The Empire

The State

The Ruler


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The Empire


As the empire of Charlemagne was still thought to be a part of the Roman Empire consequently the symbol of the Realm should have been a multi-petalled figure of the shape of some suns as on the dress of Areobindus of 506 AD and on the suns from the Baptistry of Poitiers from a century later.


Sun on the sarcophage of  St. Andoche



Sun on the Baptistery of St. Jean de Poitiers



Sun on the sarcophage of St. Chalan


Crucified Christ between Sun and Moon

Chapel of Quiricus and Julitta in the Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome


However thee suns were replaced in the 8th century  by suns of other forms consisting of a disc charged with a mans’  bust crowned with a pointed diadem. called SOL and another disc charged with a lady with a crescent on her head called LUNA. These symbols of the sun and the moon, derived from roman examples from the 2nd century AD, came also on both sides of a crucifix, a  latin cross with the crucified Christ. This configuration signifies the empire, the state and the ruler of the Chistian society.


Prayer book of Charles the Bald.

Treasury, München fol 39r



Sun of St.Foy abbey, Conques ~1107


Rose-window of St. Denis, ~ 1140


The State


The emblem of the state was on the tunica of Charlemagne as the head of state. It consists of a yellow disc surrounded by seven smaller discs and can be a configuration of the earth surrounded by seven planets or stars



Ptolemy's 7 planetary spheres






















As there were only six planets known in the time of Charlemagne, including a seventh being the moon, the seven discs may be seven planaets That number was borrowed from oriental symbolism, the discs  representing the seven vassals of Assyria: Assyria, Babylon, Elam, Hatti, Israel, Mitanni, and Phoenicia making together the constellation of the Pleiades.


Fragment of a marble arch, beginning 9th cent..

Cortona (Umbria), Academia Etrusca.

Arc of former San Vincenzo Cathedral, MAEC  museum Cortona


In the top a square cross, between two trees (?) supported by two peacocks and two fleurs de lys. On thge arch ...IPORIBVS DN CARVLO IMPERATOR IBO   P & B FI ERI FECIPRO AMORE DIE.


These symbols are for administrative authority, the territory, the rank of prefect and armed authority. Last but not least the Charles of the inscription may be Charlemagne.


We can see here that the supporterd of the emblems of the empire were peacocks. They are also acting as supporters of a latin cross which has to be associated with the holy see.

The supporters of the symbols of the Eastern Empire are angels


The Ruler


Charles I (Charlemagne)

*742- † 814

 King of Francia 768 - 814

King of Lombardia 774-814

Emperor 800 – 814


Initially the empire of Charlemagne comprised the (former) roman dioceses Galliæ and Viennensis and some territory on the right bank of the Rhine. Later the diocese of Italia Annonaria was added and in the north Saxony. In fact his empire had about the size of  a Prefecture. The badge of rank of a præfectus prætorio was a peacock. In the Notitia Dignitatum from aboot 400 AD. The other insignia of  a præfectus prætorio were an ivory plaque decorated with three golden bands and the imago of the Emperor, and four candles exposed on a table of credence with a blue cloth. Next to the table of credence was a theca a standard symbolizing the supreme judicial authority Also the prefect had the right to use a quadriga, a chariot pulled by four horses.


The insignia of a prætorian prefect

From the Notitia Dignitatum fol.178r.




From Charlemagne there are some contemporary  portraits preserved on a fresco, on a mosaic and in some manuscripts. These are  to be compared with the busts on his coins and seals.


In 777 his title was: karolus dei gra rex francorum & longobardorum ac patricius romanorum


His dress was described by Eginhard in his “Vita Karoli Magni” (The Life of Charlemagne, 814).


23 He wore the national, that is to say the Frankish dress. His shirts and drawers were of linen, then came a tunic with a silken fringe, and hose. His legs were cross-gartered and his feet enclosed in shoes. In winter-time he defended his shoulders and chest with a jerkin made of the skins of otters and ermine. He was clad in a blue cloak and always wore a sword, with the hilt and belt of either gold or silver. Occasionally, too, he used a jewelled sword but this was only on the great festivals or when he received ambassadors from foreign nations. He disliked foreign garments however beautiful, and would never consent to wear them, exept in Rome at the request of Pope Hadrian, and once again upon the entreaty of his successor, Pope Leo, when he whore a long tunic and cloak, and put on shoes made after the Roman fashion. On festal days he walked in  processiosn in a garment of gold cloth, with jewelled boots and a golden girdle to his cloak and distinhguished further by a diadem of  gold and precious stones. But on other days his dress differed little from that of the common people. [1]


Fresco in the Cimetero di S. Ermete, Rome [2]


Photo: Andrea Jemolo


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 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 restored the catacomb. He ruled in the time that 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 after 774 in any case, 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. 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 indicates that the empress was crowned but still had no executive power. This dates the fresco between 776-780.


