1READING 3-1Source: Jack R. Harlan. 1992 Crops & Man ASA, CSA, Madison, WI.Views on Agricultural OriginsAgriculture as Divine GiftIn the classical mythologies of all civilizations, agriculture is fundamentally of divine origin. It ar-rived in different ways from different deities and under various circumstances, but the underlying theme is recognizable. In the Mediterranean region, the source was a goddess: Isis in Egypt, Demeter in Greece, and Ceres in Rome. In China, it was the ox-headed god Shên-nung; in Mexico, Quetzalcoatl disguised as a plumed serpent or other animal. In Peru, perhaps Viracocha, perhaps the Inca sent by his Father the Sun, was responsible. The appearance of agriculture in mythology was almost always associated with other features of civilization: settled life, household arts, formal religion, and government by laws. We shall also see that agriculture brought death and gods that demanded sacrifce in exchange for rain and abundant harvests. The general features of these stories can be grasped from the selections that follow.
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