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Coronations: Medieval And Early Modern Monarchic Ritual
by Janos M. Bak
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Fascination with royal pomp and circumstance is as old as kingship itself. The authors of Coronations examine royal ceremonies from the ninth to the sixteenth century, and find the very essence of the monarchical state in its public presentation of itself. This book is an enlightened response to the revived interest in political history, written from a perspective that cultural historians will also enjoy. The symbolic and ritual acts that served to represent and legitimate monarchical power in medieval and early modern Europe include not only royal and papal coronations but also festive entries, inaugural feasts, and rulers' funerals.
Fifteen leading scholars from North America, Britain, France, Germany, Poland, and Denmark explore the forms and the underlying meanings of such events, as well as problems of relevant scholarship on these subjects. All the contributions demonstrate the importance of in-depth study of rulership for the understanding of premodern power structures. Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary approaches, drawing on the findings of ethnography and anthropology, combined with rigorous critical evaluation of the written and iconic evidence. The editor's historiographical introduction surveys the past and present of this field of study and proposes some new lines of inquiry. "For 'reality' is not a one-dimensional matter: even if we can establish what actually transpired, we still need to ask how it was perceived by those present."
About the Author
János M. Bak is Professor of History at the University of British Columbia and chairman of the Executive Committee of the international association for the study of rulership, MAJESTAS.
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