In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the Erinyes known as the Furies, were female chthonic deities of vengeance, sometimes referred to as "infernal goddesses". A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as "the Erinyes, that under earth take vengeance on men, whosoever hath sworn a false oath." Walter Burkert suggests they are "an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath." They correspond to the Dirae in Roman mythology. The Roman writer Maurus Servius Honoratus wrote that they are called "Eumenides" in hell, "Furiae" on earth, "Dirae" in heaven. According to Hesiod's Theogony, when the Titan Cronus castrated his father and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes emerged from the drops of blood which fell on the earth, while Aphrodite was born from the crests of sea foam. According to variant accounts, they emerged from an more primordial level—from Nyx, or from a union between air and mother earth, their number is left indeterminate. Virgil working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto or Alekto and Tisiphone or Tilphousia, all of whom appear in the Aeneid.
Dante Alighieri followed Virgil in depicting the same three-character triptych of Erinyes. Whilst the Erinyes were described as three maiden goddesses, the Erinys Telphousia was a by-name for the wrathful goddess Demeter, worshipped under the title of Erinys in the Arkadian town of Thelpousa; the word Erinyes is of uncertain etymology. The word Erinys in the singular and as a theonym is first attested in Mycenaean Greek, written in Linear B, in the following forms:, e-ri-nu, and, e-ri-nu-we; these words are found on the KN Fp 1, KN V 52, KN Fh 390 tablets. The Erinyes are more ancient than any of the Olympians deities, their task is to hear complaints brought by mortals against the insolence of the young to the aged, of children to parents, of hosts to guests, of householders or city councils to suppliants—and to punish such crimes by hounding culprits relentlessly. The Erinyes are crones and, depending upon authors, described as having snakes for hair, dog's heads, coal black bodies, bat's wings, blood-shot eyes.
In their hands they carry brass-studded scourges, their victims die in torment. According to some sources, the three classic Furies sprang forth from the spilled blood of Uranus when he was castrated by his son Cronus; the sisters are: Alecto – Punisher of moral crimes Megaera – Punisher of infidelity, oath breakers, theft Tisiphone – Punisher of murderers Pausanias describe a sanctuary in Athens dedicated to the Erinyes under the name Semnai: "Hard by is a sanctuary of the goddesses which the Athenians call the August, but Hesiod in the Theogony calls them Erinyes. It was Aeschylus, but on the images neither of these nor of any of the under-world deities is there anything terrible. There are images of Pluto and Earth, by which sacrifice those who have received an acquittal on the Hill of Ares. Tantalizing myth fragments dealing with the Erinyes are found among the earliest extant records of ancient Greek culture; the Erinyes are featured prominently in the myth of Orestes, which recurs throughout many works of ancient Greek literature.
Featured in ancient Greek literature, from poems to plays, the Erinyes form the Chorus and play a major role in the conclusion of Aeschylus's dramatic trilogy the Oresteia. In the first play, King Agamemnon returns home from the Trojan War, where he is slain by his wife, who wants vengeance for her daughter Iphigenia, sacrificed by Agamemnon in order to obtain favorable winds to sail to Troy. In the second play, The Libation Bearers, their son Orestes has reached manhood and has been commanded by Apollo's oracle to avenge his father's murder at his mother’s hand. Returning home and revealing himself to his sister Electra, Orestes pretends to be a messenger bringing the news of his own death to Clytemnestra, he slays his mother and her lover Aegisthus. Although Orestes’ actions were what Apollo had commanded him to do, Orestes has still committed matricide, a grave sacrilege; because of this, he is pursued and tormented by the terrible Erinyes, who demand yet further blood vengeance. In The Eumenides, Orestes is told by Apollo at Delphi that he should go to Athens to seek the aid of the goddess Athena.
In Athens, Athena arranges for Orestes to be tried by a jury of Athenian citizens, with her presiding. The Erinyes appear as Orestes' accusers; the trial becomes a debate about the necessity of blood vengeance, the honor, due to a mother compared to that due to a father, the respect that must be paid to ancient deities such as the Erinyes compared to the newer generation of Apollo and Athena. The jury vote is evenly split. Athena chooses for acquittal. Athena declares Orestes acquitted. Despite the verdict, the Erinyes threaten to torment all inhabitants of Athens and to poison the surrounding countryside. Athena, offers the ancient goddesses a new role, as protectors of justice, rather than vengeance, o
Indigenous peoples known as first peoples, aboriginal peoples or native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original settlers of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are described as indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture, associated with a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate continent of the world. Since indigenous peoples are faced with threats to their sovereignty, economic well-being and their access to the resources on which their cultures depend, political rights have been set forth in international law by international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank.
