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The Ceremonial Possession of a City: Ambassadors and their Carriages in Early Modern Rome,

Author:

John M Hunt

Utah Valley University, History and Political Science Department
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Abstract

The carriage in early modern Rome assumed a powerful role in displaying pretentions to power for the city’s aristocracy and clergy. Early modern ambassadors—as representatives of their states—recognised the potential of carriages as a means of broadcasting the honour and prestige of their princes and asserting their states’ spatial and ceremonial hegemony in the streets of the papal capital. Ambassadors invested huge sums in purchasing expensive carriages, outfitting them with lavish decorations, and maintaining a retinue to follow them throughout the city. As they made their way through Rome in their carriages, ambassadors performed their state’s authority by laying claim to the city’s space. As such, the carriages became fraught with political tensions, often leading to violent confrontations between rival ambassadors and their retinues. This paper will argue that ambassadors used carriages as a ceremonial means of possessing the city’s space for their respective states.

How to Cite: Hunt, J.M., 2016. The Ceremonial Possession of a City: Ambassadors and their Carriages in Early Modern Rome,. Royal Studies Journal, 3(2), pp.69–89. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/rsj.v3i2.103
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Published on 19 Dec 2016.
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