chapter  XXXIX
6 Pages

Concerning commanders of the guard, mace-bearers, and the instruments of punishment

I In all ages the office of commander of the guard was one of the most important posts; in fact apart from the great amir-chamberlain no one at the court was higher and grander than the commander of the guard, because his office is concerned with punishment. Everyone fears the wrath and chastisement of the king, and when the king is angry with anyone it is the commander of the guard whom toe king orders to cut off his head, to chop off his hands and feet, to hang him on a gibbet, to give him the bastinado, to put him in prison, or to throw him into a pit; and to save their skins and lives people do not hesitate to sacrifice their money. The commander of the guard was always provided with drums and flags and music, and the people feared him more than the king. But in our epoch this post has fallen into disuse and has been robbed of its prestige. There should be at least fifty macebearers constantly at the court, twenty with golden maces, twenty with silver ones and ten with large clubs. The equipment and outfit of the commander of the guard must be of the finest, and he must be surrounded with the utmost possible pomp. If the present occupant of the post can manage this it is well; otherwise he must be changed for someone else.