Rebels, Pretenders and Impostors

Rebels, Pretenders and Impostors


By (author) Clive Cheesman, By (author) Jonathan Williams

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  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 168mm x 238mm 540g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2002
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0714118052
  • ISBN 13: 9780714118055
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Illustrations note: 4 col pls, 120 b/w illus

Product description

Throughout history, individuals have pictured themselves becoming emperor, king, queen or president. Some have proved successful, others not, while some were pure fantasists. Many produced coins, banknotes, stamps and heraldic devices as proof of the status they claimed. In exploring the issues surrounding political legitimacy, this volume brings together evidence for an amazing variety of would-be sovereigns and phantom countries, rebel states and royal imposters, ranging from ancient to modern times and from the Orient to the New World. The extraordinary personalities, their individual stories and the images they employed are interesting in themselves, but set in a wider context they also demonstrate the changing tradition of pretence and rebellion. The authors examine fundamental concepts of loyalty and group identity in a commentary on the nature of legitimate power and established sovereignty. Their analysis reveals the convenient fictions, collective myths and pseudo-histories inherent even today in the construction and maintenance of a dynasty or modern nation.

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Author information

Clive Cheesman was formerly a curator in the Department of Coins & Medals in The British Museum and is now Rouge Dragon Pursuivant at the College of Arms, London. Jonathan Williams is curator of Roman and Iron Age coins in the same department and the editor of Money: A History. Both contributed to the World of Money CD-ROM.

Editorial reviews

There's something fascinating and occasionally even romantic about individuals who challenge the ruling power. Ever since Adam and Eve human beings have rebelled against authority and starting with ancient times, this book examines a cross-section of would-be rulers, some successful, others not, examining myth and fact and exploring fundamental notions of loyalty and power. Rather than take a chronological, case by case approach, the authors have chosen a bolder, thematic structure - kings and imposters; dreamers and hoaxers, and so on, which makes for interesting and unexpected links. A final chapter examines communal impostures and the creation of mythical national histories in support of individual nations' 'pedigrees'. A readable and provocative 'take' on the history and meaning of rule. (Contains some, mostly black and white illustrations.) (Kirkus UK)

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1 The Rebel in Antiquity; 2 Kings and Pretenders; 3 Impostors and Slave Kings; 4 Dreamers and Hoaxers; 5 The Nation as Pretender; Notes; Bibliography; Illustration References; Index