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Title: Ritual, chivalry and pageantry : the courts of Anjou, Orleans and Savoy in the later Middle Ages
Author: Rosie, Alison
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1989
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By the fifteenth century, the princely court in France was a major political, social and cultural force. Used by the prince as the medium for transmitting his credibility to the outside world, the court was the stage where he employed all the props of magnificence to enhance his prestige and exemplify his power. Here, the dramas of his private life were played out in public, his daily routine, events in themselves, the generational rituals of his family couched in ceremonial and greeted with tournaments and feasts, their funerals transformed into paeans to the dynasty. The concentration of wealth in princely hands, ostentatiously exhibited on such occasions, drew the service of the nobility, forced by a combination of economic and social circumstances, to gravitate around the prince in the quest for offices and pensions. Chivalric ideals and virtues, which grew more rather than less attractive to the aristocracy in this period, were appropriated by the prince, suffusing court spectacle, art and literature, as well as lying at the heart of the secular orders of chivalry. The proximity and tensions of court life imposed new constraints on its members. Within a new and increasing formalisation and stratification, the necessity of displaying status visibly and in a costly fashion, was incumbent on prince and courtier alike. This general scenario naturally allowed for diversities of style within each court. This thesis concentrates on three late medieval courts, Anjou, Orleans and Savoy, of differing status, wealth and geographical location, within the chronological limits of c.1389-1480. Surviving household accounts, supplemented by chronicle and other documentation, where such exists, are used to examine the use of spectacle and pageantry as a means of consolidating and extending the authority of each prince, illuminating a variety of ritualistic and spectacular experience for each court. The role of the personality of the prince and his impact on the ambience of his court is discussed, while a study of their chivalric orders offers an opportunity for a closer exploration of each prince's policy for, and relationship with, the most crucial members of his court, the nobility. Alongside the specific aspects of court ceremonial and festival raised in the thesis, is discussed the role of the household, that self-contained unit at the centre of the court, as a weapon of princely magnificence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available