Processions, power, and community identity: East and West

Leslie Brubaker, Christopher Wickham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

44 Downloads (Pure)


This comparative chapter looks at the different ways in which processions (whether liturgical, triumphal, or otherwise) strengthen the social cohesion among participants and onlookers alike. As such processions are unfolding, they become flashpoints for imperial or religious authority, highly public events that serve to remind everybody involved of the social and hierarchical makeup of society. At the same time, their prescriptions and descriptions—everything from panegyrics exalting the organization to the routes to be followed within and around a city—latch on to long traditions and emphasize that any given procession is, in fact, part of a much longer process. In the right hands, processions may anchor a community to an even larger social whole by means of the persons, institutions, and buildings involved. Conversely, their highly public nature also makes them exponents for social change, whether at the hands of the authorities themselves or of those who find themselves on the outside looking in. Comparing the uses and development of this phenomenon in both the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, this chapter sheds new light on the many practices of community in the (post-)Roman world—at times uniform but also highly diversified by necessity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmpires and communities in the Post-Roman and Islamic World, C. 400-1000 CE
EditorsWalter Pohl, Rutger Kramer
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages67
ISBN (Electronic)9780190067960
ISBN (Print)9780190067946
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Early Empires


  • Rome
  • Byzantium
  • Constantinople
  • Cairo
  • Frankish world
  • medieval history
  • comparative history
  • procession
  • urban history
  • Mediterranean history


Dive into the research topics of 'Processions, power, and community identity: East and West'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this