The subject of these lectures is " The Sacred Character and Magical Functions of Kings in Early Society." But I must warn you at the outset that you will hear much less about kings than from the title of the lectures you might reasonably expect and perhaps wish to hear. The sacred character and magical functions of kings in early society cannot be understood without some knowledge of those general forms of superstition of which this aspect of the kingship is a particular expression ; above all, we must acquaint ourselves with the elements of primitive magic, since the ancient king was often little more than the chief magician of his tribe. Several lectures will therefore be devoted to explaining and illustrating the elements of magic, and during their discussion the king will apparently be lost sight of entirely. I mention this at the beginning in order to to say that the greater part, though not the whole, ofthe lectures will consist merely of fresh examples orillustrations of principles which I have already stated and exemplified elsewhere ; and, lastly, that, apart from a few introductory remarks, the substance of all that I shall say will be published before long.


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Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship - J Frazer (1905)