The United Nations has issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to guide member-state national policies to the collective rights of indigenous peoples, such as culture, identity and access to employment, health and natural resources. Estimates put the total population of indigenous peoples from 220 million to 350 million. International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on 9 August each year; the adjective indigenous was used to describe animals and plant origins. During the late twentieth century, the term Indigenous people began to be used to describe a legal category in indigenous law created in international and national legislations, it is derived from the Latin word indigena, based on the root gen-'to be born' with an archaic form of the prefix in'in'. Notably, the origins of the term indigenous is not related in any way to the origins of the term Indian which until was applied to indigenous peoples of the Americas. Any given people, ethnic group or community may be described as indigenous in reference to some particular region or location that they see as their traditional indigenous land claim.
Other terms used to refer to indigenous populations are aboriginal, original, or first. The use of the term peoples in association with the indigenous is derived from the 19th century anthropological and ethnographic disciplines that Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as "a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, which have common language and beliefs, constitute a politically organized group". James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has defined indigenous peoples as "living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others, they are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler societies born of forces of empire and conquest". They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system.
The International Day of the World's Indigenous People falls on 9 August as this was the date of the first meeting in 1982 of the United Nations Working Group of Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights. Throughout history, different states designate the groups within their boundaries that are recognized as indigenous peoples according to international or national legislation by different terms. Indigenous people include people indigenous based on their descent from populations that inhabited the country when non-indigenous religions and cultures arrived—or at the establishment of present state boundaries—who retain some or all of their own social, economic and political institutions, but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains; the status of the indigenous groups in the subjugated relationship can be characterized in most instances as an marginalized, isolated or minimally participative one, in comparison to majority groups or the nation-state as a whole.
Their ability to influence and participate in the external policies that may exercise jurisdiction over their traditional lands and practices is frequently limited. This situation can persist in the case where the indigenous population outnumbers that of the other inhabitants of the region or state. In a ground-breaking 1997 decision involving the Ainu people of Japan, the Japanese courts recognised their claim in law, stating that "If one minority group lived in an area prior to being ruled over by a majority group and preserved its distinct ethnic culture after being ruled over by the majority group, while another came to live in an area ruled over by a majority after consenting to the majority rule, it must be recognised that it is only natural that the distinct ethnic culture of the former group requires greater consideration."In Russia, definition of "indigenous peoples" is contested referring to a number of population (less
Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition
The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication; some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia, containing 40,000 entries, is now in the public domain, many of its articles have been used as a basis for articles in Wikipedia. However, the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic; some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The 1911 eleventh edition was assembled with the management of American publisher Horace Everett Hooper. Hugh Chisholm, who had edited the previous edition, was appointed editor in chief, with Walter Alison Phillips as his principal assistant editor. Hooper bought the rights to the 25-volume 9th edition and persuaded the British newspaper The Times to issue its reprint, with eleven additional volumes as the tenth edition, published in 1902.
Hooper's association with The Times ceased in 1909, he negotiated with the Cambridge University Press to publish the 29-volume eleventh edition. Though it is perceived as a quintessentially British work, the eleventh edition had substantial American influences, not only in the increased amount of American and Canadian content, but in the efforts made to make it more popular. American marketing methods assisted sales; some 14% of the contributors were from North America, a New York office was established to coordinate their work. The initials of the encyclopedia's contributors appear at the end of selected articles or at the end of a section in the case of longer articles, such as that on China, a key is given in each volume to these initials; some articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time, such as Edmund Gosse, J. B. Bury, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Muir, Peter Kropotkin, T. H. Huxley, James Hopwood Jeans and William Michael Rossetti. Among the lesser-known contributors were some who would become distinguished, such as Ernest Rutherford and Bertrand Russell.
Many articles were carried over from some with minimal updating. Some of the book-length articles were divided into smaller parts for easier reference, yet others much abridged; the best-known authors contributed only a single article or part of an article. Most of the work was done by British Museum scholars and other scholars; the 1911 edition was the first edition of the encyclopædia to include more than just a handful of female contributors, with 34 women contributing articles to the edition. The eleventh edition introduced a number of changes of the format of the Britannica, it was the first to be published complete, instead of the previous method of volumes being released as they were ready. The print type was subject to continual updating until publication, it was the first edition of Britannica to be issued with a comprehensive index volume in, added a categorical index, where like topics were listed. It was the first not to include long treatise-length articles. Though the overall length of the work was about the same as that of its predecessor, the number of articles had increased from 17,000 to 40,000.
