Sacrificial King

Debra

LOL there's the long version and the short version and I bet your library has one with pictures.
 

Richard

I should break down and read it, I suppose. :)
I read The Golden Bough many years ago. It is a scholarly anthropological study with scads of references.
 

Debra

Yeah, what I said isn't right. I read the one-volume longish version probably from 1995--there was no explicit discussion of Christ, I thought it was implied and maybe that's why I found it so WOW!

And somewhere around here there's a one-volume much-more-abridged version edited by I don't know who. Anyway, here's the wiki list of different editions, and some is on Project Gutenberg.



Editions

First edition, 2 vols., 1890. (Vol. I - II)
Second edition, 3 vols., 1900. (Vol. I - II - III)
Third edition, 12 vols., 1906-15. (Vol. V, VI, XII)
Volume 1 (1906): The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings (Part 1) 1920 (reprint)
Volume 2 (1911): The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings (Part 2)
Volume 3 (1911): Taboo and the Perils of the Soul
Volume 4 (1911): The Dying God
Volume 5 (1914): Adonis, Attis, Osiris (Part 1)
Volume 6 (1914): Adonis, Attis, Osiris (Part 2)
Volume 7 (1912): Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild (Part 1)
Volume 8 (1912): Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild (Part 2)
Volume 9 (1913): The Scapegoat
Volume 10 (1913): Balder the Beautiful (Part 1)
Volume 11 (1913): Balder the Beautiful (Part 2)
Volume 12 (1915): Bibliography and General Index

Supplement

Aftermath: A Supplement to the Golden Bough (1937)

Abridged editions

Abridged edition, 1 vol., 1922. This edition abridges Frazer's references to Christianity.
1995 Touchstone edition, ISBN 0-684-82630-5
2002 Dover reprint of 1922 edition, ISBN 0-486-42492-8
Abridged edition, edited by Robert Fraser for Oxford University Press, 1994. It restores the material on Christianity purged in the first abridgement. ISBN 0-19-282934-3
 

Carla

So would people here acknowledge that The Golden Bough is the likely source of these references to a tradition of annual regicide?
 

Richard

So would people here acknowledge that The Golden Bough is the likely source of these references to a tradition of annual regicide?
I don't know about an annual regicide. It seems unlikely, doesn't it? I may need to dust off my old abriged Golden Bough. By the way, Frazer's 1922 abridgement is a free ebook at Project Gutenberg.
 

Carla

I don't know about an annual regicide. It seems unlikely, doesn't it? I may need to dust off my old abriged Golden Bough. By the way, Frazer's 1922 abridgement is a free ebook at Project Gutenberg.

It seems HIGHLY unlikely, but Pollack seems to think it happened. In India.
 

Milfoil

I can't give any references right now, at work and no time but there has been a ritual sacrificing of a 'king' in several cultures. I think our UK 12 days (or nights) of Yule where the Lord of misrule held court for the 12 days and nights of the celebrations of midwinter, was someone from the community who was elected or chosen to take the place of the real king. Often a convict who was sentenced to die anyway, they agreed to the sacrifice and in return, had 12 days of revelry. The origins are said to go back to Saturnalia (Roman midwinter celebration where the tables were turned and slaves became the masters for a short while).

Frazer seems to be the most widely quoted but perhaps a look to the Roman poets may offer more evidence?

There could be connections to the bog bodies found all over the North West of Europe to but there we will probably never know for sure.
 

rachelcat

Frazer DID think that such sacrifices were factual (and historical). This is from the preface of the 1922 abridged version of the Golden Bough on Project Gutenberg.

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext03/bough11h.htm

J.G. Frazer said:
the evidence which has come to my knowledge in the meantime [since original publication of the Golden Bough] has on the whole served either to confirm my former conclusions or to furnish fresh illustrations of old principles. Thus, for example, on the crucial question of the practice of putting kings to death either at the end of a fixed period or whenever their health and strength began to fail, the body of evidence which points to the wide prevalence of such a custom has been considerably augmented in the interval. A striking instance of a limited monarchy of this sort is furnished by the powerful mediaeval kingdom of the Khazars in Southern Russia, where the kings were liable to be put to death either on the expiry of a set term or whenever some public calamity, such as drought, dearth, or defeat in war, seemed to indicate a failure of their natural powers. The evidence for the systematic killing of the Khazar kings, drawn from the accounts of old Arab travellers, has been collected by me elsewhere.[1] Africa, again, has supplied several fresh examples of a similar practice of regicide. Among them the most notable perhaps is the custom formerly observed in Bunyoro of choosing every year from a particular clan a mock king, who was supposed to incarnate the late king, cohabited with his widows at his temple-tomb, and after reigning for a week was strangled.[2] The custom presents a close parallel to the ancient Babylonian festival of the Sacaea, at which a mock king was dressed in the royal robes, allowed to enjoy the real king’s concubines, and after reigning for five days was stripped, scourged, and put to death. That festival in its turn has lately received fresh light from certain Assyrian inscriptions,[3] which seem to confirm the interpretation which I formerly gave of the festival as a New Year celebration and the parent of the Jewish festival of Purim.[4] Other recently discovered parallels to the priestly kings of Aricia are African priests and kings who used to be put to death at the end of seven or of two years, after being liable in the interval to be attacked and killed by a strong man, who thereupon succeeded to the priesthood or the kingdom.[5]

[1] J. G. Frazer, “The Killing of the Khazar Kings,” Folk-lore, xxviii. (1917), pp. 382–407.

[2] Rev. J. Roscoe, The Soul of Central Africa (London, 1922), p. 200. Compare J. G. Frazer, &147;The Mackie Ethnological Expedition to Central Africa,” Man, xx. (1920), p. 181.

[3] H. Zimmern, Zum babylonischen Neujahrsfest (Leipzig, 1918). Compare A. H. Sayce, in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, July 1921, pp. 440–442.

[4] The Golden Bough, Part VI. The Scapegoat, pp. 354 sqq., 412 sqq.

[5] P. Amaury Talbot in Journal of the African Society, July 1916, pp. 309 sq.; id., in Folk-lore, xxvi. (1916), pp. 79 sq.; H. R. Palmer, in Journal of the African Society, July 1912, pp. 403, 407 sq.
I don't know what contemporary historians think about it all . . .

Is there also mention of this by Robert Graves? (Not that he's much of an historian . . .)
 

Carla

Frazer DID think that such sacrifices were factual (and historical). This is from the preface of the 1922 abridged version of the Golden Bough on Project Gutenberg.

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext03/bough11h.htm


I don't know what contemporary historians think about it all . . .

Is there also mention of this by Robert Graves? (Not that he's much of an historian . . .)

I believe Robert Graves based his work on Frazer's.
 

Dain

I think it's largely symbolic, Carla, like the burning of the Carnival King in certain parts of the world. There have been hints of very old ritual sacrifice of a "king" in ancient civilizations but these notions are largely disputed by many modern scholars.
Like others pointed out the concept is a romanticized interpretation introduced by Frazer. Any "solar" hero/god/king "sacrificed" for the common good or for reasons of apotheosis (like Herakles), regeneration etc. can be construed as a "sacred king".