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


For the warrior Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768 and king of Lombardia from 774 qualifies. In 780 he was 38 years of age


Charlemagne on the Triclinio Leoniniano, Rome (betw. 795 &797)


796 ca. Mosaic on the wall of the apse of the S. Giovanni in Laterano.

The southern side  represents the partition of the religious and the secular power between Pope Leo III (795-816) and Charlemagne. In the middle  St. Peter with the legend scs petrvs. On his right Pope Leo III (795-816) receiving the pallium and the inscription  XSCISSIMVS DN LEO PP. On his left Charlemage with the inscription X dn carvlo regi. On his head a crown of a Byzantine model of a diadem set with pearls with a large gem in the middle.

A banner, consisting of a green cloth, strewn with yellow stars and six roundels red-black and yellow is handed over by Christ to the king. Its staff crested with a fleur de lys.

In a cartouche below: beate petre donas vita leon pp e bictoria carvlo regi donas


The mosaic was restored by Pope Pius XI (1922-1939). Another inscription says: Leo Papa Tertivs fecit in patriarchio lateranensi triclinivm (etc.)..      


796 .... In the Annales regni Francorum ad annum 796 it is written that the bishop of Rome send  the “claves confessionis sancti Petri ac vexillum Romanæ urbis” (keys of St. Peter and the banner of the city of Rome) by a delegation. No description of the banner is given but it could have been the green banner on the Triclinium Leoniniano.



The Frankish Empire 800-924


He was described by Eginhard in his “Vita Karoli Magni” (The Life of Charlemagne). in Ch.. xxvii:


27 He was most devout in relieving te poor and in those free gifts which the Greek call alms. For he gave it his attention not only in his own country and his own kingdom but also used to send money across the sea to Syria, to Egypt, to Africa, to Jerusalem Alexandria to Carthago in compassion for the poverty of any Christians whose miserable conditions in those countries came to his ears. It was for these reason chiefly that he cultivated te friendship of kings beyond the sea hoping thereby to win for the Chtistians living beneath their sway some succour and relief.


Beyond all other sacred and venerable places he loved the church of the Holy Apostle Peter at Rome and he poured into its treasury great wealth in silver and gold and precious stones. He send innumerable gifts to the Pope; and during the whole course of his reign he strove with all is might (and, indeed no other object was nearer to his heart than this) to restore to the city of Rome her ancient authority and not merely to defend the church of Saint Peter but to decorate and enrich it out of his resources above all other churches. But although he valued Rome so much, still, during all the seven fourty-years that he reigned he only went there four times to pay his vows and offer up his prayers.[3]


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  crowned Charlemagne  honours Josiah (= Jesus) and  resembles Theodosius


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


The king is dressed in a yellow or golden imperial mantle and a blue tunica strewn with golden earth-globes, surrounded by seven planets.


Ptolemy's 7 planetary spheres






















This emblem may be qualified as the emblem of the state, symbolizing the ruler and his courtiers. The person displaying the emblem may be qualified as Head of State. An early representaion is on he helmet of Emperor Constantine the Great.


The psalter is dated between the accession of Charles the Bald in 843 and the death of his wife Ermesinde, whose name occurs in the litany, in 869. The text shoul have been written by a certain Liuthard.


Portrait of Charlemagne, crowned and kneeling

Prayer book of Charles the Bald

Treasury, München, f 38v.




His tunica white (or blue?) strewn with moons surrounded by stars and constellations of eight stars, and red trousers on his legs.

Here the emblem of state occurs again, now surrounded by constellations of stars symbolizing the princes.


Emperor (Imperator Augustus)

On 23 December 800, Pope Leo swore an oath of innocence. At Mass, on Christmas Day (25 December), when Charlemagne knelt at the altar to pray, the Pope crowned him Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans") in Saint Peter's Basilica. In so doing, the Pope effectively nullified the legitimacy of Empress Irene of Constantinople.


Seal of Charlemagne

H. 43 mm . Paris, Arcives Natioales K 14, n° 12

Bust of Charlemagne.


Also attributed to Charles the Bald but has to be compared with the portraits of Charlemagne.


