Brinton. American Hero-Myths

Today's free book is American Hero-Myths: A Study in the Native Religions of the Western Continent by Daniel Garrison Brinton. This is an old book, but it is valuable for the materials it brings together, showing what a scholarly perspective on this question looked like in the year 1882 when the book was published.

For the table of contents, check at the bottom of this post below the image.

The book is available at Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, and Google Books. You can get a free Kindle ebook from Amazon too!


CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY.

Some Kind of Religion Found among all Men--Classifications of Religions--The Purpose of Religions--Religions of Rite and of Creed--The Myth Grows in the First of these--Intent and Meaning of the Myth.

Processes of Myth Building in America--Personification, Paronyms and Homonyms--Otosis--Polyonomy--Henotheism--Borrowing--Rhetorical Figures--Abstract Expressions--Esoteric Teachings.

Outlines of the Fundamental American Myth--The White Culture-hero and the Four Brothers--Interpretation of the Myth--Comparison with the Aryan Hermes Myth--With the Aryo-Semitic Cadmus Myth--With Osirian Myths--The Myth of the Virgin Mother--The Interpretation thus Supported.

CHAPTER II.
THE HERO-GODS OF THE ALGONKINS AND IROQUOIS.

§1. The Algonkin Myth of Michabo.

The Myth of the Giant Rabbit--The Rabbit Creates the World--He Marries the Muskrat--Becomes the All-Father--Derivation of Michabo--of Wajashk, the Musk-rat--The Myth Explained--The Light-God as God of the East--The Four Divine Brothers--Myth of the Huarochiris--The Day-Makers--Michabo's Contests with His Father and Brother--Explanation of These--The Symbolic Flint Stone--Michabo Destroys the Serpent King--Meaning of this Myth--Relations of the Light-God and Wind-God--Michabo as God of Waters and Fertility--Represented as a Bearded Man.

§2. The Iroquois Myth of Ioskeha.

The Creation of the Earth--The Miraculous Birth of Ioskeha--He Overcomes his Brother Tawiscara--Creates and Teaches Mankind--Visits his People--His Grandmother Ataensic--Ioskeha as Father of his Mother--Similar Conceptions in Egyptian Myths--Derivation of Ioskeha and Ataensic--Ioskeha as Tharonhiawakon, the Sky Supporter--His Brother Tawiscara or Tehotennhiaron Identified--Similarity to Algonkin Myths.

CHAPTER III.
THE HERO-GOD OP THE AZTEC TRIBES.

§1. The Two Antagonists.

The Contest of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca--Quetzalcoatl the Light-God--Derivation of His Name--Titles of Tezcatlipoca--Identified with Darkness, Night and Gloom.

§2. Quetzalcoatl the God.

Myth of the Four Brothers--The Four Suns and the Elemental Conflict--Names of the Four Brothers.

§3. Quetzalcoatl the Hero of Tula.

Tula, the City of the Sun--Who were the Toltecs?--Tlapallan and Xalac--The Birth of the Hero God--His Virgin Mother Chimalmatl--His Miraculous Conception--Aztlan, the Land of Seven Caves, and Colhuacan, the Bended Mount--The Maid Xochitl and the Rose Garden of the Gods--Quetzalcoatl as the White and Bearded Stranger.

The Glory of the Lord of Tula--The Subtlety of the Sorcerer Tezcatlipoca--The Magic Mirror and the Mystic Draught--The Myth Explained--The Promise of Rejuvenation--The Toveyo and the Maiden--The Juggleries of Tezcatlipoca--Departure of Quetzalcoatl from Tula--Quetzalcoatl at Cholula--His Death or Departure--The Celestial Game of Ball and Tiger Skin--Quetzalcoatl as the Planet Venus.

§4. Quetzalcoatl as Lord of the Winds.

The Lord of the Four Winds--His Symbols, the Wheel of the Winds, the Pentagon and the Cross--Close Relation to the Gods of Rain and Waters--Inventor of the Calendar--God of Fertility and Conception--Recommends Sexual Austerity--Phallic Symbols--God of Merchants--The Patron of Thieves--His Pictographic Representations.

§5. The Return of Quetzalcoatl.

His Expected Re-appearance--The Anxiety of Montezuma--His Address to Cortes--The General Expectation--Explanation of his Predicted Return.

CHAPTER IV.
THE HERO-GODS OF THE MAYAS.

Civilization of the Mayas--Whence it Originated--Duplicate Traditions

§1. The Culture Hero Itzamna.

Itzamna as Ruler, Priest and Teacher--As Chief God and Creator of the World--Las Casas' Supposed Christ Myth--The Four Bacabs--Itzamna as Lord of the Winds and Rains--The Symbol of the Cross--As Lord of the Light and Day--Derivation of his Various Names.

§2. The Culture Hero Kukulcan.

Kukulcan as Connected with the Calendar--Meaning of the Name--The Myth of the Four Brothers--Kukulcan's Happy Rule and Miraculous Disappearance--Relation to Quetzalcoatl--Aztec and Maya Mythology--Kukulcan a Maya Divinity--The Expected Return of the Hero-god--The Maya Prophecies--Their Explanation.

CHAPTER V.
THE QQICHUA HERO-GOD VIRACOCHA.

Viracocha as the First Cause--His name Illa Ticci--Qquichua Prayers--Other Names and Titles of Viracocha--His Worship a True Monotheism--The Myth of the Four Brothers--Myth of the Twin Brothers.

Viracocha as Tunapa, He who Perfects--Various Incidents in His Life--Relation to Manco Capac--He Disappears in the West.

Viracocha Rises from Lake Titicaca and Journeys to the West--Derivation of His Name--He was Represented as White and Bearded--The Myth of Con and Pachacamac--Contice Viracocha--Prophecies of the Peruvian Seers The White Men Called Viracochas--Similarities to Aztec Myths.

CHAPTER VI.
THE EXTENSION AND INFLUENCE OP THE TYPICAL HERO-MYTH.

The Typical Myth found in many parts of the Continent--Difficulties in Tracing it--Religious Evolution in America Similar to that in the Old World--Failure of Christianity in the Red Race.

The Culture Myth of the Tarascos of Mechoacan--That of the Kiches of Guatemala.--The Votan Myth of the Tzendals of Chiapas--A Fragment of a Mixe Myth--The Hero-God of the Muyscas of New Granada--Of the Tupi-Guaranay Stem of Paraguay and Brazil--Myths of the Dènè of British America.

Sun Worship in America--Germs of Progress in American Religions--Relation of Religion and Morality--The Light-God A Moral and Beneficent Creation--His Worship was Elevating--Moral Condition of Native Societies before the Conquest--Progress in the Definition of the Idea of God in Peru, Mexico and Yucatan--Erroneous Statements about the Morals of the Natives--Evolution of their Ethical Principles.

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