23 Pages


The origin of kingship can take two forms: divine by nature and not divine by nature. In the first case, the king is considered to be an incarnation of a god, which serves to validate his power and authority. The king’s divine nature reflects certain obligations, such as acting mercifully, being energetic and patient, acting wisely and being tactful when dealing with public affairs. Even though a king might not be divine by nature, he possesses access to supernatural powers. This gives him the ability to manipulate the gods for the good of his subjects and country. If the divine beings withdraw their support from the king, the result is drought, crop failure, wars, and epidemics. What happens when the king becomes old, feeble, ill, or sexually impotent? Since the king’s body in many cases is conceived as the dwelling place of the gods, his infirm condition affects his people, who might be obligated for their own welfare to commit regicide.