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Eight Coronation and Coronation Ordines in Medieval Scandinavia
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In Denmark[41] King Waldemar I (1154/1157–1182) replaced the kinship-based claims of all male members of the royal house with the rights of the firstborn legitimate son of the Waldemarian line. Following Western and Central European custom, he designated his son Knut (VI) as coregent in order to avoid future succession struggles. The electors had been until the fourteenth century the members of the Danehof, all nobles of the realm as the king's vassals. Then the royal council, representative of the high aristrocracy, took their place and the approval of the original electoral bodies, the landesthingar , was reduced to mere acclamation. In this process the sacral legitimation of the Waldemarian line, expressed in the simultaneous canonization of Waldemar's father, Knut Lavard, and the crowning[42] and anointing[43] of his seven-year-old son and coregent, Knut VI, on 25 June 1170, played a decisive role. This first Danish coronation was, just like the earliest Norwegian one, the result of a compromise,[44] in this case between ARchbishop Eskil of Lund and the king, who in return for his son's coronation declared his obedience to Pope Alexander III. The right to crown a king in Denmark remained till the end of the Middle Ages with the archbishops of Lund,[45] though there were a few exceptions.[46]

A definite site for coronation did not develop in medieval Denmark. Despite the impressive festivities at Ringsted no king was again crowned there even though the cult of Knut Lavard remained important for the dynasty. The cathedral of Lund was chosen for the coronation of Waldemar II (1202)[47] and of Erik Menved (1286).[48] Perhaps it was also here that Erik Ploughpenny (1231) and Abel (1250), for whom no coronation place is recorded, were crowned.[49] Waldemar III (1218) was crowned in Schleswig,[50] Erik Glipping (1259) in Viborg,[51] Christopher II, together with his son and coregent Erik (1324), in Vordingborg,[52] and Christopher III (1443) in Ripen.[53] The late medieval rulers from the Oldenburg dynasty (Christian I in 1448; Hans in 1483; Christian II in 1512; Frederik I in 1524) all chose Copenhagen, the residence of the kings of Denmark[54] since the times of Eric of Pomerania. Thus, as far as one can judge, the coronation took place wherever the king happened to be, but—with the sole exception of the important castle of Vordingborg—always at an episcopal see. The later medieval practice of


holding the coronation at the main residence parallels the Norwegian practice of earlier centuries. The coronation of the Union king, Eric of Pomerania, in Kalmar in 1397[55] was a special case for Denmark as well.

From 1170 all kings of Denmark were crowned with the exception of four: Waldemar III, the king placed on the throne by the count of Holstein; Gerhard III, who resigned after three years; Waldemar IV (1340–1375), who decided to forego the ecclesiastical consecration probably because of opposition to the tradition;[56] and his grandson Olaf, who died in 1387, before coming of age.[57] By that time it was considered necessary in Scandinavia for the king to be of age for his coronation. Earlier in the mid-thirteenth century several kings were crowned as minors since only the coronation secured their accession in a time of unsettled inheritance patterns.[58] We may assume that the spouses of the kings were crowned with their husbands, even though explicit reference is made only to the coronations of Queen Mechtild, the wife of Abel in 1250; Margarethe Sambiria the wife of Christopher I in 1252; and Christina, the wife of Hans in 1481.[59] Just as for Norway, we may assume that Danish kings already had some royal insignia, probably a golden helmet, before the coronation of 1170.[60]

No medieval coronation ordo is known from Denmark. The earliest references to details can be found in a festive song (Carmen )[61] and a notarial instrument[62] on the coronation of King Christopher III on New Year's Day 1443 in the cathedral church of Ripen. In contrast to his predecessor and uncle on the mother's side (Eric of Pomerania), he was inaugurated by secular acts and ecclesiastically consecrated in every one of his three kingdoms even though he was styled archirex by Archbishop Hans Laxman at his Danish one.[63] The two surviving sources on the events of 1443 record a fair number of details of a late medieval Danish coronation.

