The Joyous Entry of Casimir I and IV into Lithuanian and Polish Cities

In: Lithuanian Historical Studies
Author: S.C. Rowell
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This article uses published and unpublished material to examine the entry of Casimir Jagiellończyk into various towns in Poland and Lithuania. Royal entry ceremonial demonstrated the social contract between the lord and his subjects: his legitimate and accepted position as dominus naturalis, his respect for his subjects’ liberties, and in return his subjects’ loyalty to their prince and acceptance of his legitimacy. There is a general format to entrees royales throughout Europe. The ceremonial has recognised overtones of religious ceremonial and the selection of dates for making a solemn entry was also connected with religious festivities. Lithuanian and Polish models are similar, as we would expect. Vilnius became a deliberate re-creation of Cracow with much centring on the Stanisław cult in the castle church-cathedral. However, Lithuania was not blocked out by Poland in this state theatre. Ceremonial under Casimir illustrates the diversity and unity of his realms. There is a colour for all participants – usually red with gold embroidery, sometimes green or indeed brown or black. However, just as Princess Jadwiga’s golden carriage with the shields of Poland and Lithuania represented both the Kingdom and the Grand Duchy, so the style of clothing of her Polish, Lithuanian and Tatar retinue was distinctive and noticeably varied. Even the breed of horses ridden by members of an entry retinue could differ – but not in an uncontrolled way. Despite the fact that Lithuanian and Polish practice does not follow the French model exactly, it is part of a general European political culture.

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