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coronation,ceremony of crowning and anointing a sovereign on his or her accession to the throne. Although a public ceremony inaugurating a new king or chief had long existed, a new religious service was added when Europe became Christianized. The service, derived from Old Testament accounts of the anointing of SaulSaul,
first king of the ancient Hebrews. He was a Benjamite and anointed king by Samuel. Saul's territory was probably limited to the hill country of Judah and the region to the north, and his proximity to the Philistines brought him into constant conflict with them.
..... Click the link for more information. and DavidDavid,
d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure.
..... Click the link for more information. by Samuel, helped to alter the concept of kingship, because anointment was thought to endow a prince with divine blessing and some degree of priestly (possibly even divine) character.
In England, from the coronation (973) of Edgar, the ceremony included a coronation oath, anointment, investiture, enthronement, and homage. The pageantry of the English coronation, which since 1066 has taken place in Westminster AbbeyWestminster Abbey,
originally the abbey church of a Benedictine monastery (closed in 1539) in London. One of England's most important Gothic structures, it is also a national shrine. The first church on the site is believed to date from early in the 7th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , is still that of medieval times. Kings of Scotland were crowned at SconeScone
, village, Perth and Kinross, central Scotland. Old Scone, west of the modern village of New Scone, was the repository of the Coronation Stone (see under coronation) and the coronation place of Scottish kings from Kenneth I to Charles II.
..... Click the link for more information. on the Coronation Stone, which, according to tradition, is the stone Jacob used at Bethel; it was the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, of early kings of Ireland, and, taken to Scotland, was used in coronation ceremonies there. In 1296 Edward I took the stone to Westminster, where it was under the seat of the coronation chair until 1996, when it was returned to Scotland and displayed in Edinburgh Castle.
In France, Pepin the Short, first king of the Carolingian line (see CarolingiansCarolingians
, dynasty of Frankish rulers, founded in the 7th cent. by Pepin of Landen, who, as mayor of the palace, ruled the East Frankish Kingdom of Austrasia for Dagobert I.
..... Click the link for more information. , was twice anointed by popes, partly to legitimize his supersession of the Merovingian dynasty (see MerovingiansMerovingians,
dynasty of Frankish kings, descended, according to tradition, from Merovech, chief of the Salian Franks, whose son was Childeric I and whose grandson was Clovis I, the founder of the Frankish monarchy.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Later the French coronation came to resemble the English form, which was probably introduced into France in the 10th cent. The custom whereby the Holy Roman emperor was crowned by the pope dates from the coronation of CharlemagneCharlemagne
(Charles the Great or Charles I) [O.Fr.,=Charles the great], 742?–814, emperor of the West (800–814), Carolingian king of the Franks (768–814).
..... Click the link for more information. on Christmas Day, 800. The anointing of the emperor by the pope was instituted by Louis I in 816. In 1804, Napoleon I brought Pope Pius VII to Paris to crown him in Notre Dame cathedral; but, in a famous episode, he seized the crown from the pope's hands and crowned himself.