Yeah. A king. We all know what it means--a male monarch who usually isn't of an electible position. Or think we do. But let's play with some etymology, shall we?

King is derived from the Old English cyning, itself from the early Germanic *kuningaz "king" from kundjaz, family. Our word "kin" is from the same root.

Kundjaz then is from the Indo-European gene, which ultimately means "to give birth, beget." The king is then the father of the people he rules; as father, he is both creator and ruler. In essence, a king is then a type of god:

    "In the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, it is also dependent upon the questions of succession and the origin of power: namely, that the successor must be the legitimate offspring of the king; as the king derives his power from God, this power is then passed on to the succeeding generations through virtue of birth. Moreover, the subject of the king’s body--...and body, particularly its sexual and gendered use... is also important, for the king is both man and state. From medieval times, it was held that, as the crown lawyers of Edward VI say, 'the King has in him two Bodies, viz., a Body natural, and a Body politic. His Body natural... is a Body mortal, subject to all Infirmities that come by Nature or Accident... but what the King does in his Body politic, cannot be invalidated or frustrated by any Disability in his natural Body' (qtd. in Kantorowicz 7)." --my essay "An Ungrateful Soyl"

However, examine the other Indo-European term rêg-, from which rex (Latin), (Irish), and raj (Sanskrit) all descend. Rêg ultimately means "to stretch out; a straight line." From it we get words like region, rule, Reich, and most interestingly religion.

In Indo-European society, there were three castes: the rulers, the warriors, and those involved in food--either shepherds, cowherds, or farmers. (And of course the slaves/untouchables.) These rulers would be not only kings but priests; it was only later that the ruling of the tribe passed from this first caste to the second of warriors. However, we see remnants in Caesar's writings on the Gauls:

    "...of these two orders, one is that of the Druids, the other that of the knights. The former are engaged in things sacred, conduct the public and the private sacrifices, and interpret all matters of religion." 6.13

    "The Druids do not go to war, nor pay tribute together with the rest; they have an exemption from military service and a dispensation in all matters." 6.14

What is worth noticing is that Caesar called the second caste "knights"--eques. Not kings. The rulers were the priestly caste, like the Brahmins of India. In Roman culture, the patriarch of the family was both its ruler and its priest, making sacrifices to the Lares and Penates, the household gods. The father had sway over the life and death of all who lived in his house. This is kingship at its most basic form--he is both god and father.

In Catholocism, the pope is not only leader of the Church on earth, but a temporal ruler of Vatican City, and once the ruler of the Papal States. In Rome, the Emperor was also the Pontifex--the Head Priest--The Pope, related to "papa"--father--"Abba"--God.

In Celtic society, the king must be ritually pure, unblemished in body or soul, or he would lose his right to rule--he would no longer be both a spiritual leader as well as a secular leader. In our own society, the president is condemned even if he transgresses a law which had nothing to do with his governing ability--having mistresses, etc. The king must be ritually pure.

Me, I'm swinging between atheist anarchist and an agnostic who would rather remove herself from the world. No kings, no priests, no gods.