Dynasties: A Global History of Power, 1300–1800

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Cambridge University Press, 2015 - History - 435 pages
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For thousands of years, societies have fallen under the reign of a single leader, ruling as chief, king, or emperor. In this fascinating global history of medieval and early modern dynastic power, Jeroen Duindam charts the rise and fall of dynasties, the rituals of rulership, and the contested presence of women on the throne. From European, African, Mughal, Ming-Qing and Safavid dynasties to the Ottoman Empire, Tokugawa Japan and Chosŏn Korea, he reveals the tension between the ideals of kingship and the lives of actual rulers, the rich variety of arrangements for succession, the households or courts which catered to rulers' daily needs, and the relationship between the court and the territories under its control. The book integrates numerous African examples, sets dynasties within longer-term developments such as the rise of the state, and examines whether the tensions inherent in dynastic power led inexorably to cycles of ascent and decline.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
time and place
7
Beyond great debates and grand narratives
14
position versus person
21
reproduction and succession
87
spaces groups balances
156
connections and interactions
227
Rankings and rewards
237
Power and pageantry
255
From court culture to popular culture
273
Conclusion
286
The modern state and the end of dynasty
308
Bibliography
329
Index
372
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About the author (2015)

Jeroen Duindam studied history and anthropology at the University of Utrecht, and was appointed to the Utrecht History Department in 1991. While teaching cultural history, Cold War studies, international relations and political history, Duindam's research remained focused on the early modern European court and on the connections between rulers and elites. In 2008, he became Chair of Early Modern History at Groningen University, and since 2010 has held the Chair for Early Modern History at the University of Leiden. He is the author of numerous articles and two monographs: Vienna and Versailles: The Court of Europe's Dynastic Rivals (Cambridge, 2003) and Myths of Power: Norbert Elias and the Early Modern European Court (1995). Duindam recently edited a number of global comparative volumes and is editor of the book series Rulers and Elites. In 2011, he was awarded a prestigious Dutch research grant (NWO Horizon) on 'Eurasian Empires', a project with eight researchers based at three universities.

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