chapter  6
21 Pages

Abbot Suger and the Temple in Jerusalem: a new interpretation of the sacred environment in the royal abbey of Saint-Denis 1

ByJacqueline Frank, William Clark

This chapter demonstrates that Abbot Suger also deliberately evoked the sole biblical precedent in which religious and regnal history were conjoined; namely the Temple in Jerusalem. Evocation of the Temple in Jerusalem would serve to link biblical history with both abbey history and royal history, introducing a decidedly religious gloss to Capetian kingship. Abbot Suger specifically set out to create, through building and texts, links between the history of the abbey of Saint-Denis and that of the French kings, which contributed to the formation of the national historical memory of the French people. In deciding to enlarge the east end Abbot Suger enabled his builder to shift the central focus of the church from the high altar, positioned over the first burial spot of the saints, to the new altar of the martyrs that stood directly in front of their new tomb on the upper level.