BBC - History - Birth of England: The Wessex Kings
And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man. James's reference to "God's lieutenants" is apparently a reference to the text in Romans 13 where Paul refers to "God's ministers". For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
The conception of ordination brought with it largely unspoken parallels with the Anglican and Catholic priesthood , but the overriding metaphor in James's handbook was that of a father's relation to his children. The divine right of kings, or divine-right theory of kingship, is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm, including in the view of some, especially in Protestant countries the church.
A weaker or more moderate form of this political theory does hold, however, that the king is subject to the church and the pope, although completely irreproachable in other ways; but according to this doctrine in its strong form, only God can judge an unjust king. The doctrine implies that any attempt to depose the king or to restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act.
One passage in scripture supporting the idea of divine right of kings was used by Martin Luther , when urging the secular authorities to crush the Peasant Rebellion of in Germany in his Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants , basing his argument on St.
Paul's Epistle to the Romans —7. It is related to the ancient Catholic philosophies regarding monarchy, in which the monarch is God's vicegerent upon the earth and therefore subject to no inferior power. However, in Roman Catholic jurisprudence, the monarch is always subject to natural and divine law , which are regarded as superior to the monarch.
The possibility of monarchy declining morally, overturning natural law, and degenerating into a tyranny oppressive of the general welfare was answered theologically with the Catholic concept of extra-legal tyrannicide , ideally ratified by the pope. Until the unification of Italy , the Holy See did, from the time Christianity became the Roman state religion , assert on that ground its primacy over secular princes; however this exercise of power never, even at its zenith, amounted to theocracy , even in jurisdictions where the Bishop of Rome was the temporal authority.
The French Huguenot nobles and clergy, having rejected the pope and the Catholic Church, were left only with the supreme power of the king who, they taught, could not be gainsaid or judged by anyone.
Since there was no longer the countervailing power of the papacy and since the Church of England was a creature of the state and had become subservient to it, this meant that there was nothing to regulate the powers of the king, and he became an absolute power. In theory, divine , natural , customary, and constitutional law still held sway over the king, but, absent a superior spiritual power, it was difficult to see how they could be enforced, since the king could not be tried by any of his own courts.
Some of the symbolism within the coronation ceremony for British monarchs, in which they are anointed with holy oils by the Archbishop of Canterbury , thereby ordaining them to monarchy, perpetuates the ancient Roman Catholic monarchical ideas and ceremonial although few Protestants realize this, the ceremony is nearly entirely based upon that of the Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor. The king or queen of the United Kingdom is one of the last monarchs still to be crowned in the traditional Christian ceremonial, which in most other countries has been replaced by an inauguration or other declaration.
The concept of divine right incorporates, but exaggerates, the ancient Christian concept of "royal God-given rights", which teach that "the right to rule is anointed by God", although this idea is found in many other cultures, including Aryan and Egyptian traditions. In pagan religions, the king was often seen as a kind of god and so was an unchallengeable despot.
The ancient Roman Catholic tradition overcame this idea with the doctrine of the "Two Swords" and so achieved, for the very first time, a balanced constitution for states. The advent of Protestantism saw something of a return to the idea of a mere unchallengeable despot. Thomas Aquinas condoned extra-legal tyrannicide in the worst of circumstances:. When there is no recourse to a superior by whom judgment can be made about an invader, then he who slays a tyrant to liberate his fatherland is [to be] praised and receives a reward.
On the other hand, Aquinas forbade the overthrow of any morally, Christianly and spiritually legitimate king by his subjects. The only human power capable of deposing the king was the pope. The reasoning was that if a subject may overthrow his superior for some bad law, who was to be the judge of whether the law was bad? If the subject could so judge his own superior, then all lawful superior authority could lawfully be overthrown by the arbitrary judgement of an inferior, and thus all law was under constant threat.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, many philosophers, such as Nicholas of Cusa and Francisco Suarez , propounded similar theories. The Church was the final guarantor that Christian kings would follow the laws and constitutional traditions of their ancestors and the laws of God and of justice. Similarly, the Chinese concept of Mandate of Heaven required that the emperor properly carry out the proper rituals and consult his ministers; however, this concept made it extremely difficult to undo any acts carried out by an ancestor. Kings reign by Me, says Eternal Wisdom: 'Per me reges regnant' [in Latin]; and from that we must conclude not only that the rights of royalty are established by its laws, but also that the choice of persons [to occupy the throne] is an effect of its providence.
In Iranian and Zoroastrian view, kings would never rule, unless Khvarenah is with them, and they will never fall unless Khvarenah leave them. For example, according to the Kar-namag of Ardashir , when Ardashir I of Persia and Artabanus V of Parthia fought for throne of Iran, on the road Artabanus and his contingent are overtaken by an enormous ram, which is also following Ardashir. Artabanus's religious advisors explain to him that the ram is the manifestation of the khwarrah of the ancient Iranian kings, which is leaving Artabanus to join Ardashir. Before the Reformation the anointed king was, within his realm , the accredited vicar of God for secular purposes see the Investiture Controversy ; after the Reformation he or she if queen regnant became this in Protestant states for religious purposes also.
In England it is not without significance that the sacerdotal vestments, generally discarded by the clergy — dalmatic, alb and stole — continued to be among the insignia of the sovereign see Coronation of the British monarch. Moreover, this sacrosanct character he acquired not by virtue of his "sacring", but by hereditary right; the coronation, anointing and vesting were but the outward and visible symbol of a divine grace adherent in the sovereign by virtue of his title.
