Coronation


Coronation
The coronation of Charles VII of France

A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia. This rite may also include the taking of a special vow, acts of homage by the new ruler's subjects, and/or the performance of other ritual deeds of special significance to a given nation. Once a vital ritual in many of the world's monarchies, coronations have changed over time due to a variety of socio-political and religious factors to the point that most modern monarchies have dispensed with them altogether, preferring simpler enthronement, investiture, or benediction ceremonies. However, coronations are still held in the United Kingdom, Tonga and several Asian countries. In common usage, coronation often simply refers to the official investiture or enthronement of the monarch, whether any actual crown is bestowed or not.

In addition to investing the monarch with symbols of state, coronations often involve anointing with holy oil, or chrism as it is often called. Wherever a ruler is anointed in this way, as in Great Britain and Tonga, this ritual takes on an overtly religious significance, following examples found in the Bible. Some other lands use bathing or cleansing rites, the drinking of a sacred beverage, or other religious practices to achieve a comparable effect. Such acts symbolise the granting of divine favour to the monarch within the relevant spiritual-religious paradigm of the country.

In the past, concepts of royalty, coronation and deity were often inexorably linked. In some ancient cultures, rulers were considered to be divine or partially divine: the Egyptian Pharaoh was believed to be the son of Ra, the sun god, while in Japan, the Emperor was believed to be a descendant of Amaterasu, the sun goddess. Rome promulgated the practice of emperor worship; in Medieval Europe, monarchs claimed to have a divine right to rule. Coronations were once a direct visual expression of these alleged connections, but recent centuries have seen the lessening of such beliefs due to increasing secularization and democratization. Thus, coronations (or their religious elements, at least) have often been discarded altogether or altered to reflect the constitutional nature of the states in which they are held. However, some monarchies still choose to retain an overtly religious dimension to their accession rituals. Others have adopted simpler enthronement or inauguration ceremonies, or even no ceremony at all.

Elizabeth in crown and robes next to her husband in military uniform
Coronation portrait of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953

Contents

History and development

Coronations, in one form or another, have existed since ancient times. Egyptian records show coronation scenes, such as that of Seti I in 1290 BC,[1] while the Judeo-Christian scriptures testify to particular rites associated with the conferring of kingship, the most detailed accounts of which are found in II Kings 11:12 and II Chronicles 23:11. These Biblical accounts influenced later European ceremonies, together with those of Ethiopia and Tonga, following the conversion of those lands to Christianity.[2] In non-Christian states, coronation rites evolved from a variety of sources, often related to the religious beliefs of that particular nation. Buddhism, for instance, influenced the coronation rituals of Thailand, Cambodia and Bhutan, while Hindu elements played a significant role in Nepalese rites. The ceremonies used in modern Egypt, Malaysia, Brunei and Iran were shaped by Islam, while Tonga's ritual combines ancient Polynesian influences with more modern Anglican ones. However, it is the European coronation ceremonies, most specifically that used in Great Britain (the last of which occurred in 1953), that are perhaps best known to most Westerners. These descend from rites initially created in Byzantium, Visigothic Spain, Carolingian France and the Holy Roman Empire and brought to their apogee during the Medieval era.

Roger II of Sicily receiving his crown directly from Jesus Christ, mosaic from Martorana, Palermo

