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Prince, Pen, and Sword offers a synoptic interpretation of rulers and elites in Eurasia from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. Four core chapters zoom in on the tensions and connections at court, on the nexus between rulers and religious authority, on the status, function, and self-perceptions of military and administrative elites respectively. Two additional concise chapters provide a focused analysis of the construction of specific dynasties (the Golden Horde and the Habsburgs) and narratives of kingship found in fiction throughout Eurasia. The contributors and editors, authorities in their fields, systematically bring together specialised literature on numerous Eurasian kingdoms and empires. This book is a careful and thought-provoking experiment in the global, comparative and connected history of rulers and elites.
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Richard van Leeuwen

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Richard van Leeuwen

In Narratives of Kingship in Eurasian Empires, 1300-1800 Richard van Leeuwen analyses representations and constructions of the idea of kingship in fictional texts of various genres, especially belonging to the intermediate layer between popular and official literature. The analysis shows how ideologies of power are embedded in the literary and cultural imagination of societies, their cultural values and conceptualizations of authority. By referring to examples from various empires (Chinese, Indian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, European) the parallels between literary traditions are laid bare, revealing remarkable common concerns. The process of interaction and transmission are highlighted to illustrate how literature served as a repository for ideological and cultural values transforming power into authority in various imperial environments.