European medieval drama
Ernst Kantorowicz plausibly claimed that Charlemagne’s triumphal entry into Rome in 774 recalled Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. Kantorowicz further claimed that Charlemagne’s evocation of the language and iconography of Palm Sunday not only ‘remained authoritative for all imperial receptions in Rome during the Middle Ages’, but also set a precedent for all medieval royal entries. This article challenges the latter claim, until now widely accepted and uncritically repeated. While there is reliable evidence of emperors and kings taking part in Palm Sunday processions, even in two cases as corpses, there is little or no evidence that medieval royal entries routinely appropriated the language and iconography of Palm Sunday for their own celebrations of power and military triumph.