Title: Charles, exalted Augustus crowned by God, great and peaceful emperor, ruling the Roman Empire


In 807 Charlemagne signed an agreement with the Court in Byzantium (i.e with Nicephorus I (802-811) in which he was recognized as emperor of the Western Roman Empire.


As a result he adopted the roman imperial style crowning himself with a roman (imperial) crown of laurel.


Silver coin of Charlemagne, ~ 812

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


From this coin, together with the purple quadriga cloth, it appears that Charlemagne then assumed a prefectural style, taken directly from that of Emperor Constantine, who was depicted on a medal from the beginning of his reign with a laurel crown and a shield on his arm bearing a four-in-front, before which, like the Triclinium of S. Giovanni in Laterano, apparently, still regarded himself as a co-emperor, so he had a pointed crown on it, like Licinius on the aforementioned Constantine medal.


From the other roman insignia of dignity the quadriga was adopted but no examples of the candles, the theca and the ivory plaque are known from the reign of Charlemagne


Silk cloth with motif of a quadriga.


Possibly viii century AD. Paris, Cluny Museum. after his death is of Byzantine workmanship

Purple coloured dark blue cloth, ornaments and figures brownish yellow.

Byzantium, end of  8th century. Silk. H. 76; B. 75.. A piece of the same cloth of almost  the same size today in  the Aachen treasury.

In this very fine silk the body of the Emperor Charlemagne was wrapped


A quadriga, a four-in-front was a prerogative of a ruler and victor. In the Roman Empire it was a badge of rank of a prefect and in the late 4th early 5th century Notitia Dignitatum examples are given of quadriga’s of the prefects of Rome, Illyricum and Italy.

The quadriga’s on the shroud of Charlemagne means that he had the rank of (Prætorian-) Prefect which is also confirmed by the peacocks from his rule.


Louis the Pious

*778- † 840

Imperator Augustus 813 - 833 / 834 - 840

King of Francia 814 - 840

Co-emperor 817 - 840

Lothair I 



Vassals paying homage to a king

Stuttgarter Psalter


Imperial cross in the Trésor de Saint Denis

by Felibien, 1790


Triumphal arch of Louis the Pious


The triumphal arch served as a socle of the imperial cross preserved in the royal treasury until the french revolution.


Drawing of a triumphal arch, 17th cent

Bibliotèque Nationale, Paris 10444. fol 45


Drawing from the 17th century of a reliquary shrine in the shape of a triumphal arch, made in Maasland around 820. The reliquary shrine that is only known from this copy (Fulda, Landesbibliothek. Domschatz cod Bonif., II). was made by Egingardus, lay abbot of St. Servaas in Maastricht. It is the oldest work richly decorated with figures what we know of the Carolingian goldsmith's art.)


The drawing shows the sides of the triumphal arch. The facades are divided into three levels. On the top level are Christ and his disciples and also the mission of the arch: AD TROPAEVM AETERNAE VICTORIAE SVSTINENDVM EINHARDVS PECCATOR HVNC ARCVM PONERE AC DEO DEDICARE CVRAVIT between the two archangels. On the second level are the evangelists with their symbols and two biblical scenes. Above the gate is on one side a square cross within a circle and on the other side the Chrismon XP, within a wreath.

Finally, four warriors are depicted on the lower level. They are, when we assume that royal persons are depicted, Louis the Pious himself, Lotharius (*795), co-emperor since 817, Pippin (*803 ca. 838), Louis the German (*804 ca.) This makes the year of manufacturing around 820. Louis the German was just of age at the time.

The emperor and his sons wear shields: Louis the Pious a shield with a carved edge with in the field two square lily crosses between four besants (the national symbol). Lothair a shield with a carved edge and in the field four five-pointed stars . Pippin a shield with a carved edge with four five-pointed stars between four rosettes and Louis the German has a shield with an unprocessed border and four five-pointed stars in saltire between four rosettes.

The four ensigns are on the short sides of the gate. The banners consist of a stick with a transverse wood to which a rectangular cloth is attached, finished at the bottom with beads, coins or frills. In the passage of the gate are two horsemen with spear and shield that pierce a snake (not a dragon).



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 administrative 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 Louis II the German

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


Lothair I 





*795-† 855

Co-emperor 817-831

Recrowned  823

Emperor 840-855

King of Francia 840-843

Louis II

Co-emperor 850 - 855



Lothair as a defender of the faith with ducal hat and halo. standing upright, in his right hand a cross staff, his left hand supporting a red shield

(Hrabanus Maurus: The Holy Cross. Fulda, ca. 831. Österr. N.B. Wien, Ms. 652, fol. 3.