In some European Celtic or Germanic countries prior to the adoption of Christianity, the ruler upon his election was raised on a shield and, while standing upon it, was borne on the shoulders of several chief men of the nation (or tribe) in a procession around his assembled subjects. This was usually performed three times. Following this, the king was given a spear, and a diadem wrought of silk or linen (not to be confused with a crown) was bound around his forehead as a token of regal authority.[2] In 610, Heraclius arranged a ceremony in Constantinople where he was crowned and acclaimed emperor. In Spain, the Visigothic king Sisenand was crowned in 631, and in 672, Wamba was the first occidental king to be anointed as well, by the archbishop of Toledo. In England, the Anglo-Saxon king Eardwulf of Northumbria was "consecrated and enthroned" in 796, and Æthelstan was crowned and anointed in 925. These practices were irregularly used or occurred some considerable time after the rulers had become kings, until their regular adoption by the Carolingian dynasty in France. To legitimate his deposition of the last of the Merovingian kings, Pepin the Short was twice crowned and anointed, at the beginning of his reign in 752, and for the first time by a pope in 754 in Saint-Denis. The anointing served as a reminder of the baptism of Clovis I in Reims in 496, where the ceremony was finally transferred in 816. His son Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor in Rome in 800, passed the ceremony to the Holy Roman Empire, and this tradition acquired as well a newly constitutive function in England with the kings Harold Godwinson and William the Conqueror immediately crowned in Westminster abbey in 1066.

The European coronation ceremonies of the Middle Ages were essentially a combination of the Christian rite of anointing with additional elements. Following Europe's conversion to Christianity, crowning ceremonies became more and more ornate, depending on the country in question, and their Christian elements—especially anointing—became the paramount concern.[2][3] Crowns and sceptres, used in coronations since ancient times, took on a Christian significance together with the orb as symbols of the purported divine order of things, with the monarch as the divinely ordained overlord and protector of his dominion. During the Middle Ages, this rite was considered so vital in some European kingdoms that it was sometimes referred to as an "eighth sacrament".[4] The anointed ruler was viewed as a mixta persona, part priest and part layman, but never wholly either.[2] This notion persisted into the twentieth century in Imperial Russia, where the Tsar was considered to be "wedded" to his subjects through the Orthodox coronation service.[5]

Crowning ceremonies arose from a worldview in which monarchs were seen as ordained by God[N 1] to serve not merely as political or military leaders, nor as figureheads or historical symbols—a role played by most royals today—but rather to occupy a vital (and very real) spiritual place in their dominions as well.[4] Coronations were created to reflect and enable these alleged connections; however, the belief systems that gave birth to them have been radically altered in recent centuries by secularism, egalitarianism and the rise of constitutionalism and democracy. During the Protestant Reformation, the idea of divinely ordained monarchs began to be challenged.[6][7] The Age of Enlightenment and various revolutions of the last three centuries all helped to further this trend, until the religious dimension of the ceremony has become relatively meaningless in all but a few kingdoms (mostly in Asia and Oceania).[4] Hence, many monarchies—especially in Europe—have dispensed with coronations altogether, or transformed them into simpler inauguration or benediction rites that better reflect the secular nature of those states. Of all European monarchies today, only the United Kingdom still retains its medieval coronation rite, though even this ritual has been altered in the last few centuries.[3] Other nations still crowning their rulers include Cambodia, Thailand, Tonga, Bhutan, Lesotho, Brunei, the Toro Kingdom and Swaziland. The Papacy retains the option of a coronation, though no pope has used it since 1963.[8]

Coronations and monarchical power

In most kingdoms, a monarch succeeding hereditarily does not have to undergo a coronation to ascend the throne or exercise the prerogatives of their office. King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, for example, did not reign long enough to be crowned before he abdicated, yet he was unquestionably the King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India during his brief reign. This is because in Britain, the law stipulates that the moment one monarch dies, the new one assumes the throne; thus, there is no point at which the throne is vacant.[9] In France, the new king ascended the throne when the coffin of the previous monarch descended into the vault at Saint Denis Basilica, and the Duke of Uzes proclaimed "Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi"![N 2][10] In Hungary, on the other hand, no ruler was regarded as being truly legitimate until he was physically crowned with St. Stephen's Crown,[11][12][N 3] while monarchs of Belgium or Albania were not allowed to succeed or exercise any of their prerogatives until swearing a formal constitutional oath before their respective nations' parliaments.[13] Following their election, the kings of Poland were permitted to perform a variety of political acts prior to their coronation, but were not allowed to exercise any of their judicial powers prior to being crowned.[14]

