|Iron Crown of Lombardy|
The Iron Crown of Lombardy, displayed in the Cathedral of Monza
|Country|| Kingdom of the Lombards |
Kingdom of Italy (Frankish)
Holy Roman Empire
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia
Kingdom of Italy
|Made||ca. 4th or 5th century|
|Owner||Cathedral of Monza|
|Other elements||Nail purportedly used at the Crucifixion of Jesus|
The Iron Crown of Lombardy (Italian : Corona Ferrea di Lombardia; Latin : Corona Ferrea Langobardiae) is both a reliquary and one of the oldest royal insignias of Christendom. It was made in the Early Middle Ages, consisting of a circlet of gold and jewels fitted around a central silver band, which tradition holds to be made of iron beaten out of a nail of the True Cross. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of the Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy. It is kept in the Cathedral of Monza, outside Milan.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.
In religion, a relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shamanism, and many other religions. Relic derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains", and a form of the Latin verb relinquere, to "leave behind, or abandon". A reliquary is a shrine that houses one or more religious relics.
Christendom has several meanings. In one contemporary sense, as used in a secular or Protestant context, it may refer to the "Christian world": Christian-majority countries and the countries in which Christianity dominates or prevails, or, in the historic, Catholic sense of the word, the nations in which Catholic Christianity is the established religion, having a Catholic Christian polity.
The Iron Crown is so called because it was believed to contain a one centimetre-wide band of iron within it, said to be beaten out of a nail used at the crucifixion of Jesus. The outer circlet of the crown is made of six segments of beaten gold, partly enameled, joined together by hinges. It is set with twenty-two gemstonesthat stand out in relief, in the form of crosses and flowers. Its small size and hinged construction have suggested to some that it was originally a large armlet or perhaps a votive crown. According to other opinions, however, the small size is due to a readjustment after the loss of two segments, as described in historical documents.
An arm ring, also known as an armlet or an armband, is a band of metal, usually a precious metal, worn as jewelry or an ornament around the biceps of the upper arm. The arm ring is similar to a bracelet or bangle, though it must be shaped and sized to fit snugly to the upper arm.
A votive crown is a votive offering in the form of a crown, normally in precious metals and often adorned with jewels. Especially in the Early Middle Ages, they are of a special form, designed to be suspended by chains at an altar, shrine or image. Later examples are more often typical crowns in the style of the period, either designed to be placed on the head of a statue, or re-used in this way after donation.
According to tradition, St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, had the crown forged her son around a beaten nail from the True Cross, which she had discovered. Pope Gregory the Great passed this crown to Theodelinda, princess of the Lombards, as a diplomatic gift, although he made no mention of it among his recorded donations. Theodelinda donated the crown to the church at Monza in 628.
Constantine the Great, also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, town now known as Niš, he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer. His mother was Empress Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum after his father's death in 306 AD. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.
Pope Gregory I, commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 3 September 590 to 12 March 604 AD. He is famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregorian Mission, to convert the then-pagan Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity. Gregory is also well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as Pope. The epithet Saint Gregory the Dialogist has been attached to him in Eastern Christianity because of his Dialogues. English translations of Eastern texts sometimes list him as Gregory "Dialogos", or the Anglo-Latinate equivalent "Dialogus".
Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards, was the daughter of duke Garibald I of Bavaria.
According to another tradition reported by the historian Valeriana Maspero, the helm and the bit of Constantine were brought to Milan by Emperor Theodosius I, who resided there, and were exposed at his funeral, as described by St. Ambrose in his funeral oration De obituu Theosdosii. Then, as the bit remained in Milan (where it is currently preserved in the cathedral), the helm with the diadem was transferred to Constantinople, until Theoderic the Great, who had previously threatened Constantinople itself, claimed it as part of his right as the king of Italy. The Byzantines then sent him the diadem, holding the helmet (which was exposed in the cathedral of St. Sophia) until it was looted and lost following the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204).[ citation needed ] King Theoderic then adopted the diadem gemmis insignitum, quas pretiosior ferro innexa(s)crucis redemptoris divinae gemma connecteretas (St. Ambrose De obituu Theosdosii) as his crown. This is the Iron Crown, passed by the Goths to the Lombards when they invaded Italy.
