Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kingship provides a distinctive political philosophy that mediates between mundane political realities and the demands of the divine. Key early models of kingship are provided by Hellenistic, Hebrew, and Persian culture. As a governmental form, kingship had evolved in the classical period to become the dominant form of European statehood by the High Middle Ages. The body of the king came to represent more than his individual personality and to stand symbolically for state sovereignty. In both the east and the west, monarchy took multiple forms, ranging from small family kingdoms to powerful empires, but several general trends are observable. From the seventh to the twelfth centuries CE, kingship becomes increasingly sacralized and absolutist, followed from the fourteenth century CE by an increasingly scientific, juristic approach to kingship. Classical and medieval ideas of sacred kingship continued to have influence in the early modern and modern periods via theories of the ...