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I strength declining with the advance of age, and feels that he

will soon be unequal to discharge the duties of this life, and to partake in the pleasures of that which is to come, he calls together his relations, and tells them that he is now worn out and useless, that he sees they are all ashamed of him, and that he has determined to be buried." So on a day appointed they meet and bury him alive.1 In Vate, one of the New Hebrides, the aged were buried alive at their own request. It was considered a disgrace to the family of an old chief if he was not buried alive.2 Of the Kamants, a Jewish tribe in Abyssinia, it is reported that "they never leta person die a natural death, but that if any of their relatives is nearly expiring, the priest of the village is called to cut his throat; if this be omitted, they believe that the departed soul has not entered the mansions of the blessed."*

But it is with the death of the god-man—the divine king , or priest—that we are here especially concerned. The people of Congo believed, as we have seen, that if their pontiff the Chitome were to die a natural death, the world would perish, and the earth, which he alone sustained by his power and merit, would immediately be annihilated. Accordingly when he fell ill and seemed likely to die, the man who was destined to be his successor entered the pontiff's house with a rope or a club and strangled or clubbed him to i death.4 The Ethiopian kings of Meroe were worshipped as gods; but whenever the priests chose, they sent a messenger^ to the king, ordering him to die, and alleging an oracle of the gods as their authority for the command. This command the kings always obeyed down to the reign of Ergamenes, a contemporary of Ptolemy II., King of Egypt. Having received a Greek education which emancipated him from the superstitions of his countrymen, Ergamenes ventured to disregard the command of the priests, and, entering the Golden Temple with a body of soldiers, put the priests to

1 U.S. Exploring Expedition, Elh- 8 Martin Flad, A Short Deseription

nology and Philology, by H. Hale of the Falasha ami Kamants in Ahys

(Philadelphia, 1846), p. 65. Cp. Th. sinia, p. 19.
Williams, Fiji and the Fijians, i. 183;

).sZ.sZT%Vine,Jourual of a Cruise among * J. B. Labat, /{elation historiauc de

the Islands of the Western Pacific rEthiopie occidentale, i. 260 sq. ; \Y.

(London, 1853), p. 248. Winwood Reade, Savage Africa, p.

* Turner, Samoa, p. 335. 362.

the sword.1 In the kingdom of Unyoro in Central Africa, custom still requires that as soon as the king falls seriously ill or begins to break up from age, he shall be killed by his own wives; for, according to an old prophecy, the throne will pass away from the dynasty if ever the king should die a natural death.2 When the king of Kibanga, on the Upper Congo, seems near his end, the sorcerers put a rope round his neck, which they draw gradually tighter till he dies.8 If the king of Gingero happens to be wounded in war, he is put to death by his comrades, or if they fail to kill him, by his kinsfolk, however hard he may beg for mercy. They say they do it that he may not die by the hands of his enemies.'i It appears to have been a Zulu custom to put the king to death as soon as he began to have wrinkles or gray hairs. At least this seems implied in the following passage, written by one who resided for some time at the court of the notorious Zulu tyrant Chaka, in the early part of the nineteenth century: "The extraordinary violence of the king's rage with me was mainly occasioned by that absurd nostrum, the hair oil, with the notion of which Mr. Farewell had impressed him as being a specific for removing all indications of age. From the first moment of his having heard that such a preparation was attainable, he evinced a solicitude to procure it, and on every occasion never forgot to remind us of his anxiety respecting it; more especially on our departure on the mission his injunctions were particularly directed to this object. It will be seen that it is one of the barbarous customs of the Zoolas in their choice or election of their kings that he must neither have wrinkles nor gray hairs, as they are both distinguishing marks of disqualification for becoming a monarch of a warlike people. It is also equally indispensable that their king should never exhibit those 'proofs of having become unfit and incompetent to reign; it is therefore important that they should conceal these indications so long as they possibly can. Chaka had become greatly apprehensive of the approach of gray hairs; which would at once be the signal for him to prepare to make his exit from this sublunary world, it being always followed by the death of the monarch."1

1 Dicxlorus Siculus, iii. 6; Strabo, Archivio per l o stmlio delle traJi-.ioni

xvii. 2. 3. popolari, vii. (1888), p. 231.

- Emiii I'asha in Central Africa, 'The Travcli of the Jesuits in

being a Collection of his Letters ami Ethiopia, collected and historically Journals (London, 18SS), p. 91. 'digested by F. Balthazar Tellez, of the

s P. Guilleme, "Credenze religiose Society of Jesus (London, 1710), p.

dei Negri di Kibanga nell' Alto Congo," 197.

The custom of putting kings to death as soon as they suffered from any personal defect prevailed two centuries ago in the Caffre kingdoms of Sofala, to the north of the present Zululand. These kings of Sofala, as we have seen,2 were regarded as gods by their people, being entreated to give rain or sunshine, according as each might be wanted. Nevertheless a slight bodily blemish, such as the loss of a tooth, was considered a sufficient cause for putting one of these god-men to death, as we learn from the following passage of an old historian.' "Contiguous to the domains of the Quiteva [the king of Sofala] are those of another prince called Sedanda. This prince becoming afflicted with leprosy, resolved on following implicitly the laws of the country, and poisoning himself, conceiving his malady to be incurable, or at least that it would render him so loathsome in the eyes of his people that they would with difficulty recognise him. In consequence he nominated his successor, holding as his opinion that sovereigns who should serve in all things as an example to their people ought to have no defect whatever, even in their persons; that when any defects may chance to befall them they cease to be worthy of life and of governing their dominions; and preferring death in compliance with this law to life, with the reproach of having been its violator. But this law was not observed with equal scrupulosity by one of the Quitevas, who, having lost a tooth and feeling no disposition to follow the practice of his predecessors, published to the people that he had lost a front tooth, in order that when they might behold, they yet might be able to recognise him; declaring at the same time that he was resolved on living and reigning as long as he could, esteeming his existence requisite for the welfare of his subjects. He at the same time loudly condemned the practice of his predecessors, whom he taxed with imprudence, nay, even with madness, for having condemned themselves to death for casual accidents to their persons, confessing plainly that it would be with much regret, even when the course of nature should bring him to his end, that he should submit to die. He observed, moreover, that no reasonable being, much less a monarch, ought to anticipate the scythe of time; and, abrogating this mortal law, he ordained that all his successors, if sane, should follow the precedent he gave, and the new law established by him."1

1 Nathaniel Isaacs, Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa (London,

1836), i. 295 sg., cp. pp. 232, 290 sq. - Above, vol. i. p. 155 iq.

