The Iron Crown of the Langobard Kings
The Iron Crown of the Langobard Kings. The so-called crown of the Langobard kings (La Couronne de fer, or Corona Ferrea) consists of a gold hoop 7.62 centimeters wide, covered with precious stones. Inside the crown there is a narrow iron hoop, which, according to legend, rising in the time of the King of Franks Charlemagne, was originally a nail from the cross of Jesus Christ, presented by Pope Gregory the Great to the Langobard Princess Theodelind of Bavaria, who ordered him to make a crown for the coronation of his wife Agilulph.
In the church in Monza it has long been believed that the iron hoop of the crown was made from one of the nails that served for the crucifixion of our Lord, and that this crown was given at the end of the 6th century by St. Gregory the Great Theodeland, the Lombard queen, who placed it in the church of John The Baptist in Monza. This version was carefully studied in Rome in the beginning of the XVIII century in connection with the polls that aroused on her behalf the Bishop of Milan. After a serious investigation, in 1717, a decree was issued, allowing the chapter of Monza to display the iron crown for everyone to see along with other relics of the Passion of Christ. ”
So, this crown was given by Theodelind for storage in the temple of John the Baptist in Monza; there it is and to the present.
In addition to the Langobard kings themselves, most of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire from Charles the Great (747-814) to Charles V of the Habsburg clan (1500-1558) were crowned by this crown. In addition, in 1805, after the founding of the Italian kingdom, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned.
In the 11th century, the coronation in Germany, the imposition of the Iron Crown of the Langobard kings and the anointing in Rome were included in the set of so-called “mandatory protocol events” of the Holy Roman Emperors.
Lombards (Latin Langobardus – long-bearded) were the rulers of Upper and Middle Italy for several hundred years. The descendants of Germany, from the tribe known still to Tacitus and who lived along the lower course of the Elbe, and then to the Danube, they crossed the Alps in 568, settled in the Po River valley, and their families gradually merged with the remaining representatives of the ancient Roman nobility. At the same time, the Roman population and Roman civilization were able to gain a preponderance over the Lombards, as evidenced by the overwhelming superiority of the Latin elements over the Germanic ones in today’s Italian language and the survival of Roman laws and regulations.
It is believed that in 568, when the Lombards led by King Alboin invaded northern Italy, there were no more than two hundred thousand people, including women, children and the elderly. Nevertheless, already in the middle of the 7th century, the main part of Italy was under the control of the Lombards, and the most densely settled in North-Western Italy. There, the Langobard Kingdom was created (hence, later, the present name of this territory, Lombardy, took place) with its capital in Pavia.
In the 7th century the Lombards began to learn the Latin language and the customs of the local population. The Italian people were not only not destroyed by the “barbarians”, but managed to assimilate them to a large extent.
In 774, the Lombard Kingdom was conquered and destroyed by Charles the Great, and, according to the widely held opinion, the Lombards as a nation disappeared. But, it seems, this is not entirely true. Their spoken language existed at least until the end of the IX century, and writing – and more.
Whatever it was, the Lombard Kingdom became part of the Carolingian Empire, and Charlemagne, the son of Pipin, was crowned with the iron crown of the Lombards.
According to the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the territory of the former Lombard Kingdom was again separated, but already as an aggregate of individual duchies and feudal estates.
with precious stones. This whole structure was reinforced on an iron hoop made, as claimed, from a nail from the cross of Jesus Christ.
From this iron hoop, in fact, the name of the crown occurred. One can believe or not believe in the origin of this hoop. Be that as it may, the metal from which it is made is not corroded, and due to its inclusion in the crown, numerous miracles were recorded, almost all related to healing. It is interesting to note that originally the crown consisted only of gold segments and only later the design was made more rigid by means of an amplifying hoop. This fact is recorded in the annals. However, the official Vatican is of the opinion that the nail, underlying the iron crown, was used for the crucifixion of some early Christian martyr. To the nail of the Savior, he supposedly has no relationship, but still has a miraculous power.
After the coronation, Agilulf in a short time managed to suppress the separatism of the Lombard dukes and ensured the consolidation of the newly formed Langobard kingdom.
By 605, he extended his rule to the vast Byzantine regions in the middle reaches of the Po and to a number of other territories to the south and east.
Agilulph died in 615, and the throne was inherited by his minor son Adelwald, who ruled under the tutelage of Theodelind.
It is interesting to note this fact: Queen Theodelind was Catholic, but Agilulph, although distinguished for religious tolerance and allowed to baptize his son as a Catholic, did not become a Catholic himself.
Theodelind, who in fact gave the crown to her second husband, exerted a great influence on the management of the state both with her husband and with her son. It was she who helped to establish peace between the Lombards-Arians and the Roman Catholic Church. Theodelinda died in 628, building the temple of John the Baptist in Monza, in which the crown of the Lombard kings is now preserved.
