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Rituals of Royalty

Rituals of Royalty
Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies

Part of Past and Present Publications

David Cannadine, Amélie Kuhrt, Simon Price, Averil Cameron, Janet L. Nelson, David McMullen, Richard Burghart, Maurice Bloch, Michelle Gilbert
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  • Date Published: April 1992
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521428910


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About the Authors
  • Heads of state today mark their rites of passage with splendid ceremonial, from Reagan's inaugural to Andropov's funeral. Such spectacles continue to be a prominent part of modern political systems, of varied ideological hue, but their precise meaning and importance often remain unclear. The essays in this book - all specially written for it - address the central problem in the understanding of royal rituals, namely the relation between power and anthropologists, and the traditional societies examined range from ancient Babylon to nineteenth-century Madagascar, from medieval Europe to contemporary Ghana.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book well represents some of the richness of recent work on ritual, ceremonial, pomp, or whatever other term one chooses to use … How power works is one of the oldest philosophical issues … one of its most essential aspects, its self-presentation, is greatly illuminated by the essays in this book.' History

    'This is … a collection of fascinating studies, ranging from Babylon to twentieth-century Ghana, from China to Madagascar … Professional historians of the modern period, as well as others, would do well to take ritual seriously.' London Review of Books

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 1992
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521428910
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 217 x 139 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.478kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Notes on contributors
    Introduction: divine rites of kings David Cannadine
    1. Usurpation, conquest and ceremonial: from Babylon to Persia Amélie Kuhrt
    2. From noble funerals to divine cult: the consecration of Roman emperors Simon Price
    3. The construction of court ritual: the Byzantine Book of Ceremonies Averil Cameron
    4. The Lord's anointed and the people's choice: Carolingian royal ritual Janet L. Nelson
    5. Bureaucrats and cosmology: the ritual code of T'ang China David McMullen
    6. Gifts to the gods: power, property and ceremonial in Nepal Richard Burghart
    7. The ritual of the royal bath in Madagascar: the dissolution of death, birth and fertility into authority Maurice Bloch
    8. The person of the king: ritual and power in a Ghanaian state Michelle Gilbert

  • Editors

    David Cannadine, Columbia University, New York

    Simon Price, University of Oxford


    David Cannadine, Amélie Kuhrt, Simon Price, Averil Cameron, Janet L. Nelson, David McMullen, Richard Burghart, Maurice Bloch, Michelle Gilbert

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