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Dorians of old to depose their kings whenever at a certain season a meteor flamed in the sky, we cannot say. Perhaps they had a vague general notion that its appearance signified the dissatisfaction of the higher powers with the state of the commonwealth ; and since in primitive society the king is commonly held responsible for all untoward events, what

ever their origin, the natural course was to relieve him of .

duties which he had proved himself incapable of discharging. But it may be that the idea in the minds of these rude barbarians was more definite. Possibly, like some people in Europe at the present day, they thought that every man had his star in the sky, and that he must die when it fell. The

king would be no exception to the rule, and on a certain night

of a certain year, at the end of a cycle, it might be customary
to watch the sky in order to mark whether the king's star
was still in the ascendant or near its setting. The appear-
ance of a meteor on such a night—of a star precipitated from
the celestial vault—might prove for the king not merely a
symbol but a sentence of death. It might be the warrant
for his execution. -
In some places it appears that the people could not
trust the king to remain in full bodily and mental vigour for
more than a year; hence at the end of a year's reign he was
put to death, and a new king appointed to reign in his turn
a year, and suffer death at the end of it. At least this is the
conclusion to which the following evidence points. Accord-
ing to the historian Berosus, who as a Babylonian priest
spoke with ample knowledge, there was annually celebrated
in Babylon a festival called the Sacaea. It began on the
sixteenth day of the month Lous, and lasted for five days.
During these five days masters and servants changed places,
the servants giving orders and the masters obeying them.
A prisoner condemned to death was dressed in the king's
robes, seated on the king's throne, allowed to issue whatever
commands he pleased, to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, and
to lie with the king's concubines. But at the end of the
five days he was stripped of his royal robes, scourged, and
hanged or crucified." This custom might perhaps have been

* Athenaeus, xiv. p. 639 c : Dio p. 76, ed. Dindorf). Dio Chrysostom Chrysostom, Orat. iv. p. 69 sq. (vol. i. does not mention his authority, but it

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explained as merely a grim jest perpetrated in a season of jollity at the expense of an unhappy criminal. But one circumstance—the leave given to the mock king to enjoy the king's concubines—is decisive against this interpretation. Considering the jealous seclusion of an oriental despot's harem we may be quite certain that permission to invade it would never have been granted by the despot, least of all to a condemned criminal, except for the very gravest cause. This cause could hardly be other than that the condemned man was about to die in the king's stead, and that to make the substitution perfect it was necessary he should enjoy the full rights of royalty during his brief reign. There is nothing surprising in this substitution. The rule that the king must be put to death either on the appearance of any symptom of bodily decay or at the end of a fixed period is certainly one which, sooner or later, the kings would seek to abolish or modify. We have seen that in Ethiopia, Sofala, and Eyeo the rule was boldly set aside by enlightened monarchs; and that in Calicut the old custom of killing the king at the end of twelve years was changed into a permission granted to any one at the end of the twelve years' period to attack the king, and, in the event of killing him, to reign in his stead ; though, as the king took care at these times to be surrounded by his guards, the permission was little more than a form. Another way of modifying the stern old rule is seen in the

meaning of the Zanes at Olympia, as

was probably either Berosus or Ctesias. to which see Pausanias, v. 21. 2. The

The execution of the mock king is not

noticed in the passage of Berosus cited by Athenaeus, probably because the mention of it was not germane to Athenaeus's purpose, which was simply to give a list of festivals at which masters waited on their servants. That the turyávns was put to death is further shown by Macrobius, Sat. iii. 7. 6, “Animas zero sacratorum hominum quos t zanas Graeci vocant, dis debitas aestimabant,” where for canas we should probably read own divas with Liebrecht, in Philologus, xxii. 7 Io, and Bachosen, Die Sage 7 on 7amaquil, p. 52, note 16. The reading zanas is, however, defended by J. Bernays (Hermes, ix. (1875) 127 sq.), who suggests that Macrobius may have misunderstood the

Babylonian custom, so far as appears from our authorities, does not date from before the Persian conquest of Babylon; but probably it was much older. In the passage of Dio Chrysostom éxpéuadav should perhaps be translated “crucified" (or “impaled ”) rather than “hanged ”; at least the former seems to have been the regular sense of Kpeudvovut as applied to executions. See Plutarch, Caesar, 2. But while crucifixion was a Roman mode of execution, it may be doubted whether it was also an Oriental one. Hanging was certainly an Oriental punishment. See Esther v. 14, vii. 9

sq.; Deuteronomy xxi. 22 sy. ; Joshua

viii. 29, x. 26.

