Acephali (from the
Greek language"a-", "without," and "kephale", "head") is a term applied to several sects as having no head or leader
In particular, the term refers to a strict
monophysitesect that separated itself, in the end of the 5th century, from the rule of Peter Mongus, Patriarch of Alexandria, and remained "without king or bishop" until they were reconciled by Mark II ( 799- 819).
The term is also used to denote "clerici vagantes", i.e. clergy without title or benefice, picking up a living anyhow. Certain persons in
Englandduring the reign of King Henry I of Englandwere called Acephali because they had no lands by virtue of which they could acknowledge a superior lord.
The name is also given to certain legendary races described by ancient naturalists and geographers as having no heads, their mouths and eyes being in their breasts, generally identified with Pliny's
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