Friday, February 23, 2024

New from ISAC: Pomp, Circumstance, and the Performance of Politics: Acting Politically Correct in the Ancient World

Kathryn R. Morgan, ed., with contributions by Emily S. K. Anderson, Margaret M. Andrews, Susanna Cereda, Gary M. Feinman, Marcella Frangipane, Amir Gilan, Katja Goebs, Catherine Kearns, Augusta McMahon, Kathryn R. Morgan, Alice Mouton, Linda M. Nicholas, James F. Osborne, Anne Porter, Lauren Ristvet, and Monica L. Smith; and response by Seth Richardson















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When we imagine ancient political life, we think of powerful rulers and awe-inspiring monuments, not grassroots movements. But if the cacophony of our modern political discourse can teach us anything, it is that negotiating power and legitimacy is an ongoing conversation, not a monologue. Pomp, Circumstance, and the Performance of Politics investigates moments and spaces in the premodern world where audiences had the opportunity to weigh in on the messages their leaders were sending. How did ordinary people experience and contribute to their political realities, and what strategies did rulers use to gain support? Bringing together scholars working in a wide variety of disciplines and time periods, from prehispanic Mesoamerica and Early Historic India to the Assyrian Empire and papal Rome, this book takes a bottom-up approach to evaluating the risks and rewards of acting “politically correct”—or incorrect—in the ancient world.


Introduction: Is Everything Political? Kathryn R. Morgan
1. Rethinking Politics and Spectacle in the Deep Past: Parallels for the Present? Gary M. Feinman and Linda M. Nicholas
Part I: Making Space
2. Spatial Performances of Identity and Belonging in the Walled Cities of the Indian Subcontinent: Nested Spaces and Public Places. Monica L. Smith
3. Performing Community: Ritual, Copper Production, and Local Politics on Archaic–Classical Cyprus. Catherine Kearns  
4. The Reinvented Social Somatics of Ritual Performance on Early Crete: Engagements of Humans with Zoomorphic Vessels. Emily S. K. Anderson
5. The Power of the Populace: Politics and the Mortuary Monuments of Tell Banat. Anne Porter
Part II: Acting in Space
6. Spacious or Empty? Making Courtyards in Mesopotamia. Augusta McMahon
7. Hittite Political Rituals. Alice Mouton
8. The “Šuppiluliuma Conundrum”: A Hittite King between Religious Piety and Political Performance. Amir Gilan
9. Botched, Tweaked, Reinterpreted—Three Case Studies of Manipulated Royal Rituals in Ancient Egypt. Katja Goebs
10. City and Soul: Marian Processions in Late Antique Constantinople and Early Medieval Rome. Margaret M. Andrews
Part III: Reacting(?) in Space
11. The Great Silence: Politics and Resistance in the Syro-Anatolian Culture Complex. James F. Osborne
12. Fumbling toward Complexity: Collective Action and the Built Environment at Early Phrygian Gordion. Kathryn R. Morgan
13. An Imperial Audience: The Provincial Reception of Assyrian Political Rhetoric. Lauren Ristvet
14. New Forms of Political Expression and Ideological Manipulation at the Dawn of State Formation: The Evidence from Fourth-Millennium Arslantepe, Turkey. Marcella Frangipane, with an appendix by Susanna Cereda
Part IV: Response
15. Political Performance: A Theory Response. Seth Richardson

  • Chicago: Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, 2024
  • ISBN 978-1-61491-106-7
  • Pp. vii + 404; 125 figures, 9 tables
  • ISAC Seminars 16
  • $39.95


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