1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Adoration

ADORATION (Lat. ad, to, and os, mouth; i.e. “carrying to one’s mouth”), primarily an act of homage or worship, which, among the Romans, was performed by raising the hand to the mouth, kissing it and then waving it in the direction of the adored object. The devotee had his head covered, and after the act turned himself round from left to right. Sometimes he kissed the feet or knees of the images of the gods themselves, and Saturn and Hercules were adored with the head bare. By a natural transition the homage, at first paid to divine beings alone, came to be paid to monarchs. Thus the Greek and Roman emperors were adored by bowing or kneeling, laying hold of the imperial robe, and presently withdrawing the hand and pressing it to the lips, or by putting the royal robe itself to the lips. In Eastern countries adoration has ever been performed in an attitude still more lowly. The Persian method, introduced by Cyrus, was to bend the knee and fall on the face at the prince’s feet, striking the earth with the forehead and kissing the ground. This striking of the earth with the forehead, usually a fixed number of times, is the form of adoration usually paid to Eastern potentates to-day. The Jews kissed in homage. Thus in 1 Kings xix. 18, God is made to say, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” And in Psalms ii. 12, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way.” (See also Hosea xiii. 2.) In England the ceremony of kissing the sovereign’s hand, and some other acts which are performed kneeling, may be described as forms of adoration. Adoration is applied in the Roman Church to the ceremony of kissing the pope’s foot, a custom which is said to have been introduced by the popes following the example of the emperor Diocletian. The toe of the famous statue of the apostle in St Peter’s, Rome, shows marked wear caused by the kisses of pilgrims. In the Roman Church a distinction is made between Latria, a worship due to God alone, and Dulia or Hyperdulia, the adoration paid to the Virgin, saints, martyrs, crucifixes, &c. (See further Homage.)