they shall bow down to thee with their face before the earth and lick up the dust of thy feet" (xlix. 23).
They kissed not only the ground under the powerful, but also their feet, knees, hands, or the hem of their garments.
Certain Roman Emperors adopted these oriental usages. Thus Caligula ordered people to kiss his hands and feet, and even in the Middle Ages the custom of kissing the feet of kings was in vogue.
Nearly everywhere, wheresoever an inferior meets a superior, we observe the kiss of respect. The Roman slaves kissed the hands of their masters; pupils and soldiers those of their teachers and captains respectively.
During the Middle Ages the vassal paid homage to his feudal lord by a kiss on the hand or foot, hence the expression devoir la bouche et les mains. It is well-known what befell Charles the Simple when Rollo, the Norman chieftain, had to pay him feudal homage. The proud Viking would not bow down to the king, but laid hold of the latter's feet and lifted them up to his mouth, whereat the king, amidst the laughter of the spectators, tumbled down. Thus the scene is depicted