Cover image for Monarchies 1000-2000
Monarchies 1000-2000
Spellman, W. M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Reaktion, 2001.
Physical Description:
312 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Subject Term:
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JC375 .S64 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Monarchies 1000 --2000 surveys a form of government whose legitimacy rests not on voluntary consensus but on age-old custom, heredity and/or religious sanction. Global in scope and comparative in approach, W. M. Spellman's survey establishes connections between monarchy as idea and practice in a variety of historical and cultural contexts across a millennium when the system was without serious rival.

Spellman examines the intellectual assumptions behind different models of monarchy, tracing the ways in which each of these assumptions shifted in response to historical factors. While no human institution has retreated as rapidly in the modern period, monarchy's remarkable longevity invites us to weigh the significance of hierarchy, subordination and dependence as constants of the human experience.

Author Notes

W.M. Spellman is Professor of History and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In a world which has, for the most part, moved away from monarchy, this survey of that institution between 1000 and 2000 explains the role it played globally in the last millennium. The book covers the landscape of China, Japan, Africa, the Americas, Byzantium, the Middle East, India, and medieval/modern Europe. Its aim, as the author says, is to render "some small assistance to humanity" by showing people how traditional monarchy represented and may still, in some places, represent "its older affiliation with a world of value beyond the material and the provincial." Spellman's basic point is how monarchy was based on the universal assumption of a hierarchy in human affairs. Furthermore, until the decline of traditional organized religion, increased literacy, the rise of science, and the growth of rationalism, the monarch was considered the mediator between the material world and the world beyond human senses. Although relatively more attention is paid to Europe than to the other regions, important insights on all areas are included. This book should be of interest to students of anthropology and sociology as well as government and history. Upper-division undergraduate students and above. N. C. Rothman University of Maryland University College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
Introduction: The Idea of Monarchyp. 10
1 Asian Archetypes: Chinese Absolutism and Japanese Symbolismp. 25
2 Monarchy without Manuscripts: Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americasp. 71
3 Theocratic Monarchy: Byzantium and the Islamic Landsp. 105
4 The European Anomaly, 1000-1500p. 147
5 Monarchy and European Hegemony, 1500-1914p. 189
6 Endings and Remnants: Monarchy in the Twentieth Centuryp. 225
7 Monarchy and the State in the Twenty-First Centuryp. 269
Referencesp. 277
Bibliographyp. 295
Indexp. 304