The Ruler-Cult: From Alexander of Macedon to Elizabeth I of England

Charles Seltman traces the idea of the ruler not only great but good—helper and protector of his subjects—back to Alexander of Macedon.

Cult is a word of several meanings and of wide application; but it seems reasonable to define it as something halfway between respect and worship. Respect may be offered to a variety of persons, especially perhaps to successful men. Worship may be given to God; likewise to Devil; or to a man who sets himself up as a god or is feared as a devil, since there is often a slight—and sometimes a large—element of appeasement in worship. But the essence of a cult is that its subject should be a good man—good by human standards and, therefore, a Humanist.

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