamble of the hunt.
But the mark upon the hunter’s arrow is more than a mere
identification tag; it is a high and holy object, sharing the "immortal
power" of the arrow itself. An arrow in flight is an awe-inspiring thing:
once released (so many a proverb proclaims) the arrow is beyond human control
and finds its mark only by the workings of imponderable fate. Throughout the
world the arrow is a prime instrument of divination and enjoys first place in
primitive games of chance;7 it is the spirit weapon that alone can prevail
against the demons or pass through the absolute void between other worlds and
our own.8 The incredible range and accuracy of the primitive arrow that so
astound the civilized observer are proof to the savage himself of the operation
of a supernatural power, as is evident in the prayers that the legendary heroes
of the steppe—Finnish, Norse, Russian, Kazakh, Turkish, and
Yakut—address to their three enchanted arrows before releasing them,9
and, for instance, in the arrow-prayers of the Indian and the Bedouin,10 all
eloquently expressing the humility of men about to entrust their lives and
their fate to a power beyond their control.
The problem of the hunter is to enlist this strange power in
his own interest. This requires recourse to the ingenious economy of the
hunting-fetish, that go-between without whose aid a man can neither prevail
against the game he chases nor enjoy lawful possession of it once taken.11
Among a variety of fetishes that achieves these ends, the mark placed upon a
shaft is particularly useful, for not only does it establish legal claim to the
kill, but it is "the soul of the arrow," directing the missile to its
prey and endowing it with superhuman force.12 Both for identification and as
hunting magic the sign on an arrow is a preeminently practical thing; it gets
and it proves possession—a point on which hunters are extremely
sensitive. Out of sight and beyond the hills, the smitten quarry is still the
sacred property of him whose mark adorns the fatal arrow: why shouldn’t such a
useful claim to ownership apply to other things as well? By sticking his arrow
in the ground beside any object, the Vedda claims that object as his own. A
natural transition carries the authority of the marked arrow into a wider
economy of human affairs.
Throughout the ancient world a ruler was thought to command
everything his arrow could touch. Thus, whenever a ruler of the North would
summon all his subjects to his presence, he would order an arrow, usually
called a "war-arrow" (herör) to be "cut up" and sent out
among them. Upon being touched by this arrow, every man had immediately to "follow
the arrow" (fylgja örum) to the royal presence or suffer banishment from
the kingdom.13 The arrow itself, in fact, was thought to pursue the wretch who
failed to heed the king’s behest.14 The "cutting" of the arrow was
the placing of the royal mark upon it, giving it the force of the king’s seal.15 As often as not the arrow took the form of a simple rod (stefni), bearing
marks of authorization while the message was delivered by word of mouth, a
technique recalling that of Australian and some American primitives in sending
The summons-arrow is common to the whole northern steppe,
where exceedingly archaic forms of it are to be found and where it has survived
until recent times.17 Both as war-arrow and invitation stick (depending on
whether it is rejected or accepted) it appears among the American Indians,
especially of the Northwest.18 But its most significant occurrence is found in
altered but easily recognizable forms in the classical civilizations of the Old
The herald of Zeus goes forth to summon his subjects, armed
with a golden wand that subdues all creatures with its touch. Hermes got this
staff originally from Apollo, who brought it with him as an arrow from the land
of the Hyperboreans, somewhere in the northern steppe.19 Hermes’ specialty is
rushing through the air by means of his messenger-staff, the caduceus, which is
winged at one end like an arrow and pointed at the other; holding to this the
god is able to fly through space, to the upper and lower worlds if need be,
exactly as Abaris, the Hyperborean shaman, flies over all the earth as Apollo’s
emissary when he grasps the arrow that the god has given him as a sign of his
authority.20 It is not necessary to multiply parallels to show that in the
earliest stratum of Greek legend we have a typical summons-arrow, wending its
way from the far north to impose law and civilization on the world in the name
of Zeus.21 The first message of Rome to Carthage was a symbolic caduceus and
javelin (hastae simulacrum) inviting the Carthaginians to submit or be subdued
In Israel the Lord, calling upon a city to declare its
allegiance to him, sends his rod to it, and a herald (a man of tushiah), seeing
the name on the rod, calls out to the people: "Hear ye the rod, and who
hath appointed it" (Micah 6:9). That this rod was an arrow will presently
An impressive demonstration of the authority of the
summons-arrow is the early and widespread rite of the four world-arrows. The
Olaf-Tryggvason Saga states a number of times24 that summons-arrows were sent "in
the four directions." For the oldest and greatest festival of India, the
Asvamedha, the king must send messengers in the four directions to order "all
who have been conquered by his arrows" to appear before him. The common
use of the summons-arrow in Aryan India makes the meaning of the rite clear.25
At the creation of the world, according to Zuñi doctrine, four marked arrows, "the
word-painted arrows of destiny," were carried "to the regions of men,
four in number" (cf. fig. 1), an event resembling a yearly ritual of the
Kwakiutls of the Northwest.26 A variant of this is the shooting of arrows in
the four directions, as in the Ghost-dance of the Sioux, where four sacred
arrows were shot into the air towards the cardinal points to symbolize the
conquest of the earth by the tribe.27 A like practice is attributed in Jewish
legend to the Emperor Titus and to Nimrod who, from Jerusalem and Babel
respectively, shot arrows in the four directions and claimed dominion over all
that lay within their range.28 The rite appears also in Indo-Iranian creation
myths and in the Sumerian story of Adad and the Zu-bird.29 In the Old World
and the New it is also common to depict the swastika with its four arms formed
of marked arrows—plainly the four world-arrows.
Related to the world-arrows is the worldwide practice of
making a sanctuary by marking off an area on the ground with the point of an
arrow, dividing it into four sections by a cross with its arms to the cardinal
points.30 The Germanic custom of claiming land by shooting a fiery arrow over
it31 may be related to the oldest measurement in India, which was the range of
a throwing-stick, or "measurement by arrow-casts," later supplanted by
measurement in bowlengths.32 The apportionment of land by the drawing of
arrow-lots was common to the Assyrians and the ancient Norse (whence the
expression "lot and scot")33 and recalls the common medieval custom
of transferring the ownership of land baculi more, by the conveyance of a staff
or arrow.34 A marked arrow passed among the guests at a royal banquet in the
North announced the transmission of a man’s estate to his heir.35
The ancient and universal concept that God governs the
universe and keeps order in it by an arrow, the swift messenger of his wrath
that searches out and blasts any who would challenge his authority,36 can only
have had its rise in a real summons-arrow, for everywhere this heavenly
arrow—the thunderbolt—is held to take the tangible actual form of a
prehistoric stone-headed arrow.37 It is the arrow of the summus deus, held on
loan by an earthly king as a gauge of divine support, that everywhere gives the
latter his earthly power and authority,38 just as the marked arrow of the
individual hunter, as a fetish or grant of supernatural power, gives him might
and dominion far beyond his own puny capacity. The dread offices of the marked
arrow were not reserved to kings alone. Throughout the northern steppe it was
the custom to require all who came to the king’s assembly to bring arrows with
them and to present them personally to the king. From these arrows a census was
taken, each man submitting but a single shaft, which represented him and bore
his mark, for "both in the Old World and the New, the arrow came to stand
as the token and symbol of a man."39 To arrows thus used may be applied,
for want of a better term, the name "census-arrow."
The census-arrow is found among the Scythians,40 Tartars,
Persians, Georgians, Norsemen, and American Indians,41 and it survived in
recognizable form in India, Egypt, and the Far East.42 But like the
summons-arrow, it is most frequently met in altered but unmistakable form among
nations that had long given up the hunter’s way of life.
