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Funeral Rituals in the French Renaissance

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Abstract:

The sophisticated funeral rituals of the French Renaissance kings were concerned with succession. The beginning of the new king's reign dated from the day of his predecessor's death; this left a “ceremonial interregnum” between the demise of one king and the coronation of the next monarch. At the funeral of Charles VI in 1422, however, changes first appeared. There was a “ceremonial interregnum” between the death of the king and his burial. In addition, at this time, the use of an effigy of the king was adopted in France which later became the focal point of the royal funeral. The author traces the development of the ritual that surrounded this use of the effigy, with particular reference to the funerals of Francis I (1547) and Charles IX (1574), in order to illuminate the way in which the ritual operated, to explain the reason why it was compelling, and to describe the performative aspects of its power.

Keywords: France; Funerals; Monarchy; Rites and Ceremonies

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-4658.00186

Publication date: 1995-12-01

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