Crowns and Regalia



The Frankish Kingdom

Kingdom of France

First empire  


Second Empire

The  Sword of Charlemagne


Back to France


The Roman Era




On his first imperial voyage Hadrian reached Gallia Narbonensis province in 121 and Lugdunensis in 122. A silver denarius was coined to remember this visit.


Silver denarius of Hadrian


Obv.: Bust of Hadrian crowned with a laurle crown. L.: HADRIANVS AVGOS IMPR

Rev.: Man in toga, codicil in his left hand and kneeling Gaul doing homage (?) L. RESTITVTORI GALLIAE.


This coin has been taken for a long time as a proof that the fleur-de-lis was the symbol of Gaul in Roman times. A quote about this coin reads: “It is curious – though possible in this case it may be only a coincidence – that, on a coin of the Emperor Hadrian, Gaul is typified by a female figure holding in the hand a lily, the legend being, “Restutori Galliæ”. Probably this was founded on a much worn denarius with the same scene and legend on the reverse but with the head of Hadrian looking to the sinister.

As the helmeted man paying homage is doubtlessly a warrior, it may be the military governor of Gallia Narbonensis of the time.


The Gallic Empire


The Gallic Empire (Imperium Galliarum) is the modern name for a breakaway part of the Roman Empire that functioned de facto as a separate state from 260 to 274. It was established by Postumus in 260 in the wake of barbarian invasions and instability in Rome, and at its height included the territories of Germania, Gaul, Britannia, and (for a time) Hispania. After Postumus’ assassination in 268 it lost much of its territory, but continued under a number of emperors and usurpers. It was retaken by Roman emperor Aurelian after the Battle of Châlons in 274.


Æ More: Wikipedia: Gallic Empire





Aureusof Postvmvs, 263-264

Seated ruler and kneeling vassal. POSTVMVS PIVS AVG/INDVLG PIA POSTVMI AVG





Laelianus AV Aureus. Mainz or Trier mint, AD 268. IMP C LAELIANVS P F AVG, laureate & cuirassed bust right / TEMPORVM FELICITAS, female figure reclining left, holding branch in right hand and resting left arm on hare.





Marius (western provinces).  Aureus, 269






Victorinus, Aureus, 269






Tetricus, Aureus, 271



The Tetrarchy



By Diocletion (284-305) the Roman Empire was divided in four prefectures. One of them was Gaul which was divided into four dioceses (Brittanny, Gaul, Vienna and Spain). On 1 March 293 the Tetrarchy was created by which the government of the Empire was divided between  2 “Augusti” and 2 “Caesares” the last succeeding the first and being appointed new caesares.

Four tetrarchs are represented on sculptures robbed from Constantinople in 1204 at the fourth crusade by the Venetians and now on San Marco square in Venice. The tetrarchs are in military dress with swords with hilts of eagle’s heads at their sides. On their heads there have been diadems, or kepi’s (pill boxes) probably decorated with badges or gems.  Gold coins with portraits of the tetrarchs reperesent them with a pointed sun-crown.


The Tetrarchs on San Marco Square in Venice

The one on the right Constantius I Chlorus


Constantius I Chlorus (293/305-306) made Treves his residence in 293 be it that, forced by political circumstances, he temporarily resided in York (Brittanny). Treves became the capital of one of the newly created administrative territories (dioceses) comprising the then more than 100 provinces of the Empire. The diocese Galliarum as as the territory governed from Treves was called, comprised eight provinces.





Magnentius was the commander of the Herculians and Jovians, the Imperial guard units. When the army grew dissatisfied with the behavior of Roman Emperor Constans (337-350), it elevated Magnentius at Autun on 18 January 350. Constans was abandoned by all except a handful of retainers, and he was slain shortly afterwards by a troop of light cavalry near the Pyrenees.

Magnentius quickly attracted the loyalty of the provinces in Britannia, Gaul, and Hispania. His control on Italia and Africa was applied through the election of his men to the most important offices.



Emperor in the western provinces, 350-353

Bronze coin, struck in Trier. Bust and Christogram


The Western Roman Empire




Ivory consular diptych of Anicius Petronius Probus

Right part depicting the Roman emperor Honorius, crowned and nimbused, with commander’s staff,  sword and shield. On his breast a gorgoneion and the hilt of his sword an eagle’s head

Rome, 406. Museo del Tesoro della Cattedrale in Aosta, Italy.


On an unknown moment, likely shortly before the year 400, the Prefecture was moved to Arles. Because of the retreat of the troops in 406 the country became almost defenceless so that the invasion of German tribes crossing the Rhine at the turn of the year 406-407 and later moving further west, could not be halted.


Present France comprises the roman dioceses of Galliae and Vienennesis, parts of the larger praetorian prefecture of Gaul (praefectura praetorio Galliarum)


The oldest diptych that can properly be called a consular diptych, held in the cathedral treasury at Aosta, is one commissioned by Anicius Petronius Probus, consul in the Western Empire in 406 – it is unique not only for its extreme antiquity but also as the only one to bear the portrait of the Emperor (Honorius in this instance, to whom the diptych is dedicated in an inscription full of humility, with Probus calling himself the emperor's "famulus" or slave) rather than that of the consul.


Magister Militum per Gallias


In that time the army in Gaul was commanded by the Magister Militum per Gallias. The title of magister militum was created in the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine the Great deprived the praetorian prefects of their military functions. Initially two posts were created, one as head of the foot troops, as the magister peditum (“Master of the Foot”), and one for the more prestigious horse troops, the magister equitum (“Master of the Horse”). The latter title had existed since Republican times, as the second-in-command to a Roman dictator.

As such they were directly in command of the local mobile field army of the comitatenses, composed mostly of cavalry, which acted as a rapid reaction force. Other magistri remained at the immediate disposal of the Emperors, and were termed in praesenti (“in the presence” of the Emperor).


By the late 4th century, the regional commanders were termed simply magister militum. In Gaul there have been ten Magistri Militum by the names of


352-355: Claudius Silvanus

362-364: Flavius Iovinus, magister equitum under Julian and Jovian

 ? – 419: Flavius Gaudentius

425-433: Flavius Aetius

437-439: Avitus

452-456: Agrippinus

456-461: Aegidius

461/462: Agrippinus

 ? -  472: Bilimer

465-486: Syagrius


In the time of Flavius Gaudentius the insignia of a Magister Militum was a ivory plaque (diptych) on a credence table with a blue cloth. Such insignia are represented by the Notitia Dignitatum for the Magistri Peditum and – Equitum. The insignia for the Magister Militum per Gallias is not given but is supposed to have been of the kind of these two.


Consular Diptych of Flavius Aetius (425-433)

Ivory, first half of the 5th century.

Belonged until the Revolution to the library of the chapter of Bourges Cathedral.

