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From Ritual to Romance
Jessie L. Weston

Page 1 of 205


The above suggestion is of extreme significance, as it brings out the
possibility that these celebrations were not only concerned with the
prosperity of the community, as a whole, but may also have borne a
special, and individual, aspect, and that the idea of Initiation into
the group is closely connected with the ceremonial exercise of group

To sum up, there is direct proof that the classic Greeks, in common
with their Aryan forefathers, held the conception of a group of
Beings, of mythic origin, represented under the form of armed youths,
who were noted dancers, and whose activities were closely connected
with the processes of Nature.  They recognized a relation between
these beings, and others of a less highly developed aspect, phallic
demons, often of theriomorphic form.  Thus the dance of the Kouretes
should be considered as a ceremonial ritual action, rather than as a
warlike exercise; it was designed to promote the fruitfulness of the
earth, not to display the skill of the dancers in the handling of
weapons.  When we turn to an analogous group, that of the Korybantes,

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