Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/371

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The Etiropean Sky-God, 323

" kingdom " {regjtwii) to others. The passage gains immensely in point if, as I cannot but think probable, it refers to the slave who reigned as human Jupiter at Nemi or to others of his class. What the bad end was to which they came, we do not exactly know ; but we should gather from analogy that they were beheaded and their heads hanged on the sacred oak.^ The decapitation of a would-be immortal was a subject not unsuited to ancient satire ; and we have it on the authority of Tertullian that "Varro, the Roman Cynic, introduces scores of Joves or Jupiters minus their heads " and that Roman audiences laughed aloud when in the course of a mime " the last will and testament of a defunct Jupiter was read." ^ Varro's notion of a Jupiter minus his head may serve to explain a somewhat difficult passage in Seneca's brilliant satire TJie P^impkinification of the divine Claudius? The scene is laid in heaven, and the gods are debating what sort of divinity shall be conferred upon Claudius, who has just issued a public order for the beheading of Febris, and demanded apotheosis for himself One of them, apparently Jupiter, says : " He can't be the Epicurean god who 'troubleth no man and is himself untroubled of any.' The Stoic god, then ? But how can he be ' rotund,' as Varro puts it, * minus his head, minus his tail ' 1 Ah, I see,

1 See Class. Rev. xvii. 269 ff. The heads of unsuccessful combatants were hanged on the oak of king Phorbas (Philostr. imagg. 2. 19. 2) and decorated the palaces of king Sitho (Nonn. Dion. 48. 224 f. ) and king Oenomaus (Apollod. epit. 2. 5, Philostr. jun. imagg. 9. 3), both of whom were probably oak-kings. On Italian soil we have the myth of the " heads and a man" demanded from the Pelasgians by the oak-Zeus of Dodona (Dionys. ant. Rom. I. 19), and of the "heads" required from king Numa in the oak-wood by Jupiter Elicius (Plut. vit. Ntim. 15, cp. Class. Rev. xvii. 270, xviii. 369). The practice of hanging human faces (oscilla) on sacred trees points in the same direction. A Lucanian vase shows one suspended from a tree, beneath which two men with swords are engaged in a mortal combat (S. Reinach R^J>. des vases peints i. 486).

^Tert. apol. 14, 15.

^Sen. apocoloc. 8. i f, I follow the latest text, that of Bucheler ed. 4. 1904.