Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Bohemian Coronation


Last month Prague witnessed a re-enactment of the coronation of the Emperor Charles IV as King Charles I of Bohemia in 1347 - as regular readers will be aware this year is the 700th anniversary of the birth of the Emperor.

The online journal Medieval Histories has a report about the events in Prague which I have copied below:



Couple playacting as Charles IV and Queen Blanche 1347 - 2016 Honza Keokotah

Photo from official presentation of the couple playing the roles of Charles IV and Blanche of Valois. © Honza Keokotah

Invitation to the Coronation of Charles IV 2016


The re-enactment of the Coronation of Charles IV in Prague is a recurrent event. This year, however, the professionals have fully taken over. They promise not just a re-enactment, but a faithful and scientifically based recreation



Bohemian Crown May 2016. Source: Wikipedia
 
Bohemian Crown May 2016. 
 
Source: Wikipedia
This year is the 700th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Charles IV, and one of the highlights is a faithful recreation of his coronation, celebrating the event, which took place on the 2nd of September 1347. The coronation itself takes place on the 4th of September at 1 pm at St Vitus’ Cathedral, but only for invited guests due to space limitations. It will be projected on a screen in nearby Hradčanské náměstí. – http://prague-stay.com/lifestyle/review/1597-hradcanske-namesti/ – Other parts of the re-creation such as processions and medieval markets will be open to the “burghers” and “peasants”.

The clothes and crowns for Charles IV and his wife, Blanche of Valois, have been faithfully copied, although some guesswork was involved on the part of historians from the Academy of Sciences and other institutions, which have collaborated on the project. Some is of course based on guesswork. For instance, the sceptre and orb, which survive are from the 16th century, so what they used like in the 14th century is a matter of conjecture. In the same way, the church where the coronation took place no longer exists, and the more modern cathedral now has to stand in its place.

Nevertheless, there exists a rather detailed description of the events as Charles personally wrote the manual: Ordo at coronandum regem Boemorum 1347. The recreation is based on this plus information gathered from chronicles and other sources.

Programme




Reconstruction of the coronation of Charles Iv in 2007
 
Reconstruction of the coronation of Charles IV in 2007
The festivities start on the 3rd of September with a medieval market from 10 am to 6 pm at the Karolinum, at Ovocný trh 3, across from the Estates Theatre. There will be juggling, music and dancing, and workshops for kids. In the evening, there will be a mass at Vyšehrad, a visit to the St Martin Rotunda and a penitential procession to the Karolinum and further on to the Old Town Square and Prague Castle. Festivities at Vyšehrad begins at 3:30 pm, and the procession starts at 6 pm. The day will end with prayers at St Vitus Cathedral at 9 pm. The King will at this event wear bast sandals. In the 14th century, we may believe, he walked barefooted.

The next day, Sept. 4, sees another medieval market at the Karolinum for 10 am to 6 pm. Festivities at St Vitus Cathedral begin at 12:50 for the invited, others are directed to go to Hradčanské náměstí. A procession will leave from Hradčanské náměstí at 3 pm, arriving at Old Town Square at 4 pm for fanfare, music, dancing and other festivities. A knight’s tournament with horses will take place at 6 pm, and events will end at 8:30 pm.

Performers in the pilgrimage and the coronation event have been chosen from local re-enactors, who have been instructed to wear precise period-close outfits. Suitable liturgical vestments have been borrowed from the depositories of the Royal Collegiate Chapter of Vyšehrad and the Roman Catholic parish at the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, while liturgical objects have been lent by the Archbishopric of Prague and the Chapter of St. Vitus. The actual crown will be the exact replica which is usually exhibited in the castle, but new sceptres and orbs have been created. Another huge effort has been invested in recrating the presumable outfits which were worn by the king and queenas well as some of the other major actors. Other work has been invested in the reproduction of a canopy, silk brocade banners, a reconstructed throne etc.

Cathedral of St. Vitus

At an early point a controversy existed about where to “perform” the actual coronation. Suggestions were to have it either performed in the other church in the Castle, St. George’s. Or, alternatively the Church of St. Mary and St. Jerome, which was founded by Charles in 1347. However, after long negotiations an agreement was finally reached to have the coronation recreated in St. Vitus.

Organisers

The quality of the event has been carefully secured by engaging the official support of the Ministry for Culture, the University and the Catholic Church in Prague as well as numerous other institutions.
The scientific panel, which guarantees the faithful recreation consist of
National Czech television will broadcast the event, which – of course – will make it impossible for anyone outside Czechia to see the recreation as it takes place. Once again, copyright rules prevents the European broadcasting of the event.
A full programme for the coronation can be found at Korunovační slavnosti v Praze 3. – 4. 9. 2016  (CZ)

READ MORE:

cover_coruna karl IV 
Ed. and translated by Jiří Kuthan, Miroslav Šmied, Joseph Cibulka and Jaromír Homolka
Nakladatelské údaje: Praha : Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy, 2009
ISBN:978-80-7308-266-6


The re-enactment was videoed and can be found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/01xRjoq7ib0
It lasts for an hour and three-quarters, but from what I have seen looks impressive. From reseaching the link such historical re-enactments are popular amongst modern Czechs.

Now all this is very interesting to the Clever Boy, but being the man he is, he is more than tempted to point out that the most genuine recent Bohemian coronation was that of King Ferdinand V in 1836 and to suggest that the cathedral of St Vitus might do well to be used for the coronation of the present de jure King of Bohemia, King Charles V...



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