By Richard McCoy
Conventional notions of sacred kingship grew to become either extra grandiose and extra tricky in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced through Henry VIII and his claims for royal supremacy and divine correct rule ended in the suppression of the Mass, because the host and crucifix have been overshadowed through royal iconography and pageantry. those adjustments begun a non secular controversy in England that might bring about civil battle, regicide, recovery, and finally revolution. Richard McCoy exhibits that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic changes of nation, writers like John Skelton, Shakespeare, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell grappled with the assumption of kingship and its symbolic and substantive strength. Their inventive representations of the crown display the eagerness and ambivalence with which the English considered their royal leaders. whereas those writers differed at the primary questions of the day -- Skelton used to be a staunch defender of the English monarchy and standard faith, Milton was once an intensive opponent of either, and Shakespeare and Marvell have been extra equivocal -- they shared an abiding fascination with the royal presence or, occasionally extra tellingly, the royal absence. starting from regicides actual and imagined -- with the very genuine specter of the slain King Charles I haunting the rustic like a revenant of the king's ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet -- from the royal sepulcher at Westminster Abbey to Peter Paul Reubens's Apotheosis of King James at Whitehall, and from the Elizabethan compromise to the fantastic Revolution, McCoy plumbs the depths of English attitudes towards the king, the country, and the very proposal of holiness. He unearths how older notions of sacred kingship accelerated throughout the political and spiritual crises that reworked the English kingdom, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered via this growth have confirmed so chronic.
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The solemn procession through the city streets with the host in an elaborate display case or monstrance under a canopy was a kind of sustained elevation allowing the entire populace to gaze on the “comely corse” of Christ. 14 The doctrine was sometimes dramatized in pageants and tableaux incorporated into the procession itself, such as the one witnessed by Pope Pius II at Viterbo in , where “Christ was represented by a man naked except for a loincloth with a crown of thorns on his head, painted so that he seemed to be exuding blood, carrying the cross on which he seemed to have hung.
64 John Bale couples Askew’s record of her interrogation with his own heated commentary in the versions he published shortly after Henry’s death. He too refrains from blaming the king, but he pours scorn on William Paget’s comparison of “Christes presence in the sacrament, to the kynges presence. . ”65 More ardent reformers like Bale had no patience for equations of the real presence with the royal presence and dismissed them with contempt. McCoy_Ch1 4/10/02 3:42 PM Page 21 Bale’s modest hagiography was taken over by John Foxe, whose own vast book of martyrs attained epic proportions.
37 Henry balked at Luther’s attack on the church’s “whole pageantry of things visible” because he saw these devotional practices as essential props of ecclesiastical and social order. Such political concerns were a major source of England’s rooted resistance to radical reform, and other conservatives shared Henry’s views. ”39 Taking holy things out of their place threatened the entire cosmic and social order. As John Bossy explains, More worried that Protestantism’s “radical dismissal of incarnate holiness” would lead to a “divorce between the sacred and the body social,” and many, including Henry McCoy_Ch1 4/10/02 3:42 PM Page 15 VIII, shared More’s belief that the “community of Christian Englishmen .