The complete order for the first Protestant coronation, that of Christian III and his wife Dorothea on 12 August 1537 in St. Mary's in Copenhagen, is so detailed that it can be used to reconstruct medieval ceremonies for which the records are lost.[64] In this ordo new and old ideas and rituals are fused. Large parts of the text, written by the reformer Bugenhagen, reflect the new Lutheran spirit. They include appropriate sermons and prayers and reflect clearly the intended transformation of the mass. On the other hand, the anointing, crowning, and the presentation of the regalia seem to follow longstanding traditions. These two coronation reports, complementing each other, offer sufficient basis for the reconstruction of a late medieval Danish coronation.

In the procession and during the ceremonies the insignia were carried by high dignitaries and displayed for the public. In 1443 these offices were performed by Duke Adolf VIII of Schleswig and three visiting German princes, Dukes William of Brunswick, Waltmar of Silesia, and Frederick of Bavaria.[65] The rule, however, was, as reflected in the reports of 1537 and later, that the


main officers of the royal council, the chamberlain, marshall, and chancellor, carried the regalia.[66] In both cases crown, scepter, orb, and sword are listed.[67] In 1537 the queen was invested only with crown and scepter.[68] These, too, were carried by members of the council. In 1443 King Christopher was still unmarried; he did not wear a royal mantle for the oath but only dalmatic and pluvial. In 1537 the king and queen entered St. Mary's Church in Copenhagen not in royal, but in "princely" or "knightly" attire and were received by Bugenhagen who wore alba and pallium . The royal couple was followed by the councillors who deposited the insignia on the altar. The ordo prescribed the sequence that followed as sermon, prayer, epistle, and the Lord's Prayer. The theological contents of these liturgical elements were purely Lutheran, hence they are of no interest for the reconstruction of the pre-Reformation ordo.

After the Pater noster the councillors[69] led the king to a chair in front of the altar, while Veni sancte spiritus was sung. The councillors, as "representatives of the realm"—a position they had claimed after the death of Waldemar IV in 1375 and solidified after the fall of Eric of Pomerania in 1438—asked the ordinator Bugenhagen to consecrate Christian III. The pastor appealed to the king to lead a good government and to care for peace and prosperity, to protect the church and the new Lutheran faith, to support schools, and to aid the poor. The king swore an oath to perform these duties. Parts of this oath, the protection of church and the poor and the promise to preserve the rights of his fideles , that is, the nobility, are reminiscent of medieval formulations. The oath was taken on the New Testament, as could be expected in a Lutheran ceremony. The place of the oath in the ordo, before anointing and coronation, was apparently an innovation. In 1443 Christopher III swore the oath, as was usual at medieval coronations, after the consecration and the reception of the insignia.[70] This change in the sequence can be easily explained. In the German ordo of 1273,[71] even in the older Mainz ordo of 961,[72] this spot was occupied by the scrutinium , questions addressed to the king about his intentions to reign justly, protect churches, widows, and orphans, and so on, to which the king replied repeatedly: volo . The second explicit and more significant oath, the professio, was introduced in the German ordo of 1273 at the end of all the festive acts, after coronation and anointing. According to the notarial record of 1443,[73] this was also the practice at medieval Danish coronations. In 1537, however, the two sets of promises, scrutinium and professio, were united[74] and placed at the head of the ceremonies, where in the Middle Ages the questions and answers of the scrutinium had been.[75]

The king's oath was followed by that of the queen after the councillors had asked the ordinator to crown and anoint her. This step may have also been inherited from the medieval order. In contrast to the German ordo of 1273, in 1537 only an additional collect and the litany were included at this point. The two prostrations of the king before the altar and the appropriate benedictio


were left out of the Lutheran ceremony. The anointing,[76] naturally before the coronation, was done with the thumb of the right hand on the lower right arm and between the shoulders of the kneeling king. He was not anointed on the head, no more than was the queen of Christian II in 1515—before the Reformation! Since kings and queens were usually anointed in the same fashion, we may assume that this manner of anointing was the practice in medieval Denmark. Thus the anointing differed from that of the German kings, but resembled that of the emperor in Rome, in which the papacy was anxious to differentiate between clerical unction and imperial anointing.[77] If this feature was borrowed in Denmark from the imperial ordo and the Pontificale Romanum , it is likely that medieval kings were also anointed with the oil of catechumenes and not with chrism, just as in Rome. The queen was anointed in 1537 in the same way as her husband, just as in 1515.