Theodosius I, also known as Theodosius the Great, was a Roman Emperor from 379 to 395, and the last emperor to rule over both the Eastern and the Western halves of the Roman Empire. On accepting his elevation, he campaigned against Goths and other barbarians who had invaded the Empire. His resources were not sufficient to destroy them or drive them out, which had been Roman policy for centuries in dealing with invaders. By treaty, which followed his indecisive victory at the end of the Gothic War, they were established as foederati, autonomous allies of the Empire, south of the Danube, in Illyricum, within the Empire's borders. They were given lands and allowed to remain under their own leaders, a grave departure from Roman hegemonic ways. This turn away from traditional policies was accommodationist and had grave consequences for the Western Empire from the beginning of the century, as the Romans found themselves with the impossible task of defending the borders and deal with unruly federates within. Theodosius I was obliged to fight two destructive civil wars, successively defeating the usurpers Magnus Maximus in 387-388 and Eugenius in 394, though not without material cost to the power of the Empire.
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261), until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.
Theoderic the Great, often referred to as Theodoric, was king of the Ostrogoths (475–526), ruler of Italy (493–526), regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patrician of the Roman Empire. As ruler of the combined Gothic realms, Theoderic controlled an empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea. He kept good relations between Ostrogoths and Romans, maintained a Roman legal administration and oversaw a flourishing scholarly culture and the largest building program in Italy in 100 years.
The crown was used in Charlemagne's coronation as King of the Lombards. Contemporary or nearly contemporary accounts of the initiations of the earlier kings of the Lombards stress the importance of the king's holding the holy lance [ clarification needed ].
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. He united much of western and central Europe during the Early Middle Ages. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.
The crown was certainly in use for the coronation of the kings of Italy by the 14th century, and presumably since at least the 11th. Old research dates the crown to the 8th or early 9th centuryBut according to a recent study, the crown in its current state is the result of two different works made between the 4–5th and the 9th century. This seems to validate the legends about the origin of the crown, that date it back to the Lombard era and the coronation of their kings.
The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774.
Lord Twining cites a hypothesis by Reinhold N. Elze that Gisela, the daughter of the Emperor Louis the Pious who married Duke Eberhard of Friuli, may have originally possessed the crown and left it to her son Berengar I of Italy on her death in 874. Berengar was the only major benefactor of the church at Monza at this time, and also gave the Cathedral of St. John in Monza a cross made in the same style as the Iron Crown, which is still preserved in the church's treasury. Twining also notes that the Imperial Museum at St. Petersburg includes in its collection two medieval crowns found at Kazan in 1730 made in the same style and of the same size as the Iron Crown. Twining notes that while these crowns and the Iron Crown are too small to be worn around an adult human head, they could be worn on the top of the head if they were affixed to a veil, and this would account for the small holes on the rim of the Iron Crown. 421 Twining also mentions a relief plaque in the cathedral which appears to represent the coronation of Otto IV at Monza in 1209 as it was described by Morigias in 1345 and stresses the point that although four votive crowns are shown hanging above the altar, the crown which the archbishop is placing on the king's head bears no resemblance to the Iron Crown. :424:
Finally, Twining cites a study by Ludovico Antonio Muratori which documents the various degrees of the ecclesiastical authorities alternately authorizing and suppressing the veneration of the Iron Crown until, in 1688, the matter was subjected to be studied by the Congregation of Rites in Rome, which in 1715 diplomatically concluded its official examination by permitting the Iron Crown to be exposed for public veneration and carried in processions, but leaving the essential point of whether the iron ring came from one of the nails of Christ's crucifixion undecided. However, subsequently Archbishop Visconti of Milan gave his own decision that "the iron ring in the Monza crown should be considered as one of the Nails of the Holy Cross and as an original relic."Twining notes that the clergy of Monza assert that despite the centuries that the Iron Crown has been exposed to public veneration, there is not a speck of rust on the essential inner iron ring. Lipinsky, in his examination of the Iron Crown in 1985, noted that the inner ring does not attract a magnet. Analysis of the inner ring in 1993 revealed that the ring is made of silver.
Thirty-four coronations with the Iron Crown were counted by the historian Bartolomeo Zucchi from the 9th to the 17th century (beginning with Charlemagne). The Encyclopædia Britannica states that the first reliable record of the use of the Iron Crown in the coronation of a King of Italy is that of the coronation of Henry VII in 1312. [ citation needed ]Later coronations in which the crown was used include:
Since the 10th century, the Roman-German Kings would travel to Rome to be crowned Holy Roman Emperors. On their way, they traditionally stopped in Lombardy to be crowned with the Iron Crown as Kings of Italy. The traditional site of the coronation was Pavia, the old Lombard capital. However, starting with Conrad II in 1026, coronations were also performed at Milan. In 1530, Charles V received the Iron Crown simultaneously with his Imperial coronation at Bologna.
