Luxembourg – 700th Ann Of The Death Of Henry VII
Count Henry of Luxembourg was elected King of the Romans in 1308. Reinstating a tradition which had been interrupted for the previous 100 years, he departed two years later for Italy to be crowned Emperor in Rome.
Hailed upon his arrival by none other than Dante as the peacemaker who had come to resolve the longstanding enmity between the Ghibellines (supporters of the Emperor) and the Guelphs (adherents of the Pope and the Capetian House of Anjou, reigning at the time in Naples), Henry VII soon suffered serious setbacks on his way to Rome. The imperial coronation, officiated by three cardinals at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, took place on 29 June 1312, in the midst of bitter infighting in other quarters of Rome.
At the beginning of August 1313, the Emperor left Pisa to subdue Robert, King of Naples. Having fallen ill around 100 km from Rome, he died in the afternoon of 24 August 1313 in Buonconvento, a small town south of Siena. The death of the fi rst emperor from the House of Luxembourg signalled the end of a dream of a great, peaceful empire.
His remains were taken in a cortege to Pisa to be buried behind the cathedral’s high altar in a magnificent tomb sculpted by Tino di Camaino.
The stamp’s special design is a free adaptation of an Italian ornamentation from the 14th century depicting Henry VII’s death at Buonconvento. The mortal remains are surrounded by a devoted knight (Thomas de Septfontaines), a praying monk and two female mourners. The two motifs surrounding the page of ten stamps, namely the imperial eagle and Luxembourg red lion, originate from the garment and shirt used to adorn the deceased on the cathedral tomb in Pisa.