After the sacring, king and queen retired to a tent prepared for this purpose where they were dressed in royal attire. The mantle was, therefore, not used in the ceremony of investment with the insignia. Returning to the church, the royal couple listened to the first of the main sermons. The ordinator donned the chasuble before the mass, and Kyrie and Gloria were sung. After another collect and the reading of the Epistle the investiture with regalia began.

The king, kneeling before the altar, received the naked sword from the ordinator into his right hand, with words that resemble the appropriate prayer in the German ordo. He then handed the weapon to the marshal, who sheathed it and returned it to the ordinator. Thereupon he girded the king with the sword. This ritual was different from the German one in which the king girded himself. Now the king drew the sword from its sheath and swung it in the four cardinal directions. The coronation followed, in 1537 apparently of a still kneeling king. The royal councillors helped to place the crown on the king's head, as had been usual at least since the coronation of King Hans in 1483.[78] It was also recorded for 1514,[79] 1537,[80] and several subsequent early modern coronations.[81] The magnates either actually touched the crown while it was being placed on the king's head or at least symbolically extended their hands towards it. The reception of this practice from late medieval England and France suggests the rising constitutional importance of the royal council, which thus demonstrated a status similar to that of the peers of the realm. Since 1376 the council had claimed the right to elect the king, and at least since the fall of Eric of Pomerania this right was taken for granted.

Still kneeling, the king now received the scepter and the orb, which he passed on to the councillors in charge of each of them. This was the place for the royal oath in the medieval German[82] and most likely also in the Danish ceremony. The notary of 1443 records the oath at this point, stating that the archbishop handed the crowned king the text of an oath which he then repeated word for word and swore on, while placing his hand on "a book," a


Bible or a Gospel-book, held by the archbishop. King Christopher's oath follows verbatim the professio contained in late medieval German ordines.[83] According to Eichmann and Schramm, this mid-twelfth century text goes back to late Carolingian models and became part of the ordo of 961 under Lothair III or Conrad III.[84] It is most likely that this oath was part of the Danish ordo from 1170 because it had long before been incorporated into its German model. If this was not so (and we have no proof for either assumption), it may have found its way into the Danish coronation during the decline of the kingship under Eric Glipping (1259–1286) or during the minority of his son Erik Menved (1286–1319), or even as late as the invitation of Christopher III to the throne of Denmark.[85]

After the king's coronation the queen was anointed, crowned, and handed a scepter which she too passed on to the councillor in charge of it, just as in 1515. After the choir's singing of Exaudiat te and Et exaudi Deus deprecationem , the ordinator preached the second main sermon about the meaning of the coronation, and the ceremonies ended with Te Deum and the reading of the Gospel.[86]

The king's participation in the Gospel-reading is noted already in the Carmen for 1443, but there it is placed before his coronation and this must have had a reason.[87] On the other hand, all early modern coronation ordines place the reading at the very end.[88] Even though the notarial record does not mention this episode for 1443, we may trust the Carmen since all the coronations that followed 1537 include this act. Nevertheless, I assume that it was not part of the medieval coronation, but was introduced at the 1443 coronation by Christopher III. References to the king's reading of the Gospel are relatively late in the German Empire as well.[89] We have evidence for Charles IV and his son, Sigismund, having done so, while holding swords in their right hands. This "royal Christmas service" is recorded for several matutina of Christmas Day, when the Gospel is Luke 2:1, the passage about the Edict of the Emperor Augustus. The Luxemburg kings-emperors may have been concerned with documenting their Augustus-like imperial position by performing this particular service. It may have reached Denmark through her prelates who attended the Councils of Constance and Basle, especially through Archbishop Hans Laxman, the coronator of 1443, who was present at the latter.[90] Another explanation for this rare innovation, which has its only parallel in Sweden would be to credit it to King Christopher III, a ruler whose political abilities are now recognized, in contrast to earlier negative judgments,[91] and who may very well have ordered the inclusion of the royal Gospel-reading in the ordo.[92] There is good evidence that Rupert of the Palatinate and Sigismund of Luxemburg, kings of the Romans,[93] read the Gospel at their coronations in 1407 and 1414 respectively, "during the Coronation Mass of which the coronation was a part," and not just—as was by then normal—at the Christmas service. Rupert was Christopher III's grandfather