One of the oldest Jewish-Christian legends tells how all the
men of Israel were required to attend a great assembly, each bringing his
staff, to be handed over to the high priest and used in a lottery for the
distribution of brides.43 In the Qur’anic version of the same story,44 it is
not simply a staff, however, but an arrow that every man must present, and this
conforms not only with the primitive Bedouin usage, but also with the original
Jewish custom. For in Israel it was necessary for every man at a national
assembly to be represented by a "rod" with his name on it (Numbers
17:2); every tribe was a rod as well (Numbers 34:13-29), the tribal rods being "each
one inscribed with the name of the tribe."45 Now the purpose of these
rods, Gaster has pointed out, was to determine allotments of brides, and the
allotment was performed by throwing rods into the air and reading their message
by the manner of their fall; this, Gaster observes,46 is "tantamount"
to the shooting of arrows. It is in fact the commonest form of arrow
divination, and seems to hark back to an older dart, or throwing-stick, which
is commonly identified and interchangeable with the arrow in archaic divination
practices.47 Gaster’s interpretation is substantiated when one turns to the
northern steppe to find ancient Scythian, Turkish, Finnish, Mongol, and Ossete
tribes regulating their land- and bride-lotteries by the actual shooting of
arrows that were marked, like the rods of Israel, with the contestants’ names.48 Related practices are found throughout the North. Thus the winning of
Penelope has supplied Homer with a prize nugget, which Finsler has traced back
to the northern steppe.49
The use of all these marked arrows in the making of legal
decisions takes us right into the heliastic courts of the Greeks, where every
juror had to present a specially colored wand (bakteria) for admission,
exchanging it for a symbolon, which he would exchange in turn for his day’s
subsistence.50 Both the name and the use of the token identify it (as any lexicon
will) with the classical tesserae, or feasting tickets, and the first symbolon,
or tessera hospitalis, on record was the arrow that Apollo gave to Abaris: the
scholiast calls this arrow a symbolon and says that it supplied Abaris with all
the food and drink he needed.51 Another link between the original arrow-token
and the classical tesserae is furnished by that common but enigmatic form of
tessera described as a "section of reed."52 For from time immemorial
the Arabs had employed reed arrow-shafts, devoid alike of feathers and heads,
but bearing some marks of individual ownership, "to make division" at
their tribal feasts.53 In the Pastor of Hermas,54 all who come to the
assembly of the Lord present sections of willow-reed for admission, each receiving
his proper place as designated by certain cuts (schismata) on his rod. Slips of
wood were used also in the North to assign places at banquets, but these first
appear as arrows, with the specification that "every man’s arrows were
marked."55 The red Indian who received an invitation-stick (usually
arrow-formed) was required to keep it and bring it with him as a ticket to the
Why and how arrows, of all things, came to be used as
feasting tickets may be best explained by an episode from the Orvar-Odds Saga.57 The text gives an authentic picture58 of a time when a great hunting
culture flourished on the plains to the east of the Baltic. There is a
tremendous hunt, after which everyone returns to the royal hirthstofa where
each guest is assigned his proper seat. All the game is then brought in and
thrown in a heap before the king (as in the Greek katabolia), who personally
examines all the arrows and, as the marking of each is noted, has his herald
give public recognition to its owner for his contribution to the banquet. The
same pleasant rite enlivened the feasts of the heathen Bedouin: Jacob has
pointed out the survival of the arrow-lottery from those tribal meals of the
Arabs at which all the meat was first thrown in a heap and then distributed by
portions to each man as his arrow was drawn and his name called out.59 Various
hunting tribes of the Eastern and Western hemispheres have the same custom,60
whereas the Greek and Roman tesserae follow the pattern: the tesserae were
regarded as lots and distributed by lot, each holder receiving the right to
share in a feast to which he was supposed to have contributed some prize of the
Marked arrows could, like the Hebrew rods, represent tribes
as well as individuals at the feasts. Each of the fifty-two Tartar tribes in
the time of Genghis Khan would bring an arrow marked with its name to the great
assembly, where one man would be chosen king of the whole nation by a double
lottery, first of tribal arrows and then of shafts bearing the names of
individuals belonging to whichever tribe won the first drawing.62 Bundles of
fifty-two rods, bearing individual and tribal markings, also represented the
full membership of Indian tribes in assembly: Culin says these rods were once
arrows.63 Bundles of seven divination arrows standing for the combined gentes
of the Osage64 recall similar tribal bundles of the Scythians, Alans, Slavs,
and ancient Germans65 (who also chose their leaders by drawing willow lots),
and these have been compared in turn with the Persian baresma66 and the Roman
fasces (cf. fig. 2), a bundle of twelve rods (the rods of Israel were likewise
tied in a symbolic bundle of twelve),67 standing originally for twelve
Etruscan tribes.68 The cosmic numbers seven, twelve, and fifty-two have astral
and divinatory significance and suggest the modern card deck, which Culin holds
is derived from "a quiver made up of the different arrows of the
individuals of a tribe."69 This communal aspect of the marked arrow was
always fundamental to its nature, since arrow-marking was ever as much a bid
for public recognition as for divine support.
The rise of the great state depended, as Moret has recently
pointed out, among other things on the development of writing, by which art
alone a ruler can extend his word of command indefinitely in time and space.70
Such control at a distance was the very function of the marked arrow, and
Hilprecht has given strong arguments for deriving the earliest written
documents, archaic cylinder seals, from "the hollow shaft of an arrow,
marked with symbols and figures."71 If Hilprecht’s theory failed of
general acceptance, it was because no one could see how the arrow fitted into
the picture. In view of the uses of the marked arrow by hunters, however, that
should be fairly clear, especially if one considers a few related facts that
may be briefly listed.
1. The earliest gods of writing, Nebo, Cadmus, Hermes, etc.,
were arrow gods.72
3. In the Far East, according to Culin,75 "the
ancestry of the book may be traced to the bundle of engraved or painted
arrow-derived slips used in divination" (cf. fig. 3).
4. The cylinder-seal and the arrow are interchangeable not
only as tokens but actually as weapons (an utterly incongruous equation in
itself), the seal serving as an arrow-missile, and the marked arrow serving as
5. The first writing, the first seals, and the marked arrow
all spring from the same basic need: if, as Herzfeld maintains, the idea of
property that produced the seals and writing is as old as humanity itself,77
may we not look for a still older form of property-marking than the cylinder
seal? And is not such a form the marked arrow, which everywhere precedes it and
so strikingly resembles it? That the cylinder seal originated very probably
somewhere in the north of Asia supports the suspicion.78
Whatever its origin, the writing of documents was conceived
for the same end as the marking of arrows, and the two meet on common ground in
the archaic cylinder seal; seal and arrow grew up together, having performed
identical functions from the first as instruments of identification and
Equipped with such an effective tool, the men of the steppes
enjoyed a powerful advantage over the settled agrarians who did not have,
because they did not need, anything like it. Against them it was devastating
and achieved a permanent conquest; it was an utterly cynical form of persuasion
to which they had no answer.
The peasants of the Old World tell a remarkably uniform tale
of a mad hunter from the North and East who claimed to rule the world in the
insane conviction that he had conquered God with his arrow. Such a one was the
archaic and mysterious Nimrod, the mighty hunter of the steppes, who shot an
arrow into the sky (standard shaman practice)79 and when a shower of blood
ensued believed that he had conquered God and won for himself the universal
kingship.80 The story is based on a genuine hunting ritual of great antiquity,81 but the literary records all chill with horror at the thought of the man who
first turned his arrows from the hunting of beasts to become "a hunter of
men," who founded the first great state, invented organized warfare, and "made
all people rebellious against God."82 He it was who challenged God to a
shooting-match with the blasphemous boast, "It is I who kill, and I who
let live!"83 In reply to which his followers were turned to stone by God’s
arrows, while their leader was driven mad in the same peculiar manner (by a fly
in the brain) as that Roman Emperor who would destroy God’s temple and who shot
his arrow in the four directions from Jerusalem, claiming dominion over the
A hundred names might be substituted for that of Nimrod.