This King of Sofala was, therefore, a bold reformer like Ergamenes, King of Ethiopia. We may conjecture that the ground for putting the Ethiopian kings to death was, as in the case of the Zulu and Sofala kings, the appearance on their person of any bodily defect or sign of decay; and that the oracle which the priests alleged as the authority for the royal execution was to the effect that great calamities would result from the reign of a king who had any blemish on his body; just as an oracle warned Sparta against a "lame reign," that is, the reign of a lame king.2 It is some confirmation of this conjecture that the kings of Ethiopia were chosen for their size, strength, and beauty long before the custom of killing them was abolished.8 To this day the Sultan of Wadai must have no obvious bodily defect, and a king of Angoy cannot be crowned if he has a single blemish, such as a broken or a filed tooth or the scar of an old wound.4 It is only natural, therefore, to suppose, especially with the other African examples before us, that any bodily defect or symptom of old age appearing on the

1 Dos Santos, "History of Eastern sisters. But this limitation is not

Ethiopia" (published at Paris in 1684), mentioned by the other authorities,

in Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels, The Alitemnian Libyans chose the

zvi. 684. fleetest runner to be their king.

» v_ u rr'' - --- . See Nicolaus Damascenus, Mirab. 38

- Xenophon, Hellemca, 111. 3. 3; . _ , .,. _ - . „' .

Plutarch, Allans, 3; id., Lysander, {AW«**»/*i Graea, ed. Wetter

»; Patianias, iii. 8To. * mann, p 175).: Stobaeus,TM^TM,

xliv. 41 (vol. 11. p. 187, ed. Meineke).

8 Herodotus, iii. 20 ; Aristotle, Poli- Among the Gordioi the fattest man

ties, iv. 4. 4; Athenaeus, xiii. p. 566. was chosen king; among the Syrakoi,

According to Nicolaus Damascenus the tallest, or the man with the longest

(Fr. 142, in Fragm. Historic. Graecor. head (Zenobius, v. 25).

ed. C. Muller, iii. p. 463), the hand- 'G. Nachtigal, Saiant und S&dAn

somest and bravest man was only raised (Leipsic, 1889), iii. 225; Hastian, Die

to the throne when the king had no dentsihe Expedition an der Loango

heirs, the heirs l,eing the sons of his Kiiste, i. 220.

I

person of the Ethiopian monarch was the signal for his

execution. At a later time it is recorded that if the King

of Ethiopia became maimed in any part of his body all his f

courtiers had to suffer the same mutilation.1 But this rule

may perhaps have been instituted at the time when the

custom of killing the king for any personal defect was I

abolished; instead of compelling the king to die because,

for example, he had lost a tooth, all his subjects would be

obliged to lose a tooth, and thus the invidious superiority ■ \

of the subjects over the king would be cancelled. A rule of

this sort is still observed in the same region at the court of

the Sultans of Darfur. When the Sultan coughs, every one *

makes the sound ts ts by striking the tongue against the

root of the upper teeth; when he sneezes, the whole assembly

utters a sound like the cry of the jeko; when he falls off his

horse, all his followers must fall off likewise; if any one of

them remains in the saddle, no matter how high his rank, he

is laid on the ground and beaten.2 At the court of the

king of Uganda in Central Africa, when the king laughs,

every one laughs; when he sneezes, every one sneezes;

when he has a cold, every one pretends to have a cold ; when

he has his hair cut, so has everybody.8 At the court of

Boni in Celebes it is a rule that whatever the king does all the

courtiers must do. If he stands, they stand ; if he sits, they

sit; if he falls off his horse, they fall off their horses; if he

bathes, they bathe, and passers-by must go into the water in

the dress, good or bad, which they happen to have on.4 But

to return to the death of the divine king. Many days'

journey to the north-east of Abomey, the old capital of

Dahomey, lies the kingdom of Eyeo. "The Eyeos are

governed by a king, no less absolute than the king of

1 Strabo, xvii. 2. 3 ; Diodorus, iii. y. burgh, xiii. (1884-1886), p. 711.

* Mohammed Ebn-OmarEI-Tounsy, * Narrative ofEvents inBcrnto and

Voyage ai i Darfour (Paris, 1845), p. Celebes, from the Journal of .J*

162 sq.; Travels of an Arab Merchant Brooke, Esq., Rajah of Sartnaai, by

in Soudan, abridged from the French Captain K. Mundy, i. 134. My friend

by Bayle St John (London, 1854), p. Mr. I.orimer Kison, in a letter of

1% \ Bulletin ae la Socicte de Geographie August 26th, 1898, tells me that the

(Paris) IVmeSerie,iv.(i852),p.539 Ji/. custom of falling down whenever a

s K. W. Felkin, "Notes on the chief fell was observed also in Fiji,

Waganda Tribe of Central Africa," in where it had a special name, bale muri.

Proceedings of the Royal Society of lulin- "fall-follow."

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