Machaut and Prague: A Rare New Sighting?

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This article interprets the long-recognized, but hitherto unidentified, heraldic description contained in Machaut’s ballade 30 (Pas de tor) against the background of his known authorial practices, spheres of activity and patterns of engagements. It suggests the description is of the arms of Lower Lusatia, which Machaut, as a result of his time in the service of the Bohemian King John of Luxembourg, knew both the geography of and the people involved in settling the status of these disputed lands. It suggests that the song was likely composed in May 1364 and handed to King Peter I of Cyprus as cultural ammunition for the latter’s trip to Prague in search of support for his crusading initiative. The article thus solves a longstanding riddle of Machaut scholarship while presenting the song within a practical, political landscape that far exceeds the composer’s physical residency in Reims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211–223
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Guillaume de Machaut
  • Heraldry
  • Pas de Tor
  • B30
  • Pierre de Lusignan
  • Holy Roman Empire
  • Charles IV
  • Prague
  • Crusade


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