Gift of P.A. Bourdaloue. Musée Municipal de Bourges inv. n° 860.3.2.


On this diptych Flavius Aetius is seated with a scptre and a scroll (folio) in his hands. Above  the ciborium of his throne are two eagles, which are the emblems of his consular rank.


The Frankish Kingdom

Childeric I (Doornik)



In 1653 a tomb was discovered in Tournai (Doornik) which was attributed to Childeric I.

Print of the signet ring of Childeric

C.69-70 Tomb of King Childéric. *)

Tournai, 482


The almost complete disappearance of the objects (in 1831) makes it difficult to value the exact meaning of the content of the tomb of Childeric and also of its interpretation. Chiflet mentions a large amount of golden threads, pieces of purple silk and brocade dress (the tunica and the royal mantle). Many iron objects were also lost, in particular a sword. The wood of the coffin with its iron handles has disappeared and also the bones (the skeleton measured 1,80 m)

A large amount of pieces are nevertheless saved or reproduced as casts or drawings. Most of them are characteristic for a royal tomb.


2 Golden signet ring

On it is the bust of the king en face, with long hairs with a parting in the middle and two braids. The king wears a cuirass and the paladamentum (mantle) of a roman officer and he keeps a spear, symbol of royalty. The inscription «childeric regis» on the signet ring makes its identification incontestable. [1]



Chlodovech I ( = Clovis)



In 493 Clovis married Clotilda, daughter of the Burgundian Chilperic II. Clotilda was a Catholic and exerted a great influence over him. She is said to have inspired him to convert to Christianity at a critical moment in the Battle of Tolbiac in 496. Whatever the truth, he and 3,000 of his followers were baptized as Catholics at Rheims at Christmas 496. Clovis seized the banner of Catholicism to rally support and undermine the other Germanic kingdoms. In 507 he moved against the Visigoths. His victory at Vouillé was decisive and Clovis became ruler of most of what is now France. By now he ruled over a vast area and several peoples. The Eastern emperor Anastasius (491-518) granted him an honorary title of ‘consul’, no doubt seeing him as a counterweight to Theodoric the Great in Italy. Clovis moved his capital to Paris and laid the foundations for what was eventually to become the French nation. He died unexpectedly in 511 and his kingdom was divided up amongst his four sons.


About the vase of Soissons:

Æ see: Cup


38.Clovis received an appointment to the consulship from the emperor Anastasius, and in the church of the blessed Martin he clad himself in the purple tunic and chlamys, and placed a diadem on his head. Then he mounted his horse, and in the most generous manner he gave gold and silver as he passed along the way which is between the gate of the entrance [of the church of St. Martin] and the church of the city, scattering it among the people who were there with his own hand, and from that day he was called consul orAugustus. Leaving Tours he went to Paris and there he established the seat of his kingdom. There also Theodoric came to him.


Chlodomer (Orleans)


Theuderic I (Reims)




Childebert I (Paris)



Signet ring of Childebert I

Royal bust with spear, inscribed  X HILDEBERTI REGIS


Chlothar I (Soissons)


Sole King 558-561

Theudebert I (Reims)


Theudebald (Reims)


Charibert (Paris)


Sigebert I (Reims, Austrasia)


Chilperic I (Soissons, Neustria)


Guntram (Bourgogne)


Childebert II (Austrasia, Burgundy 593)




Chlothar II (Neustria, King 613)


Charibert II (Aquitania)


Sigebert III (Austrasia 634)


Chlodovech II (Neustria & Burgundy)


Childebert (Austrasia)


Chlothar III (Neustria & Burgundy)


Childeric II (Austrasia, King 673)


Dagobert II (Austrasia)


Theuderik III Neustria & Burgundy


King 679

Chlodovech III


Childebert III


Dagobert III


Chilperic II


Chlothar IV (Austrasie)


Theuderic IV




Childeric III




Kingdom of France / Royaume de France



Pepin the Short






*742- † 814

 King of Francia 768 – 814

King of Lombardia 774-814

Emperor 800 – 814


The empire of Charlemagne initially comprised the dioceses Galliae and Viennensis and a territory east of the Rhine. Later he added the diocese of Italia Annonaria and Saxony in the north. In fact his empire had the dimension of a prefecture. His crown, not the crow of a vicar) can match with this.



Einhart in his “Life and Works of Charlegne” writes: “He dressed in the local, Frankish costume. On his body he wore a linen shirt and trousers, and on this an upper dress and trousers interwoven with silk. His legs were gaitered and his feet shod and in winter he protected  his breast and shoulders with a jerkin of otter or marten. Then he wore a blue mantle and always a sword, the hilt and belt of which were inlaid with gold and silver. Sometimes he also bore a sword set with jewels but only on special occasions.” [2]


Fresco in the Cimetero di S. Ermete, Rome


Represented is a woman in Byzantine imperial dress with a child on her lap. She wears a crown with pendilia of strings of pearls. By her side are two angels. To her right a warrior and a woman and to her left a prelate in monk’s habit.

According to Matthiae the fresco dates from the last years of the pontificate of Hadrian I (772-795) who also made the catacomb be restored. [3] He ruled in the time when Empress Irene was a regent for her son Constantine VI. The fresco most probably dates from the period around the coronation of mother and son in 776, taking into account that the boy is still on his mother’s lap. For the warrior Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768, may qualify.

About Charlemagne is said for this period:

 “Charlemagne and his uncle Bernard crossed the Alps in 773 and chased the Lombards back to Pavia, which they then besieged. Charlemagne temporarily left the siege to deal with Adelchis, son of Desiderius, who was raising an army at Verona. The young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and he fled to Constantinople to plead for assistance from Constantine V Copronymus, who was waging war with the Bulgars. The siege lasted until the spring of 774, when Charlemagne visited the pope in Rome. There he confirmed his father’s grants of land, with some later chronicles claiming – falsely – that he also expanded them, granting Tuscany, Emilia, Venice, and Corsica. The pope granted him the title patrician. He then returned to Pavia, where the Lombards were on the verge of surrendering.”


The correct dating is in any case after 774, the year that Charlemagne visited Rome during his siege of Pavia. The persons represented in that case are Irene (between angels), Constantine, then of the age of three, on her lap, Charlemage, his wife Hildegard (†783) and pope Hadrian (772-795). Charlemage, born between 742 and 747, is of the age of between 27 and 32 here.

On the other hand the missing of a cross on the crown of Irene indicates that the empress was crowned but still had no executive power. This dates the fresco between 776-780.


Charlemagne on this fresco is dressed in a blue tunica and a red mantle, the colors of adminis-trative and armed authority respectively The halo behind his head makes him a prince of the empire. He has a small golden mace in his left hand. His right hand makes the sign of Jesus Christ.

