In today’s American society the closest thing we have to a king would be the CEO. He is a private individual, with extraordinary power, money, and influence. His decisions determine the daily lives of those around him and those very far away. He is on top of the social pyramid and delegates decisions to others in order to manage his business. I see here a connection to the old Renaissance under the theme of Sprezzatura or Courting Culture. Sarah Carpenter in her online piece The Sixteenth Century wrote of a particular party that King Henry VIII put on “The actual festivities did not simply accompany or celebrate a political event but were recognised as politically significant in themselves. The Milanese ambassador, who wrote home explaining the various European implications of the treaty, carefully pointed out in letters to his lord and to colleagues that: the festivities and triumphs and the sumpteous apparatus with which this most powerful king has entertained the French ambassadors has surpassed all the splendours of modern or ancient kings.”
During that time it was a political show of force to be a good host and to achieve honors. The Court system of the day was a very complicated one. How I like to think about it is a comparison of our own day and time. When business dealings are done internationally, its good manners for the representatives of the company to recognize and respect the cultural and spiritual traditions of the country to which they are visiting and to adhere to their standards of conducting business. In our own college books we have tips on how we could better represent ourselves and the company by exercising proper preparation and research in order for the business visit to be a success. All this is a “court system” that is practiced by American corporations and companies in order to gain favor and conduct business.
One does not need to read very much about the courting practices of the Renaissance to see there was a good deal of lavish spending on what most would consider a genuine waste. However, when the rules of the game have been laid out in a political landscape you need to play the game well. My only question is do we today need to follow in the lavish footsteps of our ancestors? Or do we show the world a new way to conduct our affairs?
Carpenter, Sarah. "The Sixteenth Century Court Audience: Performers and Spectators." Sarah Carpenter. Http://web.archive.org, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2015.