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C’est la Deduction du Somptueux ordre:
A Commentary on the Royal Entry of Henri II into Rouen
and its Festival Book
The royal entry festival was an important ceremony of kingship
in the sixteenth century. The historian Michael Wintroub describes
it as "a ritual celebration staged to welcome a newly anointed king
at the time of his first visit to a city. It was generally struc−
tured in terms of a reciprocal exchange, where a city traded its
recognition of the king’s authority, for his recognition of the
customary rights and privileges historically accorded to its citi−
zenry and clergy" (Wintroub 1998, 465). Renaissance royal entries
were embedded in the political realities of the time, both in re−
flecting the achievements of princes, and in presenting the hopes
and expectations of the people. Wintroub calls the entry "an alle−
gorical narrative which aimed to adapt the political characteris−
tics definitive of just rulership to the particular social, intel−
lectual, and material concerns of the provincial elites responsible
for the entry" (Wintroub 1998, 471).
In addition, royal entries were large civic events, involving
the activities of many−−civic authorities, local nobility, merchant
classes, and townspeople, as well as architects, painters, sculp−
tors, poets, and engineers (McGowan 1968, 199).
HENRI II ENTERS ROUEN
On March 1, 1547, Henri II succeeded to the throne of France.
Mars, therefore, was seen as being important to Henri’s reign. He
had warlike abilities and an addiction to sports, and he loved great
physical demands such as exercising with arms. One of his primary
goals upon becoming king was to recover face after the military
defeats of his father, François I. He also decided that he would
visit many of the towns and cities in him realm. He made more than
thirty royal entries in the years immediately following his acces−
sion to the throne (Wintroub 1998, 491). He entered Lyon in 1548,
Paris in 1549, and Rouen on the 1st and 2nd of October, 1550.
Margaret McGowan, who has written on this entry and who edited
the facsimile of the festival book, believes that this Rouen entry
was one of the most important of all sixteenth−century public spec−
tacles. She says that the revival of an ancient ceremonial corre−
sponded exactly to the political situation of Henri II at the begin−
ning of his reign. He entered Rouen just after a military triumph
in Normandy, having won the port city of Boulogne. She also says
that artistic elements, the personal taste of the king, and the
political and religious wishes of the people constantly interplayed
in this entry (McGowan 1968, 199). This paper will focus on these
wishes and the manner in which they were voiced.
Rouen was (and is) on the River Seine, like Paris, but further
northwest and closer to the Manche. It was the capital of Normandy,
a rich and abundant province. Rouen was both traditionalist, being
devoted to the cult of the Virgin, and humanist, with an important
humanist university being nearby at Caen.
The civic authorities of Rouen decided to combine local artis−
tic traditions with the novel idea of creating an antique Roman
procession (ibid.). It would be designed with the guidance of
local humanists, and the king would be presented with a complete
re−enactment of a Roman imperial triumph (Strong 1984, 47). Henri
would enter Rouen in the guise of a caesar (Bowles 1989, 37). The
entry was to be so organized and consistent in character that "[n]o
shows of any kind were to be privately arranged. All intentions
and ideas had to be submitted to the town councilors for their
approval, so that, if necessary, these could be fitted into a
general plan" (McGowan 1968, 206).
EMBLEM AND ALLEGORY
According to Daniel Russell, a French scholar studying emblems
and devices, allegory was first used at Rouen. He says that the
first allegorical tableaux were presented on Rouen stages early in
the sixteenth century (Russell 1995, 94). He stresses that a sym−
bolic mentality underlay the rhetoric of propaganda at this time
(ibid., 92).
Rouen also had an early preoccupation with emblems. Russell
states that Rouen "is where the ’new iconography’ of the virtues,
as Emile Mâle called it, developed in the second half of the fif−
teenth century (ibid., 127).
In fact, one of the changes that the mid−sixteenth century saw
in its royal entries had to do with the use of emblems and devices.
