Kingship: The Politics of Enchantmant
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Series Editor's Preface.
Prologue: Matters of Perspective.
1. Gate of the Gods: Archaic and Global Patterns of Cosmic Kingship.
2. Royal Saviors and Shepherds: Hellenistic, Roman, Biblical, and Qur’ânic views of Kingship.
3. The Eusebian Accommodation: Christian Rulership in Imperial Rome, Byzantium, and Russia.
4. The Carolingian Accommodation: Christian Rulership in the Germanic Successor Kingdoms of Western Europe.
5. Sacral Kingship in Medieval and Early-Modern Europe: Papal, Imperial, National.
6. The Fading Nimbus: Modern Kingship and its Fate in a Disenchanted World.
Epilogue: Survivals and Revivals.
Suggestions for Further Reading.
- A history of kingship from the Neolithic era to the late eighteenth-century onset of the Industrial Revolution.
- Considers the many forms that kingship took during this period, including: the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt; the emperors of Japan; the Maya rulers of Mesoamerica; the medieval popes and emperors; and the English and French monarchs of early modern Europe
- Explores the panoply of governing roles that kingship involved – administrative, military, judicial, economic, religious and symbolic – but focussing on its connection with the sacred.
- Discusses a wide range of rulers from despots to powerless figureheads.
- Draws on the insights of cultural anthropology and comparative religion, as well as the on the resources provided by historians.
"In Oakley's hands, kingship turns out to be a tremendously insightful vantage point to understand the human story. His magisterial sweep through the history of monarchical rule shows conclusively how difficult it is to separate the history of politics from that of religion. Oakley's argument is supported by vivid examples drawn from an impressive range of times and civilizations." Charles Taylor, McGill University
"Original and lucid. This is an essential book ... it offers a persuasive reconsideration of the history of political philosophy, which bears on modern and recent as well as much older periods." Choice
"Oakley's study is neither confined to the West, nor to any period. It is not on kings, but on the very idea of kingship, an idea characterised by ubiquity, longevity and sacrality. [This] study is interesting and at times challenging." European Constitutional Law Review
“A most useful and informative survey of the theme…The juxtaposition of so much diverse material is certainly thought-provoking and demands changes in historical perspectives.”
Catholic Historical Review