Dating "The king is dead; long live the king"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 13 15:54:44 UTC 2005

On Sun, 11 Dec 2005, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> When was the phrase "The king is dead; long live the king" first
> used?  What is the earliest written occurrence?  Any kingdom and
> language qualifies -- English, French, Sumerian, Egyptian, ... .

When working on this one for my book I found it to be a tough nut to
crack.  The earliest I found was in the _Encyclopaedia Americana_ (1851),
although it is said to date in French back to the sixteenth century or

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
   Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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