Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/350

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302 The European Sky -God.

have seen, a sky-god, whose sacred tree was the oak. Thus it was from Egeria, the oak-nymph, that Numa learnt how to control the thunderstorms of Jupiter Elicius.^ Numa, the priestly king, husband of Egeria, may indeed have been looked upon as Jupiter incarnate. One of his earliest acts was to establish the cult of Jupiter Termi- nalis^: and M. Babelon remarks the close resemblance between the bust of Jupiter Terminalis on coins of the gens Terentia and the bust of Numa on coins of the gens Calpurnia — " c'est evidemment la meme tete et les memes traits."^ But the best proof that a Roman king was regarded as an oak-Jupiter lies in the nature of his regalia. A large gold crown of oak-leaves enriched with acorns of precious stones and golden ribands was worn by him * as viceroy of the oak-god, while an ivory sceptre with an eagle perched upon it^ proclaimed the human Jupiter.^ His throne was hollowed out of a tree stump. The fasces borne before him by the lictors consisted in each case of an axe bound up in a bundle of rods and fastened with a strap of red leather.^ It is probable that the axe was the symbol of Jupiter,^ and that the rods were used for purposes of divination '^^ : both, no doubt, came to be regarded as means of punishment, but their primary significance appears to have been religious, not secular.

The first Roman consuls were doubtless chosen with the utmost care, in order that the kings as representatives

"^ Supra p. 269. ^Plut. vit. Ahtvi. 16, Dionys. ant. Rom. 2. 74.

^ Babelon monn. de la Rip. rom. ii. 486.

■*Tertull. de coron. mil. 13, Plin. nat. hist. 21. 6, 'i,},. 11, alib. ^Dionys. ant. Rom. 3. 61 f. Cp. Folk-lore xv. 371 f.

  • See further Class. Rev. xviii. 361 f.

■^ Lyd. de mag. i. 7, Serv. in Verg. Aen. i. 506, 7. 169. Cp. Class. Rev. xvii. 406, 413, Folk-Lore xv. 416. ^ Daremberg-Saglio Diet. ant. iii. 1239. ^ Class. Rev. xviii. 362, cp. ib. 365. ^Cp. the custom of the ancient Germans described by Tac. Germ. 10.