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Die Wolverdiente Ehren-Seule für Herzog Ernst I. von Sachsen-Gotha und Altenburg als Medium höfischer Kommunikation

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The funeral sermon of a deceased prince played a particular role within the system of communication of early modern courts. The Wohlverdiente Ehrenseule, printed in honour of Ernst I von Sachsen-Gotha und Altenburg, and the Personalia which it contained, carried multiple meanings. In the first instance they served to communicate an unquestioned acceptance of the new ruler as guarantor of the existing order, in the context of the state ceremony of mourning. They acquired additional meaning as part of the ostentatious printed account of the funeral, where they worked to communicate the newly created image of Duke Ernst set up by his oldest son Friedrich in the context of the latter’s conflict with his brothers. It has become clear that such ostentatious funeral publications can only be evaluated with an understanding of both their political implications and the complete medial system of the relevant court, because the commemoration of the deceased prince was not the consequence of his qualities as a ruler but rather of the message that his successor wished to communicate.


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