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Prie-dieu

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Prie-dieu

Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Tue February 1st, 2011, 1:55 am

I saw on Wikipedia (no, I do not trust them for my research) that the word prie-dieu was not in use until the 17th c. So...would Henry III of England had a prie dieu in his bedchamber and if so what would he have called it? I read oratory somewhere, but that's more like a little room. I'm talking about the piece of furniture on which one may kneel and pray the rosary or what have you.

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Susan
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Post by Susan » Tue February 1st, 2011, 2:02 am

Good question!

dictionary.com says:

Origin:
1750–60; < F: lit., pray God
~Susan~
~Unofficial Royalty~
Royal news updated daily, information and discussion about royalty past and present
http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue February 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

'prie-dieu' means 'before God'. I am sure this was used much earlier; in renaissance re-enactment circles some of the guilds have replicas based on actual pieces used as early as the 15th century.

A prie-dieu could be a bit of furniture, or a table set up with a cross and some other devotional object. If the person was wealthy enough, it might have a portion of scripture, or even a whole bible. Saint's statues and medals were also popular.

Later the classic prie-dieu design looked like a low chair where the worshipper would kneel, facing a platform to rest the prayer-book. That is probably the source of the later date.

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Wed February 2nd, 2011, 3:29 am

Thanks friends. It's so nice to have access to people who are interested in history as I am. Thanks for taking time out of your day to respond.

I do know the meaning of prie dieu and I know what the kneeler looks like. I was only wondering if they had such a kneeler in 1237 or so and if they did have such a piece of furniture during that time, did they call it a prie dieu?

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed February 2nd, 2011, 4:36 am

The early replicas from renaissance times do not look like the low chairs. Most common was a low footed cushion and a table. In medieval spain, there would have been a portion of the room set aside as a personal chapel. I saw one in a reconstructed 10th-century castle (Tortosa, it's the background on my avatar) that was essentially a four-foot-high screen with cross carved into it, a bracket for reading material (most likely a book of hours) and another for a candle. The bottom of the screen was a wood projection where the worshiper could kneel, but it was right on the floor, no cushion. Although Of course one could have been put there.

The castle was done in the oldest antiques they could find -- it is a Parador (Spain's museum/hotels) but as the original castle was Moorish, the 'reclinatorio' (Spanish for prie-dieu) was not, of course, original to the building!

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Post by annis » Wed February 2nd, 2011, 8:41 am

There are lots of links to images of medieval and renaissance prie-dieux here:
http://www.larsdatter.com/prie-dieux.htm

including this one dating from the late10th/early 11th centuries

Image

Heldric prostrates himself in front of St. Germain of Auxerre, Expositio in Ezechielem (BNF Lat 12302, fol. 2), c. 989-1010

Although this piece of furniture was clearly used in the medieval period, it seems that it didn't acquire the name "prie-dieu" till the seventeenth century. It doesn't seem clear if it had any specific name before that, but I'd say if you wanted to describe it, "prie-dieu" is the term that would be instantly recognizable to readers.

It's the same thing as describing the top edge of the side of a boat as a "gunwale" in the historical periods pre-guns. We don't know what they might have been called then, but "gunwale" is the term we recognize.
Last edited by annis on Wed February 2nd, 2011, 9:09 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Thu February 3rd, 2011, 1:51 am

Thanks! That's what I needed! You know, I never get tired of looking at those old illustrations. There's just something about them that calls to me. I guess that's why I write what I do. Thanks again!

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Post by EC2 » Sat February 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

The guys in Conquest re-enactment group call that kind of little set up a devotional.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat February 5th, 2011, 5:39 pm

[quote=""EC2""]The guys in Conquest re-enactment group call that kind of little set up a devotional.[/quote]
It's an 'oratorio' in Spanish (at least in the older documents) but unfortunately that has another meaning in English. So I translate it prie-dieu; it's a word that is specific and sounds 'historical' to modern ears.

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Sun February 6th, 2011, 4:43 am

Thanks MLE and EC. This is very helpful. What about rosaries in 13thc England? I am painfully ignorant of their history.

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