Learn more about Globus cruciger
The globus cruciger (Latin) is an orb (globus) topped with a cross (cruciger), a Christian symbol of authority used throughout the Middle Ages on coins, iconography and royal regalia. It symbolises Christ's (the cross) dominion over the world (the orb), literally held in the dominion of an earthly ruler (or sometimes celestial being such as an angel).
The visual symbolism of holding the world (in Latin orbis terrarum, the 'circle of countries', hence the word orb) in one's hand, or perhaps even more ominously under one's foot, was a clear message used since antiquity among pagans. Citizens of Rome were familiar with the plain round orb as a representation of the world or universe, and the emperor's dominion and protectorate over it; for example a 4th century coin from the reign of Emperor Constantine I shows him holding a globus in hand; and a 2nd century coin from the reign of Emperor Hadrian shows the Roman god Salus with his foot upon a globus.
With the growth of Christianity in the 5th century, the orb was topped with a cross (hence globus cruciger), symbolising the Christian God's dominion over the world. Symbolically to Christians, the emperor held the world in his hand, on behalf of God. To non-Christians already familiar with the pagan orb, the surmounting of a cross sent a message about the triumph of Christianity. Scale and size in the medieval mind (iconography) was important in the sense of relative size to other objects around it; the world is seen small and the ruler or celestial being large, to emphasise the importance of each element. Despite the globe's symbolism is on a planetary scale, its use (in actual regalia and emblematic) was proliferated among Christian rulers over small parts of the earth, not even all sovereign.
The globus cruciger was used by powerful rulers and celestial beings alike; it adorned portrayals of both emperors and kings, as well as archangels. It first appeared on coins in the early 5th century and remained popular throughout the Middle Ages in coins, iconography and royal regalia. The papacy, holding universal canonical jurisdiction and in the Middle Ages once rivalling the Holy Roman Emperor for the supreme feudal status of liege lord of all other (Catholic) rulers, also maintained the symbol on top of the papal tiara ("triple crown"; there is no separate papal orb). Even in the modern era in England, the Sovereign's Orb symbolises both the state and Church of England under the protection and domain of the royal crown.
British Sovereign's Orb.
A Roman coin showing Antoninianus of Carinus holding pilum and globe.
The coat of arms of Uppland
 See also
 Sources and External links
- Picture of the 10th century Orb, Scepter and Crown insignia of the Holy Roman Empire
- Picture of Justinian (527-565) holding a Globus cruciger