By the euhemeristic Hellespontine Greeks Herodotus was told that Zalmoxis was really a man, formerly a slave of Pythagoras at Samos, who, having obtained his freedom and amassed great wealth, returned to Thrace, and instructed his fellow-tribesmen in the doctrines of Pythagoras and the arts of civilization.
A brief description of how the Egyptians were punished through the very things with which they sinned (though the punishment was not fatal, for God loves all things that exist), and how judgments on the Canaanites were executed gradually (so as to give them time to repent), is followed by a dissertation on the origin, various forms, absurdity and results of polytheism and idolatry (xiii.-xv.): the worship of natural objects is said to be less blameworthy than the worship of images - this latter, arising from the desire to honour dead children and living kings (the Euhemeristic theory), is inherently absurd, and led to all sorts of moral depravity.
All theories of religion which give prominence to ancestor worship and the cult of the dead are to a certain extent Euhemeristic. But as the sole explanation of the origin of the idea of gods it is not accepted by students of comparative religion.
In the 18th century the abbe Banier, in his Mythologie et la fable pliquees par l'histoire, was frankly Euhemeristic; other leading Euhemerists were Clavier, Sainte-Croix, Raoul Rochette, Em.
The euhemeristic explanation of the struggle with the triple monster was that Heracles fought three brothers in succession.
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