Spreken vanuit het graf. De stoffelijke resten van Willem van Oranje in hun politiek-culturele betekenis


  • C. Santing




Political culture


Voice from the Grave. The politico-cultural relevance of the mortal remains of William of Orange
Balthazar Gerards’ murder of William of Orange on July 10th, 1584 is a canonical fact in Dutch history, but thus far this significant event has not yet been analysed on its own merits, i.e. in terms of the material disposition of his assassinated body. Hence, this article examines the literal and figurative - or cultural and material - handling of the physical remains of William the Silent and their subsequent iconification and deification. The historiographical background and intellectual inspiration for this article are provided by the work of Ernst Kantorowic’s pupil Ralph Giesey, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani and Joanna Woodward. All authors point to the increasingly lavish pomp and circumstance of monarchical funeral culture, which was imitated by Europe’s high aristocracy. The autopsy on William the Silent’s corpse was completed with a meticulous embalming. The preserved body and its subsequent lying in state amidst an extensive funerary apparatus and the full pompa of the burial ceremony contained numerous reminiscences of Charles V Brussels’ funeral, in which the Prince had played a prominent role. Also, after having examined the sculptural iconography of Hendrik de Keyser’s mausoleum in Delft’s Nieuwe Kerk, it can be concluded that the significance of William the Silent’s murdered body was much more royal and catholic than traditional historiographical views on the Dutch Republic would lead us to suspect.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Santing, C. (2007). Spreken vanuit het graf. De stoffelijke resten van Willem van Oranje in hun politiek-culturele betekenis. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 122(2), 181–207. https://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.6560