Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Edward IV Roll

Propaganda Wars 

“What is unique to the Yorkists is the degree to which they made effective use of imagery to reinforce their claims. In this manuscript its creators have combined heroic portraiture, quotations from the Vulgate that stress divinely-assisted triumph over enemies and genealogical diagramming that highlights the Yorkist line's ties to a rich legacy of British legend that far surpasses the Lancastrian”

The beautiful document shown below was not made just for commemorative purposes, it is a fine example of Yorkist propaganda. Edward IV, you could argue, like other monarchs from the fifteenth century, had a questionable right to the throne. This particular scroll is seen as the Yorkist dynasties attempt at establishing their legitimacy. It was produced in 1461 for the coronation of the Earl of March as King Edward IV and is just under twenty feet long, and shows the new kings genealogy as far back as Adam and Eve. Historians claim that these kind of scrolls were ‘mass produced’ this would mean that they were given to all members of the nobility so all would know of the royal families connection with God. 

Apart from the hand painted chart for the gentry, to get his message across to the rest of the country, Edward used posters tacked where all could see them, poems were read and songs sung and if that didn't work there was always the sermon. Symbolism was also a tool Edward used as way of showing divine approval of his cause, he, like the rest of medieval society, believed strongly in the sign...the omen. The most famous one of course, was the three sparkly suns in the sky before the Battle of Mortimer's Cross. From this Edward considered the day to be his and spread the word that it was the Holy Trinity and God was on his side, he also later he used it again, this time it was as a sign telling him to claim the crowns of France and Spain to add to England's.

Of course this kind of thing is not new, when the Lancastrian's were having a spot of bother in the mid fourteen hundreds, they too produced genealogy charts showing their family link to the almighty. In one chart the artist left out Lionel of Antwerp, second son of Edward III altogether, this would prevent any claims to the throne by descent from the older son, get rid of him and the Lancastrian's claim of descent though Edward III’s third son John of Gaunt would be legitimate.

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