Conclusions: Public Pantheons: A European History?
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The foundation stone of the Walhalla had not even been laid when Bavaria’s crown prince already realised that any selection of exemplary men, including his own, was contentious. Ludwig’s admittance to the particularistic nature of his pantheon was perhaps unique in Revolutionary Europe. Nonetheless, I have tried to show that every commissioner built his allegedly national pantheon on partisan interpretations of a selectively retrieved past. By adding an ‘intercultural dimension’ to conceptual history, namely, a reflection on how the concept pantheon travelled through Europe and was adapted to different political cultures, I have attempted to demonstrate how elites reacted in largely similar ways to the unravelling of their power following the socio-political and cultural upheaval of the period roughly spanning the French Revolution and the liberal revolutions.2 Confronted with a progressively emancipated public sphere and massive warfare between (infant) nation-states, pantheon commissioners appropriated the fabric of the nation to legitimate and reinforce hegemonic claims.
KeywordsPublic Sphere Political Culture French Revolution Symbolic Codification European History
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