Japheth, the common ancestor of the people of the northern steppe (Genesis
10:2-5), as Japetus, challenged the rule of Zeus and was smitten by the
thunderbolt, even as was his son Prometheus, and for that matter all the other
giants. It needs only little research to learn that the crime and the
punishment of Nimrod was repeated in the case of Aesculapius, his father Apollo
(the Admetus story), the Hyperborean Orion, Sisyphus, Salmoneus, the Emperor
Julian (who was smitten by St. Mercurius, the arrow of God), Romulus Silvius,
Otos and Ephialtes, Nebuchadnezzar (as legendary son of Nimrod), Lepreus,
Bootes, the Cyclopes, Gog and Magog, Esau, Goliath and his brother, who had an
archery contest with David,85 Eurotos, Philoctetes, Herakles, and even
Odysseus.86 The Cannibal Hymn from pre-Dynastic Egypt describes the deceased
Pharaoh as a Mad Hunter who seizes the government of the universe and throws
all things into disorder, just as the equally ancient Vulture Stele describes
the great god Ningirsu as "a beast of prey from the steppe," even
while praising him as the author and ruler of all.87
Folklorists have long identified these terrible hunters of
the East with the ubiquitous wild huntsman, a great lord or lady who will do
nothing but hunt, who holds his agrarian hinds in utter contempt, and publicly
announces that he prefers hunting to heaven. Invariably this monster is in the
eyes of the peasantry under a terrible curse, and he usually ends up by being
turned to stone when God’s bolt overtakes him.88 Yet his is the rightful rule:
"In the rural life of Europe," write Peake and Fleure, "the
waste and hunting rights down to our time have typically belonged to the ‘lords’
in a very special and intimate way," and they argue that this equation of
hunting and ruling is the result of prehistoric invasions of Europe by hunting
nomads from the Russo-Turkestan steppe.89 Such a conquest is not a unique
event in history, however, but a characteristic one, as when in the eleventh
century Saxon farmers found themselves saddled with the outrageous hunting laws
of an invading Norse aristocracy.90 It is the monotonous theme of Asiatic
history right into the nineteenth century, when Khazakh, Kalmuk, and Jungar
nomads moved in from the east to subject and "govern" the peasants
exactly as they were oppressed and controlled by the Scythians in the days of
The tradition of the Mad Hunter presents the uniform picture
of peasant societies enduring the overlordship of nomad intruders from the
perennial reservoirs of central Asia, whose way of life was utterly abhorrent
to them, and to whom their own was quite incomprehensible.92
But may the human race be so neatly divided into men of the
steppe and men tilling the soil? It may indeed, and it is the arrow that does
the dividing. Since the bow can be used effectively only by experts, its
general employment ceases whenever hunting is given up as a way of life, only
to be resumed in periods of migration.93 Archery is thus either all-important
or negligible in a culture, and the ancient world is divided sharply into two
camps, those who use the bow and those who do not.94 The division is of course
geographical: when encroaching forests drove the big game out of Europe at the
end of the Paleolithic, the hunters followed their quarry, to preserve on the
steppes of Asia a way of life largely forgotten in their former homelands.95
The resulting cultural dichotomy is a basic fact of history, since civilization
as history knows it is the rather calamitous result of bringing these two forms
together. Here the marked arrow seems to have played a major role.
The civilized people of antiquity had a common tradition
that the summus deus at the beginning of everything won dominion of the
universe by smiting a dark adversary with an arrow.96 As has been seen, God
rules the universe by an arrow, and the classic emblems of
authority—scepter, wand, spear, trident, double axe, crozier,
lotus-staff, fleur-de-lis, and so forth—may be traced back rather easily
to a common identity with the prehistoric thunderbolt, taking the tangible form
of a stone-headed arrow.97 Throughout the vast reaches of Asia, men were, to
use Pliny’s expression, "under subjection to the reed." From the
Chinese war-lord in the East to Saladin in the West, the arrow—a real
arrow and a marked one—is the ultimate symbol of authority, the banner
itself being originally but a message-strip tied to an arrow.98
With that arrow go those techniques of empire which no farmers
could have invented: even Rome borrowed her theory and practice of empire
whole-cloth from the East, where, so far as we know, the first man to achieve
actual rule of the civilized world was no Egyptian or Babylonian (though they
all dreamed of being Cosmocrator) but Khian, a nomad Hyksos from the steppes.99
Symbols of rule and ownership at a lower level were those
armorial bearings of the Middle Ages which, whether copied from the tribal
insignia of the East100 or adapted from the earlier house-marks and landmarks
of the West,101 were originally the arrow-marks of hunters.102 The
aristocracy were hunters, whose arrogant and blasphemous mottoes (usually
proclaiming the bearer’s power to maim if offended) and whose weird and
unearthly disguises were designed to inspire paralyzing dread in the simple
rustics who by the mere suspicion of presuming to hunt on their own would incur
penalties worse than death. Whenever the noble strain was threatened with
extinction, it could always count on eager volunteers from the ranks of the
bourgeoisie to replenish the blood and maintain the hunting tradition: add to
Froissart’s testimony the English glue-manufacturer in his vast, dark "lodge,"
or the Russian baron, or the German industrialist of the nineteenth century
diligently cultivating the hunter’s way of life in the midst of purely agrarian
societies of great antiquity.
The ways of the hunting nobility with all their social and
political implications have been traced back to the great hunting parks of
Asiatic monarchs.103 These "paradises" prove beyond any doubt that
kings must be hunters. The ancients, East and West, visualized power, glory,
and dominion as embodied in the person of the Cosmocrator, earthly counterpart
of the creator, enthroned in the midst of a vast assembly of birds and animals
as well as of men and jinns. The picture of the great king being acclaimed in a
single mighty chorus by all living things assembled before his throne meets us
full-blown in Sumerian creation hymns; it is reflected in accounts of Adam,
Yima, Orpheus, Ninurta, and others as Lord of the Animals and King of the
Golden Age; it is a favorite device of the Hellenistic orator and the darling
theme of Jewish and Arabic commentators, whose Solomon sits in the midst of the
demons and animals as ruler of the world; it produced the Physiologus and the
Bestiaries and provides the setting of Reynard the Fox and many a scene in
Kalila and Dimna, Babrius, and Aesop, and it begot the Medieval Parliament of
Birds, which is not so far from Aristophanes. And wherever we are treated to
this wonderful spectacle of the world-king and the assembly of the animals,
whether in song, drama, fable, or sermon, it is made to serve as a commentary
But the grandiose concept of the universal ruler gathering
all the birds and animals in his presence (the theme of the Reynard and hoopoe
stories is that one creature alone fails to answer the summons) is no mere
flight of fancy nor invention of allegory. Eyewitness accounts of the vast ordered
animal parks of the Great Khan, the Mongol emperors at Peking, and the kings of
Persia, Assyria, and Babylonia leave no doubt that the staggering project was
actually carried out as an adjunct of universal rule.105 The thing was adopted
by the Hellenistic rulers along with their claims to divine authority and
copied from them (or taken over directly from Baghdad) by the Byzantine
emperors, who transmitted it in turn to the kings of Europe—throne and
court everywhere follow the same pattern, which is that of Solomon enthroned in
the midst of men and animals.106
The royal parks of central Asia (the Chinese call the park
the Paradise of the West, and the Babylonians placed it in the North, cf.
