Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/421

This page has been validated.
405
CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

tions were made; and in various other ways the functions of the organization were allied to priestly functions. Heralds verified the titles of those who aspired to the distinctions of chivalry, as priests decided on the fitness of applicants for the sanctions of the Church; and on the occasions of their visitations they were to "correct things ill and dishonest," and to advise princes—duties allied to those of priests. Besides announcing the wills of earthly rulers, as priests of all religions announce the wills of heavenly rulers, they were glorifiers of the first, as priests were of the last—part of their duty to those they served being "to publish their praises in foreign lands." At the burials of kings and princes, where observances for honoring the living and observances for honoring the dead came in contact, the kinship of a herald's function to the function of a priest was again shown; for, besides putting in the tomb the insignia of rank of the deceased potentate, and in that manner sacrificing to him, the herald had to write, or to get written, a eulogy—had to initiate that worship of the dead out of which grow higher forms of worship. Similar, if less elaborate, was the system in England. Heralds wore crowns, had royal dresses, and used the plural "we." Anciently, there were two heraldic provinces, with their respective chief heralds, like two dioceses. Further development produced a garter king-at-arms, with provincial kings-at-arms presiding over minor heraldic officers; and, in 1483, all were incorporated into the College of Heralds. As in France, visitations were made for the purpose of verifying existing titles and honors, and authorizing others; and funeral rites were so far under heraldic control that, among the nobility, no one could be buried without the assent of the herald.

Why these structures which discharged ceremonial functions once conspicuous and important dwindled, while civil and ecclesiastical structures developed, it is easy to see. Propitiation of the living has been, from the outset, necessarily more localized than propitiation of the dead. The existing ruler can be worshiped only in his presence, or, at any rate, within his dwelling or in its neighborhood. Though in Peru adoration was paid to images of the living Yncas; and though in Madagascar King Radama, when absent, had his praises sung in the words, "God is gone to the west, Radama is a mighty bull;" yet, generally, the obeisances and laudations expressing subordination to the great man while alive, are not made when they cannot be witnessed by him or his immediate dependents. But when the great man dies and there begin the awe and fear of his ghost, conceived as able to reappear anywhere, propitiations are no longer so narrowly localized; and in proportion as, with formation of larger societies, there comes development of deities greater in supposed power and range, dread of them and reverence for them are felt simultaneously over wide areas. Hence the official propitiators, multiplying and spreading, severally carry on their worships in many places at the