It was the first edition of Britannica to include biographies of living people. Sixteen maps of the famous 9th edition of Stielers Handatlas were translated to English, converted to Imperial units, printed in Gotha, Germany by Justus Perthes and became part this edition. Editions only included Perthes' great maps as low quality reproductions. According to Coleman and Simmons, the content of the encyclopedia was distributed as follows: Hooper sold the rights to Sears Roebuck of Chicago in 1920, completing the Britannica's transition to becoming a American publication. In 1922, an additional three volumes, were published, covering the events of the intervening years, including World War I. These, together with a reprint of the eleventh edition, formed the twelfth edition of the work. A similar thirteenth edition, consisting of three volumes plus a reprint of the twelfth edition, was published in 1926, so the twelfth and thirteenth editions were related to the eleventh edition and shared much of the same content.
However, it became apparent that a more thorough update of the work was required. The fourteenth edition, published in 1929, was revised, with much text eliminated or abridged to make room for new topics; the eleventh edition was the basis of every version of the Encyclopædia Britannica until the new fifteenth edition was published in 1974, using modern information presentation. The eleventh edition's articles are still of value and interest to modern readers and scholars as a cultural artifact: the British Empire was at its maximum, imperialism was unchallenged, much of the world was still ruled by monarchs, the tragedy of the modern world wars was still in the future, they are an invaluable resource for topics omitted from modern encyclopedias for biography and the history of science and technology. As a literary text, the encyclopedia has value as an example of early 20th-century prose. For example, it employs literary devices, such as pathetic fallacy, which are not as common in modern reference texts.
In 1917, using the pseudonym of S. S. Van Dine, the US art critic and author Willard Huntington Wright published Misinforming a Nation, a 200+
Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, from the deme of Scambonidae, was a prominent Athenian statesman and general. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War, he played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, politician. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his political allegiance several times. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated an aggressive foreign policy and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition, but he fled to Sparta after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In Sparta, he served as a strategic adviser, proposing or supervising several major campaigns against Athens. In Sparta too, Alcibiades soon made powerful enemies and felt forced to defect to Persia. There he served as an adviser to the satrap Tissaphernes until his Athenian political allies brought about his recall.
He served as an Athenian general for several years, but his enemies succeeded in exiling him a second time. Scholars have argued that had the Sicilian expedition been under Alcibiades's command instead of that of Nicias, the expedition might not have met its eventual disastrous fate. In the years when he served Sparta, Alcibiades played a significant role in Athens's undoing. Once restored to his native city, however, he played a crucial role in a string of Athenian victories that brought Sparta to seek a peace with Athens, he favored unconventional tactics winning cities over by treachery or negotiation rather than by siege. Alcibiades's military and political talents proved valuable to whichever state held his allegiance, but his propensity for making powerful enemies ensured that he never remained in one place for long. Alcibiades was born in Athens, his father was Cleinias, who had distinguished himself in the Persian War both as a fighter himself and by subsidizing the cost of a trireme.
The family of Cleinias had old connections with the Spartan aristocracy through a relationship of xenia, the name "Alcibiades" was of Spartan origin. Alcibiades' mother was Deinomache, the daughter of Megacles, head of the powerful Alcmaeonid family, could trace her family back to Eurysaces and the Telamonian Ajax. Alcibiades thereby, through his mother, belonged to the powerful and controversial family of the Alcmaeonidae, his maternal grandfather named Alcibiades, was a friend of Cleisthenes, the famous constitutional reformer of the late 6th century BC. After the death of Cleinias at the Battle of Coronea and Ariphron became his guardians. According to Plutarch, Alcibiades had several famous teachers, including Socrates, was well trained in the art of Rhetoric, he was noted, for his unruly behavior, mentioned by ancient Greek and Latin writers on several occasions. It was believed that Socrates took Alcibiades as a student because he believed he could change Alcibiades from his vain ways. Xenophon attempted to clear Socrates' name at trial by relaying information that Alcibiades was always corrupt and that Socrates failed in attempting to teach him morality.
