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Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic EmpiresThe Near East After the Achaemenids, c. 330 to 30 BCE$
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Rolf Strootman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748691265

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748691265.001.0001

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Ceremonial and Protocol

Ceremonial and Protocol

(p.187) 9 Ceremonial and Protocol
Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires

Rolf Strootman

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 9, the first of three chapter on ritual and ceremonial, considers aspects of etiquette and protocol. The chapter focuses on the (1) ceremonial that regulated access to the person of the king, and (2) on ceremonial that was instrumental in the creation of group cohesion among the philoi. Special attention is given to the ‘great events’ of the court: the festivities that attracted representatives of local and regional polities to the imperial centre. During festive occasions such as birth and wedding ceremonies, the household temporarily expanded to include an ‘outer court’—a ritualized contact zone that facilitated communication and negotiation between centre and periphery, and the (re)distribution of status, power, and wealth. The pivotal event of various festivities was the ritual banquet—presumably following sacrifice—which was the focal point for the distribution of honours and status gifts. The collective participation in aulic ceremonial by representatives of local elites furthermore augmented imperial integration. Monumentalized ritual spaces such as the Alexandrian palace district, or the processional way and sanctuaries at Pergamon, facilitated this kind of collective action.

Keywords:   Ceremonial, Feasting, Hunting, Audience, Court protocol

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