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The Key to Power?

The Culture of Access in Princely Courts, 1400-1750

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Dries Raeymaekers and Sebastiaan Derks

Proximity to the monarch was a vital asset in the struggle for power and influence in medieval and early modern courts. The concept of ‘access to the ruler’ has therefore grown into a dominant theme in scholarship on pre-modern dynasties. Still, many questions remain concerning the mechanisms of access and their impact on politics. Bringing together new research on European and Asian cases, the ten chapters in this volume focus on the ways in which ‘access’ was articulated, regulated, negotiated, and performed. By taking into account the full complexity of hierarchies, ceremonial rites, spaces and artefacts that characterized the dynastic court, The Key to Power? forces us to rethink power relations in the late medieval and early modern world.

Contributors are: Christina Antenhofer, Ronald G. Asch, Florence Berland, Mark Hengerer, Neil Murphy, Fabian Persson, Jonathan Spangler, Michael Talbot, Steven Thiry, and Audrey Truschke.