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Form: Gr. Keryx.

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The Greek name for a herald. In the Homeric age the keryx is the official servant of the king, who manages his household, attends at his meals, assists at sacrifices, summons the assemblies and maintains order and tranquillity in them. He also acts as ambassador to the enemy, and, as such, his person is, both in ancient times and ever afterwards, inviolable. In historical times the herald, besides the part which he plays in the political transactions between different cities, appears in the service of the gods. He announces the sacred truce observed at the public festivals, commands silence at religious services, dictates the forms of prayer to the assembled community, and performs many services in temples where there is only a small staff of attendants, especially by assisting in the sacrifices. He has also a great deal to do in the service of the State. At Athens, in particular, one or more heralds were attached to the various officials and to the government boards. It was also the herald's business to summon the council and the public assembly, to recite the prayer before the commencement of business, to command silence, to call upon the speaker, to summon the parties in a lawsuit to attend the court, and to act in general as a public crier. As a rule, the heralds were taken from the poor, and the lower orders. At Athens they had a salary, and took their meals at the public expense, with the officials to whom they were attached. On the herald's staff (Gr. kerykeion, Lat. caduceus), see HERMES.
Type: Standard
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