Editor's Note from Robert R. Barney... The following is not written by me. It is the study of some of the traditions of both the Catholic and Protestant churches by the Reverend Alexander Hislop, in his book "The Two Babylon's" from the 19th century. For those who are truly interested in the pagan origins of many of the things our churches do, this book is exceptional! The following is about the Pope's Mitre (Hat).The Sovereign Pontiff The Two Babylons Alexander Hislop
The Sovereign Pontiff
Very early, indeed, did the bishop of Rome show a proud and ambitious spirit; but, for the first three centuries, their claim for superior honour was founded simply on the dignity of their see, as being that of the imperial city, the capital of the Roman world.
When, however, the seat of empire was removed to the East, and Constantinople threatened to eclipse Rome, some new ground for maintaining the dignity of the Bishop of Rome must be sought.
That new ground was found, when, about 378, the Pope fell heir to the keys that were the symbols of two well-known Pagan divinities at Rome. Janus bore a key, and Cybele bore a key; and these are the two keys that the Pope emblazons on his arms as the ensigns of his spiritual authority.The priest, therefore, that in the name of Hermes explained the Mysteries, must have been decked not only with the keys of Peter, but with the keys of "Peter-Roma." Here, then, the famous "Book of Stone" begins to appear in a new light, and not only so, but to shed new light on one of the darkest and most puzzling passages of Papal history.
I have said that the Pope became the representative of Janus, who, it is evident, was none other than the Babylonian Messiah. If the reader only considers the blasphemous assumptions of the Papacy, he will see how exactly it has copied from its original. In the countries where the Babylonian system was most thoroughly developed, we find the Sovereign Pontiff of the Babylonian god invested with the very attributes now ascribed to the Pope. Is the Pope called "God upon earth," the "Vice-God," and "Vicar of Jesus Christ"? The King in Egypt, who was Sovereign Pontiff, * was, says Wilkinson, regarded with the highest reverence as "THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DIVINITY ON EARTH."
* Wilkinson shows that the king had the right of enacting laws, and of managing all the affairs of religion and the State, which proves him to have been Sovereign Pontiff.
Is the Pope "Infallible,"and does the Church of Rome, in consequence, boast that it has always been "unchanged and unchangeable"? The same was the case with the Chaldean Pontiff, and the system over which he presided. The Sovereign Pontiff, says the writer just quoted, was believed to be "INCAPABLE OF ERROR," * and, in consequence, there was "the greatest respect for the sanctity of old edicts"; and hence, no doubt, also the origin of the custom that "the laws of the Medes and Persians could not be altered." Does the Pope receive the adorations of the Cardinals? The king of Babylon, as Sovereign Pontiff, was adored in like manner. **
* WILKINSON'S Egyptians. "The Infallibility" was a natural result of the popular belief in regard to the relation in which the Sovereign stood to the gods: for, says Diodorus Siculus, speaking of Egypt, the king was believed to be "a partaker of the divine nature."
** From the statement of LAYARD (Nineveh and its Remains and Nineveh and Babylon), it appears that as the king of Egypt was the "Head of the religion and the state," so was the king of Assyria, which included Babylon. Then we have evidence that he was worshipped. The sacred images are represented as adoring him, which could not have been the case if his own subjects did not pay their homage in that way. Then the adoration claimed by Alexander the Great evidently came from this source. It was directly in imitation of the adoration paid to the Persian kings that he required such homage. From Xenophon we have evidence that this Persian custom came from Babylon. It was when Cyrus had entered Babylon that the Persians, for the first time, testified their homage to him by adoration; for, "before this," says Xenophon (Cyropoed), "none of the Persians had given adoration to Cyrus."
Are kings and ambassadors required to kiss the Pope's slipper? This,too, is copied from the same pattern; for, says Professor Gaussen, quoting Strabo and Herodotus, "the kings of Chaldea wore on their feet slippers which thekings they conquered used to kiss." In kind, is the Pope addressed by the title of "Your Holiness"? So also was the Pagan Pontiff of Rome. The title seems to have been common to all Pontiffs. Symmachus, the last Pagan representative of the Roman Emperor, as Sovereign Pontiff, addressing one of his colleagues or fellow-pontiffs, on a step of promotion he was about to obtain, says, "I hear that YOUR HOLINESS (sanctitatem tuam) is to be called out by the sacred letters."
But there is another symbol of the Pope's power which must not be overlooked, and that is the pontifical crosier. Whence came the crosier? The answer to this, in the first place, is, that the Pope stole it from the Roman augur. The classical reader may remember, that when the Roman augurs consulted the heavens, or took prognostics from the aspect of the sky, there was a certain instrument with which it was indispensable that they should be equipped. That instrument with which they described the portion of the heavens on which their observations were to be made, was curved at the one end, and was called "lituus." Now, so manifestly was the "lituus," or crooked rod of the Roman augurs, identical with the pontifical crosier, that Roman Catholic writers themselves, writing in the Dark Ages, at a time when disguise was thought unnecessary, did not hesitate to use the term "lituus" as a synonym for the crosier. Thus a Papal writer describes a certain Pope or Papal bishop as "mitra lituoque decorus," adorned with the mitre and the augur's rod, meaning thereby that he was "adorned with the mitre and the crosier." But this lituus, or divining-rod, of the Roman augurs, was, as is well known, borrowed from the Etruscans, who, again, had derived it, along with their religion, from the Assyrians.
As the Roman augur was distinguished by his crooked rod, so the Chaldean soothsayers and priests, in the performance of their magic rites, were generally equipped with a crook or crosier. This magic crook can be traced up directly to the first king of Babylon, that is, Nimrod, who, as stated by Berosus, was the first that bore the title of a Shepherd-king.
In Hebrew, or the Chaldee of the days of Abraham, "Nimrod the Shepherd," is just Nimrod "He-Roe"; and from this title of the "mighty hunter before the Lord," have no doubt been derived, both the name of Hero itself, and all that Hero-worship which has since overspread the world. Certain it is that Nimrod's deified successors have generally been represented with the crook or crosier. This was the case in Babylon and Nineveh, as the extant monuments show. The accompanying figure (Fig 51) from Babylon shows the crosier in its ruder guise.