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which they said was this celestial sceptre of Agamemmon.' Homer places the authority of all his king's upon this foundation ; and he gives us his opinion at large in the case of Telemachus.' He introduces Antinous, one of the suitors, as alarmed at the threatnings of Telemachus; and therefore, though he acknowledged his paternal right to the crown of Ithaca, when Ulysses should be dead ; yet he wished that there might not be a vacancy for him, for many years. Telemachus in his reply is made to speak as if he depended but little upon hereditary right, aud says, that he should willingly accept the crown, if Jupiter should give it ; but that there were kings of Greece, and many persons of Ithaca, both young and old, who perhaps might have it at the death of Ulysses ; but that he would be master of his father's house, servants, and substance. Eurymachus replies, and confirms what Telamachus had said ; asserting, that Telemachus should certainly possess his father's house, ser
9 Pausanias in Bæoticis. p. 795.
Τον δ' αυ Ευρύμαχι Πολυβο σαις ανθιον ηυδα,
vants, and substance; but that, as to who should be king of Ithaca, it must be left to the gods. Romulus endeavoured to build his authority upon the same foundation ; and therefore when the people were disposed to have him for their king, he refused to take the honour, until the gods should give some sign to confirm it to him. So upon an appointed day, after due sacrifice and prayers offered to the gods, he was consecrated king by an auspicious thunder. At what time the heathen nations embraced these sentiments, I cannot certainly say ; but I suppose not before God had appointed the Israelites a king. For the ancient writers speak of the kings who reigned before that time in no such strain ; as may be seen from Pausanias' account of the first kings of Greece, as well as from ‘other writers. But when God had by a special appointment given the Israelites a king; the kings of other nations were fond of claiming to themselves such a designation from heaven ; lest they should scem to fall short in honour and glory of the Jewish governors. llomer, who according to IIerodotus introduced a new thcology,' introduced also the account of the origin of the authority of their kings into Greece. Virgil embraced this scheme of Homer, and in compliment to Augustus, the Ronan republic being overthrown, laid the foundation of Ancas' right to govern the Trojans, who fled with him from the ruins of their city, upon a divinc designation of him to be their king, revealved to him by the apparition of Hector," and confirmed by Pantheus the priest of Apollo ; who brought and delivered to him the Sacra and sacred images, of which Hector had declared him the guardian and protector.
s Dionysius Halicarnassus, lib. 1. Herodot. lib. 2. C. 53.
It has been the opinion of some modern writers, that these ancients were very weak politicians in matters of religion, and were an easy prey to priestcraft. The Earl of Shaftsbury is very copious upon this topic ; and his followers commonly think that his arguinentations of this sort are conclusive. Let us, therefore, examine how well they are grounded.
We have as full and large an account of the first settlement of the Roman priesthood as of any : so that I shall examine this first, and then add what may be offered about the established priesthood of other nations. And first of all, Romulus appointed, that the king should be the head, and controuler of all the Sacra and sacrifices;" and under himself he appointed proper persons for the due performance of the offices of religion, having first made a general law, that none but the nobility should be employed either in offices of state or of religion. The particular qualifications of the priests were, 1. They were to be of the best
Virgil. Æn. 2. ver. 293.
Ibid. v. 321, &c. y Characteristics, vol. 3. Miscellany 2.
2 Βασιλει μεν εν εξηρητο ταδε τα γερα πρωτον μεν ιερων και θυσιων ηγεμονιαν εχειν, και πανlα δι εκεινε σρατζεσθαι
τα προς Tes Seus cola. Dionys. Halicar. Antiq. Rom. lib. 2. sect. 13.
* Διετατιεν της μεν ευπατριδας ερασθαι τε, και αρχειν και δικαζειν, και μεθ' αυτα τα κοινα πραττειν. Ιd. ibid. c. 9.
to Id. ibid. c. 21.
families. 2. They were to be men of the most eminent virtue. 3. They were to be persons who had an estate sufficient to live on. , 4. And without any bodily blemish or imperfection. 5. They were to be above fifty years of age. These were the qualifications requisite for their being admitted into the religious order. Let us now see what they were to get by it; and, 1. They were put to no expence in the performance of their ministrations; for as the king had in his hands lands set apart on purpose for the providing the pub.. lic sacrifices, building and repairing temples, altars, and bearing all the expences of religion; so a set sum was paid to the priests of each division, to bear the expences of their sacrifices.
2. They themselves were exempted from the fatigue of going to war, and from bearing city offices. 3. Besides these slender privileges, I do not find that they received any profits from their office : for it is evident they had no stipend nor salaries. Ministers of state, and ministers of religion also, had no advantages of this sort in early times, as is abundantly evident from one of the reasons given for choosing the nobility only to these employments ; namely, because the plebeians or common people could not afford to give away their time in attending upon them. As to their number, which Lord Shaftsbury thinks was without end or measure; Dionysius of Halicarnassus tells us, that no city ever had so many originally as Rome; and he observes that Romulus appointed sixty ;d telling us withal,
Dionys Halicarn. Antiq. Rom, I. 2. c. 9. d Id. ibid. c. 21.
elsewhere, that his people were, when he first settled the common-wealth, two thousand three hundred men, besides women and children ; and when he died, they were above forty thousand. There were indeed, over and besides these, three augurs or vegooxoto, appointed by Romulus; and there were afterwards three Flamens, who, I think, were first instituted by Numa; as were the vestal virgins, who were in number four;t and the Salii, who were in number twelve. He instituted also the college of the Feciales, who were in number twenty;" but these were chiefly employed in civil affairs : for they were the arbitrators of all controversies relating to war or peace, and heralds and ambassadors to foreign states. Lastly, Numa appointed the Ponti. fices Maximi, being four in number, of which himself was the first ;' and these persons were the supreme judges of all matters civil or religious. But all these officers were chosen out of the noblest and wealthiest families; and they brouglit wealth into, and added lustre to the offices they bore, instead of coming into them for the sake of lucre and advantage. If we were to look further into the Roman state, we should find some additions marle to the number of the ministers of religion, as the city grew in wealth and power; for when the Plebeians grew wealthy, and were
* Dionys. Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. 1. 2. c. 16.
Dionys. Halicarn. I. 2.