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by BERTELLI, Sergio. Translated by LITCHFIELD, R. Burr

Frazer, in The Golden Bough, says that in ancient Japan the Mikado was obliged to sit on his throne every morning for sev- eral hours with a crown on his head. He was supposed to remain immobile like a statue for the whole time, without moving hands or feet. Only in this way could he assure the tranquillity of the empire over which he reigned.

Not only this, such a holiness was as- cribed to all parts of his body, that he dared to cut off neither his hair, nor his beard, nor his nails.

Three Kings Ritual … **TERRIFYING TRUTH**

See Gerard s,s,. Weinstock s,,s, zsff. Kantorowicz s,o, ,.


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Las Sietes Partidas sso,, ii, pt. Fernandez s,,,, sos,,. Villette soss, ,,; see also Smith s,,o, so,ff. LOrange s,,,, szff. Dvornik s,oo, i:,z,. Alfldi s,,o, ,off. Frazer s,ss, ,. Wallace-Hadrill s,oz [s,sz], ssff. Crawford was admitted to the presence of the king of Siam, hav- ing been sent on mission to him, the king on his throne had more the appearance of a statue in a niche, than of a living being. They were even made to be placed on the throne when the sov- ereign was absent.

Sometimes they refer directly to proskynesis servility: it was thought that clemency resided in the knee. An exposed leg in a portrait was a clear allusion to this just as an exposed breast indicated virginity. The queen wears a costume so rigid that it prevents any movement.

She is represented immobile, like an idol. We have the testimony of a Ve- netian ambassador: In the royal antechamber stands a chair covered with brocade, and this antechamber they call the presence chamber, and they have such reverence for their king that they always uncover themselves in this chamber, because the chair represents ,,. Cited in Jones sss,, so. See Bertelli s,,,. Bertelli and Innocenti s,,,, sec. Reichler s,s,, ,,,,; Bertelli s,,,.

For ofcial portraiture, see Bardon s,,; Polleross s,ss; Ellenius s,oo limited to Sweden. ODonoghue ss,; Strong s,,,. Image not available ss r nt x i os t on the king, before whom you cannot pass without showing reverence, whoever you are in England. The sella curulis of Caligula was placed in the temple of Jove on the Capitoline hill, and the senators did homage to it when the emperor was absent. Thus also the throne of Commodus was covered with a lions skin and a club placed across it, symbolizing the Roman Hercules, in the absence of the sovereign.

Alberi ss,,o,, ser. Dio Cassius s,,o, ,,, z. Calore s,,,. Image not available Fig. Image not available zs His Majesty of Louis XVI, Count Felix dHezecques, wrote with regret that in his time only elderly courtiers, such as the duc de Penthivre, the prince de Soubise, and the marchal de Biron, bowed in salute when they passed before the state bed of the king when he was not present. Gessler was echoing the same custom when he wanted to make the inhabitants of the canton of Uri bow before Emperor Alberts hat. The theory that power descended by divine right was already present at the time of the Roman Empire.

But it had a particular development in the Christian era, at Byzantium, where the emperor was seen to be like Christ enthroned, a Christ reincar- nated. And, in this respect, why did the kings of France have the entire genealogy of the kings of Judea sculpted on the faade of the cathedrals of Paris and Reims [Fig.

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The Monarch as Represented in the Ceremony of Coronation | SpringerLink

One must keep in mind that a royal coronation, with the Hebraic symbolism of anointing at its apex, was, in many aspects, an embalm- ing. To underscore his new status, his Fig.

The King’s Body

Bertelli and Innocenti s,,,, pt. Image not available zz r nt x i os t on transformation into a sacred person, the king even changed his name or added a numeral to it. Once anointed, he became a sacred person: Nolite tangere christos meos! Do not touch my anointed ones. Access to the sacrament of anointing also made him similar to a priest. Referring to the Frankish kings, Pope Paul I called them gens sancta, regale sacerdotium, populus adquisitionis holy dynasty, royal priesthood, gift to the people , 63 and Pope Stephen II referred to Pepin as a novus Moyses new Moses and as a perfulgidus David shining David.

The King's Body: Sacred Rituals of Power in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

A broadside of s,,,, Lordine che si tiene nel creare il sommo pontece, con le cerimonie che si fanno della coronazione in S. Giovanni Laterano, says that the newly elected pope, dressed in black, enters on a tumbrel of the dead; the ofce of the dead is sung, and then he is dressed with the vestments of a bishop. Like a priest, the king was both the advocate of his people before heaven and the sacricial hostage of heaven among his people.


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He assumed the traits of a scapegoat for the sins of his subjects. In the XII Abusivis Saeculi of the Pseudo-Cyprian it is written that the king must attend to prayer at the times xed certis horis orationibus insistere , 65 as Vivaldus showed in his Opus regale Saluzzo, s,o, with the image of Saint Louis in prayer. In his portrait of Alfonso V the Magnanimous, king of Naples, Vespasiano da Bisticci wrote that the king delighted much in holy writings and particularly in the Bible, which he had almost com- pletely memorized.

He was most dili- gent in what related to the divine cult. On Holy Thursday he washed the feet of as many of the poor as the years of his age; and he washed them properly, and dried them, and humbly made a cross on the right foot and then kissed it.


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  • Every day he continuously recited the ofce of the Lord. The king never in his life missed going to Mass, except once with the army when there was a long march. He never failed to fast on fast days; instead, some days before Lent, he announced publicly at his Lever that he would take it very badly if anyone were given fat to eat.

    He never missed sermons during Advent and Lent or any devotion of Holy Week, great feasts, processions of the Holy Sacrament, or days observed by the Order of the Holy Spirit, or Assumption. He took Communion ve times a year, always wearing the collar of the Order [of the Holy Spirit], with its vest- ment and mantle. On Holy Thursday he served a dinner to the poor. Codex Carolinus ss,z, xxxix:,,z; Enright s,s,, s,o.

    Codex Carolinus ss,z, xi:,o,; Enright s,s,, s,o. Enright s,s,, ,. Vespasiano da Bisticci s,,o, sos,. Saint-Simon s,s,ss, v:ss,s,. Image not available sacerdos, thanks to anointing Fig. It was not by chance that the archbishop of Mainz, when consecrating German kings, uttered the formula: In this day the grace of the Lord has changed you into another man, and thanks to the sacred rite of anointing he makes you participate in his divinity. The oldest dated coronations on record are those of the Visigothic kings Wamba o,z , Ervig oso , Eghica os, , and Witiza ,oo.

    The Vita Columbae, written at Iona between oos and ,o, includes a story of an angel that descended from heaven, bringing for King Aidan a codex written onto crystal: Once, while the memorable man was living on the island of Hinba, he saw one night, in an ecstasy, an angel of the Lord, who had in his hand os. Kern s,,o, ,, and ,zff. See Villette soss, z,s,,; Menin s,z,; [Alletz] s,,,. Millon s,,s; Schramm [s,z,] s,oob, so,ff. Image not available z, His Majesty a glass book of the ordination of kings. It may be that this ordination never took place and that the reference served only to exalt the supremacy of the paruchia Columbae.

    However, another celestial mission perhaps inspired by this one, perhaps inde- pendent occurred on the Continent, on the other shore of the English Channel. A French poet of the thirteenth century sang that if the kings of western Europe had to resort to apothecaries for the oil necessary for their anointing, 73 the kings of France received theirs directly from heaven: Et molt li doit bien souvenir Quen toutes autres regions Convient les rois lor ontions Acheter en la mercerie.