Even Roman Catholic monarchs, like Louis XIV , would never have admitted that their coronation by the archbishop constituted any part of their title to reign; it was no more than the consecration of their title. In England the doctrine of the divine right of kings was developed to its most extreme logical conclusions during the political controversies of the 17th century; its most famous exponent was Sir Robert Filmer. It was the main issue to be decided by the English Civil War , the Royalists holding that "all Christian kings, princes and governors" derive their authority direct from God, the Parliamentarians that this authority is the outcome of a contract, actual or implied, between sovereign and people.
The victory of this latter principle was proclaimed to all the world by the execution of Charles I. The doctrine of divine right, indeed, for a while drew nourishment from the blood of the royal "martyr";  it was the guiding principle of the Anglican Church of the Restoration ; but it suffered a rude blow when James II of England made it impossible for the clergy to obey both their conscience and their king. The Glorious Revolution of made an end of it as a great political force. This has led to the constitutional development of the Crown in Britain, as held by descent modified and modifiable by parliamentary action.
In early Mesopotamian culture, kings were often regarded as deities after their death.
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Shulgi of Ur was among the first Mesopotamian rulers to declare himself to be divine. This was the direct precursor to the concept of "Divine Right of kings", as well as in the Egyptian and Roman religions. In China and East Asia , rulers justified their rule with the philosophy of the Mandate of Heaven , which, although similar to the European concept, bore several key differences. While the divine right of kings granted unconditional legitimacy, the Mandate of Heaven was dependent on the behaviour of the ruler, the Son of Heaven.
Heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, but it could be displeased with a despotic ruler and thus withdraw its mandate, transferring it to a more suitable and righteous person. This withdrawal of mandate also afforded the possibility of revolution as a means to remove the errant ruler; revolt was never legitimate under the European framework of divine right. In China, the right of rebellion against an unjust ruler had been a part of the political philosophy ever since the Zhou dynasty , whose rulers had used this philosophy to justify their overthrow of the previous Shang dynasty.
Chinese historians interpreted a successful revolt as evidence that the Mandate of Heaven had passed on to the usurper. In Japan, the Son of Heaven title was less conditional than its Chinese equivalent. There was no divine mandate that punished the emperor for failing to rule justly. The right to rule of the Japanese emperor, descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu , was absolute. In the Malay Annals , the rajas and sultans of the Malay States today Malaysia , Brunei and Philippines as well as their predecessors, such as the Indonesian kingdom of Majapahit , also claimed divine right to rule.
The sultan is mandated by God and thus is expected to lead his country and people in religious matters, ceremonies as well as prayers. This divine right is called Daulat which means 'state' in Arabic , and although the notion of divine right is somewhat obsolete, it is still found in the phrase Daulat Tuanku that is used to publicly acclaim the reigning Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the other sultans of Malaysia.
The exclamation is similar to the European " Long live the King ", and often accompanies pictures of the reigning monarch and his consort on banners during royal occasions. In Indonesia , especially on the island of Java , the sultan's divine right is more commonly known as the way , or 'revelation', but it is not hereditary and can be passed on to distant relatives.
During this time, the distinction between kingship and godhood had not yet occurred, as the caste system had not yet been introduced. Historically, many notions of rights were authoritarian and hierarchical , with different people granted different rights, and some having more rights than others. For instance, the right of a father to respect from his son did not indicate a right for the son to receive a return from that respect; and the divine right of kings, which permitted absolute power over subjects, did not leave a lot of room for many rights for the subjects themselves.
In contrast, modern conceptions of rights often emphasize liberty and equality as among the most important aspects of rights, for example in the American Revolution and the French Revolution. In the sixteenth century, both Catholic and Protestant political thinkers began to question the idea of a monarch's "divine right".
The Spanish Catholic historian Juan de Mariana put forward the argument in his book De rege et regis institutione that since society was formed by a "pact" among all its members, "there can be no doubt that they are able to call a king to account".
Cardinal Robert Bellarmine also "did not believe that the institute of monarchy had any divine sanction" and shared Mariana's belief that there were times where Catholics could lawfully remove a monarch. Among groups of English Protestant exiles fleeing from Queen Mary I , some of the earliest anti-monarchist publications emerged.
The political thinking of men like Ponet , Knox , Goodman and Hales. Mary set about trying to restore Roman Catholicism by making sure that: Edward's religious laws were abolished in the Statute of Repeal Act ; the Protestant religious laws passed in the time of Henry VIII were repealed; and the Revival of the Heresy Acts were passed in The Marian Persecutions began soon afterwards.
Not the Emperor’s, not the King’s, but the Straits Chinese
In January , the first of nearly Protestants were burnt at the stake under "Bloody Mary". When Thomas Wyatt the Younger instigated what became known as Wyatt's rebellion , John Ponet , the highest-ranking ecclesiastic among the exiles,  allegedly participated in the uprising. We suggest debunking the myth of born leaders: These qualities and behaviors are part of the result — not the genesis — of good leadership.
It is often triggered by someone who looks out into their organization and is not satisfied with what they see — so they take on a big commitment. They decide to intervene with what is predictable, and they commit to producing results which are possible, yet not at all predictable.