“Et intret a Montpellier lo jorn de Sant Dyonisi lo rey de Fransa et estet y II jorns.”1 Extract of the “Petit Thalamus” of Montpellier; see the digitalized edition of this manuscript: http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1283.html [Accessed 30 March 2020]. On the “Petit Thalamus,” see Challet, 2016; Challet. 2017. A simple statement-solely indicating that the date in which the king of France entered the town in 1283 was October 9th-allows us into the impressive file that records the royal, princely and papal entries; considering the latter given their undeniable influence on royal entries, in Medieval Montpellier. Or, at least, and this is something that should not be overlooked, the record of such entries written in the urban chronicle of the town of Montpellier, known under the nickname of the “Petit Thalamus,” an official urban chronicle that appears to be the oldest one in Europe written in a vernacular language instead of Latin, from the middle of the 13th century. The fact that we only know these entrances by this single source-which, on some rare occasions, may be complemented by urban accounts-obviously constitutes a major problem, as we can analyse this kind of ritual only from the end of the 13th century-and, in fact, mainly from the 14th-and also because these narratives tend to consider the unique point of view of the municipal power, which means that we risk remaining a prisoner of the urban perception of such a ceremony. But, on the other hand, it gives us the rare opportunity to raise questions about such a ceremony, not so much from the royal empowerment point of view but from the urban magistrates’ perspective, who emphasise their role in the transformation of their town into a stage, to turn an obligation-it is absolutely impossible to refuse to receive a king unless one is ready to challenge him and the monarchy-into a demonstration of municipal power. Nevertheless, such a process can only be built by a complex combination of sounds, acts and people and by a precise utilisation of urban space, not only as significant scenery, but also as a living body. Of course, we need to be careful when interpreting the narratives of such rituals, as Robert Darnton noted about a text written by a magistrate from Montpellier in 1768 describing the town as a procession, the world depicted (by the magistrate) is a by-product of his mental structure, which explains that both a procession in itself and its narration cannot be considered as a faithful description of the society but, merely, as a mental reconstruction of it.2 Darnton, 1984, chapter 3 entitled “A Bourgeois Puts His World in Order: The City as a Text,” pp. 107-144.
This urban chronicle offers us a somewhat official report of what occurred or of what should have occurred-even if it is impossible to know what really happened-and gives us the story of Montpellier from the beginning of the consulate in 1204 until 1423. In this text, royal, princely and papal entries are of increasing importance-especially if we include in this topic the entries of the new bishops or of the royal officers of high rank-which can only be compared with the general religious processions organised to celebrate a king’s victory-especially during the One Hundred Years War-, a royal birth or a plea to God and all the saints to put an end to an epidemic of plague or to bring some rain during summer times. From the middle of the 14th century onwards, these sorts of accounts are not only more abundant but also much more developed, highlighting the role of the consuls themselves in a ritual that, far from being fixed, is in perpetual movement and renewal. At the same time, these accounts assume a specific function both in the reality-at least, as we can apprehend it-and in the idea of producing a manuscript conceived to immortalize-as the « Petit Thalamus » is also a memory book for the future generations of urban magistrates-the fictional image of an urban body united beyond its consuls.
SCHOLARLY APPROACHES TO ROYAL ENTRIES⌅
Such a corpus must be analysed not only in itself but also in relation to the evolution of the historiography from the very first analysis made by Bernard Guenée and Françoise Lehoux on the French royal entries. In their book, they tended to consider that these entries constituted, contrary to coronations or funerals, one of the very seldom rituals in which the subjects were not only witnesses but an integral part of a ceremony that, to be completely effective, required their participation rather than their presence. “An entry is so, better than a coronation, the occasion of a dialog between a closer king and less passive subjects.”3 Guenée and Lehoux, 1968, p. 8, for the quotation. In the historiographical debate, one of the most controversial points was the use of a canopy during royal entries, which was attested for the very first time in the French kingdom in the entry of Charles VI in Montpellier in 1389. Bernard Guenée and Françoise Lehoux compared it with the Corpus Christi feast during which a canopy was supported on the Eucharist and concluded that royal entries can be assimilated to a Corpus Christi, pointing also the fact that, during both ceremonies, the streets were decorated with different sheets on the balconies. Nevertheless, Noël Coulet effectively showed that such a canopy had already been used in 1319-1320 for the entry of the king of Naples in Marseille and even for the entry of Peter of Aragon in 1282 in Messina (Sicily) and thus could not be a consequence and an imitation of the Corpus Christi celebration.4 Coulet, 1977, especially, pp. 63-82. In fact, this canopy seems to be an imitation of the mappula held on the pope on some occasions, a hypothesis confirmed by the case of Montpellier. In 1366, the consuls of the town presented a canopy to the pope Urban V; six years later they did the same thing for Charles II, king of Navarre, even if the latter refused it.5 These entries are discussed below. From the ‘70s, the historiographical debate was fed with the benefits of the American ritualistic school, which, through the analysis of the main rituals of the French monarchy,6 Giesey, 1960; Jackson, 1984. imposed the idea that such ceremonies were nothing more than the physical and visual expression of a self-representation of the monarchy: in other words, a royal entry put in actions, in words and images, an unchanging discourse, and the differences observed during the centuries did not modify at all the essential meaning of the message.7 Bryant, 1986. However, such a position has been widely criticised because it does not take into consideration the possibility of urban authorities taking initiatives-considering, the similarities in how the entries were carried out in towns as different as Rouen, Bourges or Montpellier-and denied a possible dialog between the king and its subjects. Moreover, a scholar like Philippe Buc pointed out the danger of rituals and the fact that, contrary to an anthropologist, who may observe a ritual and include in his observations the sounds and the gestures of the different players, a historian can only know these rituals through narrations that are also ritualised themselves.8 Buc, 2001. This is, of course, an important warning that must not be neglected when discussing a chronicle like the “Petit Thalamus.” Such a general analysis has been taken up again in the context of royal entries by Joël Blanchard who was quite skeptical about the real understanding of such a ritual by its main players and witnesses-especially during the 15th and 16th centuries-and brought attention to the fact that the process was increasingly controlled by urban authorities rather than by the king himself. He concluded that “this ceremony must be analysed by taking into consideration the elements constituting this urban dramatization and provide it with a specific historical meaning.”9 Blanchard, 2003, p. 477, for the quotation. Even more recently, Élodie Lecuppre-Desjardins’ work on the entries of the dukes of Burgundy in the Flemish towns showed that, if such ceremonies are clearly a universal demonstration of legitimacy, one must be careful to the possible changes within them, as the ritual does not provide all of the essential information to understand them, but rather projects a representation, in a given moment, of the nature of the protagonists and of the quality of their relations.10 Lecuppre-Desjardins, 2004.
