Humility and the embarrassing of the king: The role of rituals and emotions
The article predominantly deals with the events, which took place during the convention of Frankish nobles and warriors at Compiègne in the autumn of 833. At that gathering Lothair, the eldest son of Louis the Pious, coerced his father to admit publicly that his rule was deficient, to surrender his knightly girdle, and to change his imperial robes for a cilice. These measures were intended to deprive the old emperor symbolically of all power, but due to Louis’s cunning, who instead of handing the girdle over to his son left it on the altar, the symbolism of the gesture was altered. By drawing upon analogies from medieval Germany and Poland, W. Fałkowski points out that placing one’s arms on the altar did not mean the surrendering of his knightly status; it symbolised a kind of a „deposit” of one’s weaponry in the hands of the saintly patron. This modification of the whole character of the happening enabled Louis, after securing
new allies, to promptly retrieve his knightly girdle from the „deposit” and renew war with Lothair. The author also indicates that the described ritual was deeply permeated by emotions. In his opinion arousing and controlling of sentiments through appropriate ritualistic acts is of timeless character.