Russell tells us that it was "with the entrées prepared to welcome
the new king, Henri II, around 1550, [that] a pattern developed
whereby devices became an essential part of the epideictic presen−
tation associated with such welcoming ceremonies" (ibid., 214).
Rouen, therefore, would give its messages to Henri in allegorical
and emblematic form.
RECORDING THE ENTRY
Rouen was in the forefront in another way, as well. Roy
Strong writes, "The Rouen entry is also an early instance of an
illustrated royal entry book. Its appearance is seemingly recorded
in a series of woodcuts, .[but it is] the idealisation of an
event, often quite distant from its reality as experienced by the
average onlooker. One of the objects of such publications was to
reinforce by means of word and image the central ideas that moti−
vated those who conceived the programme" (Strong, 1984, 47).
Margaret McGowan has published a facsimile of one of the 1550
Rouen entry festival books. Her facsimile contains twenty−nine
woodblock prints, five of which are double−page.
THE FIRST MOVEMENT
The royal entry into Rouen was designed to be in three move−
ments. The first movement began at 7:00 a.m. on October 1, 1550.
The initial meeting place was the meadow of the priory of Sainte
Catherine de Grandmont. Henri took his place in his raised "loge"
(McGowan 1968, 207−08). This was the focal point for the first
part of the ceremonies. The first movement consisted of long pro−
cessions of clergy, merchants, military men, tax collectors−−all
the worthy citizens of Rouen who had been able to claim a place.
The "Lieutenant general du Bailly de Rouen," marching with the men
at law, made a welcoming speech to the king, "acknowledging the au−
thority and expectations of the king but also stressing the power
and hopes of the citizens who did him homage. They welcomed their
monarch loyally and magnificently, but they expected favors in re−
turn, such as the confirmation of the privileges received by the
town from earlier monarchs," according to McGowan (McGowan 1968,
208). The citizens thus gave their king the first message re−
questing that he pay attention to their needs and wishes. Henri
assured the men at law that he would continue the town’s privi−
leges, and the procession started up again.
THE SECOND MOVEMENT
The second movement of the royal entry was where the town dis−
played the elaborate triumphal chariots which they had had construc−
ted. The first chariot (or "char de triomphe") was drawn by four
white horses which had been fitted with white wings. It had mold−
ings and friezes displaying battle scenes, and it was piled with war
booty, thus celebrating Henri’s recent military victories. Two
dead soldiers lay at the feet of Death, represented as a skeleton
in chains. Holding the chains was the goddess Fama, who was
enthroned above the rest. When she went past the king, she recited
an eight−line verse which explained herself. This is a double−page
woodblock illustration. This "Char de Renommée," as it was called,
was followed by men representing Henri’s fifty−seven royal ances−
tors. This chariot and its troop of followers departed at the
sound of trumpets.
The "Char de Religion" came next. This chariot was drawn by
two unicorns, which were led by men in turbans and somewhat Turkish−
looking dress. The chariot itself carried five beautiful and
richly−dressed ladies, according to the text. One, Vesta, the god−
dess of religion, wore wings and was seated on a throne, holding a
model of a church. The two women at her side represented Royal Ma−
jesty and Virtue Victorious. On the front of the chariot, the other
two women represented Reverence and Fear. The text tells us that
these five women sang a song with each one on her own part. The
music is included at the end of the book, but it is interesting to
note that it is in four parts, not five.
Following this, the book shows us six of bands of military men
(six in each band, if the illustrations are to be believed). They
carried reminders of Henri’s victories. Soldiers of the king who
had taken part in his recent campaigns followed these six groups.
Next there were six "elephants," not real ones but pageant
"machines." They were led by turbaned men. Three of the elephants
carried flaming vases which dispensed sweet odors. The other three
carried more reminders of Henri’s military victories.
The next group provided a re−enactment of the event the pre−
vious year when captives had been paraded in front of Henri next to
the town of Boulogne, which he had just captured.