Consequently, entries have been considered, for a long time, a fixed and performative ritual that allowed only a tiny place for local initiatives and in which municipal power, as well as the inhabitants, were seen as a passive audience whose role was accessory, even if their presence was essential for the performativity of the ritual. But things have changed recently: as expressed by Barbara Hanawalt, regarding civic rituals in late medieval London, such ceremonies possessed a strong didactic purpose and contributed to establishing in practice the political theory according to which the urban magistrates, presenting themselves in their official liveries, were part of the social natural order of the City.11 Hanawalt, 2017. Even if she mainly considered internal rituals to the City rather than royal entries, it helps to reconsider the role of the urban elites as an active one in such a global performance, especially during periods of crisis for the monarchy. It is then possible to reverse the classical position, by giving greater importance to local and historical conditions of such a ritual, organized and stage-managed by municipal authorities eager to transform their own town into a living stage able to give to the king or the prince a vivid image of what was fundamental for the town in terms of self-representation. Besides, the lessons of the spatial turn12 Torre, 2008. also encouraged historians to reconsider the importance of the inscription of a royal entry into a specific urban context, which includes, for instance, the exact place outside the walls where the king was welcomed, the localisation of the entrance gate, the ornamented main streets covered by the procession, the situation of the town hall and the main civic church-or, of course, the cathedral when there is one; not being the case of Montpellier as the bishopric seat remained in Maguelone until the 16th century.13 A cartography of the urban religious processions at the beginning of the 15th century has been made by Dérens, 1995. The medieval topography of Montpellier has been carefully studied by Fabre and Lochard, 1992.
The narrations inscribed in the “Petit Thalamus” of Montpellier deserve to be re-examined through this new perspective by reversing the relationship between the town and the king and considering the leading role assumed, for about one century and a half, by the consuls as producers both of a ritual and of the narration of this ritual inscribed in the urban chronicle. A ceremony that was not exclusively reserved to the king but that could also be used for other powerful figures-popes, foreign kings, princes and princesses, bishops-that the town wants to honour. This approach is both more restrictive-one town, one story-and wider as we may also consider some entries that are not stricto sensu royal entries. From this perspective, the case study of Montpellier is a rich one: from 1271 to 1424, thirty entries are registered in the urban chronicle, even if we know that not all the entries deserved to be preserved in this memorial book. It is particularly obvious when considering the bishops of Maguelone’s entries: indeed, only the ones of Pierre Adhémar in 1408 and Guillaume Forestier in 1424 are described, which makes us wonder whether a new ritual emerged for the bishops at the beginning of the 15th century or whether the novelty only resides in the fact of writing about it. Amongst these 30 entries, only 8 are royal entries-10 if we include the two entries made by the King Charles III of Navarre in Montpellier, although in a town no longer under his lordship.14 Charles III, king of Navarre, also made two entries into the town of Montpellier but they cannot completely be considered as royal entries as the lordship of Montpellier had been seized by the king of France and was not anymore in the hands of the king of Navarre. The situation of Montpellier had gone through a lot of change: even if the town had always been part of the kingdom of France, the lordship originally belonged both to the bishop of Maguelone and to a local dynasty, the Guilhems. Nevertheless, after 1204, as a consequence of the wedding of Marie of Montpellier and Peter II, the kings of Aragon-and, from 1276, of Majorca-inherited the share of the Guilhems. Then, in 1298, the king of France, Philip the Fair, bought the bishop’s share and became lord of a minor section of the urban space called Montpelliéret. Half a century later, in 1349, Philip VI of Valois bought the portion, which belonged to the last king of Majorca, James III, killed the same year at the battle of Llucmajor, and became the lord of the entire town. A few years later, in 1365, by the treaty of Avignon, Charles V obliged the king of Navarre, Charles II, to an exchange between some of his important possessions in Normandy-including Mantes, Meulan and the county of Longueville-and the town and lordship of Montpellier.15 On the history of the Guilhems, see Vidal, 2012. More generally, on the history of Montpellier, see Amalvi and Pech, 2015. Thus, and this is quite an exceptional situation, kings from four different kingdoms-Aragon, Majorca, France and Navarre-could make a royal entry into the town from the 13th to the 15th century. We may even add to this list two pontifical entries-the ones of Clément V and of Urbain V-, the entry of an emperor-Sigismond of Luxembourg-and many princely entries, mainly of princes and princesses from the Spanish kingdoms who went to France or Provence, not to mention the entries of royal officers of high rank. If we consider this entire corpus, we may contemplate new perspectives on the relationships between royal and municipal power as urban magistrates were highly involved in such ceremonies and as the ritual is not as fixed as we may imagine but, on the contrary, was adapted to each different situation. The details-more than the structure in itself-concerning the gifts offered by the urban magistrates, the place where the prince was welcomed by the official representatives of the population in livery-was it outside the walls and at a few kilometres, or only near the main gate?-, the number of representatives from the guilds or other constituted bodies of the town-the University for instance-the presence or the absence of banners and minstrels, the ornamented streets, all these elements give precious indications of urban dynamics and show that a royal entry is made of multiple interactions between the town, men and narrative.
AN ENTRY WITHOUT CEREMONY? WHAT NEEDED TO BE REMEMBERED⌅
The first entries of the kings of Aragon and Majorca and even the first ones of the French kings are simply noted in the urban chronicle without any development or description of a specific ceremony until the middle of the 14th century. For instance, the very first appearance of the Occitan word “yssida”-which means that the consuls went outside the walls to welcome the prince-only dates in 1358, at the occasion of the venue of Isabella of Majorca, daughter of King James III.16 “E fonc li facha yssida et ac hi motz bos homes que s’en vestiron de nou e fonc facha gran festa e danssas.” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1358.html [accessed 18 April 2020]. Nevertheless, such lack of documentation should not surprise us too much, and neither should the fact that the first entries of the kings of Aragon, Peter II and James I, are not registered, even if it was probably difficult to talk of James I’s first entrance as he was born in Montpellier. It seems that, during the 13th and the first half of the 14th century, the only important matter, to the eyes of the urban magistrates, was definitely not the entry in itself but what, in political terms, did the kings. Let us examine one significant example: in 1243, on the eve of the Pentecost feast, was born in Montpellier the future King James II of Majorca,17 “Aquest an, la vigilia de Pantacosta, nasquet a Montpellier Mº Jac., lo bon rey;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1243.html [accessed 18 April 2020]. an event which is recorded in the “Petit Thalamus” where it is noted that the king of Aragon and his wife were in the town at this moment. Their presence in the town was not at all a product of chance. King James was also accompanied by his son, the future King Peter III of Aragon who had been, at that moment, chosen by his father to be the next lord of Montpellier18 By the testament edicted by his father in 1262, James II inherited the kingdom of Majorca, the counties of Roussillon and Cerdagne and the lordship of Montpellier. But, in 1241, James I had elaborated a first plan to share his possessions between his sons: his elder son, Alphonse, should become king of Aragon and Peter should receive Majorca, Roussillon, Cerdagne and Montpellier. As Alphonse died in 1260, Peter became later king of Aragon and his brother James king of Majorca and lord of Montpellier. and who only became king due to the death of his elder brother. Thus, the venue of the royal family in Montpellier had a clear political goal: to prepare the people of the town to accept this succession. Indeed, on 29th June of 1243, St Peter’s and Paul’s day, the consuls and all the people of Montpellier took an oath to be faithful to the king and, after his death, to the queen Yolanda and their son Peter.19 The text of this oath has been preserved in its Latine version only-even if it has probably been taken in Occitan-in the “Grand Thalamus” of Montpellier; Archives Municipales de Montpellier, AA 4, f 86. Nevertheless, whereas the “Petit Thalamus” carefully records this oath-giving the Latin text of it in extenso-it does not mention the entry itself. The same phenomenon can be observed in 1258, when King James I himself went to the town to put an end to a conflict between municipal power and the monarchy concerning some commercial taxes, and, again, in June 1272, when he went to deliver some judicial privileges. The urban chronicle does not talk about the entries, not because they were no entries, but because they were not considered, to the eyes of the consuls, as performative ones. What was important enough to be recorded was not the entry but what the king did, which means that the entry in itself did not constitute yet a ritual. Furthermore, we do not have any evidence of the organisation of a specific ceremony at this time devoted to the reception of the sovereign, which is completely coherent with the general chronology drawn for the kingdom of France by Bernard Guenée and Françoise Lehoux, who considers that we may not speak of a royal entry as a ritual before the 1330s.20 Guenée and Lehoux, 1968. The same thing can be said about the first venue of the king of Majorca, James II, in February 1277 to take possession of the town. On this occasion, the urban chronicle does not give any information or description of the entry but, rather, informs us about the reciprocal oath taken by the king to respect the customs and by the people to be faithful. Such an approach remains true until 1333 when the last king of Majorca, James III, went to Montpellier for Easter and, in the church of Notre-Dame des Tables, armed Bernat Sabors, a lawyer who acted as his main local officer, as a knight.21 On Bernat Sabors, see Giordanengo, 2004.