Alcibiades took part in the Battle of Potidaea in 432 BC, where Socrates was said to have saved his life and again at the Battle of Delium in 424 BC. Alcibiades had a close relationship with Socrates, whom he admired and respected. According to Plutarch, Alcibiades "feared and reverenced Socrates alone, despised the rest of his lovers". Alcibiades was married to the daughter of Hipponicus, a wealthy Athenian, his bride brought with her a large dowry, which increased Alcibiades' substantial family fortune. According to Plutarch, Hipparete loved her husband, but she attempted to divorce him because he consorted with courtesans but prevented her from appearing at court, he carried her home again through the crowded Agora. She lived with him until her death, which came soon after, gave birth to two children, a daughter and a son, Alcibiades the Younger. Alcibiades was famed throughout his life for his physical attractiveness, of which he was inordinately vain. Alcibiades first rose to prominence when he began advocating aggressive Athenian action after the signing of the Peace of Nicias.
That treaty, an uneasy truce between Sparta and Athens signed midway through the Peloponnesian War, came at the end of seven years of fighting during which neither side had gained a decisive advantage. Historians Arnold W. Gomme and Raphael Sealey believe, Thucydides reports, that Alcibiades was offended that the Spartans had negotiated that treaty through Nicias and Laches, overlooking him on account of his youth. Disputes over the interpretation of the treaty led the Spartans to dispatch ambassadors to Athens with full powers to arrange all unsettled matters; the Athenians received these ambassadors well, but Alcibiades met with them in secret before they were to speak to the ecclesia and told them that the Assembly was haughty and had great ambitions. He urged them to renounce their diplomatic authority to represent Sparta, instead allow him to assist them through his influence in Athenian politics; the representatives agreed and, impressed with Alcibiades, they alienated themselves fr
In modern English, the term cult has come to refer to a social group defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal. This sense of the term is controversial and it has divergent definitions in both popular culture and academia and it has been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study, it is considered pejorative. In the sociological classifications of religious movements, a cult is a social group with deviant or novel beliefs and practices, although this is unclear. Other researchers present a less-organized picture of cults, saying that they arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices. Groups said to be cults range in size from local groups with a few members to international organizations with millions. An older sense of the word cult—covered in a different article—is a set of religious devotional practices that are conventional within their culture and related to a particular figure, associated with a particular place.
References to the "cult" of, for example, a particular Catholic saint, or the imperial cult of ancient Rome, use this sense of the word. Beginning in the 1930s, cults became the object of sociological study in the context of the study of religious behavior. From the 1940s the Christian countercult movement has opposed some sects and new religious movements, it labelled them as cults for their "un-Christian" unorthodox beliefs; the secular anti-cult movement began in the 1970s and it opposed certain groups charging them with mind control and motivated in reaction to acts of violence committed by some of their members. Some of the claims and actions of the anti-cult movement have been disputed by scholars and by the news media, leading to further public controversy; the term "new religious movement" refers to religions. Many, but not all of them, have been considered to be cults. Sub-categories of cults include: Doomsday cults, personality cults, political cults, destructive cults, racist cults, polygamist cults, terrorist cults.
Various national governments have reacted to cult-related issues in different ways, this has sometimes led to controversy. English-speakers used the word "cult" not to describe a group of religionists, but to refer to the act of worship or to a religious ceremony; the English term originated in the early 17th century, borrowed via the French culte, from the Latin noun cultus. The word derived from the Latin adjective cultus, based on the verb colere. While the literal original sense of the word in English remains in use, a derived sense of "excessive devotion" arose in the 19th century; the terms cult and cultist came into use in medical literature in the United States in the 1930s for what would now be termed "faith healing" as practised in the US Holiness movement. This usage experienced a surge of popularity at the time, extended to other forms of alternative medicine as well. In the English-speaking world the word "cult" carries derogatory connotations, it has always been controversial because it is considered a subjective term, used as an ad hominem attack against groups with differing doctrines or practices.
In the 1970s, with the rise of secular anti-cult movements, scholars began abandoning the term "cult". According to The Oxford Handbook of Religious Movements, "by the end of the decade, the term'new religions' would replace'cult' to describe all of those leftover groups that did not fit under the label of church or sect."Sociologist Amy Ryan has argued for the need to differentiate those groups that may be dangerous from groups that are more benign. Ryan notes the sharp differences between definition from cult opponents, who tend to focus on negative characteristics, those of sociologists, who aim to create definitions that are value-free; the movements themselves may have different definitions of religion as well. George Chryssides cites a need to develop better definitions to allow for common ground in the debate. In Defining Religion in American Law, Bruce J. Casino presents the issue as crucial to international human rights laws. Limiting the definition of religion may interfere with freedom of religion, while too broad a definition may give some dangerous or abusive groups "a limitless excuse for avoiding all unwanted legal obligations".
