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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
Basileus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2025  Friday, 17 October 2003

From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Oct 2003 09:36:43 -0500
Subject:        Basileus

Gentles:

In ancient Athens, the archon basileus was the religious (as opposed to
administrative, political, or military) leader.  And a basileus king was
a hereditary king: hence the significance of Oedipus's being called a
tyrannos, or non-hereditary king.  So there's at least an etymological
link between religion and hereditary kingship in the Greek language,
made clear in the English cognate word "basilica."  Does anyone know of
any evidence that this sort of etymological argument is at all relevant
to the construction of the doctrine of Divine Right?  That is, was such
a rhetorical strategy employed by 16th- or 17th-century proponents of
Divine Right?

Rick,
who really should be preparing for this afternoon's class instead of
speculating on such things...

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