Sign elevation

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The elevation of the shield was on the one hand the legal act of Germanic and Celtic tribes when their leader was chosen on the thing, especially during times of war. On the other hand, the term elevation of the sign was also used in the sense of “set off for battle” .

Sign elevation in the sense of coronation

It was common with the Goths and Frankish kings of the Merovingians up to the beginning of the Carolingians , until it was used by Pippin III. was supplemented by the anointing and then replaced by the enthronement and coronation . It is questionable whether the Franks really had an alternative to the son of the previous king. There is no known case in which another candidate was chosen. The development of the Visigoths resulted in competition between the elected monarchy and the hereditary monarchy.

Traditional sign elevations (selection):

That the elevation of the shield was supposed to have been common among the Goths and Western Germans is concluded solely from the fact that the late ancient Roman historians describe the elevation of the shield among the Teutons as a custom of their ancestors ( mos maiorum ) or their tribe ( mos gentis ):

  • Cassiodorus (see above at the Goth Witichis)
  • Tacitus (about the West Germanic Batavians ): "impositusque scuto more gentis et sustinentium umeris vibratus dux deligitur" (and according to the custom of their tribe he [sc. Brinno] was placed on a shield and lifted on his shoulders was elected their leader)

In contrast, Gregory of Tours and his description of the elevation of Sigibert's shields stand. He does not mention that it is an old custom. Early research, especially Johannes August Wohlfahrt in his dissertation, concluded that Gregor and his readers knew the custom as traditional. But Gregor was not a German either, but came from a Gallo-Roman senatorial family in the Auvergne. In addition, the question arises whether Cassiodorus was not familiar with the custom from Tacitus.

Idiom: lift someone or something up on the sign

The phrase “raise on the shield” is unknown to the German from the very earliest documents and through all epochs. It did not appear until the 19th century, for example in August von Platen-Hallermünde's drama The romantic Oedipus from 1829. These first evidence were immediately preceded by publications on the old Germanic custom of elevating signs, such as the above-mentioned von Wohlfahrt.

Raising a sign in the sense of starting to fight

In the middle of the 19th century in particular, the term sign survey was used in this sense - especially in connection with popular surveys. So z. B. in the literature about the Baden Revolution 1848/49 of the three sign elevations. But the book Secret History of The Elevation of the Shields of Italy Against Austria (1848) , published anonymously in Stuttgart in 1848, also uses this term.

Jules Verne used the term in this sense too.

Individual evidence

  1. Pierer's Universal Lexikon, Volume 15. Altenburg 1862, p. 179 online
  2. Cassiodorus : Variae
  3. Franconian History, Book IV, chap. 51 (De obitu Sigiberthi regis)
  4. Franconian History, Book VII, chap. 10
  5. Tacitus, Historiae, Book IV, chap. 15th
  6. De inauguratione principum super clypae, 1770
  7. z. B. Karl Heinzen: The elevation of the German Republicans in April 1848 . Strasbourg 1848
  8. online in the google book search
  9. Jules Verne: Martin Paz. In: The Chancellor. Known and unknown worlds. Adventurous journeys by Julius Verne, Volume XXI, Vienna, Pest, Leipzig 1877, p. 238 [1]