On his right side is his third wife Hildegard of Vinzgau (*758-†783) whom he married in 771.



Prince on a fresco in the Cimetero di S. Ermete, Rome

Mace held in hand by the S. Ermete Prince


His title in 777 was:


karolus dei gra rex francorum & longobardorum ac patricius romanorum


Portrait of Charlemagne

Seated crowned ruler with lily-sceptre and orb charged with cross

Psalter of Charles the Bald, Paris B.N. ms lat 1152 fol 3 v . Between 843-869.



The legend can be translated as:

“The seated  and crowned Charlemagne  honours Josiah (= Jesus) and  resembles Theodosius”


This Theodosius is Theodosius I, Eastern Roman Emperor (379-394) and Roman Emperor (394-395). He made an effort to end paganism.


Charlemagne seated on his throne crowned with a crown of three fleurs de lis, in his right hand a lily-sceptre and in his left hand a purple orb with a golden latin cross


Emperor 800-814


Silver coin of Charlemagne, 804

Bust with crown of laurel. L.: KAROLVS IMP AVG


Louis the Pious





Lothair I

*778- † 840

Imperator Augustus 813 – 833 / 834 – 840

King of Francia 814 – 840

¥ 1. 798 Ermengarde of Hesbaye

¥ 2. 819 Judith of Bavaria 

Co-emperor 817 – 840



Louis I the Pious as a defender of christianity

in coat of arms with a ducal hat and halo, standing, in his right hand a staff with a cross and his left hand resting on a red shield. [4]


A king receiving homage in the time of Louis the Pious.

In the Stuttgarter Psalter, fol. 9. 820-830  [5]


Here the king has a crown with three leaves or fleurs de lis and keeps a golden cross-staff in his left. He is dressed in a green (or blue) tunic and a purple mantle. The common halo is missing.


Queen Judith (797/805–19 April 843), was the second wife of King Louis the Pious, which brought her the title of Empress of the Franks. Marriage to Louis marked the beginning of her rise as an influential figure in the Carolingian court. She had two children with Louis, a daughter Gisela and a son, Charles the Bald. The birth of her son led to a major dispute over the imperial succession, and tensions between her and Charles’ half-brothers from Louis’ first marriage. She would eventually fall from grace when Charles’ wife, the new empress Ermentrude of Orléans, rose to power. She was buried in 846 in Tours.

Empress Judith of Bavaria *805-†843

Title: Plaque with the Virgin Mary as a Personification of the Church. Date: carved 800–875. Carolingian Ivory; Overall measures 22 x 14.5 x 0.8 cm. MMA. Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.49)


For the person represented on the plaque Empress Judith of Bavaria qualifies. In her right hand she has a cross-staff resembling the cross-staff of Louis the Pious. This is the badge of religious authority. In her right hand she has a sceptre of the model of the sceptre of Charlemagne on his portrait in the Cimetero di S. Ermete (but also a distaff). Her rank or function is represented by the two peacocks, badges of a prefect, in the upper corners.

Also compare with the representations of Charles the Bald.

We may assume that the plaque is one of a pair, the other representing Louis I the Pious.


Division of the Empire 843


Charles II, the Bald

*823-† 877

King of Francia 840-843

King of West-Francia 843-877

Emperor 875 – 877


Son of Louis I the Pious and Judith of Bavaria, half-brother of Lothair I and Louis II the German


Charles the Bald crowned by God

Sacramentary of Charles the Bald (869-870) Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France MSS Latin 1141


Behind his head a golden halo and above his head a diadem set with precious stones.We may suppose that Charles the Bald is represented here as a king of Francia. This dates the scene on 840.


Emperor Lothair I between Louis the German and Charles the Bald at the Treaty of Verdun, 843.

Bible de Vivien, dite Première Bible de Charles le Chauve. BnF, Manuscrits, Latin 1 fol. 423


The Emperor in a yellow mantle crowned with a closed crown and with a long staff. On his sides his sons Louis II in a green mantle and Lothair II in a red mantle. They are accompanied by two warriors, the left ne with a red cloak, a spear and a red shield , the one on the right with a sword. (Probably the Magister Peditum and the Magister Equitum). The mantle of Lothair I has the color of the temporal power and qualifies him a caesar.


Cast of the seal of Charles the Bald



Figure: Portrait of Charles the Bald with crown of laurel


Date: 0847-08-25 [6]


Statuette of Charles the Bald


Equestrian statue of Charlemagne, ca. 860.

Bronze, originally gilded. H. 25 cm.

Ancien Trésor de la cathédrale de Metz. Paris, Louvre, Département des Objets d’art


The king with crown mounted with four pieces. In his right hand a sword and in his left a sphere.


Equestrian statue of Charlemagne, with sword


Because of its time creation the sculpture must represent King Charles the Bald.



The crown embroiders on the crown of Charlemagne but the attachments are changed in leaf-like ornaments. This would mean that Charles the bald  after the divisio of Verdun in 843 kept his rank of prefect.

De kroon borduurt dus voort op de kroon van Karel de Grote maar de opzetstukken zijn veranderd in bladvormige ornamenten. Dit zou beteke­nen dat Karel de Kale na de verdeling van Verdun in 843 de rang van prefect bleef behouden. Soortgelijke kronen moeten dan in Lotha­ringen (i.e. Italië) en Oost-Francië (i.e. Duitsland) tegelijkertijd voorko­men


The idea that the statuette represents Louis the German can be cast aside because this king had a beard.


Charles the Bald  ca 870

As in Codex Aureus v. St. Emmeram, fol. 5v°. München, Bayr. Staatsbibl. Clm 14000


Charles seated on his throne vested in a blue tunica strewn with groups of golden stars and a purple or red mantle and crowned with a crown of three fleurs de lis.


Charles the Bald in the Bible of San Paolo

Illuminated manuscript (Rome, S Paolo fuori le Mura), probably made at Reims c. 870. It is the most extensively illustrated of all extant Carolingian Bibles. A dedicatory poem by Ingobertus referens et scriba fidelis and the verses accompanying an image of a ruler establish that it was made for a King Charles, now identified as Charles the Bald, who when he was crowned Emperor in Rome in 875 probably gave it to Pope John VIII.


Charles dressed in a red mantle crowned with a crown of a diadem mounted with four leaves and a golden globe with a red inscription in his left hand. Sitting on a golden throne with a ciborium with white throne clothes strewn with red square crosses with the letters I, C, X, C in the four corners.

The red square cross is the symbol of Christian administrative authority.


Robertian House




Duke of Burgundy 921-936

King of France 923-936


Carolingian House


Louis IV d’Outremer



Seal of Louis IV d’Outremer, 950







sceaux ; collection Bourgogne




Moulage d’un fragment du sceau de Louis IV d’Outre-Mer, roi de France.

