By Richard McCoy
Conventional notions of sacred kingship grew to become either extra grandiose and extra troublesome in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced via 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 alterations all started a non secular controversy in England that may bring about civil battle, regicide, recovery, and eventually revolution. Richard McCoy exhibits that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic adjustments of country, writers like John Skelton, Shakespeare, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell grappled with the belief of kingship and its symbolic and major energy. Their inventive representations of the crown show the eagerness and ambivalence with which the English seen 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 conventional 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 nation, and the very suggestion of holiness. He unearths how older notions of sacred kingship improved throughout the political and spiritual crises that remodeled the English country, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered via this growth have confirmed so power.
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Additional info for Alterations of State: sacred kingship in the English Reformation
67 Yet he concedes elsewhere that during Henry’s last years the Mass “ﬂourished, the altars with the sacrament thereof being in their most high veneration, that to man’s reason it might seem impossible that the glory and opinion of that sacrament and sacramentals, so highly worshipped and so deeply rooted in the hearts of many, could by any means possible so soon decay and vanish to nought” (:). Happily, despite Henry’s efforts to preserve traditional religion’s sacramental system, “the sacrament of the altar, and the altars themselves, .
Christ himself, immolated on the altar of the cross, became present on the altar of the parish church, body, soul, and divinity, and his blood ﬂowed once again, to nourish and renew Church and world. 11 As Duffy indicates, the Mass and Eucharist were regarded as a recurrent reenactment of Christ’s redemptive sacriﬁce, and this belief was ofﬁcially formulated at the Fourth Lateran Council in as the doctrine of transubstantiation. 13 Within the Mass, the elevation of the host was the literal high point for many in the congregation, a glimpse of the deity that excited even more fervor than the reception of communion.
Were] plucked up by the roots” (:) almost immediately after his death. McCoy_Ch1 4/10/02 3:42 PM Page 22 Whatever his beliefs about Henry’s intentions, Foxe pointedly declares “the Lord be praised for his most gracious reformation,” duly crediting the supreme being rather than royal supremacy or the succession of Edward VI for the fortunate reversal of Henry’s lapses in (:). 69 Royal supremacy drew much of its strength from older notions of sacred kingship as well as a persistent desire to locate the sacred somewhere.