Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/367

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The European Sky -God. 319

or " chariot seat," on which Roman magistrates of a later date sat as judges, was a survival of this primitive usage.^

No real distinction can be drawn between the king's sceptre and the standard of the legion : each was a staff surmounted by an eagle - ; and the standard was wor- shipped by the soldiery ^ because, like the sceptre,* it symbolised Jupiter — a fact that the ancients had not forgotten.^ Lest its connection with the oak of the sky- god ^ should be obscured, they sometimes placed an oak- leaf in the eagle's beak,^ or a golden thunderbolt in its talons.^ The thunderbolt on the shields of the legionaries and on the lead bullets of the slingers^ was likewise a token that the whole fighting force was under the com- mand and protection of Jupiter. The king or general, if successful in battle, erected on the spot a trophy, i.e. an

^ Cp. Gell. 3. iS. 3 f., Paul. exc. Fest. s.v. "currules" p. 38 Lind., Isid. on'gg. 20. II. II.

■•^Such was the sceptre of Romulus (Lyd. de viag. i. 7) and the last three kings of Rome (Dionys. ant. Rom. 3. 61 f.). For the form of the legionary eagles see Smith- Wayte-Marindin Diet. Ant. ii. 674 f.

^The eagle was kept in a portable shrine (Die 40. 18, cp. Cic. Cat. i. 24), where it received actual worship (Herod. 4. 4. 5, Plin. nat. hist. 13. 23), being regarded as the god of the legion (Liv. 26. 48. 12, Tac. a«w. i. 39. 7, 2. 17. 2, hist. 3. 10. 7, Val. Max. 6. I. 11, Dionys. ant. Rom. 6. 45, Co)-p. inscrr. Lat. iii. 7591).

  • Supra p. 302. ^Lact. div. inst. i. 11, Isid. origg. 18. 3. 2.

^See Folk-Lore \\. 371 f. 'Smith-Wayte-Marindin Diet. Atit. ii. 675.

    • Dio 43. 35, Jul. Obseq. 126; cp. the relief at Verona figured by A. von

Domaszewski Die Fahnen iiii rdmischen Heere, 1885 fig. 4.

A remarkable analogy to the early Roman eagle is afforded by the later labariim, i.e. the military standard adorned with the Constantinian monogram. There can be little doubt that this monogram was an adaptation of an older solar symbol, and that it was as acceptable to the Mithraic worshippers as to the Christians (W. Lowrie Christian Art and Archaeology p. 238 ff. ). It is at least possible that the much-disputed word labarutn should be connected with Xd^pvs, the "double-axe," which symbolised the sky-god in the Aegean area from a very remote past (E. Conybeare Roman Britain p. 228 n. 2).

^ Pauly-Wissowa ii. 317.