Légende abîmée en latin : “... LUDOWICUZ..... T. ...”.







Seal of Lothair







sceaux ; collection Bourgogne




Moulage du sceau de Lothaire, roi de France.

Légende restituée en latin : “LOTHARIUZ GRATIA DEI REX”, traduction : Lothaire, roi par la grâce de Dieu.




moulage consultable au service des sceaux


reproduction du moulage possible par le service des sceaux; photographie ou impression d’image numérique


plâtre pris sur cire originale




hauteur 54 ´ largeur 44 mm


Seal of King Lothair of France


Western Francia; Brown wax; Seal printed on charter. [Crowned?] ruler with sceptre, face worn. Legend:  LOTHARIVS + REX FRANCO(rum). Æ 4 cm. Gent, Bisdomsarchief, Carton 2, No 2: 966 May 5


Capetian House


Robert II le Pieux



Seal of Robert II ~997

Archs. Nationales, Paris


King crowned with laurel crown, in his right a laurel staff and in his left an akakia (pouch)






Henry I



Seal of Henry I 1035


Seated Ruler with crown, sceptre and cross Legend:HENRIC DI GRA FRANCORVM REX


Philippe I



Seal of Philip I, 1060


Seated Ruler with crown, sceptre and cross. Legend: PHILIPPVS DIGRA FRANCORVM REX


On this seal is the oldest representation of the so-called Throne of Dagobert.


Dagobert’s Throne, France, late 8th-9th century,

Department of Coins, Medals and Antiquities, no. 651


This is a plastic replica of the bronze armchair which belonged to the abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris, and which was imaginatively attributed in the Middle Ages to the Merovingian king, Dagobert I (623/9-639). In the Middle Ages religious institutions maintained magnificent collections of relics such as this throne. Such treasures provided a concrete expression of the power of the Church and of the Monarchy, and could be melted down or pawned for cash.


The original thtone consisted only of the four legs. The armrests were added later.


In Gaul the Merovingian successors to Roman power employed the Curule seat  as an emblem of their right to dispense justice, and their Capetian successors retained the iconic seat: the "Throne of Dagobert", of cast bronze retaining traces of its former gilding, is conserved in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The "throne of Dagobert" is first mentioned in the 12th century, already as a treasured relic, by Abbot Suger, who claims in his Administratione,

"We also restored the noble throne of the glorious King Dagobert, on which, as tradition relates, the Frankish kings sat to receive the homage of their nobles after they had assumed power. We did so in recognition of its exalted function and because of the value of the work itself."

Abbot Suger added bronze upper members with foliated scrolls and a back-piece. The "Throne of Dagobert" was coarsely repaired and used for the coronation of Napoleon


Louis VI le Gros


Louis VII 


Co-regent 1129-1131

 Co-regent 1131-1137


Seal of Louis VI.


The king on a lion’s throne, in his right a sceptre and in his left hand a cross-staff.On his head a cilindrical diadem mounted with three fleus de lis.

Legend: lvdovicvs di gra francorvm rex.  [7] 



Mosaic representing King Louis the Fat (ancient title)

Alias King Salomo


Auteur: anonyme

Ecole: Nord de la France

Période: 1er quart 12e siècle

Domaine: Mosaïque, Art religieux

Dénomination: pavé mosaïque ; fragment

Titre: Mosaïque représentant le roi Salomon # Le roi Louis le Gros (titre ancien)

Représentation: figure (roi biblique : Salomon, sceptre, être surnaturel : ange, main, oiseau : paon)

Précisions concernant la représentation : Le roi est assis sur le trône, et tient de la main droite un sceptre. Sa main gauche ouverte est étendue vers une autre main qui semble venir du ciel. Un diadème posé sur la tête, le roi porte une chlamide agrafée sur l’épaule droite. Au-dessus de lui est figuré un paon. Dans certains textes, le personnage représenté est identifié comme Louis VI le Gros (1080 vers, 1137), roi de France de 1108 à 1138.

Technique: mosaïque

Dimensions: H. 155, l. 131.5, E. 11 (avec cadre) ; H. 145, l. 122 (sans cadre)

Datation: 1109 vers

Genès : Saint-Omer (abbaye, provenance)

Précisions concernant la genèse: Découvert en 1830 à l’emplacement de l’abbaye romane de Saint-Bertin après sa destruction. Les fouilles ont été réalisées par la Société des Antiquaires de la Morinie, les fragments découverts ayant été déposés au musée.

Découverte: Saint-Omer (abbaye, fouilles archéologiques)

Inscriptions: légende

Précisions concernant les inscriptions: REX (en ocre, dans le corps de la mosaïque)

Localisation: Saint-Omer, musée de l’hôtel Sandelin

Statut: propriété de la commune ; don ; Saint-Omer ; musée de l’hôtel Sandelin

Date d’acquisition: 1833 acquis

Inventaire: 1624

Anciennes appartenances : Société des Antiquaires de la Morinie

Bibliographie: Oursel, Hervé, Deremble-Manbès, Colette, Thiébaut, Jacques, Nord roman (Flandre, Artois, Picardie, Laonnois), 1994, Zodiaque ; Epigraphie du département du Pas-de-Calais, publié par la Commission départementale des Monuments Historiques, tome V, 3e fascicule, Arras, 1901

Photographie: © cliché musée, YB/M3C

Commentaire: Le fragment de dallage a été placé sur une plaque de marbre et coulé dans un mortier, le tout dans un cadre en bois. Une restauration complète est à envisager.


Musée l’ Hôtel Sandelin. St. Omer


Drawing of the tomb of Louis VII by Gaignière


The legend reads: Tombeau de pierre au milieu du chœur de l’Eglise de l’abbaye de Barbeau près Fontainebleau. Il es du Roy Louis le Jeune qui mourut l’an 1180.


* However, Louis the Younger had a long beard at an older age and was buried in St. Germain des Prés Abbey church in 1180. His tomb was later thought to be of Chilperic and the tomb of his father Louis VI the one of Childebert.

Therefore we may assume that the tomb in Barbeau was the original tomb of Louis VI and an additional tomb was made to be used for a reburial in St. Germain des Prés Abbey Church in 1163. When the new tomb was installed the old tomb was probably transported to Barbeau.

In 1695 commendite abbot Cardinal Guillaume-Egon Fürtstenberg let the tomb be reconstructed, reason why we cannot be sure about the authenticity of the fleur de lys decoration and the colours.of the statue.


Louis VI the Fat † 1137

alias Childebert

St. Denis Cathedral, from the Church of St. Germain des Prés


The king bearing a model of the Church of St. Germain des Prés of which the choir was inaugurated in 1163.

The tomb was made somewhat before the inauguration of the choir and is the oldest tomb from northern France preserved.  Once transported to St. Denis Cathedral.



