At the end of a distinguished career as chronicler of the Burgundian court, Georges Chastellain (1404–75) penned a quick sketch of the outstanding accomplishments of his duke, Charles the Bold. Accustomed to expositions awash in chivalric pomp, Chastellain employed a different tack to commemorate this sovereign: He sketched eleven “magnificences” performed by the duke of Burgundy, all reconstructed images of this prince's engagement with ceremony. Foremost among this snapshot collection of state ritual was neither a tournament, nor a wedding ceremony, nor even a processional entry. What stood out, in Chastellain's estimation, as Charles' greatest deed was something more riveting and more powerful than any of these spectacles so beloved by the fifteenth-century Burgundian court:
The first [magnificence] was at Brussels, where, seated on his throne, his sword unsheathed and held by his Marshall, he gathered the men of Ghent arranged kneeling before him and at his pleasure and in their presence cut and tore up the political charters they bore. Done for permanent record, this action was without parallel.
For Chastellain, the supreme magnificence of Charles the Bold was a lesson in exemplary punishment, the public abasement of the aldermen and guild deans of the Flemish city of Ghent in January 1469, a year and a half after a city revolt of rank-and-file guildsmen had unsettled celebrations in honor of his accession to the countship of Flanders.