- Explanations of sacrifice, as of other rites, are naturally not wanting among the peoples who have practised or still practise it; but they are often of the nature of aetiological myths and give no clue to the original meaning.
At the present time we are quite uncertain what is the ultimate cause of new growths; in all probability there may be one or more aetiological factors at play disturbing that perfect condition of equilibrium of normal tissues.
According to Roscher (in his Lexikon der Mythologie), who identifies the ciris with the heron, the story of Nisus and Scylla (like these of Acdon, Procne, Philomela and Tereus) was invented to give an aetiological explanation of the characteristics of certain birds.
The anecdotes told of Gaia Caecilia are aetiological myths intended to explain certain usages at Roman marriages.
While Theseus was in Crete, Minos, 1 The story of Theseus is a strange mixture of (mostly fictitious) political tradition, of aetiological myths invented to explain misunderstood acts of ritual and of a cycle of tales of adventure analogous to the story of the labours of Heracles.