Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/372

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324 The European Sky -God.

there is something of the Stoic god about him : he has neither a heart nor a head. Assuredly, if he had craved this boon (of divinity) from Saturn, whose festive month he kept going the whole year round, our Saturnalian prince, he wouldn't have got it ; and he certainly shall not from Jupiter, whom to the best of his ability he condemned on a charge of incest." Now Dr. Frazer has shown that originally the king of the Saturnalia, after personating Saturn for a month, was put to death in this capacity, and that the Christian soldier Dasius, who refused to play the part of the heathen god, was actually beheaded at Duros- tolum as late as 303 A.D.^ The foregoing extract from Seneca not only contains a manifest allusion (the one in Latin literature) to the slaying of the Saturnalian king, but also describes the enfeebled Claudius' pretensions to be Jupiter" with a sly reference to Varro's "Jupiters minus their heads," and so raises a presumption that the human Jupiter was normally beheaded in his dotage.

Doubtless there were other methods of superannuating the effete king. Livy,^ after giving the usual tradition that Romulus disappeared in a thunderstorm, mentions the " very obscure tale " that he was torn to pieces by the hands of the fathers. Plutarch* too, though persuaded that Romulus was caught up to heaven, records the belief that the senators had fallen upon him in the temple of Vulcan and divided his body between them, every man carrying away a portion of it in his robe. Dionysius^ says much the same, though he makes the senate-house the scene of the murder, and adds that those who carried away the king's flesh in their garments buried every man his fragment in the earth. This singular variant recalls

1 Frazer Golden Bough ^ iii. 140 fif. "^ Supra p. 313.

^Liv. I. 16. 4. ^Y\\xX..vit. Rom. 27.

5 Dionys. ant. Rom. 2. 56.