Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/41

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34
PERSIA.

rally be supposed that this sentiment has lost none of its force, in the twelve or fifteen centuries which have since elapsed. Feth Ali Shah, if he does not arrogate to himself precisely the title of king of kings, employs other equivalent expressions. Thus, a letter written in the name of this prince contains the following passage:—"Since the seal, like unto fate, affixed to the decree of our sovereign power, is become the ornament of the commands received with submission over the surface of the earth," &c. In another place, he says:—"The impressions of my bounty, powerful as those of the luminary of day; the marks of my favour, like the rays of the rising sun." The ordinary title of the Persian monarchs, however, is Shah, which corresponds with our emperor; or Padishah Iran, great emperor of Iran, Kaqan, &c. His subjects indeed dare not give him so simple a denomination: they must not write his name without adding:—"The most exalted of men; the source of majesty, of grandeur, of power, of glory; the equal of the sun; the chief of the great kings, whose throne is the stirrup of heaven; the centre of the globe of the earth; the master of the conjunctions; the asylum of the world; the shadow of God, diffused over the face of all sensible things," &c. It should be observed, indeed, that these denominations vary according to the eloquence of the writer, and that very frequently they are employed merely to round a period, and to give a proper measure and cadence to the language.


SECTION V.

OF THE KINGS HOUSEHOLD.

The king's household consists, like that of European monarchs, of a great number of officers, each having his particular duties and functions. The chief of these is the high chamberlain, who is superintendant of the king's finances, manager of the royal domains and inspector of all the other officers. On him, all persons engaged in the arts and sciences at the expense of the royal exchequer are dependent; and to him such foreigners as come to Persia on commercial business have to address themselves. It is his duty also to make suitable provision for ambassadors, to assign them quarters, and to supply all their wants. Hence some idea may be formed of the influence attached to this dignity. The second officer is the Ichic-Agasee, whom Morier calls the master of the ceremonies: he superintends the porters, ushers, door-keepers, and other officers of that class belonging to the palace. Before him is borne a gold stick covered with precious stones, which is the mark of his dignity: and when the king quits his seraglio, he takes it in his hand, standing at