1st Edition

Patterns of Kingship and Authority in Traditional Asia

Edited By I. W. Mabbett Copyright 1985
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    There has been a tendency to neglect the political life of Asia, in favour of religious and aesthetic considerations. The myth of the ‘changeless East’ dies hard. Few people are aware that the earliest legislation for the rights of the common man go back to the Sumerians and that outlines for a social contract were drawn up by Indian Buddhists two thousand years before Locke and Rousseau.

    First published in 1985, Patterns of Kingship and Authority in Traditional Asia provides an excellent survey of traditional Asian ideas of government, from the earliest kingdoms of the Sumerians and the Egyptians to the time when Western influence first made itself felt. Each chapter is written by a specialist on a particular country or region of Asia, who seeks to identify some of the essential features of its traditional royal or imperial authority. Particularly fascinating is the way in which traditional institutions continue to have a vital influence upon Asian countries.

    The serious reader will obtain a clear outline of traditional Asian ideas and systems of government and will indirectly acquire a deeper understanding of other aspects of Asian civilisations.

    1. Introduction: The Comparative Study of Traditional Asian Political Institutions
    I. W. Mabbett

    2. Japanese Kingship
    Harold Bolitho

    3. Traditional Kingship in China
    Paul Rule

    4. From Village Elder to King: The Evolution of Kingship in Ancient and Early Mediaeval Korea
    K. H. J. Gardiner

    5. A Survey of the Background to the Variety of Political Traditions in South-East Asia
    I. W. Mabbett

    6. The Early Development of Kingship in Pre-Muslim India
    Sarva Daman Singh

    7. Kingship in Islam: Islamic Universalism through the Caliphate
    S. A. A. Rizvi

    8. Ancient Afro-Asian Kingship
    Brian Colless

    9. Malay Kingship in a Burmese Perspective
    A. C. Milner


    I. W. Mabbett is a historian and educator. His research interests include ancient Indian history, Buddhist philosophy and history, and the comparative study of Asian religions.