Ritual and Symbolic Communication in Medieval Hungary under the Árpád Dynasty (1000 - 1301)


In Rituals and Symbolic Communication in Medieval Hungary under the Árpád Dynasty (1000 - 1301) Dušan Zupka examines rituals as means of political and symbolic communication in medieval Central Europe, with a special emphasis on the rulers of the Árpád dynasty in the Kingdom of Hungary.
Particular attention is paid to symbolic acts such as festive coronations, liturgical praises, welcoming of rulers ( adventus regis), ritualised settlement of disputes, and symbolic rites during encounters between rulers. The power and meaning of rituals were understandable to contemporary protagonists and to their chroniclers. These rituals therefore played an essential role in medieval political culture. The book concludes with an outline of ritual communication as a coherent system.
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Biographical Note

Dušan Zupka, PhD. (1981), is a researcher at the University of Oxford and a lecturer at Comenius University in Bratislava. He is the author of a monograph and several articles on power, rulership and communication in medieval Central Europe.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements vii
List of Illustrations VIII
Abbreviations IX
Introduction 1
1 Rituals and Symbolic Communication: Theory, Terminology and
Methodology 15
1 Ritual—Definition of the Term 15
2 The Study of Rituals in the Humanities 19
3 Rituals and Symbolic Communication in Medieval Studies 22
3.1 Rituals in Medieval Studies—Overview of
Previous Research 22
3.2 Rituals in Medieval Studies—The Current
State of Research 25
3.3 Rituals and Symbolic Communication in the Middle Ages 32
2 Rituals of Power and Symbols of Monarchy 35
1 Three Types of Coronation 36
2 Laudes regiae 45
3 Cingulum militiae 49
4 Court Festivities and Royal Majesty 55
5 The Symbols and Rituals of the Hungarian Monarchs 61
6 Summary 68
3 The Settling of Disputes and Submission—Rituals of Reconciliation 70
1 Reconciliation Rituals in Internal Political Struggles and in the
Settling of Disputes with Foreign Monarchs (11th Century) 72
1.1 Reconciliation Rituals in the Struggles for the Hungarian Throne
in the Second Half of the 11th Century 72
1.2 Conciliatory Settlement of Disputes between Hungary and the
Holy Roman Empire 86
2 The Evolution and Transformation of the Ritual of Reconciliation in
the 12th Century 94
2.1 Coloman and Álmos 94
2.2 Coloman and Foreign Rulers 97
2.3 Hungary and Byzantium 101
vi contents
3 Symbolic Gestures of Humility—Submission and Supplication 107
4 Summary and Conclusions 115
4 Adventus regis in Medieval Hungary 117
1 Adventus regis 117
2 Adventus regis in Political Communication in Hungary under the
Árpád Dynasty 121
3 Good and Bad adventus 130
4 Conclusion 137
5 Encounters between Royalty—Greeting Rituals 139
1 Symbolic Communication during Meetings between Royalty 139
2 Osculum pacis 144
3 Research Issues 147
4 Symbolic Communication between Members of the Árpád and Piast
Dynasties 147
4.1 Stephen I and Bolesław I 148
4.2 Ladislas I and Bolesław II 152
4.3 Coloman I and Bolesław III 156
5 Symbols and Rituals in the Hungarian Kings’ Encounters
with the Crusaders 162
5.1 The First Crusade (1096) 163
5.2 The Second Crusade (1147) 167
5.3 The Third Crusade (1189) 170
6 The Role and Significance of Royal Encounters in the Middle
Ages 172
7 Conclusion 177
6 Concluding Reflections: Ritual Communication as a Coherent
System 179
1 The Role of Ritual 180
2 The Acquisition of Ritualized Communication—Lernprozess 182
3 An Outline of Developments in the Later Middle Ages: Urban Rituals
and Written Culture 185
4 Monarchic Power and Its Representation 189
5 Quality, Role, and Ritual: Towards a Conceptual Framework 194
Bibliography 197
Index 222


Historians focusing on historical anthropology, cultural and political history of medieval Central Europe, especially Hungary. Scholars interested in power structures, the use of communication, rituals and symbols in early and high medieval society.


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