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Despite the contemporary fascination with royalty, anthropologists have sorely neglected the subject in recent decades. This book combines a strong theoretical argument with a wealth of ethnography from kingships in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Quigley gives a timely and much-needed overview of the anthropology of kingship and a crucial reassessment of the contributions of Frazer and Hocart to debates about the nature and function of royal ritual. From diverse fieldwork sites a number of eminent anthropologists demonstrate how ritual and power intertwine to produce a series of variations around myth, tragedy and historical realities.