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12 - The Court and Ceremonial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2022

Benjamin Kelly
Affiliation:
York University, Toronto
Angela Hug
Affiliation:
York University, Toronto
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Summary

This chapter examines the rituals and ceremonies that took place in court spaces, especially the salutatio, and state ceremonial involving the court, such as the rituals that grew up surrounding imperial accessions. Particular attention is given to the development of the salutatio, to the spaces in which this ritual was staged, and to the management and ordering of courtiers during it. Also examined are the forms of greeting given to the emperor: the imperial kiss in the Principate, and adoratio in the Tetrarchic period. The chapter argues that ceremonial involving the imperial court functioned as a performance of the socio-political hierarchy of the Roman state and an acknowledgement of that hierarchy by its participants. Although grounded in routine and tradition, these ceremonies were subject to negotiation by emperor and subject, and this process of negotiation was sometimes responsible for long-term developments in ceremonial practices.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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