Such an assertion is also valid for the kings of France, even if their position in Montpellier is more ambiguous until 1349 as they were kings without being lords. When Philip the Bold entered the town in 1283, he was not lord of Montpellier and only made a quick stop during his trip back to Paris from Bordeaux, where he went in June to attend to the judicial duel, which was supposed to take place there between Peter III of Aragon and Charles of Anjou regarding the possession of the kingdom of Sicily. Philip the Bold came a second time in Montpellier, when leading the French troops that took part in the crusade against Aragon in 1285, but the urban chronicle does not mention the brief passage of the king through Montpellier and concedes merely one sentence to the military expedition against Elne and Girona.22 “& en aquel mes lo rey de Fransa passet en Cathaluonha am sas hostz et assetjet Euna et Girona” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1285.html [accessed 18 April 2020]. Even when Philip the Fair entered the town in 1304, despite the fact that he had become lord of the pars antiqua through an agreement with the bishop Bérenger Frédol,23 The agreement between the bishop of Maguelone, Bérenger Frédol, and Philip the Fair was concluded in Paris in March 1293; it has been published by Germain, 1851, t. I, pp. 354-364. the “Petit Thalamus” does not describe the entry, maybe because the royal tour did not have anything to do with Montpellier but was a consequence of the claims to the king against the Inquisition made by brother Bernard Délicieux and the consuls of Carcassonne.24 On Bernard Délicieux, see Friedlander, 2000. On the trip of Philip the Fair in Languedoc, see Favier, 1978, pp. 335-338. As the king’s visit was not worthy of being added to the urban memory and did not grant any special privilege to the town, his presence is simply recorded without any comments; indeed, he may, after all, have entered Montpellier without a specific ceremony, considering also that the context was not really a cheerful one. More surprisingly, the entry of John II in 1351, even if recorded, does not give rise to a narration in extenso; surprisingly, because John II was the very first king of France to enter the town once it was completely his, after that his father, Philip VI, bought the lordship to the last king of Majorca.25 James III, king of Majorca, sold Montpellier and Lattes to the king of France, Philip VI, by an act signed on 18 April 1349 at Montaut, just near Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, against the sum of 120 000 écus, which James III wanted to use to reconquer Majorca. On 19 May, Firmin Coquerel, chancellor of France and elected bishop of Noyon, came to take possession of the town but the Majorca’s officers stayed in charge until 24 June. See Lecoy de la Marche, 1892, t. II, pp. 153-161; the act has been published by Germain, 1851, t. II, p. 367. Surprisingly also, because he stayed in Montpellier for no less than eleven days at the occasion of the General States of Languedoc he convoked there.26 Cazelles, 1991, pp. 131-132. Surprisingly, finally, because, this entrance did take place in the middle of the 14th century and at a time when the new Valois monarchy was eager to build its legitimacy through the performance of public and civic ceremonies. Furthermore, we have got several evidence of the unshakable loyalty of the burgesses of Montpellier to the Valois monarchy and of the reverence expressed to King John II, especially after the battle of Poitiers when he was captured and detained in London.27 See, for instance, the different letters sent by the King John II from England to the consuls of Montpellier from June 1358 to June 1360 (Archives Municipales of Montpellier, fonds Louvet, D 19-26 to D 19-47). Montpellier sent an embassy to visit the king in London in 1359. Nevertheless, such a ceremony, if ever performed, was never added to the memorial book of Montpellier. It can therefore be considered that-until the middle of the 14th century-for the consuls, royal entries did not constitute really a ritual: a royal entry was considered important enough to be recorded but what the king did-or did not-relative to the urban liberties continued to be the priority. However, there is a striking exception to this general tendency, and it does not concern a king, but a pope, which is a concordant clue that the ceremony may have a pontifical origin. In 1305, Clément V, who had been elected but not yet consecrated, entered the town on his trip to Avignon and, although his entrance took place before the coronation, the urban chronicle gives it singular importance, describing the presence, besides the pope, of the kings of Majorca and Aragon and of four cardinals and mentioning, for the first time, that a big feast was given to honour his presence.28 “li facha grand festa;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1305.html [accessed 19 April 2020]. Such description constitutes the first written sign of the emergence of a ritual.