Isaiah 14:13-14) were no invention of royal vanity, for the system of reserving
certain areas in which animals are sacrosanct (called by the Arabs jiwar) is a
perfectly practical one. The actual assembly of the animals recalls the great
tribal hunts or animal-drives of the past: al-Biruni has described such a drive
taking place in the immense royal park at Baghdad in the tenth century: it was
ritual, of course, but when was the hunt not a ritual?107 It should be
remembered that ritual animal-drives, like the great dances of the Indians of
the Southwest, are aimed at increasing and protecting the game as well as
But when game is thus protected, and when it is herds of
ungulates that one is driving in the hunt, how close is hunting to herding!
Jacob speaks of the tame gazelles that regularly turn up in the jiwar whenever
animals and men meet on a peace footing. Nevertheless, hunting and not herding
is the original motif, though the distinction between them is sometimes very
Though the arrow rules the world, its victory is not final.
For over against its claims must be set the equally valid and venerable claims
of the Black-Earth, the Mother of Gods and Men, inculcating the deep conviction
that a man can possess only the earth he "quickens," all other
ownership coming under the head of fraud. To those who work the soil, the
holding of more land than one can exploit is wasteful and meaningless, an
offense to God and an affront to Justice herself.108 The hunter’s arrow, on
the other hand, marked with his noble "crest," gives him, within the
limits of a preserve necessarily much vaster than that of any farmer, the
divine right to possess and dominate whatever it can reach. And so the issue is
drawn: to those who held broad lands, baculi more, the arrow was the high and
holy symbol of possession; to those who cultivated those lands it was "looked
upon . . . as the appropriate missile of the robber, or of one who lurked in
ambush."109 The antithesis is complete: there is no understanding between
Abraham and Nimrod because each is sure the other is mad.
At present a man’s signature performs the offices formerly
consigned to his seal and for which but a few generations back the actual
possession of a staff or tally-stick was indispensable.110 Thus man has taken
another step away from the arrow, but that is only incidental: even the most
primitive alteration, the removal of head and feathering, changed the form of
the thing almost beyond recognition. It is the function that remains intact. A
mere mark or symbol still bestows proprietary right, operating through
unlimited time and space, over anything on earth. This is no mere refinement of
lawyer’s wit, nor is it a universal human concept: it is rather, as its lineage
shows, the hunter’s peculiar idea of property and right.
Since the marked arrow has long since become an antiquarian
oddity, it would be wrong to claim that it still divides the world into two
camps as of old. Nevertheless there is no other teacher that can show so well
how our world came to be a perennially divided one. The marked arrow demonstrates
what without it would be a mere surmise: that civilization is the issue of a
forced union between two fundamentally hostile ways of life, a union which
however productive of history has never been a happy one.
*This article was originally published in Western Political
Quarterly 2/3 (1949): 328-44.
1. Moritz Hoernes, Natur-und Urgeschichte des Menschen, 2
vols. (Vienna: Hastlben, 1909), 2:392-96; Thorkild Jacobsen, "Primitive
Democracy in Ancient Mesopotamia," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 2
(1943): 159-72; Carl H. Bishop, "The Beginnings of Civilization in Eastern
"Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution(1940): 431, 433-45.
2. Robert F. Heizer, "Aconite Poison Whaling in Asia
and America: An Aleutian Transfer to the New World," Bureau of American
Ethnology Bulletin 24 (1943): 421, 429-36, 440, 446; Ales Hrdlicka, The
Aleutian and Commander Islands (Philadelphia: Wistar Institute of Anatomy and
Biology, 1945), 130, 132; Theodor W. Danzel, Die Anfänge der Schrift (Leipzig:
änder, 1912), 38.
3. The history of the problem is given by Walter J. Hoffman,
"The Graphic Art of the Eskimos," Annual Report of the U.S. National
Museum (1895): 763-65, 934-38; see F. M. Bergounioux and André Glory, Les
(Paris: Didier, 1945), 232-39.
4. Hjalmar S. Falk, Altnordische Waffenkunde (Kristiania:
5. Walter J. Hoffman, "The Menomini Indians,"
Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 14 (1892-1893): 278; J. Owen
Dorsey, "Omaha Dwellings, Furniture, and Implements," Annual Report
of the Bureau of American Ethnology 13 (1891-1892): 287; William Bray, "Observations
on the Indian Method of Picture-Writing," Archaeologia 6 (1782): 160;
Hermann Meyer, "Bows and Arrows in Central Brazil," Annual Report of
the Smithsonian Institution (1896): 553, 561, 568, 571, 576-82; Fritz Krause,
In den Wildnissen Brasiliens (Leipzig: Doigländer, 1911), 264, 268-70, 360,
6. Danzel, Anfänge der Schrift, 34-38; Stewart Culin, "Chess
and Playing Cards," Report of the U.S. National Museum under the Direction
7. Hanns Bächtold-Stäubli, Handwörterbuch des deutschen
Aberglaubens, 10 vols. (Leipzig: de Gruyter, 1927-42), 6:1597-98; Stith
Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature (Bloomington: Indiana University
Press, 1955), D1314.1.1-5; Stewart Culin, "Games of the North American
Indians," Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 24
8. On demon-arrows, see Ignaz Goldziher, Abhandlungen zur
arabischen Philologie, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1896), 1:29-33, 87-89, 116-17;
Bächtold-Stäubli, Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, 6:1597; Jacob
Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, ed. James E. Stallybrass, 3 vols. (London:
Sonnenschein & Allen, 1880), 2:846. On the space-traveling arrow of the
wizards, Herodotus, History IV, 36, cf. Erich Bethe, "Abaris," in RE
1:16-17; James Darmesteter, The Zend-Avesta, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1883),
9. John M. Crawford, tr., Kalevala, 2 vols. (New York:
Columbian, 1891), 1:80-81; Paul B. Du Chaillu, The Viking Age, 2 vols. (New
York: Scribner, 1890), 2:93-94; A. S. Orlov, Kazakhskii Geroicheskii Epos
(Moscow: Academy of Sciences, 1945), 41, n. 2; 83; N. K. Dmitriev, Turyetskie
Narodnye Skaski (Leningrad: Government Press, 1939), 98-102; Friedrich Giese,
Türkische Märchen(Jena: Diederich, 1925), 75-89.
10. Jeremiah Curtin and J. N. B. Hewitt, "Seneca
Fiction, Legends, and Myths," Annual Report of the Bureau of American
Ethnology 32 (1910-1911): 317-18; Frank H. Cushing, "Zuñi Fetiches,"
Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 2 (1880-1881): 41-43; cf.
Culin, "Chess and Playing Cards," 881, n. 1; Matilda C. Stevenson, "The
Zuñi Indians: Their Mythology, Esoteric Societies, and Ceremonies," Annual
Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 23 (1901-1902): 317-49. The Arab
hunter must call on Allah with each bow-shot; Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jamic
as-Sahih, ed. M. Krehl and T. W. Juynboll (Leiden: Brill, 1908), 4:7, and
breathe on his arrows, exactly like the Zuñi; Georg Jacob, Altarabisches
Beduinenleben (Berlin: Mayer & Müller, 1897), 125. For arrow-prayers in
India, see Victor Henry, La magie dans l’Inde antique (Paris: Leroux, 1904),
11. Cushing, "Zuñi Fetiches," 39; John P. Gillin,
The Barama River Caribs of British Guiana (Cambridge: Peabody Museum, 1936),
180, 183-84; Hoernes, Natur- und Urgeschichte, 1:512.
