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Crises and ritual of ascension to the throne (? rst–third century A.D.)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concentrates on one specific aspect of the impact of crises on the Roman Empire: the birth of the 'ritual of accession'. This phenomenon is best understandable in relation to specific functions of courts' rituals in different societies throughout history. The prime function of rituals was to create stability in crises of power; this purpose could be obtained through symbolic gestures and well defined formulas, through orderly interaction between various social groups, controlled by precise regulations on behaviour. The chapter also concentrates on three peculiar aspects of the ritual of accession. First, the role of the acclamation as Imperator and of the formulaic acclamations. Second, the relations between acclamations, places, and social groups taking part in the ritual of assumption of power, and finally the real and symbolic significance of the places in the ritual procedure.

Keywords: accession; crises; ritual; Roman Empire



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