Louis VII le Jeune






Co-regent 1131

King of France 1137-1180

Duke of Aquitania 1137-1152

¥ Alienor d’Aquitaine 1137-1152

¥ Constance de Castille 1154-†1160

¥ Adèle de Champagne *~1140 / 1160-1180/ †1206

Philippe Auguste

Co regent 1179-1180


Alienor of Aquitaine and Louis VII

Poitiers, Église Notre Dame la Grande, westfront


During the second quarter of the 12th century, the old bell-tower-porch which was on the west side was removed and the church was increased by two spans towards the west. In the south, the turret of a staircase marks the site of this enlargement. It is at that time that the celebrated façade was built.

Seal of Majesty of Louis VII: The king on the lion’s throne, crowned. In his right a fleur de lis and in his left a sceptre. L.: ludovicus di gra francorvm rex .


Queen Alice of Champagne and Louis VII

alias Clotilde and Clovis

Church of Notre Dame de Corbeil 1170 ca (Musée du Louvre)



Tomb of King Louis VII

King Louis VII was buried in the abbey church on September 19, 1180. His tomb is thus described:

«The queen, his wife, had a large white marble stone placed on top of it, and with a suitable inscription. On this marble was the recumbent statue of Louis VII. This statue represented the king in long robes, with a coat that went down to the heels. He wore on his head an open crown, surrounded by simple clovers; he held in his hand a scepter surmounted by a pine cone. Finally, the queen, his wife, says an old historian, had a tomb of gold and silver, adorned with precious stones and a marvelous and rich work, made for him.»

In 1566 King Charles IX of France opened this tomb and took the most precious funeral furniture (a crown and a scepter of gold, a cross of gold containing a piece of the True Cross and gold rings ).

In 1695 Cardinal Guillaume-Egon de Furstenberg rebuilt the tomb in marbles of color, and replaced the original recess. He had a Latin inscription inscribed therein: “To the Most-Pious King of the Franks Louis VII, buried here on September 19, 1180, Queen Adele, his wife, erected a once magnificent mausoleum which was rebuilt to collect its precious remains, after that it had been destroyed by the dilapidation, the Most Eminent, Very Reverend and Highest Prince William Egon, Landgrave of Fürstenberg, Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg, Abbot of this Royal Monastery, in the year 1695.”

Shortly before the destruction of the church and the royal mausoleum by the sans-culottes in 1793, the remains of Louis VII had been secured by the prosecutor of the abbey named Lejeune, who will later be parish priest of Chartrettes; he had them put back in their tomb in 1813, then obtained their transfer to the basilica Saint-Denis by the king Louis XVIII in 1817.


From this tomb a drawing made by 'historian and collector Roger Gaignière (1642-1715) has survived. The latter is found in the National Library of France.


Philippe II [Auguste]


Co-regent 1179

King of France 1180-1223

¥ Isabelle de Hainaut1, *1170, †1190, RdF 1180-1190

¥ Ingeburge de Danemark *1174 - † 1236, RdF 1193 repudiated 1193

¥ Agnès de Méranie or Agnès d'Andechs1,  *~1172, †1201 RdF 1196-1201


1179 Inauguration


Postmodum positis super altare corona regia, gladio in vagina inclu­so, calcaribus aureis, sceptro deaurato, & virga ad mensuram unius cubiti vel amplius, habente desuper manum eburneam. Item caligis sericis, & iacintinis, intextis per totum liliis aureis, & tunica eiusdem colo­ris, & operis, in modum tunicalis quo induuntur subdiaconi ad missam, nec non & socco prorsus eiusdem coloris, & operis, qui est factus fere in modum cappae sericae absque caparone. Quae omnia abbas Sancti Dionysii in Francia de monasterio suo debet Remis apportare, & stans ad altare custodire.” [8]


Which is about:

After a while the king’s crown is put upon the altar, the sword in the sheath, including the spurs of gold, a golden sceptre, and a rod of one cubit or more, crested with an ivory hand. Also violet silken boots, strewn with golden lilies, and a tunic of the same color and work, of the shape of the tunic of a  subdeacon at mass, and also shoes and a silken mantle of the same work. The Abbot of Saint Denis in France has to bring it from his monastery to Reims and put it on the altar.


We can gather from this that the coronation dress consisted of a crown and sword, spurs, a sceptre and blue shoes and dalmatica strewn with golden fleurs de lys. This matches for example with the dresses of Roger II and William II of Sicily which were also strewn with fleurs de lys



Seal of Majesty, 1209


The king on a lion throne with fleur de lys and sceptre of a fleur de lys within  a diamond. Crown with three points

L.: PHILIPPVS DEI GRA FRANCORVM REX. D.: 1209. Arch. Nat., Sceaux, D 39. 

Counter seal: Fleur de lys. (Fox-D. p. 200)







sceaux ; collection des Archives nationales dite Douët d’Arcq




Moulage du premier sceau de Philippe II Auguste, roi de France.

Légende: philippus dei gracia francorum rex, (Philippe, par la grâce de Dieu roi de France).


1180-01-01, 1180-12-31 


plâtre pris sur cire originale


Æ 75 mm


One of the three magicians, ~1230

Amiens Cathedral, Portal of the Virgin


Probably a posthumous portrait of Philippe Augustus. On his right side a perhaps a statue of his father.


Louis VIII, le Lion / Coeur de Lion


King of France 1223 – 1226


Seal of Majesty, 1223-1226


The king on a lion throne with fleur de lys and lily sceptre. On his head a crown with three leaves/fleurs de lys 

Legend.: lvdovicvs di gra francorvm rex. D.: 1223-1226.

Counter seal:  Shield strewn with fleurs de lys. (Fox-D. 200).


LouisIX le Saint



King of France 1226 – 1270


Seal of Majesty, 1240


The king on a lion throne with fleur de lys and lily sceptre. On his head a crown with three leaves/fleurs de lys  and two points. Cloak with a bordure of diamonds enclosing lilies.

