Thursday, February 18, 2010
Golden Bough from Roman mythology 'found in Italy'
Robert Graves and Sir James Frazer would have been excited today by the discovery of the enclosure for the sacred oak at the heart of the Latin cult at Lake Avernus, in the Alban hills near Rome. The ancient royal oak was guarded by the purple-clad 'Jupiter', the first witch-king of the Latins who later evolved into two separate figures; the emperor of the Roman empire and the mysterious priest-king of Nemi. The story of this golden bough was expanded by Frazer and Graves into a comprehensive account of the formation of the ancient religions of Europe and the Near-East, including the Nordic, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and even Hindu religions.