2017 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

The Theater of Royal Power: Royal Funeral Ceremony in 1498 France

Hsiu-Feng Chen

Department of history, National Taiwan Normal University

This essay is not a study of constitutional thought or political history, but an analysis of the exchange and relationship between ritual and power. Using the idea of ‘theater,’ this essay identifies the instruments of sovereignty, the personnel in the funeral ceremonies, and the royal funeral procession as the leading line of investigation; it describes how Charles VIII’s royal funeral ceremony demonstrated the royal power and discusses its political and cultural significance. This essay analyzes three themes: the relationship between communication and ritual; the practice of domestic mourning; and the triumphal royal funeral processions. It identifies the meaning of ‟the king is dead” at the end of the fifteenth century. It also analyzes how French royal funerals became a subtle and complex ritual symbol that won social identification in the political contestations of late medieval and early modern Europe.


Keywords: Charles VIII of France, royal funeral ceremonies, mourning, procession, ritual and power