ἀμνίον is the vessel for the
blood, probably connected with “αἷμα”. Curt.
suggests a connection with “ἀμίς”.
. There is little truth in
the common notion that the office of King and Priest was originally vested
in the same person. Of the Homeric King— here, for example, of
Nestor—it is true in that sense alone in which every head of a
family is his own “ἱερεύς
” at home. This was
purely a domestic sacrifice. Otherwise the several gods had their own “ἱερεῖς
”, and as Lobeck (Aglaoph. 258) observes, in
the only instances where a state sacrifice is offered, namely at the
beginning of this book and Od.21. 258
the sacrificer is not specified.
The following statement of Aristotle cannot accordingly apply to the Homeric
Kings, but only to later, though still early, times. The Kings he says (Pol. 3. 14. 11-12)
“κατὰ τοὺς ἡρωικοὺς χρόνους . . κύριοι ἦσαν . .
τῶν θυσιῶν ὅσαι μὴ ἱερατικαί
”, and these he explains (6. 8. 20)
to be “ὅσας μὴ τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν ἀποδίδωσιν ὁ νόμος, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπὸ τῆς
κοινῆς ἑστίας ἔχουσι τὴν τιμήν
” (‘but the
ministers whereof derived their office from the state
altarhearth’). That is, when a state, whether by adopting the
family gods of its royal house, or otherwise, had come to have its tutelar
deities and rites and altarhearths, the Kings were naturally made the
ministers of the national tutelars as such. To such a ministry reference is
made in Hdt.4. 161
βασιλέι τεμένεα ἐξελὼν καὶ ἱρωσύνας τὰ ἄλλα πάντα τὰ
πρότερα εἶχον οἱ βασιλέες ἐς μέσον τῷ δήμῳ ἔθηκε
and the Athenian Archons had stated sacrifices to perform for the same
reason. But the state-officers exercised no priestly function except with
reference to the state-tutelars.
Thus, any peculiar connection of the kingly office with the sacerdotal can
only be admitted under two considerable limitations. First, it was a
post-primitive accretion which only arose along with the worship of
state-tutelars. Secondly, at no time whatever did it exist beyond this
range; witness Aristotle as already quoted. The temples had their own
priests; it was only at the “πρυτανεῖον τῆς
” that the King could officiate. Virgil's crude antiquarian
fact in Aen.3. 81
‘Rex Anius, rex
idem hominum Phoebique sacerdos,’ is an instance either of a
tutelar connection of Apollo with the community of which Anius was King, or
of a combination of offices worth mentioning on account of its singularity.