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The Triumphal Entry in Sixteenth-Century France 

V. E. Graham

Graham, V. E., « The Triumphal Entry in Sixteenth-Century France », Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme, Vol. 22 No. 3 (1986) : New Series Vol. 10, No 3.

Extrait de l’article

The triumphal entry in sixteenth-century France forms part of a very long tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages and continues, with interruptions, right into the nineteenth century. The early royal entries into Paris and other cities in the French provinces up to the end of the fifteenth century have already been carefully documented by Bernard Guenée and Françoise Lehoux. By that date the form of the ceremony was well established and the word "triumphal" was beginning to be used in the great variety of ways one finds in the century following, where it came to be applied not only to entries but to coronations, weddings, funerals, masses, buildings and even to costume. The only similar descriptive term equally common at the time and equally vague in its import is the appelation "à l’antique."

Both expressions evoke classical models, to be sure, and one might well ask how much was then actually known concerning Roman triumphs and other customs they were supposedly imitating. This no doubt varied considerably, depending on the commentators, but, as early as 1517, for the entry of Francis I into Rouen, one of the decorations consisted of a huge horse with its front feet up in the air and on its back a figure representing the king. The account of the entry notes that this statue

avoit esté ordonné pour... emuler le triomphe des romains, desquelz à leurs consulz, imperateurs ou autres hommes vertueulx, qui avoient fait chose digne de memoire à l’utilité de la chose publique, erigoyent en lieu patent à Rome une statue de marbre ou cuyvre pour perpetuelle memoire de celuy qui estoit digne de triumphe.

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