Religion scholar Megan Goodwin defined the term cult when used by laymen as being a shorthand that means a "religion I don't like". A new religious movement is a religious community or spiritual group of modern origins, which has a peripheral place within its society's dominant religious culture. NRMs can be novel in origin or part of a wider religion, in which case they are distinct from pre-existing denominations. In 1999 Eileen Barker estimated that NRMs, of which some but not all have been labelled as cults, number in the tens of thousands worldwide, most of which originated in Asia or Africa. In 2007 the religious scholar Elijah Siegler commented that, although no NRM had become the dominant faith in any country, many of the concepts which they had first introduced have become part of worldwide mainstream culture. Sociologist Max Weber found that cults based on charismatic leadership follow the routinization of charisma; the concept of a "cult" as a sociological classification was introduced in 1932 by American sociologist Howard P. Becker as a
Nobility is a social class ranked under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society; the privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be honorary, vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", nobles can carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is hereditary. Membership in the nobility has been granted by a monarch or government, unlike other social classes where membership is determined by wealth, lifestyle, or affiliation. Nonetheless, acquisition of sufficient power, military prowess, or royal favour has enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility. There are a variety of ranks within the noble class.
Legal recognition of nobility has been more common in monarchies, but nobility existed in such regimes as the Dutch Republic, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Old Swiss Confederacy, remains part of the legal social structure of some non-hereditary regimes, e.g. Channel Islands, San Marino, the Vatican City in Europe. Hereditary titles and styles added to names, as well as honorifics distinguish nobles from non-nobles in conversation and written speech. In many nations most of the nobility have been un-titled, some hereditary titles do not indicate nobility; some countries have had non-hereditary nobility, such as the Empire of Brazil or life peers in the United Kingdom. The term derives from the abstract noun of the adjective nobilis. In ancient Roman society, nobiles originated as an informal designation for the political governing class who had allied interests, including both patricians and plebeian families with an ancestor who had risen to the consulship through his own merit.
In modern usage, "nobility" is applied to the highest social class in pre-modern societies, excepting the ruling dynasty. In the feudal system, the nobility were those who held a fief land or office, under vassalage, i.e. in exchange for allegiance and various military, services to a suzerain, who might be a higher-ranking nobleman or a monarch. It came to be seen as a hereditary caste, sometimes associated with a right to bear a hereditary title and, for example in pre-revolutionary France, enjoying fiscal and other privileges. While noble status conferred significant privileges in most jurisdictions, by the 21st century it had become a honorary dignity in most societies, although a few, residual privileges may still be preserved and some Asian and African cultures continue to attach considerable significance to formal hereditary rank or titles. Nobility is a historical and legal notion, differing from high socio-economic status in that the latter is based on income, possessions or lifestyle.
Being wealthy or influential cannot ipso facto make one noble, nor are all nobles wealthy or influential. Various republics, including former Iron Curtain countries, Greece and Austria have expressly abolished the conferral and use of titles of nobility for their citizens; this is distinct from countries which have not abolished the right to inherit titles, but which do not grant legal recognition or protection to them, such as Germany and Italy, although Germany recognizes their use as part of the legal surname. Still other countries and authorities allow their use, but forbid attachment of any privilege thereto, e.g. Finland and the European Union, while French law protects lawful titles against usurpation. Although many societies have a privileged upper class with substantial wealth and power, the status is not hereditary and does not entail a distinct legal status, nor differentiated forms of address. Not all of the benefits of nobility derived from noble status per se. Privileges were granted or recognised by the monarch in association with possession of a specific title, office or estate.