Coronation of heirs apparent

Coronation of Philip, son of King Louis VII of France, as junior king

During the Middle Ages, Capetian Kings of France chose to have their heirs apparent crowned during their own lifetime in order to avoid succession disputes.[15][16] This practice was later adopted by Angevin Kings of England and Kings of Hungary. From the moment of their coronation, the heirs were regarded as junior kings (rex iunior), but they exercised little power and were not included in the numbering of monarchs. The nobility disliked this custom, as it reduced their chances to benefit from a possible succession dispute.[17]

The last heir apparent to the French throne to be crowned during his father's lifetime was the future Philip II of France, while the only crowned heir apparent to the English throne was Henry the Young King, who was first crowned alone and then with his wife, Margaret of France. The practice was eventually abandoned by all kingdoms that had adopted it, as the rules of primogeniture became stronger. The last coronation of an heir apparent was the coronation of the future Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria as junior King of Hungary in 1830.[18]

In antiquity

See Coronations in Antiquity.

In the modern era

Due to the extraordinary length that this article would encompass if it were to include each and every coronation ceremony known to exist throughout the world, specific coronation rituals, by country, may be found in the following articles:

Africa

See Coronations in Africa

Americas

See Coronations in the Americas

Asia

See Coronations in Asia

Europe

See Coronations in Europe

Oceania

See Coronations in Oceania

Other uses

The term coronation is sometimes used in a semi-ironic sense to refer to uncontested party leadership elections, with all potential party leaders choosing to back a single candidate or to stay silent, rather than stand in an election they are likely to lose.[19] This typically happens where there has been a protracted behind-the-scenes attempt to remove the outgoing leader, leading to a significant amount of time to determine who has the most party support before the election proper.

See also

Notes

This section contains expansions on the main text of the article, as well as links provided for context that may not meet Wikipedia standards for reliable sources, due largely to being self-published.

  1. ^ Christian references include I Peter 2:13,17 and Romans 13:1-7. Information on the Islamic viewpoint may be found at Islamic Monarchy, from the Science Encyclopedia website. A Hindu perspective on this subject may be explored at the hindujagruti.org website; Why is it Said that Only a Brahman is Capable of Creating an Ideal King?. Retrieved on 10 September 2008.
  2. ^ English: The [old] king is dead; long live the [new] King!
  3. ^ An account of this service, written by Count Miklos Banffy, a witness, may be read at The Last Habsburg Coronation: Budapest, 1916. From Theodore's Royalty and Monarchy Website.

