SUN LORE OF ALL AGES

by

WILLIAM TYLER OLCOTT


New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons

[1914]


Introduction

IN the compilation of the volume Star Lore of All Ages, a wealth of interesting material pertaining to the mythology and folk-lore of the sun and moon was discovered, which seemed worth collating in a separate volume.

Further research in the field of the solar myth revealed sufficient matter to warrant the publication of a volume devoted solely to the legends, traditions, and superstitions that all ages and nations have woven about the sun, especially in view of the fact that, to the author's knowledge, no such publication has yet appeared.

The literature of the subject is teeming with interest, linked as it is with the life-story of mankind from the cradle of the race to the present day, for the solar myth lies at the very foundation of all mythology, and as such must forever claim preeminence.

Naturally, there clusters about the sun a rich mine of folk-lore. The prominence of the orb of day, its importance in the maintenance and the development of life, the mystery that has ever

[p. vi]

enveloped it, its great influence in the well-being of mankind, have secured for the sun a history of interest equalled by none, to which every age and every race have contributed their pages.

In the light of modern science, this mass of myth and legend may seem childish and of trifling value, but each age spells its own advance, and the all-important present soon fades into the shadowy and forgotten past. It is therefore in reviving past history that progress is best measured and interpreted. The fancy so prevalent among the ancients that the sun entered the sea each night with a hissing noise seems to us utterly foolish and inane, but let us not ridicule past ages for their crude notions and quaint fancies, lest some of the cherished ideas of which we boast be transmuted by the touch of time into naught but idle visions.

It is therefore important for the student of history to study the past in all its phases, and whatever can be brought to light of the lore of bygone ages should have for us a charm and should find a place in our intellectual lives.

W. T. O.

NORWICH, CONN.


Contents

      PAGE

     I.-- SOLAR CREATION MYTH  <page 3>

   
     II.-- ANCIENT IDEAS OF THE SUN AND THE MOON  <page 35>

   
     III.-- SOLAR MYTHOLOGY  <page 53>

   
     IV.-- SOLAR MYTHOLOGY   (Continued)  <page 91>

   
     V.--  SOLAR FOLK-LORE  <page 119>

   
     VI.-- SUN WORSHIP  <page 141>

   
     VII.-- SUN WORSHIP (Continued)  <page 163>

   
     VIII.-- SUN-CATCHER   MYTHS  <page 205>

   
     IX.-- SOLAR FESTIVALS  <page 227>

   
     X.-- SOLAR OMENS, TRADITIONS, AND SUPERSTITIONS  <page 253>

   
     XI.-- SOLAR SIGNIFICANCE OF BURIAL CUSTOMS. ORIENTATION  <page 267>

   
     XII-- EMBLEMATIC AND SYMBOLIC FORMS OF THE SUN  <page 287>




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