International Journal of Anthropology

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 41–51 | Cite as

Consensus and coercion-prerequisites for government in early States

  • H. J. M. Claessen
Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

The article discusses the paradoxical situation that in early States, kings who were strongly legitimized by their sacred position, yet exerted much coercion. With the help of data from Black Africa an explanation of this situation is attempted. It is suggested that the contradiction was caused mainly by the combination of being at the same time a sacred king and a mundane ruler. Regarding the problem of regicide, which was found to occur quite regularly in Africa, it is suggested that ageing kings could no longer guarantee fertility, and thus endangered the prosperity of the kingdom. They therefore had to be deposed. Justification for killing could be found in transgressions the king commited during his inauguration ceremonies.

Key words

Black Africa coercion consensus Early States government legitimacy regicide sacred kingship 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature

  1. Abeles M., 1981. “Sacred kingship and the formation of the state”. In: H.J. Claessen and P. Skalník, eds,The study of the state, pp. 1–14. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  2. Amborn H., 1984. Elements obstructive to economic development: a comparative study of early African states, the Nile Valley and the Western Sudan.Ethnohistory 31:63–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bäck L.R., 1981. “Traditional Rwanda: deconsecrating a sacred kingdom” In: H.J. Claessen and P. Skalník, eds,The study of the state, pp 15–34. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  4. Beattie J., 1971.The Nyoro state. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  5. Beetham D., 1991.The legitimation of power. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. Carneiro R.L., 1981. “The chiefdom: precursor of the state” In: G.D. Jones and R.R. Kautz,The transition to statehood in the New World, pp 37–79. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chazan N., 1988. “The early state in Africa: the Asante case” In: S.N. Eisenstadt M. Abitbol and N. Chazan, edsThe early state in African perspective, pp 60–97 Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  8. Claessen H.J., 1970.Van vorsten en volken. Ph.D. thesis, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  9. , 1979 “The balance of power in primitive states”. In: S.L. Seaton and H.J. Claessen, eds,Political anthropology, the state of the art, pp 183–196. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  10. , 1981 “Specific features of the African early state” In: H.J. Claessen and P. Skalník, eds,The study of the state, pp 59–86. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  11. , 1987 Kings, chiefs and officials; the political organization of Dahomey and Buganda compared.Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 25/26:203–241.Google Scholar
  12. , 1988 “Changing legitimacy”. In: R. Cohen and J.D. Toland, eds,State formation and political legitimacy, pp. 23–44, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction.Google Scholar
  13. , 1989 “Ideologia y fuerza”. Prerequisitos del gobierno en los estados primitivos. In: H.J. Claessen,Estudios de antropología politica, pp. 33–52. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico.Google Scholar
  14. , 1991Verdwenen koninkrijken en verloren beschaingen. Assen: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  15. Claessen H.J., ed 1988.Sacraal koningschap: schakel tussen goden en mensen. Leiden: Institute of Cultural and Social Studies, (ICA Publ 82).Google Scholar
  16. Claessen H.J. and Skalník P., eds 1978.The ealy state. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  17. Claessen H.J. and Pieter van de Velde. eds 1987Early state dynamics. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  18. Cohen R., 1977. Oedipus rex and regina: the queen-mother in Africa.Africa 47: 14–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cohen R. and Service E.R., eds 1978.Origins of the state; the anthropology of political evolution. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues.Google Scholar
  20. Conrad G.W., 1992. “Inca imperialism: the great simplification and the accident of empire” In: A.A. Demarest and G.W. Conrad. eds,Ideology and Pre-Columbian civilizations pp. 159–174. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
  21. Dapper O., 1676.Naukeurige beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche gewesten 2nd enlarged edition 2 vols. Amsterdam: Van Meurs.Google Scholar