In total, including King Aguilulph, this crown was crowned by twenty more kings of Langobardia.
Initially, the crown of Charlemagne was kept in Nuremberg, but when Napoleon’s troops began to approach the city, she was transported to Vienna and there they reliably hid. Napoleon very much wanted to get a crown for his coronation in 1804, but he never managed to find out exactly where she is.
I had to settle for the “ordinary” French crown.
I found the crown of France on earth and picked it up, “announced the proud Corsican.
In 1804, this instruction of Charlemagne gave fruit. Napoleon, too, clearly demonstrated to everyone that he receives the crown not from some pope, but from God and the will of God.
Thus, in France after the Merovingian dynasty (reigning from the 5th to the VIIIth century), the Carolingians (who reigned from the 8th to the 10th centuries), the Capetians with their two descending lines – Valois and Bourbon (who reigned from the end of the Xth century to 1792), after these Three powerful royal dynasties were to be reigned in the fourth dynasty – the dynasty of the Bonapartes. But this new dynasty should not have had an “ordinary” royal title, like all the previous ones. The new ruler wished for himself the title of emperor, received for the first time by the same Charlemagne after his coronation in the year 800. Now, after a thousand years, Napoleon openly declared that, like Charles the Great, he would be the “emperor of the West”, that is, he accepts the legacy of not the former French kings, but the inheritance of the Emperor Charles the Great.
Napoleon became king of Italy, and only this provided the dependence of the Holy See. But before taking the Iron Crown, he stopped at the battlefield, where he conquered Italy for the second time. There, in the middle of 30 LLC soldiers, named the bravest of the brave and decorated with the Order of the Legion of Honor, he solemnly laid the first stone of the monument to the heroes who died at Marengo. After this, he crossed the Arc de Triomphe to Milan.
On May 8 he made a grand entrance to the city. The coronation took place on the 26th. By its historical brilliance, this ceremony eclipsed the coronation of Paris. The new king here was both Charlemagne and Napoleon. Ten centuries later, the crown of the Lombards, entrusted to the head of the Emperor of the French, told the whole world that Charlemagne had a successor. As in Paris, Napoleon crowned himself. ”
And on June 8, Napoleon’s stepson Eugene Beauharnais became the vice-king and regent of Italy.
the time of the coronation in Milan (since 1809 this inscription was performed in Italian). The crown was attached to the image of the imperial eagle, and the whole sign was worn on a golden-orange ribbon with a green border.
Napoleon, of course, became the Grandmaster of the Order, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Ferdinando Marescalci became his chancellor.
The Order of the Iron Crown had three degrees, and the number of initiates in each of them was limited:
the highest dignitaries – 5 people;
commanders – 25 people;
cavaliers – 200 people.
By decree of December 19, 1807, the number of initiates was increased to 15, 50 and 300, respectively. All of them were given annual monetary grants: for example, since 1810 the Chevalier of the Order received an annual net income of 3000 lire.
Cavaliers wore a silver sign on the left side of the chest, the commanders – gold on the neck. The golden sign of the highest dignitary was worn on a wide ribbon, passing through the right shoulder. In this case, a large embroidered star also relied on the order.
The Iron Crown of the Langobard Kings
This award had a universal character. It could be obtained by all persons who distinguished themselves in the military and civil service of the Italian kingdom. However, the decree specifically stipulated that 200 cavaliers, 25 commanders and 5 top dignitaries should be selected from among French soldiers and officers who distinguished themselves in battles and contributed to the establishment and strengthening of the kingdom. The Order was to become a symbol of the combat brotherhood of the Italian and French military, to celebrate their combat feats and mutual assistance.
Among the awarded the Order of the Iron Crown are Evgeny Bogarne, Marshals Berthier, Massena, Augereau and Serruurye (higher dignitaries), generals Mouton and Friant (commanders), Marshals Davout, Lefevre, Soult and Suchet (Cavaliers). As you can see, the rank of the recipient was not the main reason for obtaining this or that degree of the Order. The Italians were also awarded the order: the Minister of Finance of Prima, the Minister of War, General Pinault, the President of the Senate, Count Paradisi, the Archbishop of Milan, the famous singer Girolamo Crescentini, and others.
In total for the years of the Kingdom of Italy, 33 people became the highest dignitaries of the Iron Crown Order (including 12 military), 105 people – commanders (including 60 military) and about 1,500 – cavaliers. It is not difficult to see that the orders established by the Napoleonic decree for each degree of the “quota” order were significantly exceeded.
After the fall of Napoleon, at the beginning of 1816, this distinction was included among the awards of the Austrian Empire (although the eagle on the new Order of the Iron Crown acquired the corresponding appearance – it became two-headed).