[orthodox-synod] Imperial status
- Suetonius, in his History of the Caesars, said of Julius Caesar (from whom
the titles Tsar and Kaiser derive) was: "Every woman's husband, and every
man's wife." Yet, because the mythology as vis a vis the reality of his
existence took European imagination into its embrace, so being "Caesar" came
to be terribly significant.
When Magnus Maximus was acclaimed Emperor ("Caesar") by his troops, in the
late 4th century, that was in keeping with how most others came to power:
The army. Marcus Aurelius, for example, more than a hundred years before
Maximus, when he had passed the title to his son, took the boy to the army's
camp, where the troops proclaimed him emperor.
Time after time, the Pretorian Guard sold the imperial title. The saying:
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" was not coined for Roman emperors,
but it might well have been.
Though French kings did not claim to be "Caesar," they did claim the sacred
chrism by which they were anointed came down from heaven. And, though
someone here (derisively) spoke of His Most Catholic Majesty, Louis XIV's
statement: "I am the state," as though that were not so in every autocracy,
the very word suggests exactly that. "Autos" (self) "Kratos" (power)=
"All power invested in that one person."
Until Ivan, IV, the rulers of Russia were descendants of Rurik (whom I have
characterized as a Viking thug). One might argue that God had chosen the
one who succeeded his fathers, by natural selection (as it were). It was
existentially verifiable. However, it is harder to maintain that fiction,
when one is looking at a monarch who was elected by the Boyars.
Besides all this, it was pointed out to me this morning that the anointing of
emperors in Byzantium (upon whose ceremonial the anointing of Tsars depended)
was directly related to the anointing of Baldwin Ironarm, in 1204. The
first anointed Byzantine emperor was Theodore Lascaris, in 1205. This, it
was asserted, was a bit of borrowing to prevent a Western oneupsmanship.
In response, I answered what some wag said of His Brittanic Majesty, King
Charles, II (whose monarchy was so venerated a "corrective" was thought
necessary.) The wag said: "It must always be remembered that His Majesty
also uses the chamber pot."
When I was in England, last year at this time, I went to Battle. Battle
Abbey, the structure built by William the Conqueror as a penance for the
slaughter by which he became king, has a book store in it, now. At the book
store, one of the clerks spoke of King Harold, II (the last Orthodox king of
England) as "Our last native king. All the rest have been foreigners," he
All of this to the contrary notwithstanding, Prince Charles, as Pretender to
the Throne of Wales, has, on the symbols of the alien culture to which he
belongs, the Latin inscription: "Dieu et mon droit." (God and My Right.)
Yet, his ancestors came to power in Wales by force of arms, and crimes
It all depends upon who is telling which part of what story.