The Chief and His Sacral Power


  • Sergey Davydov St. Petersburg State Economic University



the authority, the archaic society, the chief, the chiefdom, the sacral power


The emergence of the chiefdom is associated with a qualitative change in the nature of political power. Unlike the bigman, who was constantly forced to prove the right on the authority by his actions, the chief uses to strengthen his authority a new, unprecedented means. He becomes the mediator between the community members and the deities, and largely because of this he increasingly distances himself from the bulk of the congregation.  Often the chief transferred his functions to assistants, that to deduce himself from the blow of criticism for mistakes and miscalculations of his policy, taking the role of the sacral authority owner. The chief’s authority has strengthened even more due to the fact that the chief often have arrogated to oneself the right to carry out religious rites.
Occupying a central place in the political, social and cultural life of the archaic society, representing the stability and the prosperity, the chiefs became a sort of pivot point for the whole structure of the worldview of the ancient human.  As such, the chief appropriated additional symbolic resource which he used to further consolidate his power. He surrounded himself with professional assistants and soldiers, he strengthened institutions for the transfer of power. Thus, the sacralization of the chief’s power becomes an important condition of the society’s transformation from chiefdom to more complex form of social organization – to the early state.


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Author Biography

Sergey Davydov, St. Petersburg State Economic University

Doctor of Social Sciences, Professor, Department of Sociology and Social
Work, St. Petersburg State Economic University


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How to Cite

Davydov, S. (2016). The Chief and His Sacral Power. WISDOM, 6(1), 72–78.