Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and the Slovenian connection - plaque in Cleveland, Ohio
Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and the Slovenian connection - plaque in Cleveland, Ohio

Slovenia, Cleveland, Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence

Besides Lebron James and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland is also home to this plaque that offers yet more proof that Slovenia and Slovenians truly are at the center of the universe.

Thomas Jefferson –who Americans of all political stripes like to quote in abundance to support whatever dogmatic argument they’re making– authored the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and was apparently inspired by a 7th century ceremony in the Duchy of Carantania, which consisted of territory that today lies in southern Austria and northeastern Slovenia. The ceremony was based, at least loosely, on the notion of ‘consent of the governed’. A description of the medieval ceremony From a write-up on the Radio/TV Slovenia website:

There was nothing quite like it in Medieval Europe. When a new Duke was about to be installed in the Duchy of Carantania of the 7th and 8th centuries, he did not assume power solely by divine right, as was common elsewhere in Europe. Instead, the prospective duke, symbolically wearing peasants’ clothing, faced a member of the peasantry who had been selected by ordinary people.

Using an early form of what was to become the Slovenian language, the peasant then questioned the soon-to-be duke — and the surrounding crowd — about the duke’s integrity and asked him whether he was really concerned with the well-being of his duchy. Only when the crowd gave its public consent was the prospective duke finally able to don his ducal vestments and take his oath of fealty – but not before being ceremonially slapped by the peasant.

Unfortunately, that ceremony never take hold in the US, which is too bad, really, since its conclusion would be a perfect fit for the current Reality TV presidency: picture it, a modern-day peasant (of Latino origins most likely, a woman preferably), perhaps borrowing moves from an early episode of the Jerry Spring Show, publicly slapping the self-absorbed megalomaniacal figure that is Donald Trump who himself is wrapped in the filthy clothes of a peasant.

Maybe that can be worked into a “Hamilton” sequel.


And for the record: today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,278th straight, was snapped in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on 28 August 2013.




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