Legend: lvdovicus di gra francorvm rex. D.: 1240. (Pin. 454)



2nd seal of majesty, 1258


Head of statue of the king of France Saint-Louis (Louis IX)

the leaves broken off

at the exhibition for his 800th anniversary at the Conciergerie (Paris, France)


Philippe III the Bold




Regulations for the coronation of Philip III:

Postmodum jam antea preparatis et positis super altare corona regia, gladio in vagina incluso, calcaribus aureis, sceptro deaurato et virga ad mensuram unius cubitii vel amplius habente desuper manum eburne­am; item caligis sericis et iacintinis intextis per totum liliis aureis, et tunica ejusdem coloris et operis, in modum tunicalis quo induuntur subdiaconi ad missam; necnon et socco prorsus ejusdem coloris et operis, qui est factus fere in modum cape serice absque caparopne, que omnia abbas Sancti Dyonisii in Francia de monasterio suo debet Remis asportare, et stans ad (=incontinenter) altare custodire.[9]


From:  Ms. n° 326 fol. 70 v -73 Bibl. Mun. Reims. (Before 1270)

Which is in french:


Entre ce l’en doit auoir appareillé & mis sus l’autel la couronne du roy, & l’espé & mise dedans son feurre, ses esperons d’or, son ceptre d’or, & sa verge à la mesure d’vn coude ou de plus, quit ara au dessus vne main d’yvoire. Item les chausses de soye de couleur violette brodées ou tissuës de fleurs de lys d’or : & la cote de ceste couleur & de ceste oeuure mesme, faicte en maniere de tunique dont les soubsdiacres sont vestus à la messe : & auec ce sercot quit doit estre du tout en tout de celle masme couleur, & de celuy mesme oeuure, & si est faict en maniere à bien prés d’vne chappe de soye sans chapperon. Toutes lesquelles deuandictes, ‘abbé de Sainct Denys en France doit apporter de son monstier à Reins, & doit estre à l’autiel & les garder. Le roy sera à l’autiel en estat, & despoüillera sa robe, fors sa cotte de soye, & sa chemise qui seront ouuertes bien aual deuant & derriere, c’est à scauoir au pis & entre les espaules, & les ouuertures de la cotte seront `a la fois recloses & reiontes auec estaches d’argent.”


The anointment done, and the overtures closed the chamberlain of France

“le doit vestir de la deuant dite cotte de léuure & de la couleur deuisée cy dessus, & l’abbé de S. Denys la doit bailler à iceluy chambrier; & aussi le doit le dict chambrier vestir par dessus du deuant dict surcot en telle maniere que il doit auoir la dextre main deliurée deuers l’ouuerture du surcot, & sus la senestre main doibt estre leué le surcot ainsi comme la chasuble d’vn prebstre”.

The king receives the sceptre and the staff, the crown and the ring.

“La royne (= queen)... doit estre vestuë de soye” and receives “vn petit ceptre d’autre maniere que le ceptre du roy”, “vne verge semblant  à la verge royale” and the crown. [10]


Fragment of a statue representing the head of a king


Auteur: anonyme

Ecole: Nord de la France 

Période: 2e quart 13e siècle

Domaine: sculpture

Dénomination: statue ; fragment

Représentation: figure (roi, tête)

Précisions concernant la représentation : Le fragment représente une tête de roi, portant une couronne. Le personnage porte une moustache et une barbe finement sculptée, et une longue chevelure.

Technique: pierre

Dimensions: H. 25, l. 19, P. 17

Datation: 1225 entre ; 1250 et

Genèse: Saint-Omer (abbaye, provenance) ; oeuvre en rapport

Découverte: Saint-Omer (abbaye, provenance, découverte fortuite)

Précisions concernant la découverte: Trouvé à l’emplacement de l’ancienne abbaye de Saint-Bertin à Saint-Omer

Localisation: Saint-Omer, musée de l’hôtel Sandelin

Statut: propriété de la commune ; don ; Saint-Omer ; musée de l’hôtel Sandelin

Date d’acquisition: 1834 acquis

Inventaire: 1998 ?

Anciennes appartenances: M. Gentilhomme

Expositions: Cathédrales, 1962, Paris, Musée du Louvre, nº 59 ; Trésors de l’abbaye de Saint-Bertin, Saint-Omer, musée de l’hôtel Sandelin (sans numéro) ; Sculptures romanes et gothiques du Nord de la France, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille, 1978-1979, nº 50

Photographie: © cliché musée, YB/M3C

Commentaire: Quelques éclats anciens. Bon état de conservation général. Nécessite un dépoussiérage.


Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin  St. Omer


* Deze kop is te vergelijken met het troonzegel van Filips III uit 1270. Er is een grote overeenkomt in haardracht i.h.b. van de golven in het afhangende haar. Er is ook een overeenkomt in de oogkasboog.

Als inderdaad Filips III is afgebeeld dan dateert het stuk niet uit het tweede maar uit het derde kwart van de 13e eeuw.



Seal of Majesty, November 1270


The king on a lion throne with fleur de lys and lily sceptre and crowned with a crown of three leaves

Legend:  X philippvs dei gracia francorvm rex. (Par. A.N. J. 727 A n  52).





Au camp devant Carthage, en septembre 1270, Philippe III le Hardi augmente un legs fait par feu son père Louis IX à Pierre de La Broce, chambellan Charte en latin avec un sceau de cire jaune rond, pendant sur double queue de parchemin de (Philippe le Hardi).

Dates document


Noms de lieux

Carthage (Tunisie) ; Tunisie


Philippe IV, le Bel






Seal of majesty of Philip IV


Three-pointed crown (fleurs de lis), fleur de lis in his right hand and a lily-sceptre in his left. Lion-throne.








sceaux ; collection des Archives nationales dite Douët d’Arcq




Moulage du premier sceau de Philippe IV le Bel, roi de France

Légende en latin : “PHILIPPUS DEI GRACIA FRANCORUM REX”, traduction : Philippe, par la grâce de Dieu roi de France.


1286-01-01 /  1286-12-31


moulage consultable au service des sceaux


plâtre pris sur cire originale


Æ 88 mm



Louis X, the Stubborn



Seal of Majesty of  Louis X

Three-pointed crown (fleurs de lis), fleur de lis in his right hand and a lily-sceptre in his left. Lion-throne.


Philippe V, le Long



The crown of Paraclet, 14t cent.

Six large and six smaller fleurs de lis


The votive crown of  Paraclet originates from the Cistercian abbey of the same name and was made in the 14th century. Made of gilded silver, gold-plated silver, gold, cabochons, fine pearls, gems, translucent enamels and crystal, this crown is the most precious of the treasure. It contains the relics of the Passion. (Amiens, Trésor)

Seal of Majesty of Philip V





Ordonnance de Philippe le Long du 24 février 1318 sur la fabrication et l’exportation des draps et tissus en Languedoc. Cette grande charte en latin est scellée du sceau royal pendant sur flot de soie rouge et verte.

