Royal Persons: Patriarchal Monarchy and the Feminine Principle (Hardback)Patricia Springborg (author)
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 12/06/1990
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It is the thesis of this book that the birth of the state, usually associated with the emergence of the Greek "polis", can in fact be traced in the foundation myths and practices of the ancient Egyptian monarchy to which the feminine principle is crucial. The central significance of women is demonstrated through exploration of Egyptian, Hittite, Babylonian and other myths, in which we have an account of the creation as a birth struggle. Creation ends with the enthronement of kings and, and although from the beginning there is no doubt that the first monarchies were patriarchal, the processes of empowerment were female. The powers of Hathor and Tiamat, Ishtar and Anath reside in their reproductive capacities, as powers of creativity of which the social power of kings is merely imitative. The form in which the institutional longevity of political office was first expressed was that of "twinning". This notion that the king had two bodies - one his mortal body and one his immortal "other" - can be seen in the concept of Greek "daimon", in the "genius" of the Roman Emperor and the "mystical body" of European Kings. It has its prototype in the pharaoh and his "ka". The "ka" as an imperishable "double" designated the corporate life of all social collectivities in ancient Egypt, the basis perhaps for the "corporation" and its institutional "representative" in Roman Law and early modern political theory. It seems, that the ancient monarchy may have represented a real altenative to the hegemonic male warrior "polis" to which we owe so many of our political institutions, and legitimating myths. The modern welfare state itself, which grew up under the wings of Kings, owes more to the conception of divine bounty dispensed through beneficent monarchs than to the assertive individualism of classical republicanism. Patricia Springborg is also the author of "The Problem of Human Needs and the Critique of Civilization" to which this work relates as an historical elaboration.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 703 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
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