The nature and meaning of kingship has been hotly debated by anthropologists and scholars of religion since the middle of the last century, and the richness of this topic is by no means exhausted. In this fascinating book, comprising a series of published and unpublished essays, Grottanelli focuses on the subject of kingship in the ancient world. The essays explore the ways in which centralized state power, as epitomized by the sacred king, encounters other oppositional forms of power, such as those possessed by prophets, tricksters, and women. Grottanelli's special concern is the way in which mythic narratives and other forms of religious discourse both reflect this tension and play a role in the historic struggles between these competing forms of power. As the first book-length presentation of the work of a brilliant and innovative thinker, this book should hold great interest for scholars across a variety of disciplines, including religious studies, anthropology, and classics.