Dates document


Noms de lieux

Languedoc (France – province) – XIVe siècle


Charles IV





John II, the Good





Crown in the royal treasury, ascribed to St. Louis

By Felibien, 1706


The style of the crown matches the crown on the tomb of John the Good


Charles V, the Wise 


Dauphin of Vienne1349-1380

King of France 1364-1380


Movements and acts of the peers of France during the coronation

The peers together put the crown on the head of Charles V

Source British Library, Ms Cotton Tiberius B. VIII, fol. 59v


Gestes et actes des pairs de France au cours du sacre :

Les pairs tiennent ensemble la couronne sur la tête de Charles V


1370 Charles V gives the Constable’s sword to Bertand du Guesclin  (1320-‘80)

By Jean Fouquet (1420-’80)


Charles VI, the Mad





CharlesVII, le Victorieux





Louis XI







Louis XII


King of France 1498-1515

King of Sicily-Naples 1501-1504


Crest of Louis XII, 1498


Louis XII of France Kneeling in Prayer, Accompanied by Saints Michael, Charlemagne, Louis, and Denis.

Artist/Maker: Jean Bourdichon (French, 1457 - 1521)

Date: 1498/1499

Medium: Tempera and gold on parchment

Object Number:Ms. 79a, recto

Dimensions: Leaf: 24.3 × 15.7 cm

Location:  Getty Center  

Accession number:


At the entry of Louis XII in Paris in 1498 the squire carried “son heaume et tymbre sur lequel il avoit une couronne de fines pierres précieuses, et au-dessus du heaume, au milieu de ladite couronne, il y avoit une fleur de lys d’or, comme empereur”.

This crown was represented by Jean Bourdichon.


Francis I


Dauphin and Duke ofValois 1498

Duke of Bretagne 1514

King of France 1515

Duke of Milan 1515-1522


During the rule of Francis I a closed crown appeared, perhaps even at his coronation in 1515. Some authors believe that this upgrading of the royal crown had something to do with the election of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire after the death of Maximilian I of Habsburg and was the great ambition of Francis I. However the imperial title was granted to Charles V of Habsburg in 1519. who was crowned Emperor 23-10-1520 in Aachen.

In that same year a closed crown was represented on a jousting cheque together with the closed crown of Henry VIII, also participating in the jousts.


Arms of Francis I

On  the jousing cheque for one of the jousts held in 1520

(Society of Antiquaries. ms. 136, part 2, f.1)


Francis I wearing a closed crown

On the “Mass of Saint Giles”


The painting is thought to have been made by The Master of Saint Giles and is usually dated about 1500. But:

The king represented most looks like Francis I, probably after his years of captivity (1520-1526) when joining the anti-empire league of Pope Clement VII on  22 May 1526. 

The crown he wears resembles the so-called Crown of Saint Louis or Crown of Charlemagne to which two hoops, crested with an orb,  are added.



This crown was amongst the crown jewels of St. Denis Abbey and was ascribed to Charlemagne or St Louis. The oldest picture of this crown is on the Mass of St. Giles.


Henri II




François II

*1544-† 1560

King of England and Scotland 1558

King of France 1559


Charles IX




Henri III


King of Poland 1573-1575

King of France 1574-1589


Henri IV 


King of Navarra 1562/’72-1610

King of France 1589-1610



Closed Crown of Henry IV

(recueil Gaignières, F°. 5, dessin aquarellé)

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Inv. Mss. Fr. 20070 © BnF


Sceptre and main de justice of Henri IV

(recueil Gaignières, F°. 6, dessin aquarellé),

 Bibliothèque nationale de France, Inv. Mss. Fr. 20070 © BnF


Louis XIII




Crown and Sceptre of Louis XIII, on his portrait 1630-‘39


Louis XIV




Crown, sceptre and main de justice of Louis XIV

On his portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701


Louis XV




Crown of Louis XIV by Rigaud, 1720


Crown and Main de Justice by Rigaud, 1730


Crown, Main de Justice and Sceptre of Louis XV by Louis Michel van Loo, 1759


Sceptre, mounted with a statuette of Emperor Charles IV, and Main de Justice of Louis XV


Louis XVI




Crown of Louis XVI

by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, 1777


Crown, Sceptre and Main de Justice of Louis XVI

By Antoine François Callet, 1779


The 1st French Empire

Napoleon Bonaparte

Emperor 1804-1815


A new dynasty began in France on 18 May 1804 when te senate bestowed the imperial title on General Napoleon Bonaparte. The new emperor regardeed himself as the successor to the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne, and aimed to follow in the footsteps of the ancient emperors of Rome. His coronation was set for 2 December that year. The crown attributed to Charlemagne had been destroyed in the 1789 French Revolution, so a new crown had to be made. The new gilded copper crown was made by Guillaume Biennais. It was studded with 40 antique cameao and intaglio carved stones, including some from ancient Rome and others dating from the 12th to the 14th century, which came from the collections of the Musée Central des Arts (now the Louvre Museum) and had been selected by the director of the museum, Vivant Denon.


1st Crown made by Guillaume Biannais, 1804


At the last moment, Napoleon decided that he wanted to be crowned with a golden laurel wreath, which he viewed as the oldest symbol of power because it dated back to the Roman emperors. Biennais set to work again and created a wreath made up of 44 large leaves and 12 smaller ones attached to an oval velvet headband. The wreath weighed 42 grains (273 g.), and cost 8,000 francs.

One gold leaf from the laurel wreath has been preserved in the collection of the Château de Fontainebleau since 1984. It was previously owned by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, a French painter and pupil of Jacques Louis David, who had requested the jeweller Leferre to craft a casket for one golden leaf which had belonged to the wreath of Napoleon I in 1852.


The wreath of laurel of Napoleon I made by Guillaume Biennais,

By Jacques Louis David, 1805


A crown also had to be made for the emperor’s wife, Josephine de Beauharnais, and hers was set mainly with pearls. The pearls came from the collection of state jewels, the Trésor, which were a legacy of the previous dynasty. This crown was painted by Jacques Louis David and a replica has been made at the occasion of a reconstitution of the jewels of the coronation of Napoleon on 28 May 2011 in the cathedral of Boulogne s/Mer.

Much of Napoleon’s coronation regalia, generally referred to as the Honneurs de l’Empereur, were destroyed during the reign of Louis XVIII, who came to the throne after Napoleon I had abdicated and been sent into exile. [11]



Heraldic crown of Napoleon 1806







The regalia of Louis XVIII

on his portrait by Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin



Funerary crowns of  Louis XVIII


Charles X





Louis Philippe I d’Orléans


Roi des Français 1830-1848


King Louis-Philippe, did not make a new crown after his accession, however, on the official portrait of the king painted by Winterhalter, the monarch poses like his predecessors next to a closed crown ... This is actually the crown of Louis XVIII funerary regalia.

This crown, represented here, is not totally in keeping with the original, indeed at the request of the king, the artist represented the crown with, at its summit, a globe surmounted by a small cross, while the original it was surmounted by an imposing fleur de lys.  But, the illusion is perfect and the public could believe in a real crown by contemplating the painting. This crown is now preserved with all the funerary regalia of Louis XVIII in the treasures of St Denis


Regalia of Louis Philippe

On his portrait by Winterhalter


The fleur de lis replaced by an orb. The sceptre of Louis XV with the statuette of emperor Charles IV.