12. Eduard Seler, Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur amerikanischen
Sprach- und Altertumskunde, 5 vols. (Berlin: Asher, 1902), 3:378; Culin, "Chess
and Playing Cards," 881; Edward W. Nelson, "The Eskimo about Bering
Strait," Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 18 (1896-1897):
157-61, cf. 154; Danzel, Anfänge der Schrift, 34; Du Chaillu, Viking Age,
2:92-94. To give his arrows greater power and accuracy, Ishi changed the
markings on them; Saxton Pope, Hunting with the Bow and Arrow (New York:
Putnam, 1947), 26-27.
13. Saxo, Historia Danorum, ed. Hermann Jantzen (Berlin:
Felber, 1900), 244; for the Norse expressions, see Richard Cleasby, Gudbrand
Vigfusson, and William A. Craigie, An Icelandic-English Dictionary, 2d ed.
(Oxford: University Press, 1957), s.v. "herör."
14. Karl Weinhold, "Beiträge zu den deutschen
Kriegsaltertümern," Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaft zu
Berlin. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 29 (1891): 548; the king’s arrow
pursues breakers of the King’s Peace; Bächtold-Stäubli, Handwörterbuch des
deutschen Aberglaubens, 6:1598.
15. Weinhold, "Beiträge zu den deutschen
Kriegsaltertümern," 548; Finnur Jónsson, ed., Egils Saga Skalgrímssonar
(Halle: Niemeyer, 1924), 9, n. 10.
16. Cleasby and Vigfusson, Icelandic-English Dictionary, 42.
The message-staff (bothkefli) was readily "in einen Pfeil umgeschnitzt,"
Weinhold, "Beiträge zu den deutschen Kriegsaltertümern," 548.
17. Weinhold, "Beiträge zu den deutschen
Kriegsaltertümern," 548-49. German Botenhölzer survived into the late
Middle Ages; Saxo, Historia Danorum, ed. Jantzen, 244, n. 1. Summons-arrows
were used by the Seljuk Turks in the thirteenth century; these still survive in
North India, Hoernes, Natur- und Urgeschichte, 1:521; cf. the "alarm-staff"
of the Lama gods; Charles A. S. Williams, Outlines of Chinese Symbolism and Art
Motives (Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1941), 213.
18. Walter E. Roth, "An Introductory Study of the Arts,
Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians," Annual Report of the Bureau of
American Ethnology 38 (1916-1917): 582; Walter E. Roth, "An Inquiry into
the Animism and Folk-lore of the Guiana Indians," Annual Report of the
Bureau of American Ethnology 30 (1908-1909): 362; Garrick Mallery, "Pictographs
of the North American Indians," Annual Report of the Bureau of American
Ethnology 4 (1882-1883): 87-88; Walter J. Hoffman, "The Mide’wiwin or
Grand Medicine Society of the Ojibwa," Annual Report of the Bureau of
American Ethnology 7 (1885-1886): pl. xii facing p. 226.
19. Apollo gave the staff to Hermes as a symbolon (Homer,
Hymn to Hermes, 527-30) exactly as he gave an arrow-symbolon to his friend
Abaris, the Hyperborean, who used it as Hermes did his staff, to carry him
through the air as a messenger of the god; O. Crusius, "Hyperboreer,"
in Wilhelm H. Roscher, ed., Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und
römischen Mythologie, 7 vols. (Hildesheim: Olms, 1965), 1:2819. On the
Hyperborean origin of Apollo’s arrow and Hermes’ caduceus, see ibid., 1:2807-9.
20. Crusius, "Hyperboreer," in Roscher,
Ausführliches Lexikon, 1:2815. Origen, Contra Celsum (Against Celsus) III, 31,
in PG 11:959-60, reports the belief that Abaris shot himself through the air
like an arrow, a favorite trick of the Asiatic shaman.
21. Robert Eitrem, "Hermes," in RE 8:781-84, and
Ernst Samter, "Caduceus," in RE 3:1170-71. It is the arrow which
gives the title of Pantokrator, ibid., 8:791; Otto Gruppe, Griechische
Mythologie und Religionsgeschichte, 2 vols. (Munich: Beck, 1906), 2:1072.
22. Gellius, Attic Nights X, 27.
23. Cf. Jeremiah 48:17; Ezekiel 19:10-14; Abraham S. Yahuda,
The Accuracy of the Bible (London: Heinemann, 1934), 106-13.
24. Olaf-Tryggvason Saga, c. 102, 104, 222.
25. Paul É. Dumont, L’Asvamedha (Paris: Geuthner, 1927), 38,
356, 384, 386. See n. 17 above.
26. Culin, "Games of the North American Indians,"
33, 46; cf. Seler, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 3:378-80, fig. 6, for recent
Mexican Indian examples; Franz Boas, "The Social Organization and the
Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians," Annual Report of the U.S.
National Museum (1895): 508-9, 517, 521.
27. James Mooney, "The Ghost Dance Religion and the
Sioux Outbreak of 1890," Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology
14 (1892-1893): 832, 915-17; the conquest motif, 788-89.
28. M. Gaster, "Divination (Jewish)," in James
Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 13 vols. (New York: Scribner,
1928), 4:810, cf. Leonard W. King, "Divination (Assyro-Babylonian),"
in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 4:785; the Nimrod version is
in the Book of Jasher 9:35.
29. Albert J. Carnoy, Iranian Mythology, vol. 6 in Louis H.
Gray, ed., Mythology of All Races, 13 vols. (Boston: Jones, 1917), 302-3, 308;
Darmesteter, Zend-Avesta, 2:94-96, 103; 1:18-21. The Zu-bird, contending for
the government of the world, was smitten by the arrow of the god, who thereupon
"founds his cities in the four regions," Peter Jensen, Assyrisch-babylonische
Mythen und Epen (Berlin: Reuther and Reichard, 1900), 49-53.
30. Carnoy, Iranian Mythology, 302-3, 308; Bächtold-Stäubli,
Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, 6:1598; Francis La Flesche, "The
Osage Tribe: Rite of Vigil," Annual Report of the Bureau of American
Ethnology 39 (1917-1918): 234; Cushing, "Zuñi Fetiches," 42; Hoffman,
"Menomini Indians," 196-99; Cicero, De Divinatione I, 17; Ludwig
Weniger, "Feralis Exercitus," Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 9
31. J. A. MacCulloch, Eddic Mythology, vol. 2 in Gray,
Mythology of All Races, 201.
32. E. Washburn Hopkins, "Remarks on the Form of
Numbers, the Method of Using Them, and Numerical Categories of the Mahabharata,"
JAOS 23 (1902): 144-47; the arrow cast "is confined to estimating time."
The Osage arrows that measure the earth "in flight denote time" as
well; La Flesche, "Osage Tribe," 207, 265-67, 369.
33. Bruno Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien, 2 vols.
(Heidelberg: Winter, 1925), 2:275; Benjamin Williams, "On the Land of
Ditmarsh and the Mark Confederation," Archaeologia 37 (1856): 381-83.
34. Robert Riddell, "Some Accounts of a Symbol of
Ancient Investitures in Scotland," Archaeologia 11 (1794): 47; Octavius
Morgan, "On Episcopal and Other Rings of Investiture," Archaeologia
36 (1855): 393-97; Williams, "On the Land of Ditmarsh," 389.
35. Flateyjarbók I, 164.
36. See Aeschylus, Eumenides 727-30; Prometheus Bound
358-63, 374, 917; Vergil, Aeneid VI, 587; Hugo Winckler, Keilinschriftliches
Textbuch zum Alten Testament (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1903), 117, 123; Williams,
Chinese Symbolism, 396-97; 2 Kings 13:17-19; Psalms 7:13; 18:13-18; 64:7, and
so forth; Zechariah 9:14; Qur’an 18:44; Bernhard Schweitzer, Herakles
(Tübingen: Mohr, 1922), 184-86; E. A. Wallis Budge, Book of the Dead, Papyrus
of Ani, 3 vols. (New York: Putnam, 1913), 2:400-401.
