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By Declan Quigley

Regardless of the modern fascination with royalty, anthropologists have sorely overlooked the topic in contemporary a long time. This publication combines a robust theoretical argument with a wealth of ethnography from kingships in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Quigley supplies a well timed and much-needed review of the anthropology of kingship and an important reassessment of the contributions of Frazer and Hocart to debates in regards to the nature and serve as of royal ritual. From various fieldwork websites a couple of eminent anthropologists show how ritual and tool intertwine to provide a sequence of diversifications round fable, tragedy and ancient realities.

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I am grateful to the editors of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute for their permission to include these passages in the present chapter, which considerably expands the argument. References Adler, A. 1977. ‘Faiseurs de pluie, faiseurs d’ordre’, Libre 2: 45–68. —— 1982. La mort et le masque du roi: la royauté des Moundang du Tchad. Paris: Payoy. Bazin, J. 1986. ‘Retour aux choses-dieux’, Le temps de la réflexion 7: 253–85. Bloch, M. 1924. Les Rois thaumaturges. Strasbourg: Publications de la Faculté des Lettres de l’Université.

By saying that the body of the queen gains strength with age, surely what is intended is a reassurance that the general fertility of the kingdom, which depends upon her health, will not be threatened as she grows old. Remarkable too is the fact that she is not allowed to live out her days: she must commit suicide during the fourth session of the circumcision school, counting from the beginning of her reign (Krige & Krige 1954: 64). Before examining the Frazerian thesis of regicide, let us be clear that the symbolism of sacred kingship does indeed provide a structurally ordered, coherent Forms of Sacralized Power in Africa • 27 system, whatever its contingent manifestations.

In the small Sumerian city-states, at the dawn of their entry into written history, the king was simply the ‘great man’, that is the priest, he who ‘has possession, in the name of and on behalf of the divinity, not only of the land, but of all sorts of goods’ (Finet 1962:75). Finet demonstrates well how this situation underwent radical change during the Assyrian conquest in the middle of the third millennium. Sargon of Akkad, who consolidated his power over all Mesopotamia from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, proclaimed that he was himself a god.

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