Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies

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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.