Imperial Regalia

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For Japan's Imperial Regalia, see Imperial Regalia of Japan
Image:Dürer karl der grosse.jpg
Charlemagne, wearing the Imperial Regalia. Portrait by Albrecht Dürer

The Imperial Regalia, insignia, or crown jewels (in German Reichskleinodien, Reichsinsignien, or Reichsschatz) are the regalia of the Emperors and Kings of the Holy Roman Empire. The most important parts are the Imperial Crown, the Holy Lance and the Imperial Sword. Today they are kept at the Schatzkammer Treasury in the Hofburg palace in Vienna, Austria.

The Imperial Regalia is the only completely still preserved royal regalia from the Middle Ages. During the late Middle Ages, the word Imperial Regalia (Reichskleinodien) had many variations in the Latin language. The regalia were either named in Latin: insignia imperialia, regalia insignia, insignia imperalis capellae quae regalia dicuntur and other similar words.

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[edit] Components

The regalia is made out of two different parts. The greater group are the so-called Nürnberger Kleinodien (roughly translated Nuremberg jewels), named after the town of Nuremberg where the regalia where kept from 1424 to 1796. This part comprised the Imperial Crown, parts of the coronation vestments, the Imperial Orb (a globus cruciger), the Imperial Sceptre, the Imperial Sword, the Ceremonial Sword , the Imperial Cross, the Holy Lance, and all other reliquiaries except St. Stephen's Purse.

St. Stephen's Purse, the Imperial Bible, and the so-called Saber of Charlemagne were kept in Aachen until 1794. That is why the lesser part is called Aachener Kleinodien (Aachen jewels). It is neither known since when this part is counted amongst the Imperial Regalia nor since when these regalia have been kept in Aachen.

Present inventory in Vienna:
Aachen regalia (Aachener Kleinodien) Probable place of origin, and date of production
Imperial Bible (Reichsevangeliar or Krönungsevangeliar) Aachen, end of 8th century
St. Stephen's Purse (Stephansbursa) Carolingian, 1st third of 9th century
Saber of Charlemagne (Säbel Karl des Großen)    Eastern Europe, 2nd half of 9th century
Nuremberg regalia (Nürnberger Kleinodien) Probable place of origin, and date of production
Imperial Crown (Reichskrone)    Western Germany, 2nd half of 10th century
Imperial Cross (Reichskreuz)    Western Germany, around 1024/1025
Holy Lance (Heilige Lanze)    Langobardian, 8th/9th century
Relics of the True Cross (Kreuzpartikel)   
Imperial Sword (Reichsschwert)    Sheath from Germany, 2nd third-part of 11th century
Imperial Orb (Reichsapfel)    Western Germany, around end of 12th century
Coronation Mantle (Krönungsmantel) (Pluviale)    Palermo, 1133/24
Alb    Palermo, 1181
Dalmatic (Dalmatica or Tunicella)    Palermo, around 1140
Stockings    Palermo, around 1170
Shoes    Palermo, around 1130 or around 1220
Gloves    Palermo, 1220
Ceremonial Sword (Zeremonienschwert)    Palermo, 1220
Stole (Stola)    Central Italy, before 1338
Eagle-dalmatic (Adlerdalmatica)    Upper Germany, before 1350
Imperial Sceptre (Zepter)    Germany, 1st half of 14th century
Aspergille    Germany, 1st. half of 14th century
Reliquary with chains    Rome or Prague, around 1368
Reliquary with a piece of vestment of the John the Evangelist    Rome or Prague, around 1368
Reliquary with a shaving of the Crib of Christ    Rome or Prague, around 1368
Reliquary with an arm-bone of St. Anne    probably Prague after 1350
Reliquary with a tooth of John the Baptist    Bohemia, after 1350
Case (Futteral) of the Imperial Crown    Prague, after 1350
Reliquary with a piece of the tablecloth used during the Last Supper   

[edit] History

[edit] Middle Ages

The inventory of the regalia during the late Middle Ages normally consisted only of five to six items. Gottfried von Viterbo counted following items: the Imperial Cross, the Holy Lance, the crown, the sceptre, the orb, and the sword. On other lists however, the sword is not mentioned.

If the medieval chronicles really do refer to the regalia, which are kept in Vienna today, depends on a variety of factors. Descriptions of the emperors only spoke of them being “clothed in imperial regalia” without exactly describing which ones they were. The crown can only be dated back to the 13th century, when it is described in a medieval poem. The poem speaks of the Waise stone, which was a big and prominent jewel on the crowns. The first definite pictorial image of the crown can only be found later in a mural in the Karlštejn castle close to Prague.

It is also difficult to define for how long the Imperial and Ceremonial Swords have belonged to the regalia.

[edit] Literature

  • 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.

Crowns Image:Krone Kaiser Rudolf II Kaisertum Österreich.jpg
European & World Crowns

Crown of Bavaria | Crown of Christian IV (Denmark) | Crown of Christian V (Denmark) | Crown of Charlemagne (France) | Crown of Empress Eugenie (France) | Crown of Frederick I (Prussia) | Crown of Louis XV (France) | Crown of Napoleon (France) | Crown of Norway | Crown of Elisabeta (Romania) | Crown of Maria (Romania) | Crown of Wilhelm II (Prussia) | Crown of St. Stephen (Hungary) | Crown of St. Wenceslas (Czech lands) | Crown of the Polish Kingdom (Poland) | Kiani Crown (Persia) | Imperial Crown of Austria | Imperial Crown of Brazil | Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire | Imperial Crown of Mexico | Imperial Crown of Russia | Iron Crown of Lombardy | Monomakh's Cap (Muscovy) | Royal Crown of Serbia | Steel Crown of Romania | Pahlavi Crown (Iran) | Papal Tiara


English, Scottish & British Crowns (by chronology)

Crown of Scotland | St. Edward's Crown | Crown of Mary of Modena | State Crown of George I | Crown of Frederick, Prince of Wales | Coronation Crown of George IV | Crown of Queen Adelaide | Imperial State Crown | Small diamond crown of Queen Victoria | Crown of Queen Alexandra | Crown of George, Prince of Wales | Crown of Queen Mary | Imperial Crown of India | Crown of Queen Elizabeth | Crown of Charles, Prince of Wales


See also: Coronation | Crown Jewels | Heir Apparent | Heir Presumptive | King | Monarchy | Queen | Regalia | Royal Family

Crown Jewels Image:Srpske Regalije.jpg

Austrian Crown Jewels | British Crown Jewels | Bavarian Crown Jewels | Bohemian Crown Jewels | Danish Crown Regalia | Dutch Royal Regalia | French Crown Jewels | German Crown Jewels | Greek Crown Jewels | Hungarian Crown Jewels | Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire | Iranian Crown Jewels | Honours of Scotland | Honours of Wales | Irish Crown Jewels | Imperial Regalia of Japan | Nigerian Royal Regalia | Norwegian Royal Regalia | Polish Crown Jewels | Portuguese Crown Jewels | Prussian Crown Jewels | Romanian Crown Jewels | Russian Crown Jewels | Serbian Crown Jewels | Spanish Crown Jewels | Swedish Royal Regalia | Thai Royal Regalia|

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Imperial Regalia

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