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The sense of a gulf between city and court has been perpetuated, in the case of the Burgundian Low Countries, by the long-standing influence of Johan Huizinga's Herfstij der Middeleeuwen. The foundation of the Burgundian curial Order of chivalry known as the Golden Fleece was proclaimed on the market place at Bruges on behalf of Philip the Good during the festivities of his wedding to Isabella of Portugal in January 1430. The ceremonies accompanying the formal Entry of a dynast into a subject city in later medieval Europe have generated a rich and varied literature in the last generation, particularly in the case of the Burgundian Netherlands. The book includes ceremonial events, such as the spectacles and gargantuan banquets that made the Burgundian dukes the talk of Europe, the workings of the court, and jousting, archery and rhetoric competitions. The regular contests of jousters, archers and poets in towns of the Low Countries were among the most distinctive features of festive urban society in the fifteenth century. The control that late medieval urban authorities sought to exercise over the sacred, articularly over cults of saints is a phenomenon identified in Italian city states as 'civic religion'. The Burgundian court developed a reputation as one of the most spectacular in Europe: the presence and function of ceremony in court and civic society require more detailed attention.

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This chapter contains an introduction and a selection of translated and annotated texts on Burgundian entry ceremonies. The Entry ceremony was quite distinct from the normal pattern of ducal itineration, occasioned as it was by a significant event, usually an inauguration of some kind. In all Entry ceremonies a set of 'formal observances' may be identified which, when fully respected, made the event an elaborate and costly undertaking for its organisers. Interpretations of Entry ceremonies are commonly grounded on the notion that they witnessed a dialogue between prince and subjects, the former communicating his authority, qualities and intentions as a good ruler, the latter advertising their loyalty and stating their corporate aspirations.

in Court and civic society in the Burgundian Low Countries c.1420–1530

This chapter contains a series of German sources on the topic of the reign of king Roger II, translated and annotated by Graham A. Loud.

in Roger II and the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily
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This introduction provides historical background to the translated sources. The unification of the island of Sicily with the southern Italian mainland in the years after 1127 altered the balance of power in the Mediterranean and had a major impact on the power politics of Europe in the central Middle Ages. Count Roger II of Sicily was crowned as the first king of the new kingdom of Sicily in Palermo cathedral on Christmas Day 1130. Two principal narrative texts, the 'History of King Roger' of Abbot Alexander of Telese and the Chronicle of Falco of Benevento, reveal diametrically opposing views of King Roger and his state-building. Alexander of Telese suggested that Roger deliberately cultivated an image of restraint and remoteness, he might be feared by evildoers, and the chronicle attributed to Archbishop Romuald of Salerno said that he was more feared than loved by his subjects.

in Roger II and the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily
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This introduction provides historical background to the translated texts, discussing the Burgundian lands, urban society, the city and state, service at court, ceremony and ritual, 'urban' and 'courtly' ceremonies, ritual, power and symbolic communication.

in Court and civic society in the Burgundian Low Countries c.1420–1530

This chapter contains the text of The Montecassino Chronicle of Peter the Deacon, translated and annotated by Graham A. Loud.

in Roger II and the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily

This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on the Order of teh Golden Fleece. The foundation of the Burgundian curial Order of chivalry known as the Golden Fleece was proclaimed on the market place at Bruges on behalf of Philip the Good during the festivities of his wedding to Isabella of Portugal in January 1430. The political value of the Order to the Valois dukes and their Habsburg successors lay in the acceptance on oath of the demanding statutes by a membership of high-ranking noblemen from the Burgundian dominions, and by a smaller but growing number of foreign rulers and dignitaries. A more neglected dimension of the political importance of the Golden Fleece was its relevance to urban society.

in Court and civic society in the Burgundian Low Countries c.1420–1530

The Norman kingdom of Sicily is one of the most fascinating and unusual areas of interest within the discipline of medieval history. The unification of the island of Sicily with the southern Italian mainland in the years after 1127 altered the balance of power in the Mediterranean and had a major impact on the power politics of Europe in the central Middle Ages. Count Roger II of Sicily was crowned as the first king of the new kingdom of Sicily in Palermo cathedral on Christmas Day 1130. Two principal narrative texts, the 'History of King Roger' of Abbot Alexander of Telese and the Chronicle of Falco of Benevento, reveal diametrically opposing views of King Roger and his state-building. Alexander of Telese suggested that Roger deliberately cultivated an image of restraint and remoteness that he might be feared by evildoers, and the chronicle attributed to Archbishop Romuald of Salerno said that he was more feared than loved by his subjects. If the German sources show the expedition of 1137 from the viewpoint of the invaders, the Montecassino chronicle depicts it from that of the recipients, trying to safeguard their own interests in the face of conflicting pressures on them. The 'Catalogue of the Barons' is a source of great importance for the study of the kingdom of Sicily in the mid-twelfth century, both for the military system and for the structure of landholding in the mainland provinces, but it is a problematic text.

Selected documents

This chapter contains selected sources on the topic of king Roger II and the papacy, translated and annotated by Graham A. Loud.

in Roger II and the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily

This chapter contains the text of Chronicon Sive Annales 1125-54 written by Romauld of Salerno, translated and annotated by Graham A. Loud.

in Roger II and the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily