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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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The Royal Palace: A Stage for Royal Rituals

The Royal Palace: A Stage for Royal Rituals

(p.54) 3 The Royal Palace: A Stage for Royal Rituals
Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires

Rolf Strootman

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 3 discusses palatial architecture. The focus is on the symbolism of the architecture and decoration of royal monuments, as well as on the function of royal architecture for facilitating the performance of the ‘theatre of kingship’. Not only was the palace an arena for the power games of the court, it also was, more than merely the material backdrop for royal ritual, itself instrumental in the construction and negotiation of power. If anything, Hellenistic palaces and royal monuments constituted performative space. It is furthermore argued that the architectural forms used in Hellenistic palaces were derived from religious architecture in order to stress the sacral qualities of kingship and distance the ruler and the court society from the socially inferior by presenting the court as a mysterious and inaccessible place.

Keywords:   Palace, Architecture, Ritual, Alexandria, Antioch, Macedonia, Syria, Mesopotamia

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