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5. Describing Rituals of Succession and the Legitimation of Kingship in the West, ca. 1000–ca. 1150

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Chapter Summary

This chapter points out patterns. Patterns of norms and values, but also of structures, evidence of processes, and actions that can tell us something about both the ideal and the reality of kingship in the high medieval West. The chapter focuses on three texts Wipo's account of the succession as king of the future western Emperor Conrad II in 1024, written ca. 1040; the report by the so-called "Gallus Anonymus" of the succession to kingship in 999/1000 of Boleslaw I of Poland, penned ca. 1110-1113; and the anonymous Gesta Stephani's report on the succession to the English throne of Stephen of Blois in 1135, written from the 1140s until ca. 1154. Wipo may have witnessed the events he described, or may at least have had access to those who had. Ritual acts demonstrated that Conrad had the moral disposition to be king and emperor.

Keywords: Emperor Conrad II; Gallus Anonymus; Gesta Stephani's report; Stephen of Blois; Wipo's account



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