References

  1. ^ "Coronation scene of Seti I — Painted Relief, Temple of Abidos, Egypt. 19th. Dynasty 1317 B.C.:". aurorahistoryboutique.com. http://www.aurorahistoryboutique.com/ahb.cfm?a=S000116. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Coronation". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Coronation. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  3. ^ a b  Thurston, Herbert (1913). "Coronation". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  4. ^ a b c Coulombe, Charles A (2005-05-09). "Coronations in Catholic theology". Charles. A Coulombe. http://www.cheetah.net/~ccoulomb/coronations.html. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  5. ^ Oldenburg, Sergei S. (1975). Last Tsar: Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia. I. Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press. pp. 59–60. ISBN 068683125X. 
  6. ^ Dickens, A.G. (1978). The English Reformation. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 399. ISBN 0805201777. http://books.google.com/?id=ZFN-AAAACAAJ&dq=0805201777. 
  7. ^ Ponet, John (1556, republished 1994). Patrick S. Poole. ed. A Shorte Treatise of Politike Power. Patrick S. Poole. Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080531072801/http://fly.hiwaay.net/~pspoole/Ponet1.HTM. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  8. ^ Wister, Fr. Robert J. (2002-12-04). "The Coronation of Pope Paul VI". http://pirate.shu.edu/~wisterro/cdi/paul_vi.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  9. ^ Royal Household. "Accession". Ceremony and Symbol. http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4945.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  10. ^ Giesey, Ralph E. (1990). "Inaugural Aspects of French Royal Ceremonials". In Bak, János M. Coronations: Medieval and Early Modern Monarchic Ritual. Berkeley: University of California Press. http://www.escholarship.org/editions/view?docId=ft367nb2f3&brand=ucpress. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  11. ^ Yonge, Charlotte (1867). "The Crown of St. Stephen". A Book of Golden Deeds Of all Times and all Lands. London, Glasgow and Bombay: Blackie and Son. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/yonge/deeds/crown.html. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  12. ^ Nemes, Paul (2000-01-10). "Central Europe Review — Hungary: The Holy Crown". http://www.ce-review.org/00/1/nemes1.html. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  13. ^ "The Constitution (Belgium), Article 91" (PDF). Parliament of Belgium. http://www.dekamer.be/kvvcr/pdf_sections/publications/constitution/grondwetEN.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  14. ^ Gieysztor, Aleksander (1990). "Gesture in the Coronation Ceremonies of Medieval Poland". In Bak, János M. Coronations: Medieval and Early Modern Monarchic Ritual. Berkeley: University of California Press. http://www.escholarship.org/editions/view?docId=ft367nb2f3&brand=ucpress. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  15. ^ Bartlett, Robert (2003). England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225. USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199251010. 
  16. ^ Staunton, Michael (2001). The Lives of Thomas Becket. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719054559. http://books.google.com/?id=97F23Rt1P8sC&dq=The+lives+of+Thomas+Becket&printsec=frontcover. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  17. ^ Sedlar, Jean W. (1994). East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500. USA: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0295972904. 
  18. ^ Taylor, Alan John Percivale (1976). The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 (Paperback ed.). USA: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226791459. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=1105447. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  19. ^ "FA could face reprimands for failed attempt to stop postpone Sepp Blatter's coronation in Fifa presidential election". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/international/8552964/FA-could-face-reprimands-for-failed-attempt-to-stop-postpone-Sepp-Blatters-coronation-in-Fifa-presidential-election.html. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 

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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coronation — • Discussed as (I) The Emperors at Constantinople; (II) Visigothic and Celtic Elements; (III) The English Coronation Orders; (IV) The Western Empire and the Roman Pontifical; and (V) Other Ceremonials Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006.… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Coronation — Lage in Alberta …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Coronation — Cor o*na tion (k?r ? n? sh?n), n. [See {Coronate}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act or solemnity of crowning a sovereign; the act of investing a prince with the insignia of royalty, on his succeeding to the sovereignty. [1913 Webster] 2. The pomp or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Coronation — Coronation, lat., die Krönung …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • coronation — index elevation Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • coronation — late 14c., from L.L. coronationem (nom. coronatio) a crowning, from pp. stem of L. coronare to crown, from corona crown (see CROWN (Cf. crown)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • coronation — ► NOUN ▪ the ceremony of crowning a sovereign or a sovereign s consort. ORIGIN Latin, from coronare to crown …   English terms dictionary

  • coronation — [kôr΄ə nā′shən, kär΄ə nā′shən] n. [ME & OFr coronacion < L coronatus, pp. of coronare, to crown < corona,CROWN] the act or ceremony of crowning a sovereign …   English World dictionary

  • coronation — /kawr euh nay sheuhn, kor /, n. the act or ceremony of crowning a king, queen, or other sovereign. [1350 1400; ME coronacio(u)n < AF coronation < L coronat(us) CROWNED (see CORONATE) + MF ion ION] * * * ▪ ceremony       ceremony whereby a… …   Universalium

  • coronation — n. to hold a coronation * * * [ˌkɒrə neɪʃ(ə)n] to hold a coronation …   Combinatory dictionary


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