The Kings’ Lines and Lies: Genealogical Rolls in Mythmaking and Political Rhetoric in the Reign of Henry VII
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionKonsthistorisk tidskrift, 2021, 90 (3), 139-158. 10.1080/00233609.2021.1950831
How was Henry VII Tudor and his genealogical lines depicted in contemporary chronicle rolls? What determines the underlying functions realising the changing oppositional arguments in visual rhetoric? Does visual migration of familiar iconography based on collective memory make it possible to use the same images to propagate two opposite truths? In this article I examine two genealogical chronicle rolls on opposite sides in the Wars of the Roses’ later stages. The Plantagenet, Yorkist, and Tudor use of visual historiography was as much a means of political rhetoric as mythmaking and legend, to become part of the national identity and legitimate their claim to the throne. Given their place in the Wars of the Roses and their part in the formation of a state narrative, their use of familiar motifs of power and identity plays on the role myth has in the formation of history and national collective. The visual propaganda in the chronicle rolls plays on myth and history to create a shared collective belonging and a sense of agreed history or preferred truth.