Ostensibly a solemn revenge for the burning of Greek temples by Xerxes, it has been justified as a symbolical act calculated to impress usefully the imagination of the East, and condemned as a senseless and vainglorious work of destruction.
It thus became in a high degree symbolical of the exaltation of the sacerdotal power.
An even more complete and minutely detailed view of the sacrificial system is no doubt obtained from the ceremonial manuals, the Kalpa-sutras; but it is just by the speculative discussions of the Brahmanasthe mystic significance and symbolical colouring with which they invest single rites - that we gain a real insight into the nature and gradual development of this truly stupendous system of ritual worship.
It is possible that the floating of the head of Orpheus to Lesbos has reference to the fact that the island was the first home of lyric poetry, and may be symbolical of the route taken by the Aeolian emigrants from Thessaly on their way to their new home in Asia Minor.
3); the symbolical processions in honour of "King Crispin" at Stirling and Edinburgh were particularly famous.