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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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Royal Processions: Enacting the Myth of Empire

Royal Processions: Enacting the Myth of Empire

Chapter:
(p.247) 12 Royal Processions: Enacting the Myth of Empire
Source:
Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires
Author(s):

Rolf Strootman

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748691265.003.0013

Chapter 12 takes a closer look at royal processions that took place at the imperial centre. The focus is on the symbolic communication of imperial ideology through ritual enactment and iconography. In capital cities, new monarchical-religious festivals were introduced to create extra opportunities to attract representatives of subject polities to the centre, and to create a unifying image of kingship. It will be argued that the pivotal messages conveyed by the ritual performances enacted during these festivals pertained to the king’s heroic, victorious charisma and the ideal of a peaceful and prosperous world empire, and that these two aspects were two sides of the same coin. Hence the central role of the image of Dionysos as victorious warrior and bringer of good fortune in especially Ptolemaic royal ritual. Attention will also be given to the function of ritual performance as a means to create social cohesion among the participants, viz., the philoi.

Keywords:   Royal ritual, Procession, Universalism, Ideology, Alexandria, Antioch, Dionysos

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