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600th Anniversary of the Last Enthronement of the Carinthian Counts

600th Anniversary of the Last Enthronement of the Carinthian Counts
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Posta Slovenije issued a miniature sheet with one stamp dedicated to the 600th anniversary of the last enthronement of the Carinthian Counts.

On 18 March 2014, 600 years will have passed since the last Habsburg duke, Ernest the Iron, was enthroned on the Zollfeld Plain in Carinthia, Austria. After that the ritual was no longer practiced because this dynasty's power in the country was so great that it was no longer necessary.

Even though it experienced changes in its past and lost its initial role of transferring power, the basic features of the Prince's Stone – that is, that a duke dressed as a peasant appeared before the Slovenian peasant sitting on the Stone and that the peasant handed the Stone and thus symbolically the power over to him as an equal – remained the same throughout. The same applies to the language of the ritual, which was Slovenian until the very end. Especially because of this and the fact that the peasant was the one handing over the power, it attracted a great deal of attention. Even the American president Thomas Jefferson knew about this ritual. Because of the Carantanian origin and language of the ritual, the Prince's Stone and ritual are a symbol of the oldest form of Slovenian statehood and they formed the basis for Slovenian cultural and political emancipation efforts that led to Slovenian independence.

After the loss of Carantania's internal independence in 828 and the formation of the Duchy of Carinthia after 976, the ritual obtained an increasingly Carinthian identity.

Because it was performed in Slovenian until the very end, because a part of Carinthia also lies in Slovenia, and because Carinthian Slovenians are part of the Slovenian nation, this honourable historic anniversary is an important event for both Slovenia and Austria. The enthronement, the Prince's Stone and the Duke's Chair are thus part of both Slovenian and Austrian past.

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