Definition for A-CEPH'A-LOUS

A-CEPH'A-LOUS, a. [Gr. α privative and κεφαλη, a head.]

Without a head, headless. In history, the term Acephali, or Acephalites, was given to several sects who refused to follow some noted leader, and to such bishops as were exempt from the jurisdiction and discipline of their patriarch. It was also given to certain levelers who acknowledged no head in the reign of Henry I. It was also applied to the Blemmyes, a pretended nation of Africa, and to other tribes in the East, whom ancient naturalists represented as having no head; their eyes and mouth being placed in other parts. Modern discoveries have dissipated these fictions. In English Laws, men who held lands of no particular lord, and clergymen who were under no bishop. – LL. Hen I. Cowel.

Return to page 26 of the letter “A”.