- Imperial cult
An imperial cult is a form of state religion in which an emperor, or a dynasty of emperors (or rulers of another title), are worshipped as messiahs, demigods or deities. "Cult" here is used to mean "worship", not in the modern pejorative sense. The cult may be one of personality in the case of a newly arisen Euhemerus figure or one of national identity (e.g., Egyptian Pharaoh, Ethiopian Empire or Empire of Japan) or supranational identity in the case of a multi-ethnic state (e.g., Imperial Era China, Roman Empire). A divine king is a monarch who is held in a special religious significance by his subjects, and serves as both head of state and a deity or head religious figure. This system of government combines theocracy with an absolute monarchy.
In ancient China,[clarification needed] an emperor was considered the Son of Heaven. The scion and representative of heaven on earth, he was the ruler of all under heaven, the bearer of the Mandate of Heaven, his commands considered sacred edicts. A number of legendary figures preceding the proper imperial era of China also hold the honorific title of emperor, such as the Yellow Emperor and the Jade Emperor.
Even before the rise of the Caesars, there are traces of a "regal spirituality" in Roman society. In earliest Roman times the king was a spiritual and patrician figure and ranked higher than the flamines (priestly order), while later on in history only a shadow of the primordial condition was left with the sacrificial rex sacrorum linked closely to the plebeian orders.
King Numitor corresponds to the regal-sacred principle in early Roman history. The "founder of Rome" Romulus was heroized into "Quirinus", the "undefeated god", of whom the later Caesars identified with and considered themselves incarnations.
Varro spoke of the initiatory mystery and power of Roman regality (adytum et initia regis), inacessible to the exoteric communality.
In Plutarch's Phyrro, 19.5, the Greek ambassador declared amid the Roman Senate he felt instead like being in the midst of "a whole assembly of Kings".
As the Roman Empire developed as the dictator-prince Julius Caesar left his crucial mark on Roman history, the Imperial cult gradually developed more formally and constituted the worship of the Roman emperor as a god. This practice began at the start of the Empire under Augustus, and became a prominent element of Roman religion.
The cult spread over the whole Empire within a few decades, more strongly in the east than in the west. Emperor Diocletian further reinforced it when he demanded the proskynesis and adopted the adjective sacrum for all things pertaining to the imperial person.
The deification of emperors was gradually abandoned after the emperor Constantine I started supporting Christianity. However, the concept of the imperial person as "sacred" carried over, in a Christianized form, into the Byzantine Empire.
In ancient Japan, it was customary for every clan to claim descendancy from gods (ujigami), and the royal family or clan tended to define their ancestor as the dominant, or most important kami of the time. Later in history, this was considered common practice by noble families, and the head members of the family, including that of the imperial family, were not seen to be divine. It was not until the Meiji period, that the Japanese Emperor began to be venerated under a system of State Shinto, along with a growing sense of nationalism.
- Arahitogami - the concept of a god who is a human being applied to Emperor Hirohito, up until the end of World War II.
- Ningen-sengen, the declaration with which Emperor Hirohito, on New Year's Day 1946, (formally) declined claims of divinity, keeping with traditional family values as expressed in the Shinto religion.
Tibetan Buddhism use the tulku system, an ancient way of finding the reincarnation of a previous deceased lama: they are usually young boys, sometimes of wealthy and influential families and sometimes of peasant families like the current 14th Dalai Lama, that are found and enthroned as the reincarnation of an enlightened person that has already deceased. Every tulku are still called on the title of Rinpoche and is given as much respect as his previous reincarnation. Complying with each and every wish of a child- or adult tulku is not unusual. Tulkus lead responsible lives because of their status as a bodhisattva. While many tulkus are monks, some tulkus choose to lead lay lives with families of their own.
Examples of divine kings in history
Some examples of historic leaders who are often considered divine kings are:
- Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
- Ghanas (Kings) of the Empire of Ghana
- Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, and did not consider himself divine, but the Rastafari movement in Jamaica saw him as the second coming of Christ.