THE PERFECT CEREMONY: URBAN V’S ENTRY (1367)⌅
The ritual became gradually organised, at least in the chronicle, only from the middle of the 14th century. The first narrations are devoted, not to kings, but to two princesses who benefited from particular attention, likely emotional attention rather than an official one. In 1358, Isabella of Majorca, daughter of James III, on her way to Italy to marry John II Paléologue, marquis of Montferrat, stopped in Montpellier and paid holy masses to the memory of her mother and her brother Ferrand who were buried in the town.29 Constance of Aragon y Entenza, wife of James III, king of Majorca (1318-1346). For the very first time, the “Petit Thalamus” accurately describes the entry, stating that “fonc li facha yssida,” which means that the consuls, accompanied by the most important people of the town dressed in new clothes-the text does not mention any livery, which suggests that the consulate did not take in charge at this occasion the cost of a livery specially designed for this entry-, went beyond the town walls to welcome the princess, and that a big feast and dances were given in her honour during her stay.30 http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1358.html [accessed 19 April 2020]. It may be surprising as, finally, there was probably no actual obligation to organise such a ceremony, nor a true political benefit to expect from Isabella de Majorca, after the death of the last king of Majorca at the battle of Llucmajor in 1349. But it seems to reflect the incentive capacity shown by the consuls in such a ceremony, which leads to a fundamental question: for whom was such a ritual performed in reality? For Isabella of Majorca or for the town itself or, at least, for its urban magistrates who had an occasion to show themselves as representatives of the town in a ceremony that was not yet a rigid political ritual and not an obligation, as the princess did not have any rights on the lordship of Montpellier? In such a situation, between a princess who had lost all power and a town who had lost simultaneously a part of its autonomy (vanished with the dynasty of Majorca), the celebration had more a nostalgic than a performative dimension. Nevertheless, precisely because it did not have any real political consequences, the consuls seized the occasion to orchestrate a ceremony, which turns in favour of their institution and the town itself. Eight years later, in 1364, a new entry was organised for Mary of Blois, Duchess of Anjou, and, on this occasion, new elements appeared, that would later be considered compulsory for any royal entry. The “Petit Thalamus” indicates that the streets were decorated with sheets and that half of the consuls, accompanied by the town’s minstrels, escorted the princess by horse, while the other half escorted her afoot.31 http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1365.html [accessed 19 April 2020]. This narration vividly contrasts with the story of the reception of her own husband, Louis, duke of Anjou and brother of Charles V, who entered Montpellier the year before as the king’s lieutenant in Languedoc: in relation to this event, the “Petit Thalamus” simply notes that he entered, without any further comments.32 “mossen Loys de Franca, frayre e luoctenent de nostre senher lo rey, duc d’Anjo, intret a Monpeslier;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1364.html# [accessed 19 April 2020]. Of, course it does not actually mean that Louis of Anjou was not welcomed by the consuls and accompanied by minstrels on his arrival and he even may have enjoyed a more developed ceremony than his wife, as he was the king’s lieutenant after all. But, a few years later, he had become very unpopular in Montpellier, as well as everywhere else in Languedoc, because of his constant need for money and the fiscal pressure he imposed on the province, which led to a bloody rebellion in Montpellier in October 1379.33 On this rebellion, see Challet, 2014. If we consider that the text of the “Petit Thalamus” was only written some years after the events it refers to, it helps to understand why the consuls decided to keep in memory the entrance of the duchess and to elude the duke’s one. At least, even if the consuls were not the masters of the entrance, they were the sole masters of its memory.
The first developed narration of a real ceremony performed in Montpellier dates from 1367 and concerns the entry of a pope, Urbain V, who appears to be, in the whole chronicle, the most important figure to have made an official entry into the town. Urbain V was, at the time, the only consecrated pope to enter the town.34 http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1366.html# [accessed 19 April 2020]. He was a benefactor of Montpellier as he used to be a canon law professor at the University of Montpellier and established a college for the monks of St Benedict’s Order who wanted to study at the University. Furthermore, his visit, a few months before his long journey to Rome, was partly organised so that he could bless his new foundation and participate in the Holy Mass of the consecration of its chapel. This pontifical entry constitutes in the “Petit Thalamus” a model for this kind of ritual and each entry performed after it can and must be compared to this one. The reason for this is that the narration describes a kind of ideal entry made in harmony between the sovereign and a town, which was also the heart city of the pope. The papal visit was therefore a unique occasion to orchestrate a ceremony aimed both to honour the pope as a town’s benefactor and to demonstrate the unity of the urban body not only to the pope and the cardinals but also to the inhabitants attending it. All the conditions were thus gathered to make of this specific entry a unique performance that would beautify and honour the town and would be described in detail in the urban chronicle in order to not to be forgotten in the following decades or centuries.
The welcome of the pope began quite far away from the town’s gates and, thanks to the Cassini’s map drawn for the surroundings of Montpellier between 1770 and 1774,35 It has only be published in 1778 but drawn a few years before its publication. The trace of the main road between Nimes and Montpellier remained unchanged between medieval times and 1778 just as the location of the bridges upon the Cadoule and the Lez Rivers. The location of the Augustinians house is also known thanks to the works of Guiraud (1895), completed by Fabre and Lochard, 1992, pp. 166-167. we can follow the different steps of the pope’s journey before entering in the town (Fig. 1). The twelve consuls and the magistrates in charge of the municipal walls, along with the officers of the kings of France and Navarre36 By the treaty of Avignon concluded in 1365, Charles V, king of France, had granted the possession of the lordship of Montpellier to Charles II, king of Navarre, in exchange of his posessions in Normandy. and the gilds wardens, all of them in livery, exited the town walls and waited for the pope a few kilometres away, at a place called Saint-Antoine-de-la-Cadoule, which was the limit of the barony of Montpellier in direction of Nîmes.37 There was an hospital of the Antonins’ brothers on the banks of the River Cadoule. They were also accompanied by minstrels and by three banners, one with the coat of arms of the pope (Fig. 2) and the two others with the coat of arms of Montpellier, and by flags with the coat of arms of the different gilds. The rest of the population, as a political body, waited near a cross-la croix des Aréniers-which was, on the pilgrimage path from Rome to Santiago de Compostella, an important landmark for the population.38 On the location of the Aréniers cross, see Berthelé, 1928, pp. 246-247. Then, the procession moved towards the town and, at the entrance of the bridge of Castelnau upon Lez, when entering in the suburbs, eight consuls carried above the pope a canopy made of a golden sheet with silvered coats of arms of the pope and of the town. Arrived at the monastery of the Augustinians, the pope put on his pontifical cloths and finally entered the town through the gate of the Pila Saint-Gély where the archbishop of Narbonne and the bishops of the province were waiting for him. Following then one of the main streets named the Rue Française, the procession went there directly to the centre of the town. In a small perimeter were located the town hall where the pope went off his mule, the church of Notre-Dame-des-Tables, where he entered to pray before delivering indulgences, and the main markets (Fig. 3).39 Fabre and Lochard, 1992, pp. 126-135. On the same day, the pope also went with the consuls to visit the building site of the college he had founded. When finally the pope left the town nearly two months later to come back to Avignon,40 He arrived in Montpellier on 10th of January 1376 (new style as the year was beginning on 25th of March) and left on the 8th of March. almost all the inhabitants accompanied him up to the cross of Baucels, some of them afoot, some of them on horseback. Beyond that point, he was only escorted by the consuls-old and new ones as the annual election took place while Urban V stayed in the town-up to Avignon, at least according to the “Petit Thalamus.”