Flora and her nymphes came next, scattering flowers before the
third and final chariot. McGowan states that this is to demonstrate
that what came next would be the culminating point of the triumph
(ibid., 216). The layout of the festival book emphasizes this, as
well, for in the center of an otherwise almost blank page, in large
type, is printed "Le Triumphe d’hEureuse Fortune." This is fol−
lowed by a double−page illustration of the chariot. This chariot
was of great importance because it carried the living image of the
king. A man who had been chosen because of his resemblance to Henri
was seated on a throne, carrying a sceptre and a laurel branch.
Behind and above him, Fortuna was seated and was in the act of
placing a crown on his head. Four of Henri’s children sat at his
feet. A man impersonating the Dauphin, carrying a laurel branch
and riding on horseback, followed.
The last part of the second movement comprised two groups of
Sons of the Town. The first group were on foot and the second on
horseback, performing great feats of horsemanship, according to the
author of the festival book.
THE THIRD MOVEMENT
In the last movement the king and his retinue joined the pro−
cession, which moved from the meadow of the priory into and through
the city of Rouen. Six trumpeters led the royal household of two
hundred people. The Connétable de Montmorency, carrying the sword
of state, led Henri II himself, who was on horseback and dressed in
black velvet trimmed in silver and jewels. Princes of the royal
blood and knights followed him. There is no illustration of this
part of the procession in the book, meaning that the design of the
book was meant more to record what the town presented to the king,
rather than focusing on the king’s presence at the ceremony.
The bulk of the third movement consisted of tableaux presented
by the town to the king. The Rouennais had constructed what was
supposed to be an authentic Brazilian landscape in the Faubourg
Saint−Sever on the banks of the Seine. The meadow there was planted
with natural and artificial trees and shrubs, and then populated
with exotic birds, monkeys, and squirrels. Native French trees
were disguised as palms; their trunks were colored red and bunches
of palm branches were tied to their summits.
Fifty Brazilian men and women had been brought to Rouen by its
merchants. They were joined by 250 Norman sailors who were said to
be well−acquainted with both the language and the customs of the
Brazilian natives. The author notes that none of these people wore
any garments at all.
As Henri came up to the bridge over the River Seine, he found
a tableau entitled "Le Massis du Roch à l’entrée du Pont." It
appeared to be a huge rock, supported on a base of rusticated stone.
Near the top, Orpheus sat in a grotto playing a harp. To the left
of the grotto, the nine Muses played what appear to be viols in the
woodcut. On the right, Hercules was busily cutting off the heads
of the hydra, an odd juxtaposition with all the music−making.
There was an eight−line verse on a placard to explain this scene.
Wintroub believes that this Hercules is the pivot of the en−
tire entry, representing both the warrior values of the old no−
blesse d’épée, and the humanist (anti−scholastic) values of the
new noblesse de robe. I disagree with him. In the first place,
Hercules is not at the center of this tableau. Orpheus is. Se−
condly, the first half of the eight−line verse states,
"Your majesty royal, oh most Christian king,
Is for the great good of all; a Hercules on earth,
Who puts the haughty mine of Mars into disarray,
To plant, in honor, peace in the place of war."

(my translation)
The creators of this entry were explicitly putting Hercules to one
side, and were telling the king that although he had been a Hercules,
now it was time to bring peace in place of war for the good of all.
The last double−page illustration is also an impressive scene.
While Henri was crossing the bridge, Neptune and two other marine
creatures darted out from behind an artificial rock which had been
placed in the middle of the crossing. Neptune offered the king his
trident as an acknowledgment of his dominion over the waters, where−
upon all three creatures dove into the river and sported with other
marine creatures who then appeared. There was a great deal of
music−making, according to the festival book, and I wonder how they
made all those instruments impervious to water.
On the opposite side of the bridge (shown on the same side in
the illustration), a naumachia took place between two ships. The
ship displaying white crosses represented France, while the other,
displaying red crosses, represented Portugal. France of course
won. Henri was especially fond of naumachiae, and this one was
staged on both October 1 and 2, for both the king’s and the queen’s
entries (McGowan 1968, 223−24).