- The various Obas of the West African realm of Yorubaland, particularly the classical Onis of Ife (e.g: Ogoun) and Alafins of Oyo (e.g: Shango).
- Chinese pseudo-Christian leader Hong Xiuquan, leader of the Taiping Rebellion, claimed to be Christ's younger brother, and attempted to establish rule as a divine king.
- Korean Buddhist monk Gung-ye, King of Taebong.
- The Japanese emperor Hirohito up to the end of World War II.
- Javanese Kings during Hindu-Buddhist era (4th century – 15th century AD) such as Sailendra dynasty, Kediri, Singhasari, and Majapahit empire.
- Kings of Khmer Empire, Cambodia.
- Srivijaya emperors.
- The Dalai Lamas of Tibet.
- ^ Sharer & Traxler 2006, p.183.
- Sharer, Robert J.; with Loa P. Traxler (2006). The Ancient Maya (6th (fully revised) ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4817-9. OCLC 57577446.
- Dean Nelson (23 June 2006). "Nepal humbles its god-king". The Sunday Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2281369,00.html.
- Maria Baptist (Spring 1997). "The Rastafari". Buried Cities and Lost Tribes. http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/dept/d10/asb/anthro2003/godkings/rastafari.html.
- Rick Effland (Spring 1997). "Definition of Divine kingship". Buried Cities and Lost Tribes. http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/dept/d10/asb/anthro2003/godkings/divking2.html.
- "The World of God Kings". Buried Cities and Lost Tribes. Spring 1997. http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/dept/d10/asb/anthro2003/godkings/godking2.html.
- H.E. Ameresekere (July 1931). "The Kataragama God: Shrines and Legends". Ceylon Literary Register 1 (7): 289–292. http://kataragama.org/docs/ameresekere.htm.
- F. A. Marglin (1989). Wives of the God-King. The RituaLs of the Devadasis of Puri. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195617312.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Imperial cult (ancient Rome) — Ancient Roman religion Marcus Aurelius (head covered) sacrificing at the Temple of Jupiter … Wikipedia
Cult of personality — This article is about the political phenomenon. For the song by Living Colour, see Cult of Personality (song). A 1950s Chinese propaganda poster showing a happy family of five enjoying life under the image of Mao Zedong. The c … Wikipedia
Cult (religious practice) — This article discusses cult in the original and typically ancient sense of religious practice (from the Latin cultus). It does not discuss cults in the sociology of religion, new religious movements referred to as cults , political cults or head… … Wikipedia
Imperial Rescript — An Imperial Rescript is a major political edict issued from an imperial authority. In each culture where practiced there are specific traditions, normally associated with the written form the statement takes (whence the term rescript ).… … Wikipedia
Cult of the Holy Spirit — A symbol of the faith: the dove of the Holy Spirit, as seen on one of the standards carried in ritual processions The Cult of the Holy Spirit (Portuguese: Culto do Divino Espírito Santo) is a religious sub culture, inspired by Christian… … Wikipedia
Cult of the Supreme Being — Maximilien Robespierre (6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794). The Cult of the Supreme Being (French: Culte de l Être suprême)a was a form of deism established in France by Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution … Wikipedia
Greek hero cult — Cult Hero redirects here. For the Cure side project, see I m a Cult Hero. Greek deities series Primordial deities Titans and Olympian deities Aquatic deities Personified concepts Other deities Chthonic deities … Wikipedia
Culto imperial (Antigua Roma) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Domiciano fue el único emperador que se declaró a sí mismo dios mientras aún vivía. El culto imperial en la Antigua Roma era la veneración de unos pocos emperadores … Wikipedia Español
Ming Cult — This article is about the fictional martial arts sect featured in Wuxia fiction. For the actual Gnostic religion, see Manichaeism. Ming Cult Traditional Chinese 明教 Simplified Chinese 明教 … Wikipedia
Vampires of black imperial blood — Album par Mütiilation Sortie 1995 Enregistrement Black Legions Studio Durée 54 : 12 Genre(s) … Wikipédia en Français