[MR] Wikipedia: Iron Crown of Lombardy

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 27 03:08:40 PST 2019

Noble Friends,

This morning I was thrashing about for something new to comment upon when I
stumbled on to the Iron Crown of Lombardy. This turned out to be a very
interesting topic, especially because the crown contains no iron:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Crown_of_Lombardy .

The crown has various traditions around its early history, one being that
it was the Papal crown of Pope Gregory the Great, who may have passed it to
Theodelinda, Princess of the Lombards. She donated it in 628 to the
Cathedral of St. John in Monza. Another tradition says that Theodric the
Great (are all these people really that great, or is this just
self-promotion?) demanded it from the Byzantines along with some other
important symbols held in Constantinople. In any case, it was used in
Charlemagne's coronation as King of the Lombards, and was used for
centuries to crown Kings of Italy and Holy Roman Emperors (often the same
thing). Even Napoleon stuck it on his own head to justify his power grab in
Italy, but for us the Little Corporal doesn't exist yet.

Whatever its origins, parts of the crown date from the 4th century, and
others from the 9th. It is among the oldest royal insignia in Europe. And
it is impossibly small, possibly because at least two panels were lost or
stolen at some point. No matter, since it was only going to grace a royal
head for the coronation ceremony, and not for day-to-day bling.

And the missing iron? Supposedly a nail from the True Cross found by St.
Helena was pounded into a thin band which runs around the inside of the
crown (see the enlarged drawing at
). Upon recent analysis, this band proved to be nearly pure silver and
probably dates from repairs in the 14th century. Other ideas say the nail
was formed into a now missing arch across the top of the crown. In any
case, today there isn't any iron the cross at all.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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