Monarchies 1000 –2000 surveys a form of government whose legitimacy rests not on voluntary consensus but on age-old custom, heredity and/or religious sanction. Global in scope and comparative in approach, W. M. Spellman's survey establishes connections between monarchy as idea and practice in a variety of historical and cultural contexts across a millennium when the system was without serious rival.
Spellman examines the intellectual assumptions behind different models of monarchy, tracing the ways in which each of these assumptions shifted in response to historical factors. While no human institution has retreated as rapidly in the modern period, monarchy's remarkable longevity invites us to weigh the significance of hierarchy, subordination and dependence as constants of the human experience.
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