The next tableau was "La figure de l’aage dor." It was the
only true triumphal arch in the whole procession, meaning it was
the only arch through which the company actually processed. It was
at the city gate and officially marked the point where the king
entered the town. McGowan (McGowan 1968, 224) says that triumphal
arches were a relatively new feature to French entries at this time.
On top of the arch, two sibyls supported a large crescent moon
with the figure of Saturn standing in it. The title "l’âge d’or"
meant that the townspeople were expecting Henri to bring a new age
of abundance, peace, and prosperity. Wintroub says, "It was then
explained to the king that it was through his support of arts and
letters that he would−−like Saturn−−be able to restore the world to
a golden age of peace and tranquility" (Wintroub 1998, 486). Even
McGowan stresses this point, saying that it expressed a real desire
for peace and thus was showing the king the expectations of his
people, but that Henri’s motto, "Donec totum impleat orbem," showed
that he was more interested in earthly power (McGowan 1968, 224−45).
At the cathedral of Notre Dame de Rouen they next saw a plat−
form supported by four crouching harpies. On this stood the figure
of Hector, the hero of Troy, clad in armor. When the king came
near, the wounds which Hector had received from Achilles began to
bleed−−in the form of three inter−connected crescents (the crescent
being one of Henri’s devices). The triple crescent showed that
Henri was thrice king: of France, of Scotland, and of Normandy by
his recent conquest (ibid., 229).
The next tableau had the title "Le Theatre de la Crosse," and
it changed while Henri watched it. At first he saw a flaming sala−
mander, the device of his father, François I. Behind it were two
of the Fates, Clotho and Atropos, holding a serpent biting its tail,
the symbol of eternity. The scene transformed into a large globe
with flames around it, which burst open and a Pegasus sprang up to
the top of the scene (as shown in the illustration). The text ex−
plains that this Pegasus was meant to represent long life and pros−
perity, peace, and union within the Church, as well as immortal
fame, not just for the king, but for his entire realm. A triton
perched on top of the entire tableau. He sounded his trumpet and
the scene changed again. The globe unfolded into a picture of
Henri II standing on a crescent with the word "Fides" below it, and
under that, a dog (symbol of faithfulness) in the flames. Henri
held a flowering sword in his right hand. Above him, personifica−
tions of the seven planets offered him their particular scepters.
A grape vine grew from the king’s heart, symbolizing abundance, as
well as being a christomorphic element. There are two groups of
men kneeling at Henri’s sides. They represent the different na−
tions who have come to press the juice of the grapes of France
(abundance) into their cups (Chartrou 1928, 138). Based on the
length of text associated with this woodcut, it was seen by the
author as one of the most important.
The final tableau in the pageant was in a square which had
been planted with shrubs, fruit trees, and flowers to resemble the
Elysian Fields. François I was there with two women personifying
Good Memory and Egeria. Two men were asleep at their feet. They
were dressed to represent Nobility and Labor, which the new king
was to awaken (ibid., 139).
Bonne Mémoire held out a book to Henri. It contained an ac−
count of François’s achievements, written in Greek, Latin, and He−
brew. This was a reference to the collège that François had
founded−−the Collège Royale, or the Collège de France, also known
as the Collège of Three Languages (which was the central focus of
this humanistic collège) (Wintroub 1998, 474−75). It took three
placards to explain this tableau to the king. A woodcut of this
tableau forms the last illustration in the festival book.
Different writers have had different opinions on this tableau.
McGowan says that it shows "his father, enjoying the fruits of his
labors in Paradise, reminding his son that although he must perse−
vere and work to maintain good government in his land, the final
goal in life is a spiritual one" (McGowan 1968, 235). I do not see
this as a religious message, however. The text talks about promot−
ing learning and praises the donations that both François and Henri
have made towards the Université de Paris. Since this entry had
been designed under the guidance of humanists, the praise of support
for learning would be a more likely message for them to give.
Wintroub repeatedly calls this Champs Elysées "the Elysian
fields of the terrestrial paradise" (Wintroub 1998, 487). He talks
about it as showing the good life. I do not agree with this,
either. It is not terrestrial. The verse from one of the placards
says that François has been delivered to this place and that Henri
is going to want to follow his father there. It represents Heaven.
