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Universal Empire
A Comparative Approach to Imperial Culture and Representation in Eurasian History

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Peter Fibiger Bang, Dariusz Kołodziejczyk, Gojko Barjamovic, Rolf Michael Schneider, Garth Fowden, Judith Herrin, Dimiter Angelov, Ebba Koch, Velcheru Narayana Rao, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Evelyn S. Rawski, Justyna Olko, Peter Haldén, John A. Hall
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  • Date Published: February 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107527478

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About the Authors
  • The claim by certain rulers to universal empire has a long history stretching as far back as the Assyrian and Achaemenid Empires. This book traces its various manifestations in classical antiquity, the Islamic world, Asia and Central America as well as considering seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European discussions of international order. As such it is an exercise in comparative world history combining a multiplicity of approaches, from ancient history, to literary and philosophical studies, to the history of art and international relations and historical sociology. The notion of universal, imperial rule is presented as an elusive and much coveted prize among monarchs in history, around which developed forms of kingship and political culture. Different facets of the phenomenon are explored under three, broadly conceived, headings: symbolism, ceremony and diplomatic relations; universal or cosmopolitan literary high-cultures; and, finally, the inclination to present universal imperial rule as an expression of cosmic order.

    • Proposes a new view of the notion of universal empire across world history
    • Adopts a wide-ranging and boldly comparative approach across time and geography
    • Examines imperial universalism from a multiplicity of disciplinary perspectives
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… this volume has much to offer to ancient historians."
    Rolf Strootman, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107527478
    • length: 400 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 53 b/w illus. 6 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. 'Elephant of India' - universal empire through time and across cultures Peter Fibiger Bang with Dariusz Kołodziejczyk
    Part I. Eurasia - Antiquity till Early Modernity:
    2. Propaganda and practice in Assyrian and Persian imperial culture Gojko Barjamovic
    3. Between Aśoka and Antiochos - an essay in world history on universal kingship and cosmopolitan culture in the Hellenistic ecumene Peter Fibiger Bang
    4. The making of Oriental Rome: shaping the Trojan legend Rolf Michael Schneider
    5. Pseudo-Aristotelian politics and theology in universal Islam Garth Fowden
    6. The Christian imperial tradition, Greek and Latin Judith Herrin and Dimiter Angelov
    7. Khan, Caliph, Tsar and Imperator: the multiple identities of the Ottoman Sultan Dariusz Kołodziejczyk
    8. How the Mughal Padshahs referenced Iran in their visual construction of universal rule Ebba Koch
    9. Ideologies of state building in Vijayanagara and Post-Vijayanagara South India: some reflections Velcheru Narayana Rao and Sanjay Subrahmanyam
    10. Sons of Heaven: the Qing appropriation of the Chinese model of universal empire Evelyn S. Rawski
    Part II. Contrasting Universalisms - Old and New World:
    11. Aztec universalism: ideology and status symbols in the service of empire-building Justyna Olko
    12. From empire to Commonwealth(s) - orders in Europe, 1300–1800 Peter Haldén
    13. Imperial universalism - further thoughts John A. Hall.

  • Editors

    Peter Fibiger Bang, University of Copenhagen
    Peter Fibiger Bang is Associate Professor of History at The Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen and holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. He is a Roman historian interested in comparative and world history. From 2005 to 2009 he was Chair of the European research network, Tributary Empires Compared, funded by COST ( and has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg. He has authored, edited or co-edited seven other volumes, most importantly The Roman Bazaar: A Comparative Study of Trade and Markets in a Tributary Empire (Cambridge, 2008), and The Oxford Handbook of the Ancient State (2013) with Walter Scheidel.

    Dariusz Kolodziejczyk, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland
    Dariusz Kołodziejczyk is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Warsaw and at the Polish Academy of Sciences. He has published extensively on the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate and international and intercultural relations in Eastern Europe. He is currently Vice-President of the Comité International des Études Pré-ottomanes et Ottomanes (CIEPO) and has been a Visiting Professor at the Collège de France, University of Notre Dame and Hokkaido University. His most important publications include Ottoman-Polish Diplomatic Relations (15th–18th Century): An Annotated Edition of 'Ahdnames and Other Documents (2000), The Ottoman Survey Register of Podolia (c.1681): Defter-i Mufassal-i Eyalet-i Kamaniçe (2004) and The Crimean Khanate and Poland-Lithuania: International Diplomacy on the European Periphery (15th–18th Century): A Study of Peace Treaties Followed by Annotated Documents (2011).


    Peter Fibiger Bang, Dariusz Kołodziejczyk, Gojko Barjamovic, Rolf Michael Schneider, Garth Fowden, Judith Herrin, Dimiter Angelov, Ebba Koch, Velcheru Narayana Rao, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Evelyn S. Rawski, Justyna Olko, Peter Haldén, John A. Hall

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