  22. De Heusch L., 1958.Essais sur le symbolisme de l'inceste royal en Afrique. Brussels: Institut de Sociologie Solvay.Google Scholar
  23. 1984 Sacraal koningschap als een symbolisch-politieke structuur.Sociologische Gids, 31: 301–314.Google Scholar
  24. 1987Ecrits sur la royaté sacrée. Brussels: Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  25. Demarest A., 1992. “Archaeology, ideology, and Pre-Columbian cultural evolution. The search for an approach”. In: A.A. Demarest and G.W. Conrad. eds,Ideology ad Pre-Columbian civilizations, pp. 1–13. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
  26. Demarest A. and Conrad G.W., eds, 1992.Ideology and Pre-Columbian civilizations. Santa Fe: School for American Reseach Press.Google Scholar
  27. Dcornbos M.R., 1978.Not all the king's men. Inequality as a political instrument in Angkole, Uganda. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  28. Duval M., 1985.Un totalitarisme sans état. Essai d'anthropologie politique à partir d'un village burkinabé. Paris: Editions l'Harmattan.Google Scholar
  29. Earle T.K., ed. 1991.Chiefdoms: power, economy, and ideology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Evans-Pritchard E.E., 1948.The divine kingship of the Shilluk of the Nilotic Sudan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Fournier G., 1978.Les Mérovingiens. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  32. Gilbert M., 1992. “The person of the king: ritual and power in a Ghanian state”. In: D. Cannadine and S. Price eds,Rituals of royalty. Power and ceremonial in traditional societies, pp. 298–330. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Girard R., 1977.Violence and the sacred. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Godelier M., 1978. Infrastructures societies and history.Current Anthropology 19: 763–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hagesteijn R.R., 1989.Circles of kings: political dynamics in early continental Southeast Asia. Dordrecht: Foris.Google Scholar
  36. Herskovits M.J. and Herskovits F.S., 1958.Dahomean narrative, a cross-cultural analysis. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Huussen A.H., 1949.Het leven van Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq. Leiden: Sijthoff.Google Scholar
  38. Izard M., 1987. “Le royaume mossi du Yatenga”. In C. Tardits ed,Princes et serviteurs du royaume cinq études de monarchies africaines, pp 59–106. Paris: Societé d'Ethnographie.Google Scholar
  39. Janssen J.J., 1981. “Legitimiteit en legitimering; een poging tot begripsbepaling”? In: R.R. Hagesteijn en E.Ch L. van der Vliet, eds,Legitimiteit of leugen? pp. 33–38. Leiden: Institute of Cultural and Social Studies (ICA Publ. 41).Google Scholar
  40. Kagame A., 1981. “La documentation du Rwanda sur l'Afrique interlacustre des temps ancien”. In:La civilisation ancienne des peuples des Grands Lacs, pp. 300–330. Paris: Karthala.Google Scholar
  41. Krige E. and Krige J.D., 1943.The realm of a rain-queen. A study of the pattern of Lovedu-society. London: International Africa Institute.Google Scholar
  42. Levtzion, N., 1988. “Isham and state formation in West Africa”. In: S.N. Eisenstadt, M. Abitbol, and N. Chazan, eds.The early state in African perspective, 98–108. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  43. Luig U., 1981. “Konstitutionsbedingungen des Ashanti-Reiches”. In: E. Hanisch, ed.Historische Konstitutionsbedingungen des Staats, pp. 118–186. Giesen: Reuter.Google Scholar
  44. Mair L., 1962.Primitive government. Harmondsworth: Pelican.Google Scholar
  45. , 1977.African kingdoms. Oxford: Carendon.Google Scholar
  46. Malinowski, B., 1926.Crime and custom in savage society. London: Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  47. Maquet J., 1957.Ruanda. Essai photographique sur une société africaine en transition. Brussels: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  48. , 1961.The premise of inequality in Ruanda. A study of political relations in a Central African kingdom. London: International Africa Institute.Google Scholar
  49. Meek C.K., 1931.A Sudanese kingdom. An ethnographical study of the Jukun-speaking peoples of Nigeria. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Trubner.Google Scholar
  50. Miller J., 1976.Kings and kinsmen Early Mbundu states in Angola. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  51. Miyazaki K., 1988.The king and the people: the conceptual structure of a Javanese kingdom. Ph.D. thesis. Leiden.Google Scholar