CONCLUSIONS
McGowan states that the goal of Henri II’s royal entry into
Lyon in 1548 was to provide him with amusement; that of his entry
into Paris in 1549 was to stress his potential greatness and en−
courage preparations for war; and that of his entry into Rouen in
1550 was to praise his achievements and to express hopes for con−
solidation and expansion (McGowan 1968, 233). I think that the
most strongly−voiced hopes expressed in the Rouen entry were the
hopes for future peace. Rouen, as the capital of Normandy, had
been close enough to the battle to be cognizant of the suffering
and of the expense of war.
McGowan claims that the verse description of the entry says
that there were "hopes that the territories of France might be con−
siderably extended" (McGowan 1968, 235). Yet she quotes the verse
"You well deserve other triumphal arches
Than those which were made for the Caesars:
For peace through its merits makes one greater
Than the Caesars [were made] by their cruel exercises."

(ibid., 240) (my translation)
McGowan goes on in her article to say that "[b]y far the most
interesting and revealing feature of the text, however, is the in−
sistence on the theme of arts and letters" (ibid., 247), and that
"[t]he great attention given to these matters suggests that the au−
thor had a vested interest in persuading Henri II to emulate the
magnaminity of his father" (ibid., 248). I think that both of
these quotes from her support my thesis that the organizers of the
Rouen entry were trying to deflect Henri’s attention from warfare
onto more intellectual pursuits.
Wintroub says, "at a time when the self−perception of large
sections of the ancestral nobility maintained a close connection to
the feudal values of the warrior knight, it would have been both a
dangerous and ineffective strategy for the organizers of the entry
to try to persuade the king simply to forego his chivalrous/mili−
tary ideals in favor of the Ciceronian values represented by the
Gallic Hercules" (Wintroub 1998, 488). I agree. That is why the
organizers both praised Henri for his valor and successes in war,
and then, with increasing frequency and stress, set forth their
hopes for peace and the value of it. I will close by summarizing
the structure of the seven tableaux in the third movement to prove
1. The Brazilian villages. The victory over the Portuguese.
This praised war.
2. "Le Massis du Roch." The majority of the scene was taken
up by Orpheus and by the Muses, so it stressed arts and letters and
the fruits of peace.
3. "Le Triumphe de la Riviere." The marine creatures and the
naumachia. The battle of the two galleons praised war, but Neptune,
while handing Henri his trident, said, "Seeing you, Mars is disarmed
by virtue" (ibid., L,ii(v)) (my translation), so Neptune was telling
the king that he had won and it was time to disarm Mars.
4. "La figure de l’aage dor." A request for peace.
5. "La figure d’Hector." Bleeding wounds which praised
Henri’s prowess in war.
6. "Le Theatre de la Crosse." A complex image. Pegasus, ac−
cording to the author of the festival book, represented happy and
long life, the defence of the realm, and the maintenance of peace
(ibid., N,ii(v)). The grape vine growing out of Henri’s heart and
those kneeling in front of him represented bounty of France avail−
able to other nations, which seems also to stress peace.
7. "La figure du pont de Robec." The book which Bonne Mé−
moire held out to Henri, setting out the noble deeds of his father,
invited him to imitate François I, because (it said) "no one can
become dressed in immortality except through learning and virtuous
acts" (ibid., O,i(v)) (my translation). He was being told that it
was the fruits of peace that would earn him immortality. Henri was
being told yet again that war is turmoil and upset, and that all
good kings turn to the arts and sciences, tempered by justice, once
war is concluded.
The tempo of the demands for peace increased as Henri ap−
proached the end of the entry. After a brief nod at his threefold
kingship with Hector’s wounds, Rouen presented him with two very
complex and eloquent assertions of the need for peace and its jus−
tice. They were to be disappointed, but this was their plea.

Source: http://virdir.ncsa.illinois.edu/jill-Rouen/Rouen.pdf

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