Kings into Gods
Vittorio Cotesta, Università degli Studi Roma Tre
One might be surprised, astonished or indignant seeing men and women prostrating themselves in front of other men and other women. Or one might feel it is right to bow down before God, Allah, the saints, the Holy Virgin or the gods. Kings into Gods: How Prostration Shaped Eurasian Civilizations investigates the reasons why men prostrate themselves before deities or before powerful men. Through an in-depth historical and cultural analysis, this book highlights the connection between rituality and royalty within the Eurasian civilizations. The narrative and iconic documentation gathered and analyzed concerns the Greek and Roman world, the Mongolian civilization during the Middle Ages, the Hindu and Chinese civilizations, the Islamic civilization in India in the fourteenth century, the Mughal civilization and European civilization in the late Middle Ages. The different forms of the rituals in the courts of kings and emperors are tightly connected with the concept of royalty. The prostration is an act of humiliation of defeated enemies, a means to establish a abysmal distance between powerful elite and the people, a way of creating hierarchies within the elite itself.