The Political Agency of Pre-Modern State Royal Women

Author(s): Paula Sabloff

Year: 2018


Royal women—queen consorts and princesses—were pawns in rulers’ marriage game. But once established in their husbands’ courts, they exhibited political agency through several means, e.g., spying, ruling in their husbands’ or sons’ stead, participating in the usurpation of the throne, etc. They were able to do so partly because of their position, which gave them access to power, and partly because of their ability to accumulate wealth, which enabled them to become patrons in their own right. This presentation defines agency in pre-modern societies and shows how royal women in eight pre-modern societies (from Old Kingdom Egypt to the Aztec Empire) exhibited similar patterns of agency.

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The Political Agency of Pre-Modern State Royal Women. Paula Sabloff. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442526)

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Abstract Id(s): 20392