On May 26, 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte had himself crowned King of Italy at Milan, with suitable splendour and magnificence. Seated upon a throne, he was invested with the usual insignia of royalty by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan and, ascending the altar, he took the iron crown, placed it on his head, and exclaimed, being part of the ceremony used at the enthronement of the Lombard kings, "Dieu me la donne, gare à qui la touche" ('God gives it to me, beware whoever touches it').
On the occasion, Napoleon founded the Order of the Iron Crown, on June 15, 1805. After Napoleon's fall and the annexation of Lombardy to Austria, the order was re-instituted by the Austrian Emperor Francis I, on January 1, 1816.
The last to be crowned with the Iron Crown was Emperor Ferdinand I, in his role as King of Lombardy and Venetia.This occurred in Milan, on September 6, 1838.
After the Second Italian War of Independence, when the Austrians had to withdraw from Lombardy in 1859, the Iron Crown was moved to Vienna, where it remained until 1866, when it was given back to Italy after the Third Italian War of Independence.
From the 9th to the 18th century, the Kings of Italy were also the Holy Roman Emperors, so many of them received the Iron Crown of Lombardy at Pavia, the official capital of the Kingdom.
The earliest definitively documented use of the Iron Crown in a coronation was at that of Henry VII at Milan in 1311 or 1312,a ceremony with French and Roman influences that was the most elaborate example of the Milanese coronation rite. It was given to the King with the words "Accipe coronam regui" ('Receive this royal crown') and the prayer "Deus perpetuitatis" ('God of continuity'). This followed the King's receiving the sword of state and preceded the scepter, verge, and orb and cross.
In 1993, the crown was subjected to extensive scientific analysis performed by the University of Milan using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis and radiocarbon dating. The XRF analysis on the crown metal revealed that all the foils, rosettes and bezels were made with the same alloy, made of 84–85% gold, 5–7% silver, and 8–10% copper, suggesting a contemporary construction of the main part of the crown, while the fillets external to the enamel plates and the hinge pins were made of 90–91% gold and 9–10% silver, suggesting subsequent reworking.
Three of the twenty-four vitreous enamel plates are visually different from the others in colour and construction, and were traditionally considered to be later restorations. The XRF analysis confirmed that they were made with a different technique, with their glass being made of potassium salt, while the others are made of sodium salt (sodium is not directly detectable by the XRF analysis).
Radiocarbon dating of fragments of beeswax used to fix the enamel plates to the gold foils of the crown showed that the wax under the "strange" plates was from around 500 AD, while the ones under the "normal" plates came from around 800 AD. This is consistent with the tradition of a more antique crown, further decorated during the reign of Theoderic (with the addition of the enamels), and then extensively restored during the reign of Charlemagne.
The "iron nail" was found to be 99% silver, meaning the crown contains no iron. However, a note from the Roman Ceremonial of 1159 provides that the Iron Crown is so called "quod laminam quondam habet in summitate", stating that the iron was once laid over the crown (probably as an arc, as in other crowns of the era), not into it. Speculations have been made that the silver circle was added by the goldsmith Antellotto Bracciforte, who restored the crown in 1345 to reinforce it given that the (presumed) theft of two plates had weakened the hinges. (Currently, in one of the crown's junctions, two of the plates are not joined by the hinge, which is too damaged, but are held only by the inner silver ring.) In 1352, for the first time, a document (the inventory of the treasury of the Cathedral of Monza) describes the crown as being small.
The gems in the crown are seven red garnets, seven blue corundums (sapphires), four violet amethysts, and four gems made of glass.
A surprising image of the Iron Crown figures in Chapter 37 "Sunset" of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick . The brief chapter is devoted to Captain Ahab's soliloquy. Among his delusions of persecution and of grandeur, he imagines himself crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.
The Italian film La corona di ferro (1941), directed by Alessandro Blasetti, tells a fantastic story about the arrival of the crown in Italy.
In the Father Brown TV series, the crown figures in episode 70 (The Two Deaths of Hercule Flambeau).
Pavia is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, 35 kilometres south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It has a population of c. 73,000. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of the Lombards from 572 to 774.
Monza is a city and comune on the River Lambro, a tributary of the Po in the Lombardy region of Italy, about 15 kilometres north-northeast of Milan. It is the capital of the Province of Monza and Brianza. Monza is best known for its Grand Prix motor racing circuit, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, which hosts the Formula One Italian Grand Prix with a massive Italian support tifosi for the Ferrari team.
Crown Jewels are the objects of metalwork and jewellery in the regalia of a current or former monarchy. They are often used for the coronation of a monarch and a few other ceremonial occasions. A monarch may often be shown wearing them in portraits, as they symbolize the power and continuity of the monarchy. Additions to them may be made, but since medieval times the existing items are typically passed down unchanged as they symbolize the continuity of the monarchy.