37. Christian S. Blinkenberg, The Thunderweapon in Religion
and Folklore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911), 87-101; Gerald A.
Wainwright, "The Emblem of Min," JEA 17 (1931): 186-93; Gerald A.
Wainwright, "Letopolis," JEA 18 (1932): 161-63; and Gerald A.
Wainwright, "The Bull Standards of Egypt," JEA 19 (1933): 43; Gruppe,
Griechische Mythologie und Religionsgeschichte, 2:773, n. 3.
38. Hermann Kees, Ägypten, in Handbuch der
Altertumswissenschaft, vol. 3, pt. 1, 3a (Munich: Beck, 1933), 177; Psalms
45:6; Winckler, Keilinschriftliches Textbuch zum Alten Testament, 117, 123;
Henry, Magie dans l’Inde antique, 151-63; R. C. Boer, ed., Orvar-Odds Saga
(Halle: Niemeyer, 1892), vii-ix, xiv-xv, 14, 69; Crawford, tr., Kalevala,
1:167, 2:434, 530; when the hero twangs his bow, Zeus himself thunders in the
heavens, Homer, Odyssey XXI, 410-14.
39. Culin, "Chess and Playing Cards," 881; cf.
Hoernes, Natur-und Urgeschichte, 1:562-64.
40. Herodotus, History IV, 81.
41. Jean Joinville, Histoire de St. Louis (Paris: Hachette,
1883), xciii, 475-78 (Tartars); Clément I. Huart and Louis Delaporte, L’Iran
antique: Élam et Perse et la civilisation iranienne (Paris: Michel, 1952), 381;
Friedrich von Spiegel, Erânische Altertumskunde, 3 vols. (Leipzig: Engelmann,
1871-78), 2:86-87; Carnoy, Iranian Mythology, 302-3, 308; that these are census
arrows appears from Havamal 120a, 130a; for the Indians, see Boas, "Kwakiutl
Indians," 522; Garrick Mallery, "Picture Writing of the American
Indians," Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 10
(1888-1889): 365; Culin, "Games of the North American Indians,"
227-29 (fig. 307), 51, 233-34.
42. Hoernes, Natur- und Urgeschichte, 1:521, n. 1 (India);
C. R. Lepsius, "Der Bogen in der Hieroglyphik," Zeitschrift für
ägyptische Sprache und Alterthumskunde 10 (1872): 86, cf. Wainwright, "The
Emblem of Min," 190-91; James G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, 12 vols., 3d
ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1935), 9:126 (Koryak); René Grousset et al., L’Asie
orientale des origines au XVe siècle (Paris: Presses universitaires, 1941),
43. Proto-Evangelium of James 9:1; Clement, Epistola I ad
Corinthios (First Epistle to the Corinthians) 43, in PG 1:295; Angelo S. Rappoport,
Myth and Legend of Ancient Israel, 3 vols. (London: Gresham, 1928), 2:254-58.
44. Qur’an 3:39.
45. Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 43, in PG
46. Gaster, "Divination (Jewish)," in Hastings,
47. Julius Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidentums (Berlin:
de Gruyter, 1927), 132; Culin, "Games of the North American Indians,"
383, 33, 45; cf. W. J. McGee, "The Seri Indians," Annual Report of
the Bureau of American Ethnology 17 (1895-1896): 198-200; Wainwright, "Letopolis,"
162, and "Bull Standards of Egypt," 50-51; Egidio Forcellini, Lexicon
Totius Latinatatis, s.v. "baculus," no. 9.
48. Dmitriev, Turyetskie Narodnye Skaski, 203-5; Giese,
Türkische Märchen, 115.
49. Georg A. Finsler, Homer, 2 vols., 2d ed. (Leipzig:
Teubner, 1913-18), 1:1:84.
50. Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution LXV, 1-4;
Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae 297.
51. Crusius, "Hyperboreer," in Roscher,
Ausführliches Lexikon, 1:2819.
52. See Hugh Nibley, "Sparsiones," Classical
Journal 40 (June 1945): 538-39, nn. 152-54; reprinted in this volume, pages
189-90, nn. 152-54.
53. Qur’an 2:216; Ahlwardt, ed., al-Mucallaqat II, 104; IV,
73-74; VI, 63; Theodor Nöldeke, Delectus Veterum Carminum Arabicorum (Berlin:
Keuther, 1890), 36, 77; Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidentums, 131-33; George
Sale, The Koran (Philadelphia: Moore, 1850), 89; cf. the story of cA’isha in
the Sahih of Bukhari in Ernest Harder, Arabische Chrestomathie (Heidelberg:
Groos, 1911), 21, and Al-Hariri, Maqamat, s.v. "wasm."
54. Pastor of Hermes, Similitudes VIII, 1-6.
55. Du Chaillu, Viking Age, 1:350-51; Jónsson, Egils Saga
Skalgrímssonar, 137 (XLVIII, 6-7); Boer, ed., Orvar-Odds Saga, 38, 9-10; "Hvers
mannz skeyti var thar markat"; cf. Havamal 8a.
56. Mallery, "Picture Writing," 365-66; cf. Boas, "Kwakiutl
57. Boer, ed., Orvar-Odds Saga, 39, 9-13.
58. As Boer, ibid., has shown in his edition of the saga.
59. Jacob, Altarabisches Beduinenleben, 89-90, 110-12.
60. Danzel, Anfänge der Schrift, 39; James G. Frazer,
Folklore in the Old Testament, 3 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1919), 1:415; Boas, "Kwakiutl
Indians," 522-23; Cushing, "Zuñi Fetiches," 32.
61. Nibley, "Sparsiones," 537-39, reprinted in
this volume, pages 161-62.
62. Joinville, Histoire de St. Louis, 93, 475-78.
63. The Algonquins used fifty-two rods; Culin, "Games
of the North American Indians," 49; the Hupa fifty-three, ibid., 235; the
Sauk and Fox fifty-one, ibid., 233; cf. 228, fig. 307, 45.
64. Alice C. Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, "The Omaha
Tribe," Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 27 (1905-1906):
242; Francis La Flesche, "Omaha Bow and Arrow Makers," Annual Report
of the Smithsonian Institution (1926): 494.
65. Herodotus, History IV, 67; Ammianus Marcellinus, XXXI,
66. The Persian king, sitting with the baresma of divination
spread out before him as he gives away wealth at the New Year (Carnoy, Iranian
Mythology, 299-300), recalls the host at the Indian feast, giving all his
wealth to his guests, whose arrow-staves lie spread out before him, Boas, "Kwakiutl
Indians," 508; Hoenir’s lottery in the Golden Age (Völuspá, in Lawrence S.
Thompson, ed., Norse Mythology: The Elder Edda in Prose Translation [Hamden,
CT: Archon, 1974], 17) and the King of Babylon "shaking out arrows,"
Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien, 2:275; Ezekiel 21:26.
67. Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 43, in PG
68. Ernst Samter, "Fasces," in RE 6:2002-3.
69. Culin, "Chess and Playing Cards," 881; cf. W.
M. Flinders Petrie, Scarabs and Cylinders with Names (London: School of
Archaeology in Egypt, 1917), 4. Theodore C. Foote, "The Ephod,"
Journal of Biblical Literature 21 (1902): 20-47.
70. Alexandre Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 2 vols. (Paris:
Presses universitaires, 1941), 1:96-97.
