Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/754

This page has been validated.

resentative of the Divinity on earth, and of the same substance"; and not only did he in many cases become a god after death, but he was worshiped as a god during life; as witness the following prayer to Rameses II:

When they had come before the king. . . they fell down to the ground, and with their hands they prayed to the king. They praised this divine benefactor, . . . speaking thus: "We are come before thee, the lord of heaven, lord of the earth, sun, life of the whole world, lord of time, . . . lord of prosperity, creator of the harvest, fashioner and former of mortals, dispenser of breath to all men; animater of the whole company of the gods, . . . thou former of the great, creator of the small, . . . thou our lord, our sun, by whose words out of his mouth Tum lives, . . . grant us life out of thy hands . . . and breath for our nostrils."

This prayer introduces us to a remarkable parallel. Rameses, whose powers, demonstrated by his conquests, were regarded as so transcendent, is here described as ruling not only the lower world but also the upper world; and a like royal power is alleged in two existing societies where absolutism is similarly unmitigated—China and Japan, As shown when treating of "Ceremonial Institutions," both the Emperor of China and the Japanese Mikado have such supremacy in heaven that they promote its inhabitants from rank to rank at will.

That this strengthening of political headship, if not by ascribed godhood then by ascribed descent from a god (either the apotheosized ancestor of the tribe or one of the elder deities), was exemplified among the early Greeks, needs not be shown. It was exemplified, too, among the Northern Aryans. "According to the old heathen faith, the pedigree of the Saxon, Anglian, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish kings probably also those of the German and Scandinavian kings generally—was traced to Odin, or to some of his immediate companions or heroic sons."

It is further to be noticed that a god-descended ruler who is also chief priest of the gods (as he habitually is) obtains a more effectual supernatural aid than does the ruler to whom magical powers alone are ascribed. For in the first place the invisible agents invoked by the magician are not conceived to be those of highest rank; whereas the divinely-descended ruler is supposed to get the help of a supreme invisible agent. And, in the second place, the one form of influence over these dreaded superhuman beings tends much less than the other to become a permanent attribute of the ruler. Though among the Chibchas we find a case in which magical power was transferred to a successor—though "the cacique of Sogamoso made known that he [Bochica] had left him heir of all his sanctity, and that he had the same power of making rain when he liked," and giving health or sickness (an assertion believed by the people)—yet this is an exceptional case. Speaking generally, the chief whose relations with the supernatural world are those of a sorcerer does not transmit his relations; and he