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Cosmopolitanism and EmpireUniversal Rulers, Local Elites, and Cultural Integration in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean$
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Myles Lavan, Richard E. Payne, and John Weisweiler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190465667

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190465667.001.0001

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Cosmopolitan Politics

Cosmopolitan Politics

The Assimilation and Subordination of Elite Cultures

(p.1) 1 Cosmopolitan Politics
Cosmopolitanism and Empire

Myles Lavan

Richard E. Payne

John Weisweiler

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a comparative perspective on the depth and modalities of elite integration in ancient empires. Its interest is in the ways in which the ruling groups of empires (universal rulers) bridged the distance and difference that divided them from the preexisting concentrations of power (local elites) on whom they relied. It argues that cosmopolitanism—a complex of practices and ideals that enabled certain individuals not only to cross cultural boundaries but also to establish an enduring normative framework across them—was an indispensable instrument of imperial rule. The chapter distinguishes between two forms of cosmopolitan politics. Assimilation works by eliding the cultural difference between universal rulers and local elites, whereas subordination operates by recognizing, preserving, and organizing difference..

Keywords:   cosmopolitanism, elites, empire, assimilation, subordination

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