71. Hermann V. Hilprecht, The Babylonian Expedition of the
University of Pennsylvania, 11 vols. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania,
1896), 1:2:36; William H. Ward, The Seal Cylinders of Western Asia (Washington,
D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1910), 3-4. If the cylinder seal was derived from a
cylinder amulet, Ernst Herzfeld, "Stempelsiegel," Archäologische
Mitteilungen aus Iran 5 (1932): 51-53, the marked arrow itself is such an
72. Alfred Jeremias, "Nebo," in Roscher,
Ausführliches Lexikon, 3:64-65; Gustavus H. Eisen, Ancient Oriental and Other
Seals (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940), 78-79; M. H. Ananikian,
Armenian Mythology, vol. 7 in Gray, Mythology of All Races, 32-33 (Nabu);
Alfred Jeremias, Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur (Leipzig:
Hinrichs, 1913), 82, 89-94, 114, 275, 277 (Nabu-Nebo as Hermes-Mercury), 11,
18, 132, 146 (Nisaba, equivalent of Egyptian Neith); Budge, Book of the Dead,
1:186; cf. Gerald A. Wainwright, "Some Celestial Associations of Min,"
JEA 21 (1935): 154. On Texctlipoca, the Mexican Apollo-Hermes, as arrow-god,
see Seler, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 3:341.
73. John Rhys, Celtic Heathendom (London: Williams &
Norgate, 1898), 268; G. Dottin, "Divination (Celtic)," in Hastings,
Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 4:788; Charles Vallency, "Observations
of the Alphabet of the Pagan Irish, and of the Age in Which Finn and Oslin
Lived," Archaeologia 7 (1785): 276-85; Hoernes, Natur- und Urgeschichte,
2:304; John A. MacCulloch, "Die Kelten," in Alfred Bertholet and
Edvard Lehmann, eds., Lehrbuch der Religionsgeschichte, 2 vols., 4th ed.
(Tübingen: Mohr, 1925), 2:610. Taken together, these references make the case
clear. Rune, arrow, and feasting-ticket are plainly identical in Havamal 8a,
74. Jónsson, Egils Saga Skalgrímssonar, 240-41 (LXXII,
12-16); Du Chaillu, Viking Age, 2:92; Williams, "On the Land of Ditmarsh,"
381-83; Jacob, Altarabisches Beduinenleben, 110, n. 2. The oldest runes appear
on arrowheads, Blinkenberg, Thunderweapon, 85; e.g., the Kovel spearhead. The
strongest rune was an arrow, Williams, "On the Land of Ditmarsh,"
75. Culin, "Chess and Playing Cards," 887.
76. Jensen, Assyrisch-babylonische Mythen und Epen, 45, 47;
cf. E. D. Van Buren, "Seals of the Gods," Studi e materiali di storia
delle religioni 10 (1934): 170; Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, 7
vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947), 4:151;
Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidentums, 133.
77. Herzfeld, "Stempelsiegel," 53.
78. Jack Finegan, Light from the Ancient Past (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1959), 24-26.
79. Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, F1066; Uno
Holmberg, Finno-Ugric Siberian [Mythology] (Boston: Archaeological Institute of
America, 1927), 404; Crawford, tr., Kalevala, 1:287; Herodotus, History V, 105;
G. M. Bolling, "Divination (Vedic)," in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of
Religion and Ethics, 4:829; Roth, "Animism and Folk-lore of Guiana
80. Max Seligsohn, "Nimrod," in Isidore Singer, ed.,
Jewish Encylopedia, 12 vols. (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1905), 9:309-11;
Book of Jasher 9:29.
81. Herodotus, History IV, 26; James G. Frazer, "The
War of Earth on Heaven," in Apollodorus, 2 vols. (Cambridge, Harvard
University Press, 1921), 2:318-26; Crawford, tr., Kalevala, 1:287; Book of
82. Karl Preisendanz, "Nimrod," in RE 17:624-28;
Alfred Jeremias, Das Alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients (Leipzig:
Hinrichs, 1916), 158-60; Book of Jasher 7:29-47; Clementine Recognitiones I,
30-31, in PG 1:1224-25. Josef Grivel, "Nemrod et les écritures
cunéiformes," Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 3
(1874): 141-43, gives a list of his sinister epithets.
83. Qur’an 2:258.
84. Sale, Koran, 269, note e; Otto Keller, Die antike
Tierwelt, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Cramer, 1913), 2:447-51. The godless of Jurhum were
destroyed in the same way, according to Al-Bakri, in Kitab Mucjam ma Istacjam:
Das geographische Wörterbuch des Abu cObeid cAbdallah ben cAbd el-cAzîz
el-Bekrî, ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, 2 vols. (Göttingen: Deuerlich, 1876-77),
85. Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 95a.
86. Strabo, Geography VII, 4, 6.
87. Lucian, De Saltatione (On the Dance) 46, includes
Odysseus among other mad giants.
88. Raymond O. Faulkner, "The ‘Cannibal Hymn’ from the
Pyramid Texts," JEA 10 (1925): 102, 97-103; Anton Deimel, Sumerische
Grammatik (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1924), 142.
89. Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, 3:918-50; Ludwig Laistner,
Das Rätsel der Sphinx, 2 vols. (Berlin: Hetz, 1889), 2:156, 225-28, 243-50.
90. Harold Peake and Herbert J. Fleure, The Steppe and the
Sown (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1928), 59.
91. Phillip H. Leathes, "Exemption from the Forest
Laws," Archaeologia 15 (1806): 209-24; Samuel Pegge, "On the Hunting
of the Ancient Inhabitants of Our Island, Britons and Saxons,"
Archaeologia 10 (1792): 165-66; Dains Barrington, "Observations of the
Practice of Archery in England," Archaeologia 7 (1785): 47, 50.
92. Grousset, L’Asie orientale, 304-5, 307; Hoernes, Natur-
und Urgeschichte, 2:122, 392-403.
93. On its sudden neglect, Hoernes, Natur- und Urgeschichte,
2:487-88, 275-77; Sophus Müller, Nordische Altertumskunde, 2 vols. (Strassburg:
Trübner, 1897): 1:253; Meyer, "Bows and Arrows in Central Brazil,"
553, 560; Lucien M. Turner, "Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay
Territory," Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 11
(1888-1889): 312; La Flesche, "Omaha Bow and Arrow Makers," 487-88;
Finsler, Homer, 1:2:69-71. On its readoption, Ernest Sprockhoff, "Pfeilspitze,"
in Max Ebert, Reallexicon der Vorgeschichte, 14 vols. (Berlin: de Gruyter,
1924), 10:106; Müller, Nordische Altertumskunde, 2:131; F. Lammert, "Pfeil,"
in RE 19:2:1427.
94. Pliny, Natural History XVI, 65.
95. Sprockhoff, "Pfeilspitze," 10:106, cf. 102-3;
Peake and Fleure, Steppe and the Sown, 32; Carl Schuchhardt, Alteuropa (Berlin:
de Gruyter, 1935), 135-37; Carleton S. Coon, The Races of Europe (New York:
Macmillan, 1939), 166-68, 46-48, 71-74.
96. A few examples: Enuma Elish (Babylonian Creation Hymn)
IV, 101-47; Heinrich Schäfer, "Der Speer des Horus," Zeitschrift für
ägyptische Sprache und Alterthumskunde 41 (1904): 68-70; Lepsius, "Der
Bogen in der Hieroglyphik," 80, 85; Wainwright, "Letopolis,"
162; Darmesteter, Zend-Avesta, 2:297; Wernicke, "Apollon," in RE
2:23; Crawford, tr., Kalevala, 2:434 (Book 26); 1:284 (Book 19); M. Lauer, ed.,
Des Moses von Chorene Geschichte Gross-Armeniens (Regensburg: Manz, 1865), 22;
Edward T. Werner, Myths and Legends of China (London: Harrap, 1922), 182;
Culin, "Games of the North American Indians," 32-35.