King of Italy was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The first to take the title was Odoacer, a "barbarian" military leader, in the late 5th century, followed by the Ostrogothic kings up to the mid-6th century. With the Frankish conquest of Italy in the 8th century, the Carolingians assumed the title, which was maintained by subsequent Holy Roman Emperors throughout the Middle Ages. The last Emperor to claim the title was Charles V in the 16th century. During this period, the holders of the title were crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.
The Holy Crown of Hungary, also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence; kings have been crowned with it since the twelfth century. The Crown was bound to the Lands of the Hungarian Crown. No king of Hungary was regarded as having been truly legitimate without being crowned with it. In the history of Hungary, more than fifty kings were crowned with it, up to the last, Charles IV, in 1916.
The Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire was the hoop crown of the Holy Roman Emperor from the 11th century to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. The crown was used in the coronation of the King of the Romans, the title assumed by the Emperor-elect immediately after his election. It was made in the late 10th or early 11th century. Unlike many other crowns, it has an octagonal rather than a circular shape, and is constructed from eight hinged plates. The plate in the front of the crown is surmounted by a cross, with a single arch linking it to a plate at the rear of the crown. The crown is kept in the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg in Vienna, Austria.
Relics that are claimed to be the Holy Nails with which Christ was crucified are objects of veneration among some Christians, particularly Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. In Christian symbolism and art they figure among the Instruments of the Passion or Arma Christi, the objects associated with Jesus' Passion. Like the other Instruments the Holy Nails have become an object of veneration among many Christians and have been pictured in paintings and supposedly recovered.
The Order of the Iron Crown was an order of merit that was established on June 5, 1805, by Napoleon Bonaparte under his title of King Napoleon I of Italy.
The Austrian Crown Jewels is a term denoting the regalia and vestments worn by the Holy Roman Emperor, and later by the Emperor of Austria, during the coronation ceremony and other state functions. The term refers to the following objects: the crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, rings, crosses, holy relics, and the royal robes, as well as several other objects connected with the ceremony. The collection dates from the 10th to the 19th centuries and reflects more than a thousand years of European history. It is kept at the Imperial Treasury in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.
The Crown of Charlemagne was a name given to the ancient coronation crown of Kings of the Franks, and later Kings of France after 1237.
The Imperial Crown of Austria was made in 1602 in Prague by Jan Vermeyen as the personal crown of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and therefore is also known as the Crown of Emperor Rudolf II. The crown was used as a private crown of the Holy Roman Emperors and Kings of Hungary and Bohemia from the House of Habsburg. In 1804 it became the official crown of the newly constituted Austrian Empire. After 1867 it remained the imperial crown of the Cisleithanian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918.
Agilulf called the Thuringian, was a duke of Turin and king of the Lombards from 591 until his death.
Aribert was the archbishop of Milan from 1018, a quarrelsome warrior-bishop in an age in which such figures were not uncommon.
The Kingdom of Italy was one of the constituent kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire, along with the kingdoms of Germany, Bohemia, and Burgundy. It comprised northern and central Italy, but excluded the Republic of Venice and the Papal States. Its original capital was Pavia until the 11th century.
The Duomo of Monza often known in English as Monza Cathedral is the main religious building of Monza, in northern Italy. Unlike most duomos it is not in fact a cathedral, as Monza has always been part of the Diocese of Milan, but is in the charge of an archpriest who has the right to certain episcopal vestments including the mitre and the ring. The church is also known as the Basilica of San Giovanni Battista from its dedication to John the Baptist.
The Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor was a ceremony in which the ruler of Europe's then-largest political entity received the Imperial Regalia at the hands of the Pope, symbolizing both the pope's right to crown Christian sovereigns and also the emperor's role as protector of the Roman Catholic Church. The Holy Roman Empresses were crowned as well.
The accession of the King of France was legitimized by coronation ceremony performed with the Crown of Charlemagne at Notre-Dame de Reims. However, the person did not need to be crowned in order to be recognized as French monarch; the new king ascended the throne when the coffin of the previous monarch descended into the vault at Saint Denis Basilica, and the Duke of Uzès proclaimed "Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi"!
The Essen Crown is an Ottonian golden crown in the Essen Cathedral Treasury. It was formerly claimed that it might have been the crown with which the three-year-old Otto III was crowned King of the Romans in 983, which is the source of its common name, the Childhood Crown of Otto III. However, this idea most probably derives from the wishful thinking of early twentieth century historians of Essen and it is now widely rejected. However it is certainly the oldest surviving lily crown in the world.
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