Most nobles' wealth derived from one or more estates, large or small, that might include fields, orchards, hunting grounds, etc. It included infrastructure such as castle and mill to which local peasants were allowed some access, although at a price. Nobles were expected to live "nobly", that is, from the proceeds of these possessions. Work involving manual labour or subordination to those of lower rank was either forbidden or frowned upon socially. On the other hand, membership in the nobility was a prerequisite for holding offices of trust in the realm and for career promotion in the military, at court and the higher functions in the government and church. Prior to the French Revolution, European nobles commanded tribute in the form of entitlement to cash rents or usage taxes, labour or a portion of the annual crop yield from commoners or no
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is most understood to mean "king" or "emperor"; the title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in ancient Greece, the Byzantine emperors, the kings of modern Greece. The feminine forms are basileia, basilissa, or the archaic basilinna, meaning "queen" or "empress"; the etymology of basileus is unclear. The Mycenaean form was *gʷasileus, denoting some sort of court official or local chieftain, but not an actual king, its hypothetical earlier Proto-Greek form would be *gʷatileus. Most linguists assume that it is a non-Greek word, adopted by Bronze Age Greeks from a pre-existing linguistic Pre-Greek substrate of the Eastern Mediterranean. Schindler argues for an inner-Greek innovation of the -eus inflection type from Indo-European material rather than a Mediterranean loan; the first written instance of this word is found on the baked clay tablets discovered in excavations of Mycenaean palaces destroyed by fire.
The tablets are dated from the 15th century BC to the 11th century BC and are inscribed with the Linear B script, deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952 and corresponds to a early form of Greek. The word basileus is written as qa-si-re-u and its original meaning was "chieftain". Here the initial letter q- represents the PIE labiovelar consonant */gʷ/, transformed in Greek into /b/. Linear B uses the same glyph for /l/ and /r/, now uniformly written with a Latin "r" by convention. Linear B only depicts syllables of single vowel or consonant-vowel form, therefore the final -s is dropped altogether; the word can be contrasted with wanax, another word used more for "king" and meaning "High King" or "overlord". With the collapse of Mycenaean society, the position of wanax ceases to be mentioned, the basileis appear the topmost potentates in Greek society. In the works of Homer wanax appears, in the form ánax in descriptions of Zeus and of few human monarchs, most notably Agamemnon. Otherwise the term survived exclusively as a component in compound personal names and is still in use in Modern Greek in the description of the anáktoron/anáktora, i.e. of the royal palace.
The latter is the same word as wa-na-ka-te-ro, wanákteros, "of the wanax/king" or "belonging to the wanax/king", used in Linear B tablets to refer to various craftsmen serving the king, to things belonging or offered to the king. Most of the Greek leaders in Homer's works are described as basileís, conventionally rendered in English as "kings". However, a more accurate translation may be "princes" or "chieftains", which would better reflect conditions in Greek society in Homer's time, the roles ascribed to Homer's characters. Agamemnon tries to give orders to Achilles among many others, while another basileus serves as his charioteer, his will, however, is not to be automatically obeyed. In Homer the wanax is expected to rule over the other basileis by consensus rather than by coercion, why Achilles proudly and furiously rebels when he perceives that Agamemnon is unjustly bossing him around. A study by Robert Drews has demonstrated that at the apex of Geometric and Archaic Greek society, basileus does not automatically translate to "king".
In a number of places authority was exercised by a college of basileis drawn from a particular clan or group, the office had term limits. However, basileus could be applied to the hereditary leaders of "tribal" states, like those of the Arcadians and the Messenians, in which cases the term approximated the meaning of "king". According to pseudo-Archytas's treatise "On justice and law", quoted by Giorgio Agamben in State of Exception, Basileus is more adequately translated into "Sovereign" than into "king"; the reason for this is that it designates more the person of king than the office of king: the power of magistrates derives from their social functions or offices, whereas the sovereign derives his power from himself. Sovereigns have auctoritas. Pseudo-Archytas aimed at creating a theory of sovereignty enfranchised from laws, being itself the only source of legitimacy, he goes so far as qualifying the Basileus as nomos empsykhos, or "living law", the origin, according to Agamben, of the modern Führerprinzip and of Carl Schmitt's theories on dictatorship.
In classical times all Greek states had abolished the hereditary royal office in favor of democratic or oligarchic rule. Some exceptions existed, namely the two hereditary Kings of Sparta, the Kings of Syracuse, the Kings of Cyrene, the Kings of Macedon and of the Molossians in Epirus and Kings of Arcadian Orchomenus; the Greeks used the term to refer to various kings of "barbaric" tribes in Thrace and Illyria, as well as to the Achaemenid kings of Persia. The Persian king was referred to as Megas Basileus or Basileus Basileōn, a translation of the Persian title xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām, or "the king". There was a cult of Zeus Basileus at Lebadeia. Aristotle distinguished the basileus, constrained by law, from