Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire
Learn more about Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire
The Imperial Crown (German: Reichskrone), is the crown of the Kings and Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages. Most of the kings since Konrad II were crowned with it. It was made probably somewhere in Western Germany, presumably during the late 10th century. The first preserved mention of it is from the 12th century — assuming it is the same crown, which seems very probable.
Along with the Imperial Cross (Reichskreuz), the Imperial Sword (Reichsschwert), and the Holy Lance (Heilige Lanze), the crown was the most important part of the Imperial Regalia (Reichskleinodien). During the coronation, it was given to the new king along with the sceptre (Zepter) and the Imperial Orb (Reichsapfel). The Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire, especially the Imperial Crown, were all kept 1424–1796 in Nuremberg (Nürnberg), located in the historical Franconia, the midland of the kingdom and the origin of Frankish state in Germany — and could only leave the city for the coronation.
An identical copy is in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in Germany in the "Krönungssaal" of Charlemagne's former palace, now town hall.
The Imperial Crown does not look like most crowns. The crown does not have a round shape, but an octagonal one. Instead of a ring, it has eight hinged plates which are rounded off at the top. Two iron-tapes, which are connected with golden rivets to the plates, hold the crown together and give it its octagonal shape. At what point these iron-tapes were installed is unknown.
Each plate of the crown is made out of quality gold, and studded with pearls and precious stones. The pearls and the stones were put into openings that were cut into the metal, and fastened with thin wires. The effect was that when the light shone in, the stones looked as if they would shine from within.
The crown is decorated with 144 precious stones and about the same number of pearls. The working material is gold.
Four smaller plates bear pictorial representations from the Bible in cloisonné enamel. The technique used for the enamel plates is byzantine. The four plates, called Bildplatten, show three representations from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. The three from the Old Testament show the kings David, Solomon, and Hezekiah with the prophet Isaiah. The plate from the New Testament shows Jesus with two angels. The other four plates, called stone-plates (Steinplatten), are of differing sizes and are decorated solely by precious stone and pearls in raised settings.
- Weltliche und Geistliche Schatzkammer. Bildführer. Kunsthistorischen Museum, Vienna. 1987. ISBN 3-7017-0499-6
- Fillitz, Hermann. Die Schatzkammer in Wien: Symbole abendländischen Kaisertums. Vienna, 1986. ISBN 3-7017-0443-0
- Fillitz, Hermann. Die Insignien und Kleinodien des Heiligen Römischen Reiches, 1954.