  52. Muller J.C., 1980.Le roi bouc émissaire. Quebec: Fleury.Google Scholar
  53. , 1981. “Divine kingship in chiefdoms and states: a single ideological model”. In: H.J. Claessen and P. Skalník, eds.The study of the state, pp. 239–251. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  54. Nelson J.L., 1992.Charles the Bald. London and New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  55. Norris R., 1800. “Reize naar het hof van Bossa Ahadee, koning van Dahomy in ‘t jaar 1772”. In: A. Dalzel, ed.De geschiedenis van Dahomy, een binnenlands koningrijk van Afrika, pp. 184–270. Den Haag: Leeuwensteyn.Google Scholar
  56. Palau-Marti M., 1964.Le roi-dieu au Bénin, sud Togo, Dahomey, Nigéria occidentale. Paris: Orstom.Google Scholar
  57. Pospisil L., 1984. Myths in political anthropology.Reviews in Anthropology 11: 20–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rusch W., 1975.Klassen und Staat in Buganda vor der Kolonialzeit. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.Google Scholar
  59. Service E.R., 1975.Origins of the state and civilization. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  60. Simonse S. 1992.Kings of disaster. Dualism, centralism and the scapegoat king in Southeastern Sudan. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  61. Southall A. 1991. “The segmentary state: from the imaginary to the material means of production”. In: H.J.M. Claessen and P. van de Velde, eds,Early state economics, pp. 75–96. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction.Google Scholar
  62. Steinhart E.I., 1978. “Ankole; pastoral hegemony”. In: H.J.M. Claessen and P. Skalník, eds.The early state, pp. 131–151. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  63. , 1981. “From ‘empire’ to state: the emergence of the kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara: ca 1350–1890”. In: H.J.M. Claessen and P. Skalník, eds.The study of the state, pp. 353–370. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  64. , 1985. “Food production and the evolution of Ankole”. In: H.J.M. Claessen, P. van de Velde and M.E. Smith, eds.Development and decline; the evolution of socio-political organization, pp. 264–275. South Hadley: Bergin and Garvey.Google Scholar
  65. Swartz, M.J., Turner V.W. and Tuden A., eds, 1966.Political anthropology. Chicago: AldineGoogle Scholar
  66. Terray E., 1987. “Le royaume abron du Gyaman”. In: C. Tardits, ed.Princes et serviteurs du royaume. Cinq études de monarchies africaines, pp. 32–58. Paris: Société d'Ethnolographie.Google Scholar
  67. Trigger B.G., 1985. “Generalized coercion and inequality: the basis of state power in the early civilizations”. In: H.J.M. Claessen, P. van de Velde and M.E. Smith, eds.Development and decline; the evolution of sociopolitical organization, pp. 46–61. South Hadley: Bergin and Garvey.Google Scholar
  68. Upham S., ed. 1990.The evolution of political systems. Sociopolitics in small-scale sedentary societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Van Binsbergen W.M.J., 1979.Religious change in Zambia: exploratory studies. Haarlem: In de Knipscheer.Google Scholar
  70. Van Velsen J., 1964.The politics of kinship. Manchester: University of Manchester Press.Google Scholar
  71. Vansina J., 1964.Le rovyume Kuba. Tervueren Musse royal de l'Afrique.Google Scholar
  72. , 1973.The Tio kingdom of the middle Kongo. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  73. , 1973. “The Kuba state”. In: H.J.M. Claessen and P. Skalník, eds.The early state, pp. 359–380. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  74. , 1991.Sur les sentiers du passé en fôret. Les cheminements de la tradition politique de l'Afrique équatoriale. Louvain-la-Neuve: Centre de l'Histoire de l'Afrique.Google Scholar
  75. Weber M., 1964.Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. (orig. ed. 1922). Köln: Kiepenheuer und Witsch.Google Scholar
  76. Werner K.F., 1984.Les origines. Vol. 1 of:Histoire de France, ed. by J. Favier. Paris: Fayard.Google Scholar
  77. Wilks I., 1976.Asante in the nineteenth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  78. , 1977. “Land, labour capital and the forest kingdom of Asante: a model of early change”. In: J. Friedman and M. Rowlands, eds.The evolution of social systems, pp. 487–534. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  79. Wittfogel K.A., 1957.Oriental despotism. A comparative study of total power New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. J. M. Claessen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cultural and Social StudiesThe University of LeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations