The Achaemenian power system developed a number of complex and elaborated ritual patterns, which contributed to emphasize the role of public ceremonies
Unfortunately, the ceremonial aspects which distinguished the external (that is, public) and internal (that is, private) life of the Achaemenian family have raised a lot of questions and sometimes produced a number of false problems, obscuring many other extraordinary points. In particular, the special position attributed to the king has been the controversial object of discussions about his presumed divinization
In the limits of this short contribution, I would like only to focus on some aspects of the superior dimension of kingship which have nothing to do with a process of divinization, but which could be simplistically associated with such a kind of phenomenon. For this reason, I will not underline well known facts, as for instance, that the king is never called baga-
In addition, the Babylonian
Contrariwise, we may note that, according to the Plutarch’s
Another apparently negative witness, which could be used in favor of the royal divinization, is attested in Xenophon’s
I would also like to mention that the Achaemenian king as well as the Sassanian one was initiated into the “secrets” or “mysteries”
Such initiatory access to royalty does not involve any kind of divinisation, but it represents an esoteric
Before concluding this short contribution, I would like to mention the important attempt offered by Taylor (1931, 247–255) to emphasize the divinity of the Achaemenian king; although an old work and some of its results cannot be now accepted, it still deserves to be considered. Presently, we can maintain the focus attributed to the dynastic cults
See (Panaino 2003, 269; Panaino 2007, 123 with detailed bibliograhy).
And this could explain, according to (Calmeyer 1981, 58), the representation on the winged sun of a man with a horned “polos,” which perhaps represents the deceased king.
According to Agathias (Historiae, II, 26, 2–3) the king Ardaxšīr was initiated to religious mysteries.
See (Panaino 2009b).
See (Panaino 2004, 66–75).
See in particular (Panaino 2009a).
As Boyce (1968, 270) underlined, many modern Zoroastrian rituals “are accompanied by offerings of food and drink, which are afterwards partaken of by the living in communion with the dead, the soul being invited back to join its kinsmen and friends, not in grief but in companionable happiness.”
The frequency of references to a daily ceremony must be carefully considered.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Melammu: Early Globalization
M. J. Geller
2 Global Monotheism:
The Contribution of the Israelite Prophets
Baruch A. Levine
6 Gilgamesh’s Plant of Rejuvenation and Qāṭīne’s Sīsīsāmbur
7 Some Observations about “Foreigners” in Babylonia
during the VI Century BCE
8 The Religious Reform of Nabonidus: A Sceptical View
9 New Light on George Smith’s Purchase of the
Egibi Archive in 1876 from the Nachlass Mathewson
Strahil V. Panayotov, Cornelia Wunsch
10 Phrygian Bronzes in the Greek World:
Globalization through Cult?
11 Power and Ritual in the Achaemenian Royalty
12 Religious Ontology and Taxonomic Structures in Indo-Iranian Oral Poetry
13 Elements of “Globalization” in Ancient Iranian Numismatics
15 India and World Trade: From the Beginnings to the
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