All of the elements that can be observed at later royal entries are already present in 1367, which makes this ceremony a matrix of all of the entries until the beginning of the 16th century: greetings from the consuls at the limits of the barony, banners with the coat of arms of the town, presence of the gilds wardens, minstrels, direct journey from the gate of the Pila Saint-Gély to the town hall and the church of Notre-Dame des Tables where a holy mass is celebrated and, for the most prestigious guests, a golden canopy which, as we will see, was reserved to the popes and the sovereign kings. Such a ritual observes a spatial gradation from the periphery to the centre-it begins directly at the limits of the barony of Montpellier, on the banks of the Cadoule River, and the journey is strongly divided in different steps, located at different landmarks-the cross of the Aréniers, the Castelnau bridge, the Augustinians’ house, the gate of the Pila Saint-Gély. Each stage is marked by a modification of the cortege, increasing in number and dignity until achieving its final composition only when entering into the town. The pope was welcomed by the consuls at the boundaries of their jurisdiction and only entered the town accompanied by the urban magistrates, his own coat of arms framed by the coat of arms of the town-a red circle on silver. The procession then went not to the only parish church Saint-Firmin,41 Vidal, 1990. as it was considered to be the church of the bishop of Maguelone and his canons, but to the main sanctuary, Notre-Dame-des-Tables, which was the civic one. In fact, benefiting from the absence of a cathedral, which was still at Maguelone at the time, the consuls directed the pope toward the civic church, used by the consuls and officers to take oath to the commune and linked to the political community rather than to the parish church. Moreover, the fact that the civic church was situated in front of the town hall was another advantage; and it indicates that this journey was decided by the municipal power, rather than by the kings or the bishops. The account of this entry gives no place-or a very little one-to the bishop of Maguelone and to the king of France’s lieutenant, the duke of Anjou, who was also present to welcome the pope. In the story delivered by the “Petit Thalamus,” the consuls appear to be the masters of the ceremony and the town a vivid stage full of sounds, colour and people, where they could demonstrate their skills to control and put in order the urban space, just as the way they put in order the population represented by gilds wardens. Of course, we may be cautious concerning the roles played by the duke of Anjou or the officers of the king of Navarre, which may have been more important than it is described in the “Petit Thalamus.” Nevertheless, in the urban chronicle, which is also a written dramatization in itself, it is described like this: the consuls organised a play in which they assume both the role of directors and actors towards the papal cortege, and the population is considered the necessary audience.
THE TOWN AND THE KING(S): A STAGING OF POWER AND SUBORDINATION⌅
Only a few royal entries can really be compared to the matrix of the pontifical one in 1367. In the entire corpus, we can solely identify three of them, mainly because these are the ones for which a golden canopy had been prepared: the entries of Charles II of Navarre in 1372, of Charles VI of France in 1389 and of the dauphin Charles of France, future Charles VII, in 1420. When he entered Montpellier, Charles II was certainly king of Navarre but he was also lord of Montpellier and his entry was prepared by the consuls the same way than the pontifical one. As he was arriving from France through Nîmes, the urban magistrates on horsebacks, with the town’s flag, accompanied by minstrels, monks and clergymen, went out to welcome him on the banks of the Cadoule River, as observed for the pope, but when the procession crossed the Lez River at the bridge of Castelnau, the king refused the canopy that had been carefully prepared for him. 42 “no volc soffrir que hom lo portes;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1371.html [accessed 20 April 2020]. The “Petit Thalamus” does not give any explanation for the refusal of the king even if we may suppose that his reluctance was based on the fact that he should be welcomed, not as a sovereign king who he was not in the kingdom of France, but as the lord of Montpellier. He may also have borne in mind the unwillingness of the inhabitants of Montpellier to accept the consequences of the treaty of Avignon and his power over the town as well as the official protestations made by the consuls to the king of France against the assignment of Montpellier to the king of Navarre. The “Petit Thalamus” also stresses the fact that the king was expected to take an oath to confirm the liberties of the town, which he publicly did on the square of the ancient palace of the kings of Majorca.
In contrast with this halftone ceremony, the entry of Charles VI in 1389 is an impressive one, highly resembling the pontifical entry. It occurred during a long journey of the king throughout the whole province of Languedoc,43 Autrand, 1993. organised by his councillors to celebrate the reconciliation between the king and his Occitan subjects after the long rebellion of the Tuchins which, between 1381 and 1383, united the main towns and the countryside, against the troops of the king’s lieutenant, John, Duke of Berry.44 Challet, 2003. Contrary to Toulouse, Nîmes, Béziers or Narbonne-the main other cities of Languedoc-Montpellier did not take part in this rebellion but was the stage of a bloody urban revolt against the king’s officers mentioned above. Thus, the venue of the young king constituted an important political event for the urban power and the ceremony was designed both to honour the town and to show him the perfect obedience of the consuls and citizens. The narration of this entry is even more developed than for the pope’s one and adds a few circumstantial details such as the fact that the royal officers of Montpellier, wearing a livery, went even beyond the Cadoule River, while the consuls on horsebacks were waiting on the opposite bank with the town’s flag, minstrels and the most important citizens. The gild members, also wearing a particolored livery that was identical for all the gilds,45 On the importance of liveries worn by the gilds during civic ceremonies, see Hanawalt, 2017, especially pp. 116-120. were waiting at the cross of the Aréniers, some afoot, some on horsebacks. The “Petit Thalamus” recounts that they were 300 people afoot and 300 on horsebacks waiting for the king (although this might be a bit of an exaggeration). Of course, a golden canopy had been prepared for the king-and it represents a real novelty as it seems to be that it was the very first time that such a canopy was held upon the king in the kingdom of France. Maybe because it was an unusual thing, the author of the urban chronicle-who was the notary of the consulate-described in detail this canopy made of three golden sheets bordered of blue satin decorated with golden lilies and embellished by an edging of green silk.46 “I bel pavalhon de III draps d’aur orlatz deforas de satanis blau tot semenat de flors de lis d’aur orlat de perfilas de ceda verda, et avia y VIII bastos;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1389.html [accessed 21 April 2020]. The canopy was presented to the king, not on the bridge of Castelnau as for the pope, but much closer to the town, at the monastery of the Trinitarians’ order, which was just near the Augustinians’ house47 Attested at Montpellier from, at least, 1217, the order of the Holy Trinity and of the Redemption of the Captives possessed a wide enclosure including a house, chapel, cimetery and hospital, extra muros, on the edge of the road of Nîmes; see Germain, 1860. (Fig. 3). The canopy was held upon the king by eight sticks carried by eight of the twelve consuls of Montpellier from the Trinitarians’ house to the civic church where the king prayed. We do not have any images of this canopy but a later miniature, preserved in the manuscript of the “Annales de Toulouse” and depicting the canopy used by the capitouls of Toulouse for the entry of the king of France, Charles VII, in May 1441, can give an idea of this ceremony and the way it took place in the streets of Montpellier half a century before (Fig. 4);48 Ville de Toulouse, Archives Municipales, BB 273, chronique 136; http://basededonnees.archives.toulouse.fr/4DCGI/Web_RegistreChangePage/ILUMP9999 [accessed on 21 April 2020]. as we can see, this canopy, like the one described for Montpellier, had eight sticks, each one carried by a magistrate afoot in livery, while the king was on horseback, preceded by the town flag.