through his son John, Palatine of the Oberpfalz, who was married to Katherina, the sister of King Eric of Pomerania. Christopher III could very well have insisted that this act, introduced into the coronation of the king of the Romans by his grandfather should also be included in the Danish and, as we shall see, in the Swedish consecration of the archirex of the north. Christopher's intention may have been to demonstrate that the king of the Nordic Union was by no means of lesser estate than the king of the Romans, the future emperor. The dates of the coronations of Rupert (at Epiphany) and Christopher (on New Year's Day) permitted the easy transfer of the Christmas practice into the coronation ordo. To my mind, this was the way in which the Gospel reading was added to the medieval ordo as late as 1443. The concluding liturgy of the Lutheran ordo of 1537 reflects the closing acts of the medieval royal mass: Creed, Praefatio of the Trinity, Sanctus , another collect, blessing, communion, Agnus Dei , another prayer, and the closing blessing.[94]

In summary, then, based on the records of 1443 and 1537, and the considerations presented here, the medieval Danish ordo may be reconstructed as follows:

1. Placing the insignia on the altar.
2. Scrutinium.
3. Anointing the king (kneeling) on the right arm and shoulders.
4. Anointing the queen in the same manner.
5. Handing over the sword.
6. Coronation of the kneeling king.
7. Investiture with scepter.
8. Investiture with orb.
9. Professio of the king.
10. Coronation of the kneeling queen.
11. Handing over the scepter to the queen.
12. The king's reading the Gospel (at least in the late Middle Ages).

We do not know for certain whether there was a regular "enthronement." The 1443 notarial record hints at one, while in 1537 the king merely resumed his seat after the coronation.

The office of the coronator was unchallenged from the first coronation in 1170. It belonged to the archbishop of Lund who was replaced only in extraordinary circumstances. As we have seen, there was no "correct" site for medieval Danish coronations even though the archseat of Lund and later, until 1648, the royal residence in Copenhagen were preferred. If the king was married at his coronation, his queen was crowned with him. The insignia were limited in number—crown, sword, scepter, and orb—resembling more the German and English practice than the French, which did not contain an


orb.[95] "Correct" insignia that would have been passed down from ruler to ruler do not seem to have existed in Denmark.[96]

The sequence of acts (unctio, gladius, coronatio, sceptrum, pomum) displays similarities to coronations in England and France.[97] It was the practice there to place the crown on the king's head after the investiture with ring and sword, while scepter and orb followed the crown. Even when some changes were made in England around 1100, the coronation remained in the middle of the ceremony. In contrast, German usage placed the coronation at the climax of the ceremony, the very end. The assistance of royal councillors at the coronation points to Western European models.[98] It is, however, unclear whether this "constitutional" practice originated earlier than the end of the Waldemarian age, during the rise of the parlamentum (Danehof), or even as late as 1443, if not 1448, the ascension of the Oldenburg dynasty, the age when the royal council acquired a strong position in the affairs of the realm.

Although a Western European influence can be detected in the sequence of the insignia, the order of the coronation mass seems to have been closer to German practice. Particularly important are the borrowing of scrutinium and professio and their place in the ordo. The adoption of royal Gospelreading which occasionally appeared in German coronations is an interesting episode; it remained in use from 1443 to 1648, but in the later sixteenth century the chancellor did the reading, while the king stood by with the sword of the realm. The medieval Danish ordo seems, therefore, to have profited from both English and French models on the one hand and the practice of the German Empire on the other.

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Eight Coronation and Coronation Ordines in Medieval Scandinavia
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