Self-Representation of Court and City in Flanders and Brabant in the Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Centuries
Leiden University (1999)
Medieval society was characterized by a high degree of social inequality. This Situation required a continuous justification so that the lower classes could be persuaded to accept their less attractive lot in good part. It is well known that the Church’s social doctrine urged the faithful to submit to a social order that was presented as being ordained by God. Besides rehgious arguments, rulers and those in authority likewise adopted symbolic means to show their position of power in a positive light to their subjects, and to involve them in it through certain rituals. In 1976 Jacques Le Goff broke new ground with his Interpretation of the symbolism of vassalship, as Percy Schramm had done earlier with that of monarchy. Both of these model studies have inspired us to a more global analysis of political symbolism in the mass displays that princes and city governments, often in consultation, organized in the towns of the fifteenth-century Low Countries.