The Ducal Inauguration
The principality of Carantania is particularly notable for the ancient ritual of installing Carantanian dukes (or princes, both an approximate translation of Fürst), a practice that continued after Carantania was incorporated into the later Duchy of Carinthia. It was last performed in 1414, when the Habsburg Ernest the Iron was enthroned as Duke of Carinthia. The ritual took place on the Prince's Stone (Slovenian Knežji kamen, German Fürstenstein), an ancient Roman column capital near Krnski grad (now Karnburg) and was performed in the Slovene language by a free peasant who, selected by his peers, in the name of the people of the land questioned the new Prince about his integrity and reminded him of his duties. Later, when the Duchy of Carinthia had fallen to the Habsburgs, the idea that it was actually the people from whom the Duke of Carinthia received his legitimation was the basis of the Habsburgs' claim to the unique title of Archduke.
The coronation of Carinthian Dukes consisted of three parts: first, a ritual in the Slovene language was performed at the Prince's Stone; then a mass was held at the cathedral of Maria Saal (Gospa Sveta); and subsequently, a ceremony took place at the Duke's Chair (Vojvodski stol, German: Herzogsstuhl), where the new Duke swore an oath in German and where he also received the homage of the estates. The Duke's Chair is located at Zollfeld valley, north of Klagenfurt in modern Carinthia, Austria.
The ceremony was first described by the chronicler John of Viktring on the occasion of the coronation of Meinhard II of Tyrol in 1286. It is also mentioned in Jean Bodin's book Six livres de la République in 1576.
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