The main structure of the entry sketched for Urbain V remained untouched on this occasion, particularly the spatial organisation of the procession in concentric circles from the edge of the urban territory to the symbolic centre of the town represented by both the town hall and the civic church. The entries that followed the pontifical one adopted the same pattern, except for the canopy reserved for popes or kings, although never for a queen, but could follow a different route depending on the side the guest was arriving from to Montpellier. Such a variation may be observed for the venue of Jeanne of France, queen of Navarre and sister of Charles V, in 1373 in a moment when the king of Navarre was lord of Montpellier.49 http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1372.html [accessed 21 April 2020]. As she was arriving from Navarre and thus from the west side, she took the road of Béziers instead the one of Nîmes, which required from the consuls a geographical adaptation of the ceremony. According to the “Petit Thalamus,” three old and three new consuls50 She arrived on 17th of March, at a moment when the new consuls have been elected but were not already in charge, as the new consuls only took their oath on 25th of March. went directly to Béziers-about 70 kilometres away from Montpellier-to welcome the queen, escorted by sixteen citizens of the town and the minstrels of the consulate, all in ruddy liveries. Then, all the consuls-new and old ones-with the royal officers-both the king of France and the king of Navarre’s officers-holding the town flag waited for the queen at Pignan, a village that was part of the barony of Montpellier, while the monks, the clergy and the parishes stayed a few kilometres further at Saint-Jean-de-Védas, another village of the barony. Finally, the gilds members, wearing their own liveries and ranked according to the processional order established by the pontifical entry51 “selon l’ordre de la intrada de papa Urban desus en l’an LXVI,” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1372.html [accessed 21 April 2020]. waited at the cross of Lariau, between Saint-Jean-de-Védas and Montpellier, and the cortege accompanied the queen until the hospital of Saint-Barthélemy,52 This hospital, documented since 13th century and linked to the large cemetery of the same name, was located extra muros on the road to Béziers. in the suburb of la Saunerie, where she got out of the wagon in which she had travelled and entered the town on horseback53 She was the only one to enter the town on horseback as the consuls accompanied her afoot. to go to the civic church and town hall (Fig. 3).
Of course, such civic ceremonies had a cost, entirely supported by the urban community itself. The question about the expensive costs of an entry and the way to limit them arose just after the pontifical venue. On the first of February of 1368, just a few months after the pope’s entry, perhaps because of citizen’s complaints about such expenses, the consuls adopted an urban ordinance “per esquivar despessas excessivas” (to avoid excessive expenses). The second item of this edict is entirely devoted to the problem of the livery made especially for prince’s entries and specifies that, in case of such an entry, the consuls and the notary should have to make their livery 3 canas of sheet and nothing else.54 Archives Municipales de Montpellier, AA 9, fol. CCCXVI v: “Item que en intrada de senhor novel, en que los mestiers faran lieureya, cascun dels senhors cossols el notari aion per rauba de liureya III canas de drap sens alre”. The cana de Montpellier was approximatively 1,987 m. Unfortunately, the municipal accounts have been kept neither for 1367, nor for 1373 or 1389 but, thanks to the preservation of the accounts of the neighbouring city of Narbonne, in which King Charles VI also made an entry in 1389 a few days after the one performed in Montpellier, a comparison can be made. As we will see, the comparison only gives an approximate idea of the cost to the town of Montpellier as Narbonne was much smaller and poorer than Montpellier55 Larguier, 1996. and as some elements of the ritual do not appear in the Narbonne’s expenses. To prepare the venue for the king, the consuls had raised a specific tax, with a total amount of 220 pounds56 Blanc, 1899, t. II, p. 1006. The tax was levied “per la venguda del rey nostre senhor”. supposed to be entirely devoted to the entry. The examination of the accounts reveals that the main expense was made for the gift offered to the king and to his younger brother, Louis, Duke of Touraine, on this occasion. The consuls spent a considerable amount of 55 pounds on silver cups, plus an additional cost of 2 pounds for the case, made in Avignon, in which they were presented to the king. An effort was also made to provide minstrels for the venue of the king, as we know that a messenger was sent to recruit minstrels from three neighbouring villages-Nébian, Moussan and Ouveillan-and even from the city of Béziers: these minstrels played, at least, twice for the sovereign, the first time when he entered and the second time when the silver cups were offered to him57 Blanc, 1899, t. II, p. 1007: “per los companhos que toqueron d’esturmens de corda davan lo rey cant hintret;” “per los despens que feron los susdictz companhos lo serdeman que toqueron davan lo present del rey, quant le porteron al rey.” and their expenses amounted to more than 4 pounds. Other main expenses include the sheets decorating the streets (9 pounds), money directly given to the king’s ushers (4 pounds), torches used to give light to the king when he entered (9 pounds), location of horses for the consuls and the consulate’s squires to welcome the king outside the city58 The consuls went to the bridge of Pont-Serme on the Aude River to wait for the king. and the repair by 72 men, of the main route from the city to the Pont-Serme bridge at a cost of 9 pounds. The total amount of the expenses inscribed in the municipal accounts is no less than 102 pounds 13 sous and 8 deniers, which is far less than the 220 pounds levied by the municipal power. But, returning to the comparison with Montpellier, the Narbonne’s accounts do not give any indication on the cost of the golden canopy-as no one was ever presented to the king there-or the liveries, which must both have represented important amounts. Thus, one hundred pounds can be considered as a strict minimum for an average city as Narbonne, but the expenses must have been considerably higher for Montpellier as indicated by the scarce information that we can get concerning the entry of the dauphin in 1420.59 On this entry, see below. The municipal accounts have also been lost for this period but, thanks to a register held by the notary of the consulate, we know that on the 19th of March, ten days before the date scheduled for the entry, a town council was gathered in order to prepare this entry.60 Archives Municipales de Montpellier, BB 44 (notes brèves de maître Joan del Pi), register not paged. The council is held “pro provisionibus faciendis propter adventum illustrissimis principis domini regentis Dalphini Viennensis”. The act was taken not by Joan del Pi but by another notary, Vincent Cabasse. The consuls informed their councillors that such an entry was going to cost a lot of money that they did not own and, consequently, six honourable men were elected to raise a tax, impose a loan and deal with the sheets that would adorn the streets. Six days later, the loan yielded the considerable amount of 2570 pounds and 10 sous tournois, even if the whole sum was maybe not entirely devoted to the entry.
