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The coronation of Joseph II as Roman King in the Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomew in Frankfurt in 1764
The coronation of King Ferdinand V of Bohemia in St. Vitus Cathedral in 1836
Coronation of the Hungarian royal couple Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth in Matthias Church in 1867

The coronation is a solemn ceremony by which the person to be crowned receives their power as regent. A crown or a diadem is usually a sign of this power .

As a rule, kings and emperors or queens and empresses are or were introduced into their office through a coronation . The vassal oath of the subjects was connected with the coronation . In return, the newly crowned ruler confirmed all rights and privileges that were valid in his realm. In the case of rulers who are not kings, i.e. grand dukes , dukes and princes , one speaks of hereditary homage .

For a long time in European history there was a dispute over the question of power, whether secular rulers could crown themselves or whether a coronation only had to be carried out by a church dignitary.


Even in the early advanced civilizations , special ceremonies and actions can be recognized when their leaders are introduced to the office of ruler. Each culture had its own symbols of power and ceremonies. One of the symbols of power was the crown.

Old Egypt

During the almost 3000 years of Egyptian culture, the coronation ceremony of the pharaohs was subject to only a few changes; all rulers from Pharaoh Djoser (1st Pharaoh of the Old Kingdom ) to Cleopatra (last queen of the Egyptian Ptolemaic Empire ) had completed it.

The ceremony was linked to certain Egyptian holidays and was also associated with the seventy days of mummification of the deceased old king. After several stages, the highlight was the coronation, first with the white crown of the south, then with the red crown of the north and finally with the double crown , which symbolized the union of the two countries of Upper and Lower Egypt . Then the new Pharaoh moved to the barque shrine of the shadow of God to have his personal throne name as well as Horus name , Nebtin name and gold name announced by the priesthood.

Roman Empire

Augustus as Princeps, with the Corona triumphalis on his head

With Octavian and his honor with the title Augustus on the part of the Roman Senate , 27 BC ended. The Roman Republic and the Roman Empire began. But republican forms were retained and Augustus was officially a princeps , a "first among equals" of the Senate. He was not crowned as such. Since the Roman emperors were always appointed or at least confirmed by the Roman Senate for a long time if they were proclaimed by the army, this was adhered to and the republican facade was maintained despite a monarchical order. As insignia of power, the emperors of the early and middle imperial period were entitled to the purple toga, the corona civica and the corona laurea , the golden laurel wreath. But Augustus, for example, usually dressed like a private individual. There was no coronation during the whole time.

It was not until late antiquity that the appointment of emperors changed. The emperors had taken over the elevation of the shield from the Germanic peoples and from Diocletian wore a diadem as a ruler symbol. From Julian the Apostate (360–363 AD), the emperors of Rome were elevated to their office with a shield and a torque coronation. The first coronation by a clerical dignitary was performed by the Eastern Roman Emperor Leo I (457–474).

Byzantine Empire

Plate crown of the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX. Monomachus .
Example of a Byzantine style camel akion , today kept in the cathedral treasury of Palermo.

The emperors in Byzantium carried the Greek-speaking title of ruler basileus (and autocrator) of the Romans since Emperor Herakleios (traditionally the last Eastern Roman and first Byzantine emperor) .

In the old Roman tradition, the basileus was appointed ruler by the people, the army and the Senate of Constantinople . The installation consisted of the steps of acclamation , raising a shield, crowning with the diadem and putting on the purple cloak. Secondly, the coronation was done by the patriarch , then usually in Hagia Sophia . The actual coronator was now Christ himself. With the exile in Nikaia , the coronation ceremony was supplemented by an anointing with Myron , probably under the influence of the Roman Pontifical . From the 13th century onwards, special coinage for coronation became common.

The original tiara soon developed into a plate crown. This in turn was later replaced by a camel awning , a hood with precious stones, pearls and pendilies .

Middle Ages (Europe)

Richard the Lionheart , Anointing to the King, 1189

In European history , the coronation takes the place of the anointing , which is in the tradition of the anointing of Israel , as the most essential ceremony in the course of the ascension of the king . But this was retained during the Middle Ages.

While the Frankish King Pippin III. had his kingship confirmed by anointing (751) and three years later by papal anointing, his son Charlemagne combined the acquisition of the imperial title with a coronation by the Pope (800).

Heinrich I was the first Roman-German king to renounce an anointing. The reasons for this are not entirely clear. His son Otto I then decided on a solemn king's elevation in Aachen in 936, which included anointing and coronation. As with his coronation as emperor in 962, the coronation was the highlighted ceremony. The church celebration in the course of the ascension of the king is therefore also regulated by a coronation order , not an anointing ceremony .



Coronations in the true sense of the word, where the king is anointed and the crown is placed on him and other imperial insignia are given in the hand, can only be found in Great Britain in Europe today.

In the other European countries that once had a coronation tradition, it was abandoned in the 19th or early 20th century and replaced by a swearing-in ceremony (as in Sweden ) or by a blessing ceremony (as in Norway ). In Denmark there is even only one proclamation by the incumbent Prime Minister, since the Crown Prince is sworn in on the constitution when he is of legal age. The last European coronations outside of the United Kingdom were those of Håkon VII in Trondheim , Norway in 1905 , of Charles I in Budapest, Hungary in 1916 (as King Charles IV of Hungary), of Ferdinand I in Alba Iulia in Romania in 1922 and of Pope Paul VI . 1963 in the Vatican.

Spain has not had coronations since the 15th century, and they were unknown to the monarchies of Belgium and the Netherlands, which were founded in the 19th century . In place of a coronation, as in today's Sweden, there was a swearing-in ceremony in front of parliament, which in the Netherlands is associated with homage by parliament.

At swearing-in and blessing ceremonies, the imperial insignia remain lying on a pillow next to the newly introduced monarch and are not presented to him personally; in these cases it is also incorrect to speak of “coronation”.

Other continents

Coronations are still performed in some monarchies around the world today. These include Bhutan (last coronation on November 6, 2008), Brunei (February 1, 1968), Japan (October 22, 2019), Cambodia (October 29, 2004), Lesotho (October 31, 1997), Swaziland (April 25 1986), Thailand (outstanding) and Tonga (July 2015).

See also


Web links


  1. ^ J. Ioannis Touratsoglou, Petros Protonotarios: Les émissions de couronnement dans le monnayage byzantin du 13e siècle. In: Revue numismatique. 6th series, 19 (1977), ISSN  0484-8942 , pp. 68-76, doi: 10.3406 / numi . 1977.1762 .
  2. ^ The Coronation of the Sultan of Brunei. The Daily Brunei Resources, August 2, 2008, accessed May 28, 2019.
  3. Sakura Murakami: Emperor Naruhito completes enthronement in ceremony rich with history and ritual . In: The Japan Times Online . October 22, 2019, ISSN  0447-5763 ( [accessed October 22, 2019]).
  4. ^ Tonga celebrates the coronation of King Tupou VI. RNZ , July 5, 2015, accessed on May 28, 2019.