The 2nd French Empire

Napoleon III



Crown and main de justice of Emperor Napoleon III

by Alexandre Cabanel


Crown of Empress Eugenie

Alexandre-Gabriel Lemonnier (Rouen, 1808-Paris, 1884). Crown of Empress Eugenie, 1855. Leather, diamonds, emeralds and gold 13 x 15 cm. Paris, musée du Louvre, département des Objets d'art, gift of  Mr. and Mrs Roberto, Polo, 1988, inv. OA 11160. © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Les frères Chuzeville.



An abandoned project: Napoleon III's crowned helmet


The Emperor thinking of being crowned, two crowns were copied on those which served for the coronation of Napoleon I and Empress Josephine. One larger for the Emperor, the other smaller for  Empress Eugenie. The eagles with heraldic wings gold and enamel, the "Regent", the enormous colored stones adorning the base of gold; everything was faithfully reproduced in "false" and was to be used to compose a project indicated by the emperor. Napoleon III desired that the imperial crown should be placed not on his head, but on a "helmet": it was difficult to combine!

Lemonnier, jeweler of the Crown, charged with presenting him with various objects, addressed to the famous watercolorist Eugène Lami who executed a drawing representing the emperor in bust, in general's costume with the grand cordon of the Légion d’Honneur, wearing the Rifleman's helmet surmounted by the imperial crown. It was very ungracious.

This composition not realizing the dream of the emperor, he penciled on the corner of the leaf a head of a man with a mustache, helmeted and crowned according to his taste, but to show the little case he made of his talent As a draftsman, he scratched out with a pencil the sketch he had just made! He had counted however without his jeweler who immediately wrote on the sketch: «Drawn by Emperor Napoleon III».

The idea of ​​the coronation abandoned, this project was not executed. Only the “false” imperial crowns  remained in the place of honor at the crown jeweler.

(Unpublished memories of Madame Isabelle Lemonnier.) [12]


Falize Frères, couronne du centenaire du consultat.

Ajaccio, musée national de la maison Bonaparte.

© RMN / Gérard Blot


A solid gold crown intended to commemorate the centenary of the Consulate was commissioned to Falize House (which, on the death of Lucien Falize, took the name of Falize brothers) and carried out in 1899 thanks to the subscription of many Corsicans scattered in the world. Deposited at the Bonaparte House, the gold crown remained there until 1925. It was then entrusted to the custody of the municipality of Ajaccio for security reasons. Displayed in her window at City Hall, she was stolen.



* Subsequently, Prince Victor (Jerome's grandson and direct heir to Empress Eugenie) ordered a replica of it at Falize House. This gilded crown (a little smaller than the original) was made in 1902 and only remains. Preserved by his family after the death of the prince in 1921, with many other memories of Napoleon I and Napoleon III, this replica was offered to the National Museum of the Bonaparte House in Ajaccio in 1979 by Prince Louis Napoleon (1914). -1997) and his sister Marie-Clotilde, countess of Witt (1912-1996), with two photographs of the crown. [13]


The Sword of Charlemagne


A part of the royal treasury before its destruction after the revolution was the so called Sword of Charlemagne (Épée de Charlemagne) with its sheath, today in the Musée du Louvre.

In the Treasury of St. Denis there were at least four medieval swords, summed up in the inventory of 1534-1634:  the sword of archbishop Turpin (First archbishop de France 8th cent), the sword of St Louis or St Leonard, the sword of Charles VII or of Jeanne d’Arc and the most famous “Joyeuse” the legendary sword of Charlemagne destined for the Museum in 1793.


In the carolingian era a sword is represented in the hands of the constable who is positioned on the left hand of the king or emperor.


A sword playing a role at the coronation ceremonies is for the first time described in 1179 at the coronation of Louis Philippe in 1179:

After a while the king’s crown is put upon the altar, the sword in the sheath, including the spurs of gold, a golden sceptre, and a rod of one cubit or more, crested with an ivory hand.

About a hundred years later, at the occasion or the coronation of Philippe III Hardi in 1271it is writtten by Guillaume de Nangis:

Entre ce l’en doit auoir appareillé & mis sus l’autel la couronne du roy, & l’espé & mise dedans son feurre, ses esperons d’or, son ceptre d’or, & sa verge à la mesure d’vn coude ou de plus, quit ara au dessus vne main d’yvoire.

Without calling the sword “of Charlemagne” anyhow.

Another hundred years later a sword is represented at the coronation ceremonies of Charles V




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© Hubert de Vries 2019-01-29



[1] Childeric - Clovis. 1500e anniversaire 482-1982. Tournai 1982. Pp. 70-71

[2]  Zuylichem, C. van, ed. Amsterdam Antwerpen, mcmlv, H. xxiii.

[3] Matthiae, Guglielmo: Pittura Romana del Medioevo. Vol. I (Secoli IV-X). Roma, 1965. Fig. 130, p. 195. The  catacomb of  S. Ermete  was restored by pope Hadrian I.  After the removal of the relics of S. Ermete by Pope Gregoriy IV (827-844)  the catacomb became an oratory with the  fresco in the apse.

[4] Hrabanus Maurus: Liber de laudibus Sanctae Crucis. Fulda, ca. 810. Österr. N.B. Wien, Ms. 652, fol. 3. &: Codex Vaticanus Reginensis latinus 124.

[5] Der Stuttgarter Psalter (Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart, Bibl. fol. 23) is an illustrated karolingian manuscript created between 820 and 830 in St German des Prés Abbey near Paris. The work contains 150 psalms in karologian minuscules. These are  interrupted by 316 miniatures in full color. Thes miniatures illustrate the verses between they are drawn and most of the time represent a theological explanation.

In this psalmbook there are representations of tables of credence suggesting that these were still in use in the carolingian era.

[6] Archives départementales de Saône-et-Loire. Voir l'Inventaire des sceaux de Bourgogne par A. Coulon, publié en 1912 par la direction des Archives de France. ANF SCEAUX. serie: sceaux ; collection Bourgogne. MA000001

[7] Pinoteau, Hervé : Vingt-cinq ans d'études dynastiques. Eds. Christian. Paris, 1982. P. 120

[8] Cited from Ms Latina 1246, ex Regius 4464, B.N. Paris In: Pinoteau op.cit 1982, pp.. 467-468

[9] Pinoteau, op. cit. 1982 469

[10] Pinoteau, op. cit. 1982 pp. 469-470

[11] Brus, René: Crown Jewellery and Regalia of the World. Amsterdam 2011. Pp.165-166.

[12] Chaffanjon, Arnaud: La Merveilleuse Histoire des Couronnes du Monde.  Malesherbes, 1980. P. 45