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Comparative Approaches to the Ritual World of the Medieval Mediterranean

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Chapter Summary

Medievalist approaches to court cultures and the ceremonial setting of kingship certainly call for a comparison with ancient monarchies and their court societies. An important task regarding a comparative analysis of rituals is to define points of convergence and divergence between the results exacted from western material, on the one hand, and the particularities of Byzantium and the Muslim world, on the other. Another approach to Islamic political rituals lies in the context of religious and public celebrations, court processions, and the palatial, religious and urban spaces in which the related ceremonies and festivities were choreographed and staged. In the course of the seventh century, the Byzantine Empire encountered the challenge of the Islamic expansion and the emerging Arab-Islamic caliphate, which soon came to embody a sort of counter-concept of universal rulership.

Keywords: Byzantine court ceremonies; Islamic monarchy; medieval Mediterranean; political culture; Ritual World



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