As we have seen for the entry of Jeanne of France, the same logic of concentric circles and the same structure of the journey in different steps leading from the borders of the barony to the walls and then to the civic centre, was observed in a ritual that gave the impression that the consuls were the keepers of the community and the ones who authorized the queen to enter the urban space. Such a ritual was not only made for the king or the queen’s profit, as it was an occasion for the consuls to celebrate and stage their own power. This may also explain why some princes or kings seemed to be reluctant to take part in such a ceremony, which was finally orchestrated more for the urban elites than for the king’s majesty. The case of Montpellier shows some examples of precocious suspicions from the princes. In 1378, the elder son of the king of Navarre, Charles, arrived at Montpellier but did not give the consuls any notice of his venue.61 “car sa venguda fon sobta et non saubuda;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1377.html [accessed 22 April 2020]. Nevertheless, the consuls managed in extremis to preserve the dignity of the town and to improvise a ceremony a minima, receiving the prince outside the walls with the town flag, some minstrels and as many boni homines as they could find. Even without acknowledging the fact that the relations between Montpellier and the kingdom of Navarre were quite ambiguous, the prince’s attitude62 The prince was going to Paris to encounter the king of France, Charles V, for negociations in the name of his father. It is during his stay in France that the treaty that his father intended to sign with England was revealed. By retortion, Charles V seized all the Navarrese landings in Normandy as well as Montpellier. seems similar to the one of the King Louis XI who, as soon as he had entered a town, avoided the main square and went directly to the place where he stayed.63 Basin, 1972, t. 3, p. 287, quoted by Boucheron, 2011, p. 110. Aware that this ceremony did not only exalt the royal authority but also staged the limits of it,64 Boucheron, 2011. Charles, prince of Navarre, expressed his will to deny a celebration that seemed, in his eyes, an urban ritual. Moreover, in 1408, the same prince, now king of Navarre under the name of Charles III but not anymore lord of Montpellier, greeted by the consuls outside the walls, as usual, simply refused to enter the town and preferred to sleep in the monastery of the Friars located in the suburbs.65 “car non volc intrar defra vila;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1408.html [accessed 22 April 2020]. The Friars’ house, situated beyond the suburb of the Courreau, on the western side of the town, was frequently used to accommodate prestigious guest. The king of France, John the Good, slept there in 1351. The consuls did not give up completely: when the king refused to enter the town, the town came to him and the consuls went directly to the monastery to give a speech to the king concerning the freedoms of the town and to deliver him some gifts. Finally, when Charles came back from France to Navarre in December 1410, he also stayed in the same convent and the consuls were even unable to escort him on his way back as they used to do for kings.
The reluctance of Charles of Navarre may nevertheless be attributed more to the specific relations of the Navarrese monarchy to Montpellier than to a general distrust expressed by the royalty towards the ceremony in itself, which kept a strong legitimising power all along the 15th century and beyond, as shown, in a context of concurrency between English and French crowns, by the entry of Charles, dauphin of France, in 1420. Following the treaty of Troyes that disinherited him in benefit of the king of England, Henry V, Charles was in a very delicate political situation, even in the last regions he controlled in the southern part of the kingdom, and he had to organize that year a military campaign in Languedoc to re-establish his authority and reaffirm his legitimacy to the throne of France against the propaganda of the duke of Burgundy and his followers. In such a context, Charles seized the opportunity of the entries in the main towns of Languedoc to present himself as the legitimate heir of the Crown as well as a war chief able to regain his kingdom by force of arms. As he already did in Toulouse at the beginning of March, when he entered accompanied by a great army of men at arms, crossbow men and Scottish bowmen,66 On the political situation and the difficulties encoutered in Languedoc in 1420 by the dauphin, see Challet, 2012. the dauphin entered Montpellier accompanied by great military.67 “en granda companhia de gens d’armas e de gens de trag;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1420.html [accessed on 24 April 2020]. As he was arriving from Toulouse, the consuls went outside on horsebacks to welcome him, escorted by a lot of citizens, the minstrels, the town flag and members of the clergy and of the monastic orders. For the very first time, the “Petit Thalamus” provides information about the soundscape, stating that, during this entry, the main bell of the civic church and the bells of all the churches of Montpellier were ringing.68 “e totjorn sonan lo sen gros e totz los sens de totas las gleyas de la vila;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1420.html [accessed on 24 April 2020]. It is hard to believe that ringing bells could constitute a real novelty at the beginning of the 15th century but the fact is that it is the first time that the writer allows specific attention to this soundscape, exception made of the minstrels. In this case, it seems to indicate not a new habit but a new sensitivity to the sounds and their integration into the narration of a ceremony,69 On the notion of soundscape, see Corbin, 1994; on the peaceful dimension of ringing bells in the context of the One Hundred Years War, see Offenstadt, 2007. as we know by the municipal accounts that ringing the bells for an entry was quite an old habit.70 Archives Municipales de Montpellier, Joffre 845 (livre de la claverie 1357-1358), fol. LXVI vº: payment to the bell-ringer “per V sonadas que fes lo sen gros lo jorn que lo comte de Peities venc en esta viela”. We can note that this entry of John, count of Poitiers, son of the king of France John the Good and his lieutenant in Languedoc, is not even evoked in the “Petit Thalamus”. Nevertheless, the most striking element of this entry was, in contrast with the military aspect of it, the golden canopy that the consuls presented to the dauphin when he arrived at the hospital of Saint-Barthélemy (Fig. 3) and under which, on horseback, he passed through the streets adorned with white sheets up to the church of Notre-Dame des Tables. The use of a golden canopy is of a significant importance as it had been used, until 1420, in only two occasions: in 1367 for Urbain V and in 1389 for Charles VI. Thus, it can be seen as a reminiscence of Charles VI’s71 This is also underlined by an indication found on a register of the consulate’s notary, Joan del Pi, for this year. Writing down a decision made on 25th of March-only four days before Charles’ entry-, he began to write “Caroli Dei gratia Dalphini Viennensis” but then crossed off the two last words and replace them by “filii domini nostri Francorum Regis” in order to highlight the official recognition of Charles as the son of Charles VI, in spite of the treaty of Troyes; Archives Municipales de Montpellier, BB 44 (notes brèves de maître Joan del Pi), register not paged. entry and, mostly, as a recognition of the dauphin as the true heir of the Crown, especially if we take into consideration the fact that, on the canopy, both the coat of arms of the king and the coat of arms of the dauphin were painted, overcame by his crest. Therefore, the consuls of Montpellier made this choice in order to manifest publicly both to the dauphin and to their own population-maybe especially to the poorest ones who were susceptible to be favourable to the duke of Burgundy’s propaganda-their loyalty to the Valois’ house. In a sense, Charles’ entry into Montpellier was, for its inhabitants, as significant as will be, for the subjects of the northern part of the kingdom, nine years later, his coronation in Reims. Through such an entry and due to the golden canopy, Charles was already recognized as the future Charles VII king of France. And if we really believe in the efficiency of rituals, we can say that this ceremony made him, to the eyes of the citizens of Montpellier, a king.
