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By Lauren Ristvet

During this booklet, Lauren Ristvet rethinks the narratives of country formation by way of investigating the interconnections among ritual, functionality, and politics within the old close to East. She attracts on quite a lot of archaeological, iconographic, and cuneiform resources to teach how ritual functionality used to be now not set except the genuine perform of politics; it was once politics. Rituals supplied a chance for elites and usual humans to barter political authority. Descriptions of rituals from 3 sessions discover the networks of signification that knowledgeable varied societies. From circa 2600 to 2200 BC, pilgrimage made kingdoms out of formerly remoted villages. equally, from circa 1900 to 1700 BC, commemorative ceremonies legitimated new political dynasties by means of connecting them to a shared earlier. ultimately, within the Hellenistic interval, the normal Babylonian Akitu competition used to be an get together for Greek-speaking kings to teach that they have been Babylonian and for Babylonian clergymen to realize major energy.

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All of the rituals that we have considered have worked through things – such as ancestral bundles at K’axob, conquistador costumes in Santa Fe, or the television broadcasts of the Persepolis festival. The complex relationship between people, things, and institutions that these vignettes highlight hints at how we may use material remains to address the performance of political life. Archaeologists and ancient historians have interrogated ritual performance in four basic ways. 21 This study will employ a heuristic that crosscuts all of these approaches and elides the distinctions that are often drawn between textual, iconographic, architectural, and archaeological records.

Along with K’axob, La Corona demonstrates how an archaeological approach can unpack ancient ritual performance. Performing Politics Ritual, religion, and practice These vignettes depict the intersection of ritual, politics, and religion on two levels. First, they consider specific performances of the type often termed “public events” – large-scale rituals, ceremonies, pilgrimages, festivals, and celebrations that work to fuse a specific ethos and worldview (Handelman 1990). Second, they place those rituals within the daily practices of different people – including rice cultivation, dress, education, and house building – in order to see how the world actualized in ritual impinges on the world of common sense.

Between an assembly of Christians commemorating the principal moments of the life of Christ, or Jews celebrating either the exodus from Egypt or the giving of the ten commandments, and a meeting of citizens commemorating the instruction of a new moral charter or some great event in national life” (Durkheim 2001 [1912]: 322). For Durkheim, religion was not, at heart, about ways to explain unexplainable natural phenomena, or the worship of gods or spiritual beings, but about the categorization of life into the Performing Politics sacred and the profane as a way to create a moral community.

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