97. For extensive comparisons, Blinkenberg, Thunderweapon,
passim; Arthur B. Cook, Zeus, 3 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1914-40),
2:473, 574, 774, 777, 780, 786-89, 798-806, 1045-49; Edward D. Clarke, "On
the Lituus of the Ancient Romans," Archaeologia 19 (1821): 386-400; H. B.
Walters, "Poseidon’s Trident," Journal of Hellenic Studies 13
(1892-93): 13-20; Benjamin W. Bacon, "Eagle and Basket on the Antioch
Chalice," Annals of American Schools of Oriental Research 5 (1923-24):
6-8, 19; Yahuda, Accuracy of the Bible, 106-13.
98. For China, see Culin, "Chess and Playing Cards,"
882-83; on Ghenghis Khan and Prester John, see The Travels of Marco Polo, ed.
Manuel Komroff (Garden City: Garden City, 1926), 87-88 (I, 49), the arrow
nature of the staves being clear from William Crooke, Religion and Folklore of
Northern India (Oxford: University Press, 1926), 309-10. On wands of office in
the Near East, Clarke, "Lituus," 398; cf. the chart by T. Canaan, "Mohammedan
Saints and Sanctuaries in Palestine," Journal of the Palestine Oriental
Society 6 (1926): 129, pl. 4, who also shows how the weapon became a banner,
121, 123, 125-29; cf. Al-Waqidi, Futuh al-Sham (Calcutta: Thomas, 1854), 34; Joseph
von Karabacek, "Zur orientalischen Altertumskunde I: Sarazenische Wappen,"
Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien.
Philologisch-historische Klasse 157 (1908): 20-21.
99. Frederick J. E. Raby, A History of Secular Latin Poetry
in the Middle Ages, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1934), 1:13-15; the pedigree of
the Imperial eagle is Asiatic; Bacon, "Eagle and Basket," 7. On Khian
as first Cosmocrator, Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 1:475.
100. Bertram Thomas, Arabia Felix (New York: Scribner, 1932),
204, n. 1; 379, 69; Danzel, Anfänge der Schrift, 35. That the wasm of heraldry
was originally an arrow-mark is clear from Al-Hariri, Maqamat, index, s.v. "wasm
101. Williams, "On the Land of Ditmarsh," 384-87;
Danzel, Anfänge der Schrift, 34-41; Edwin Freshfield, "Mason’s Marks at
Westminster Hall," Archaeologia 50 (1887): 2-4. "The Marks of Sundrye
of Chief Mene of Virginia" (1590), as published in William W. Tooker, "The
Swastika and Other Marks among the Eastern Algonkins," American
Antiquarian 20 (1898): 339-40, are all arrows.
102. As in Scotland the arrow "crest" reproduces
the mark of the owner’s tartan, so the Arabs call the marked arrow and the
striped garment of the nobility by the same name, sahm; Edward W. Lane,
Arabic-English Lexicon (London: William & Norgate, 1872), 1:4:1454-55, no.
8; Mal’uf, Al-Munjid (Beirut: Al-Tabca al-Kathawlikiya, 1937), 30, s.v. "burd";
Ahlwardt, ed., Mucallaqat I, 79. For a like identity in the New World, see
Meyer, "Bows and Arrows in Central Brazil," 553.
103. Hoernes, Natur- und Urgeschichte, 1:550-57.
104. August Wünsche, Salomons Thron und Hippodrom, Abbilder
des babylonischen Himmelsbildes (Leipzig: Pfeiffer, 1906), passim; August von
Gall, Basileia tou Theou (Heidelberg: Winter, 1926), 128-205; Morris Jastrow, "Adam
and Eve in Babylonian Literature," American Journal of Semitic Languages
and Literatures 15 (1899): 193-214; Darmesteter, Zend-Avesta, 1:11-12, 15-18;
2:98-101, 202; Albrecht Götze, Kleinasien (Munich: Beck, 1933), 133-35; Michael
Psellus, Xiphilin 442-44; Lucian, De Astrologio 987; Dio Chrysostom, Oratations
XL, 32-41; XXXII, 63-66. Friedrich Dieterici, Thier und Mensch vor dem König
der Genien (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1879). Thaclabi, in Rudolf Brünnow, Chrestomathy
of Arabic Prose-Pieces (Berlin: Reuther & Reichard, 1895), 2. The
literature on this theme is very voluminous. For early Christian versions, see
Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 43, in PG 1:295; Apostolic
Constitutions II, 56-57, in PG 1:722-38.
105. The Travels of Marco Polo, Komroff, ed., 104-8 (I,
60-61) (Great Khan); Grousset, L’Asie orientale, 341-43, 367, 364 (China and
Indochina): Huart and Delaporte, L’Iran Antique, 283, 372; Eduard Meyer,
Geschichte des Altertums, 4 vols. (Stuttgart: Cotta, 1925-44), 4:37, 39, 55, 56
(Persia); Jeremias, Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur, 177-80, 193;
Daniel 4:21-37 (Babylonian-Assyrian).
106. William W. Tarn, "Ptolemey II," JEA 14
(1928): 247; Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Caeremoniis Aulae Byzantinae (On
the Ritual of the Byzantine Court), Joseph J. Reiske, ed., in Corpus Scriptorum
Historiae Byzantinae, 2 vols. (Bonn: Weber, 1829), 1:404-6 (I, 89); Corippus,
Justin II, 62; Byzantine Ceremonialbook (tenth century) in Gustav Soytes,
Byzantinische Geschichtschreiber und Chronisten (Heidelberg: Winter, 1929), 33.
On the Baghdad version, Adam Mez, The Renaissance of Islam (London: Luzac,
107. Al-Biruni, Chronologie orientalischer Völker, ed.
Eduard C. Sachau (Leipzig: Harrassowitz, 1923), 226; cf., Mez, Renaissance of
Islam, 419. The ancient feast of Artemis the huntress at Laphria was such an
animal-drive, Pausanius, Description of Greece VII, 18, 8-13. On the jiwar,
Jacob, Altarabisches Beduinenleben, 83, 220-21; cf. Hermann Gollancz, The Book
of Protection (London: Oxford University Press, 1912), xxxiv, xliii-xliv, esp.
lxxxiv (no. 24); Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, 4:142; Bächtold-Stäubli,
Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, 6:1400, 1404-6. See especially A. F.
L. Beeston, "The Ritual Hunt: A Study in Old South Arabian Religious
Practice," Le Muséon 61 (1948): 183-96.
108. W. Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites (London:
Black, 1901), 95-96; Boaz Cohen, "An Essay on Jewish Law,"
Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research 6 (1934-35): 124-25,
127, 136; Walter Ashburner, "The Farmer’s Law," Journal of Hellenic
Studies 30 (1910): 97; 32 (1912): 87. Cf. Plutarch, Solon XV, 5; Hesiod, Erga
(Works and Days) 272-314; Varro, De Re Rustica I, 10, 2; Plutarch, Numa 16;
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities III, 1, 3-5.
109. John Y. Akerman, "On Some of the Weapons of the
Celtic and Teutonic Races," Archaeologia 34 (1852): 186. Yet in the Middle
Ages only the rich used the bow; Thomas D. Kendrick, A History of the Vikings
(New York: Scribner, 1930), 35; Müller, Nordische Altertumskunde, 1:253, 148;
cf. La Flesche, "Osage Tribe," 364.
110. Hilary Jenkinson, "Exchequer Tallies,"
Archaeologia 62 (1911): 367-80; "Medieval Tallies, Public and Private,"
Archaeologia 74 (1924): 289-324.