Thursday, 5 July 2018

Church And State

In Aldous Huxley's Ape And Essence, the fictional film script includes the chant:

"Church and state,
 "Greed and hate!"

Ancient Rome had both an Emperor and a chief priest, the Pontifex Maximus. The bishop of Rome became the Pontifex. Thus, Western Christendom had a Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope.

In Poul Anderson's The Dancer From Atlantis, CHAPTER TEN:

"'Atlantis is the seat of the Ariadne, who reigns over rites and votaries throughout the realm even as the Minos reigns over worldly affairs.'
"Ariadne? Not a name, as myth was to make it, but a title: 'Most Sacred One.'" (p. 83)

On Atlantis, there are:

terraced gardens;
bronze and gold arbors;
on the crest, a wide complex of white-painted stone buildings bearing a frieze depicting a procession of living beings between bright red pillars beneath the sign of the Labrys and two gilded horns.

Reid understands why the island will be remembered.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, from the time of Augustus on wards, the Roman Emperors included among their titles that of "Pontifex Maximus," high priest of the old pagan religion of Rome. Even after the Emperors became Christians, it continued to be held by them for a while, until Gratian's reign (AD 375-83). That Emperor thought it was improper for a Christian to bear such a title and renounced it. Then, as you said, it became attached to the Bishops of Rome, to this very day.

"Pontifex Maximus" literally means "Supreme Bridgebuilder." And given the unique authority and status of the Popes, it was natural for that title to be adopted by them.

Hmmm, so "Ariadne" is PROPERLY a title, not a name? I'm a bit chagrined to realize that despite my previous readings of THE DANCER FROM ATLANTIS, I never thought before of looking up what was known of the religion of Minoan Crete.