[Paper:] Sabine Sommerer (Zurich): The Eloquence of the King’s Chamber: Descriptions of Royal Palaces from the 10th-14th Century

Medieval descriptions of royal state-rooms can offer important clues on how to understand these spaces. We cannot always expect them to describe existing decorations. In many cases they demonstrably did not. But, to bring their panegyric or parodistic intentions to bear, the authors necessarily had to refer to the real world experience of their audience—and to surpass it. The following questions arise: Which popular topoi are referred to? Which canonical iconography did they alude to? How are the described decorations singled out to serve the purpose of the authors? Finally, many of these aspects can be brought together to further our understanding of the state-rooms’ functions.


This paper will be presented at the international conference:

State-Rooms of Royal and Princely Palaces in Europe (14th-16th c.): Spaces, Images, Rituals – Lisbon/Sintra, 15-17 March 2017 (link)

which aims to put the Sala dos brasões in Sintra in its European context as a royal/princely state-room. It is a follow up to the “Heraldry in Medieval and Early modern State-rooms” held in March 2016 in Münster, which, for its part, focused on the heraldic décor of medieval and early modern state-rooms as such.


Cite the article as: Torsten Hiltmann, "[Paper:] Sabine Sommerer (Zurich): The Eloquence of the King’s Chamber: Descriptions of Royal Palaces from the 10th-14th Century", in: Heraldica nova. Medieval Heraldry in social and cultural-historical perspectives (blog on Hypotheses.org), published: 24/02/2017, Internet: https://heraldica.hypotheses.org/5458.

Torsten Hiltmann

Torsten Hiltmann is Juniorprofessor for the High and Late Middle Ages and Auxiliary Sciences at the University of Münster. He is interested in new approaches to late medieval and early modern heraldry, the medieval notion of kingship and the methods and technologies of Digital Humanities. On hypotheses.org, he is maintaining, among others, the blog “Heraldica Nova”.

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