A PERFORMANCE RATHER THAN A RITUAL: IMPERIALS ENTRIES⌅
Not all the entries had such political importance and performative impact, in fact, the entry of the dauphin is more an exception than a usual case, due to the context of a civil war. On the contrary, it may also happen that some entries did not possess any political meaning but appeared as mere performances executed to honour a prestigious guest and to promote the prestige of the town without allowing any sign of sovereignty. This was particularly the case with the ceremony that occurred at the occasion of emperor Sigismond of Luxembourg’s entry in August 1415. The venue of an emperor was, of course, an important matter-no emperor ever entered Montpellier before Sigismond-and the consuls had to deal with the dilemma of organizing an entry that enhanced the imperial majesty, but without performing any sign of obedience or allegiance, in faithfulness to the rules edited by Charles V on the occasion of the venue, in 1378, of his uncle, the emperor Charles IV to Paris.72 Autrand, 1995. Sigismond was on his way from the council of Constance to Salses, where he was supposed to encounter the king of Aragon, Alfonso V, and the former pope of Avignon, Benedict XIII, in order to convince him to resign his office. The “Petit Thalamus” delivers a very long description of his entrance-the longest one, in fact, of all the narrations it contains-but gives the impression that this ceremony was much more honorific than performative. Certainly, the emperor’s cortege was impressive, including the archbishop of Reims, a Hungarian duke, a Turkish imprisoned “king,” one hundred German and Hungarian knights, bishops, theology masters, doctors in law and, as stated in the “Petit Thalamus,” many others up to the number of one thousand.73 http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/annales-occitanes/annee-1415.html [accessed on 24 April 2020]. The consuls went outside of the town walls, on horsebacks, to welcome the emperor but they only reached the banks of the Salaizon River, closer to the town than the Cadoule River where their predecessors had welcomed the pope Urbain V and, of course, no canopy was presented to Sigismond. The urban chronicle also gives a full account of the municipal procession, of the precise ranking of the minstrels, the two horn players, the king’s officers and the monks and clergymen; and a complete description of the path followed by the emperor in the streets of Montpellier after the traditional halt at the civic church where he prayed. Such a detailed description allows us to reconstruct the exact route followed by the emperor between the civic church and the bishop’s house where, as was usual for the most prestigious guests, he was hosted74 Charles VI in 1389 as well as his son, the dauphin Charles, were also hosted in the bishop’s palace. (see Fig. 3, green line). This is the most ancient report that we have got of a tour in the town after the halt at the civic church.
It may have existed before, as we know for instance, that Charles VI did not go directly from Notre-Dame des Tables to the bishop’s palace but went to the Saunerie area. But, before Sigismond’s entry, we do not have any indication of such a circuit organized by the consuls and leading the emperor through adorned streets to the parochial church of Saint-Firmin and the drapery’s quarter before arriving to his residence. In the same order of ideas, the “Petit Thalamus” specifies for the first time that the consuls gifted the emperor with white and red wines, red wax, white candles and spices, among others. As is shown by the gift of silver cups to the king in Narbonne in 1389, offering presents to a guest was absolutely not a novelty and was even a very common gesture towards visitors even far less prestigious than an emperor. However, the “Petit Thalamus” is not at all an exact and complete transcription of the different entries occurred in the town. The text makes a selection of the receptions, glorifying some of them like Sigismond’s one and leaving others into oblivion such as the entry of the count of Armagnac in 1357, which left no trace in the urban chronicle but was nonetheless mentioned in the municipal expenses.75 Archives Municipales de Montpellier, Joffre 845, fol. LXVIII vº: payments for the location of horses used by consuls and consulate’s squires who welcomed the count outside of the walls when he arrived and accompanied him up to the Salaizon River when he left the town to go to Nîmes. Not only did the “Petit Thalamus” make a selection between the entries but also in the narration of the entries, as we already noted concerning the soundscape and the habit of ringing bells. Finally, regarding Sigismond’s entry, we can say that the text is as full of details as it is empty of meaning.
The urban chronicle stopped altogether at the end of the year 1426 but started again, written in French instead of in Occitan, in 150276 On the interruption ot the medieval chronicle and its resumption in Early Modern times, see Challet, Conesa and Durand, 2018. recording only one event that was the entry of the archduke of Flanders, Philip the Fair, son of Maximilian of Habsburg, travelling back from Spain to its northern estates. Stricto sensu, this ceremony was not an imperial entry for both reasons: first, Maximilian was not emperor but only possessed the title of King of the Romans after his coronation in 1486; secondly, it was only his son and not the king himself who entered Montpellier. Nevertheless, it remained an important event and the organization of the ceremony was also an order from the king of France, Louis XII, who informed the urban magistrates that Philip the Fair should be received as if, himself, king of France would enter the town,77 “le roy nostre sire manda et commanda ausdictz seigneurs consulz que a l’antree dudit monseigneur l’archeduc lui fusse faict telle et semblable honneur que l’on feroit a sa personne et a son entree;” http://thalamus.huma-num.fr/chronique-francaise/annee-1502.html [accessed 27 April 2020]. probably with the exception of the golden canopy. It may be at the occasion of the preparation of this entry that the consuls ordered a general survey of the medieval chronicle, as the main accounts of medieval entries are marked in the manuscript by a note in margin (Fig. 2). But the ceremony differs from a medieval one on some essential points and reveals both a minor autonomy of the consulate and an adaptation to the Renaissance style. The king had sent some representatives to welcome the archduke and the procession did not go beyond the cross of Saint-Barthélemy, near the eponymous hospital, thus abolishing the progressive journey from the margins of the lordship onto the civic centre. On the other hand, the narration is far more precise, delivering for instance a complete description of the municipal cortege and his specific order, from the clergymen with their reliquaries to the consuls themselves, accompanied by many citizens, the justice’s officers, the governor and his suite, all in liveries, and the University-first, the Law University and then the Medicine one. When Philip the Fair entered the town, he was welcomed by musicians, by a boy dressed as an angel and by four girls of preeminent families of the town who represented the four cardinal virtues-Strength, Caution, Hope and Justice. Then, the archduke went directly to the civic church, where the bishop of Maguelone, Guillaume Pellicier, celebrated the Holy Mass. The account goes on by describing the joyful atmosphere, the bells ringing during the whole ceremony, the lamps and the torches lightened in the church, the streets adorned with colourful sheets, the gilds flags and the very long narration of the dances performed in presence of Philip the Fair. It also adds a few details, like the fact that sand was put down on the streets to avoid any horse’s accident, but the general aspect of this relation is more of a performance delivered to the archduke than the one of a ritual. The same gestures are observed, the same route is followed, the same sounds are heard, the same characters are acting, the same order in the procession is respected but the relation, by highlighting the decorative elements of the entry, makes it clear that it does not have any real political significance.
To conclude, this case-study provides a complete reversal of perspective concerning the royal entries by focusing on the point of view of the urban elites and the way they inscribed it in the town memory book. As we saw, the ritual appeared tardily and was only in place for the pontifical visit in 1367. It emerged in a specific context, which finally was less political than religious, and allows the consulate to make their town a vivid stage in order to demonstrate their own power and legitimate their domination, not only on the urban space, but also on the neighbouring lands, which belonged to the lordship of Montpellier. In this sense, municipal power reinforced itself by this ritual during the 14th-15th centuries, which may explain both the fact that the consuls gave such attention to the inscription of these entries in the “Petit Thalamus” and the reluctance of the kings of Navarre for these entries. By the petrification of space, the consuls also tried to petrify their own power and to inscribe it, as the masters of the ceremony, not only in the stones but also in the minds and memories of the inhabitants and in the parchment of the urban chronicle. Moreover, each entry consolidated the grip of the consuls upon urban space, cumulatively constructing frameworks of meaning and signification. However, the ritual was not unchanging, nor rigid. On the contrary, it was susceptible to accommodate itself to certain circumstances, to underline the royal dignity of a prince, as in 1420 for the dauphin, or to transform a political ritual into a mere performance as for the imperial ceremonies organized for Sigismond and the archduke of Flanders, Philip the Fair. This is also why it lasted for such a long time without loosing any fragment of its impressive power.