Title
The emblazoned kingdom ablaze : heraldic iconoclasm and armorial recovery during the French Wars of Religion, 1588-95 The emblazoned kingdom ablaze : heraldic iconoclasm and armorial recovery during the French Wars of Religion, 1588-95
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. History
Publication type
article
Publication
Oxford ,
Subject
History
Source (journal)
French history. - Oxford
Volume/pages
27(2013) :3 , p. 323-350
ISSN
0269-1191
ISI
000323580800001
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Despite ever increasing emphasis on the significance of royal iconography, historians of political culture rarely consider heraldic symbolism in its own terms. Besides being deeply entangled with learned discourse, coats of arms had a material dimension which empowered them with the agency to produce the abstract presence of rulership. Desecration of the kings escutcheon impaired both the status of the embodied bearer and the welfare of the political community. Such heraldic iconoclasm and subsequent symbolic reconfiguration appeared prominently at the height of the French Wars of Religion, when the political foundations of monarchy were openly questioned. Armorial assaults against Henri III, foreshadowing his physical assassination, repudiated his kingship and affected the heraldic representation of the body politic. Eventually, the potency of royal arms overcame this existential confusion. Henri IVs programme of symbolic recovery renovated the prestige of the fleurs-de-lis and safeguarded French autonomy.
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