I am the walrus…. No, wait. That was John Lennon.
I AM THE ARCHON
And I have been since a high school history class in 1958, when we studied the Classic Greeks. The king of Sparta was killed in a battle, and his son was only 11. The law stated that he needed to be 18 before he officially succeeded his father.
Seven of the king’s closest friends and advisors formed a committee, and offered to protect and mentor the young teen until he could take over. They became ‘The Archons.’ True to their word, they trained and advised the young man for years, and when he came of age, they crowned and installed him as king.
Impressed by their wisdom and honesty, I decided that I wanted to be an Archon – a tribal elder, a senior statesman – passing along knowledge and integrity. It is a self-appointed title that I’ve held for over 60 years.
Somewhat sadly, the word/name/concept did not begin with the ancient Greeks. It actually goes back to, or beyond, the time of Gilgamesh and the Mesopotamian Empire. The original meaning was of beings that held power and positions which they were not authorized to hold.
Modern Christian Apologists have decided that these tales were about demons afflicting mankind. I have been unceremoniously dismissed by Christian debaters, because my ‘Archon’s Den’ website is obviously a home for the Devil.
Well, now that I’ve made it all about me, it’s about time that I dragged out the Word Of the Week, gave credit where it is due, and explained why.
Once upon a time, I claimed that I was ‘The Archon,’ and blogger buddy Jim replied that, of course I was, and he was the
That had me quickly scurrying for a dictionary and a history text. It turns out that, while an Archon may be a noble, a member of the aristocracy, one who makes the laws to rule a country – the POLEMARCH is a senior civilian bureaucrat, charged with the administration and enforcing of the rules.
I hope that Jim is not dismayed when I say that the Polemarch is Fascist. Like the swastika symbol, the poor word ‘Fascist’ has suffered a reversal of fortunes and meaning, which may not be set right for another hundred years. The left-hand, reverse swastika has been the symbol of the Zuni Indians’ Sun God for centuries.
The right-hand version, presented flat and square, instead of the diamond Nazi method, had been a good-luck symbol to the Hindu and Jain religions for millennia. It has even been accepted by various Christian sects as the cross of Saint John.
The Greek concept of the Polemarch was adopted and modified (along with so many other things) by the Romans. Administrators named Magistrates – a word, which in English, means ‘master’ – patrolled Roman cities, dispensing justice. They were accompanied by one or more assistants, bearing their badge of office, called ‘Fasces.’ (fass-case) These consisted of an axe, the blade visible and facing outward, surrounded by a sheaf of wooden rods.
Actually, only the rods were fasces, but the whole assembly soon took on the name. The axe (more than) symbolized the power of death – by beheading – capital punishment. The wooden sticks were used to administer a beating or flogging – corporal punishment, for lesser crimes.
Instant justice, delivered hot and fresh, on the spot – today’s lawyers would be aghast at the lack of fee-producing stays and appeals. The term ‘fasces’ produced the word Fascist when Mussolini’s WWII Brown-shirts co-opted it, and the symbol, to show the government’s seizure of the right of life and death over the population.