Babylonian custom just described. When the time drew
near for the king to be put to death (in Babylon this
appears to have been at the end of a single year's reign) he
abdicated for a few days, during which a temporary king
reigned and suffered in his stead. At first the temporary
king may have been an innocent person, possibly a member
of the king's own family; but with the growth of civilisation
the sacrifice of an innocent person would be revolting to the
public sentiment, and accordingly a condemned criminal
would be invested with the brief and fatal sovereignty. In
the sequel we shall find other examples of a dying criminal
representing a dying god. For we must not forget that the
king is slain in his character of a god, his death and resur-
rection, as the only means of perpetuating the divine life
unimpaired, being deemed necessary for the salvation of his
people and the world.
The conclusion to which the Babylonian evidence seems
to point will hardly appear extravagant or improbable when
we learn that at the end of the nineteenth century there is
still a kingdom in which the reign and the life of the
sovereign are limited to a single day. In Ngoio, a province
of the ancient kingdom of Congo in West Africa, the rule
obtains that the chief who assumes the cap of sovereignty
one day shall be put to death on the next. The right of
succession lies with the chief of the Musurongo; but we
- need not wonder that he does not exercise it, and that the
throne stands vacant. “No one likes to lose his life for a
few hours' glory on the Ngoio throne.”"
In some places the modified form of the old custom
which appears to have prevailed at Babylon has been further
softened down. The king still abdicates annually for a
short time and his place is filled by a more or less nominal
sovereign ; but at the close of his short reign the latter is
no longer killed, though sometimes a mock execution still
survives as a memorial of the time when he was actually
put to death. To take examples. In the month of Méac

1. R. E. Dennett, Motes on the Folk- cular custom, and informed me that she lore of the Fjort, with an introduction was personally acquainted with the chief by Mary H. Kingsley (London, 1898), who possesses but declines to exercise p. xxxii. Miss Kingsley in conversa- the right of succession. tion called my attention to this parti

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(February) the King of Cambodia annually abdicated for three days. During this time he performed no act of authority, he did not touch the seals, he did not even receive the revenues which fell due. In his stead there reigned a temporary king called Sdach Méac, that is, King February. The office of temporary king was hereditary in a family distantly connected with the royal house, the sons succeeding the fathers and the younger brothers the elder brothers, just as in the succession to the real sovereignty. On a favourable day fixed by the astrologers the temporary king was conducted by the mandarins in triumphal procession. He rode one of the royal elephants, seated in the royal palanquin, and escorted by soldiers who, dressed in appropriate costumes, represented the neighbouring peoples of Siam, Annam, Laos, and so on. In place of the golden crown he wore a peaked white cap, and his regalia, instead of being of gold encrusted with diamonds, were of rough wood. After paying homage to the real king, from whom he received the sovereignty for three days, together with all the revenues accruing during that time (though this last custom has been omitted for some time), he moved in procession round the palace and through the streets of the capital. On the third day, after the usual procession, the temporary king gave orders that the elephants should trample under foot the “mountain of rice,” which was a scaffold of bamboo surrounded by sheaves of rice. The people gathered up the rice, each man taking home a little with him to secure a good harvest. Some of it was also taken to the king, who had it cooked and presented to the monks." In Siam on the sixth day of the moon in the sixth month (the end of April) a temporary king is appointed, who for three days enjoys the royal prerogatives, the real king remaining shut up in his palace. This temporary king sends his numerous satellites in all directions to seize and confiscate whatever they can find in the bazaar and open shops; even the ships and junks which arrive in harbour

! E. Aymonier, Motive sur le Cam- of the temporary king's family with the hodge, p. 61; J. Moura, Le Royaume du royal house, see Aymonier, op. cit. p. Cambodge, i. 327 sq. For the connection 36 sq.

during the three days are forfeited to him and must be redeemed. He goes to a field in the middle of the city, whither they bring a gilded plough drawn by gaily-decked oxen. After the plough has been anointed and the oxen rubbed with incense, the mock king traces nine furrows with the plough, followed by aged dames of the palace scattering the first seed of the season. As soon as the nine furrows are drawn, the crowd of spectators rushes in and scrambles for the seed which has just been sown, believing that, mixed with the seed-rice, it will ensure a plentiful crop. Then the oxen are unyoked, and rice, maize, sesame, sago, bananas, sugar-cane, melons, and so on, are set before them ; whatever they eat first will, it is thought, be dear in the year following, though some people interpret the omen in the opposite sense. During this time the temporary king stands leaning against a tree with his right foot resting on his left knee. From standing thus on one foot he is popularly known as King Hop ; but his official title is Phaya Phollathep, “Lord of the Heavenly Hosts.”.” He is a sort of Minister of Agriculture; all disputes about fields, rice, and so forth, are referred to him. There is moreover another ceremony in which he personates the king. It takes place in the second month (which falls in the cold season) and lasts three days. He is conducted in procession to an open place opposite the Temple of the Brahmans, where there are a number of poles dressed like May-poles, upon which the Brahmans swing. All the while that they swing and dance, the Lord of the Heavenly Hosts has to stand on one foot upon a seat which is made of bricks plastered over, covered with a white cloth, and hung with tapestry. He is supported by a wooden frame with a gilt canopy, and two Brahmans stand one on each side of him. The dancing Brahmans carry

* Pallegoix, Description du Aoyaume minster, 1898), p. 21 o so. The repre

Thai ou Siam, i. 25o; Bastian, Die Volker des ostlichen Asien, iii. 305-309, 526-528; Turpin, History of Siam, in Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels, ix. 581 sq. Bowring (Siam, i. 158 sq.) copies, as usual, from Pallegoix. For a description of the ceremony as observed at the present day, see E. Young, 7}e Aïngdom of the Yellow Robe (West

sentative of the king no longer enjoys his old privilege of seizing any goods that are exposed for sale along the line of the procession. According to Mr. Young, the ceremony is generally held about the middle of May, and no one is supposed to plough or sow till it is over.

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