Seal of rock-chrystal of King Lothair 817-831

On the cross of Lothair II, Vienna (Reversed)

Figure: Bust of Lothair



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

Présentation du livre à l'empereur Saint-Martin de Tours, 845

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 one 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.


Louis II the German



*804 ca-†876

King of Bavaria 817-843

King of East Francia 843-876

Co-emperor 850 - 855

Emperor 855-876

Son of Louis the Pious


Equestrian statue of Charlemagne, ca. 860.

Bronze, originally gilded. H. 25 cm.

Formerly 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.


Because of its time of creation the sculpture must represent King Louis the German


Equestrian statue of Charlemagne, with sword



His crown resembles the crown of Charlemagne but the attachments are changed into leaf-shape ornaments. The circlet is set with precious stones instead of pearls.


Charles II, the Bald

*823-† 877

 King of Francia 840-843

King of West-Francia 843-877

King of Italy 875-877

Emperor 875-877

Son of Louis the Pious


Charles the Bald  ca 870

As in Codex Aureus of 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.


870 ca. Portrait of Charles the Bald, King of West Francië. Greek crosses on the throne rug. Two warriors with spear, sword and shield on his right hand. Illustrated Bible from the San Paolo Fuori le Mura Monastery, Rome. (Edited by Ingobertus. Northern France, Reims?). Last page.

Charles the Bald on his throne in blue tunic and purple cloak. He is wearing a crown with three fleurons. On both sides two warriors, the one on the right with a sword, the one on the left with a spear and a golden shield. (Munich, Bayr. Staatsbibl. Clm 14000 Codex Aureus v. St. Emmeram, fol. 5v °.


Charles the Bald in the Bible of San Paolo fuori le mura

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 blue tunica strewn with white square crosses with golden borders, a red mantle crowned with a crown of a circlet 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(ησο)C Χ(ριστo)C in the four corners.

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


Seal of Charles the Bald





SCEAUX. serie: sceaux ; collection Bourgogne


Moulage du sceau de Charles II le Chauve, roi de France.

Légende en latin restituée : "KAROLUS GRATIA DEI REX", traduction : Charles, 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


ovale hauteur 40 x largeur 32 mm




Charles II le Chauve (roi de France)

Noms de lieux

FRANCE -- IXe siècle ; FRANCE


Le document portant le sceau original est conservé aux 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


Interregnum 877 – 881


Charles III, the Fat




King of East-Francia 876 - 887

Emperor 881 - 887

King of West-Francia 885 – 888


Carloman 876–880

Louis III 876–882

Son of Louis II


Carolingian King, probably Charles the Fat,

with crown, sword, lance with vexillum and shield

From: Traité des Vices et des Vertus. BNF



Charles the Fat on his throne with courtiers

alias King Salomon

Bible of  San Paolo fuori le Mura,  Frontispiece to Proverbs with scenes from the life of Salomon  (Detail)


Portrait of Charles the Fat. Crown of three leaves, lily-sceptre orb and cross.  (Psalmboek van Karel de Dikke, Parijs B.N. Ms Lat. 1152, fol 3 v°.) (usually ascribed to Charles the Bald)

collection of capitularia of


Seated king, probably Charles the Fat (alias DAVITI)


Artist: French School (10th century)

Art style: Non-classified art

Title: Plaque depicting King David enthroned, from Reims (9th-10th c)

Location: Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello

Picture number: XIR79982

EAN-Number: 4050356484685

picture: bridgeman berlin


883 Seal The emperor with crown of laurel, spear and shield with umbo

Legend.: X karolVs imperator. (ASV, Atti diplomatici e privati, b. S1, n. 4.)


Fig.2–Charles III

Seal of Charles III, the Fat


Figure according to M.Dalas, Corpus des sceaux…, op cit. [St 7982]; cf. O.Posse, Die Siegel der deutschen Kaiser und Könige von 751 bis 1806, t.1 (751-1347. Von Pippin bis Ludwig den Bayern), Dresden, 1909, table 3, fig.5 [4]


Silver Bull of Charles the Fat (BayHStA, Kaiserselekt 55)



R°: Imperial bust with crown of laurel


V° : Legend: renovatio regni fran

within a garland of laurel


NB. The ascriptions are because of the similarities of fysionomy (moustache, beard and small chin). In the first three cases Charles is repersented as a king and in the last three as an emperor.


Guy of Spoleto


King of Italy 889-894

Emperor 891-894



Crowned bust of Guy with spear and shield.



Lambert II of Spoleto

King of Italy 894-898

Emperor 892-898



Arnulf of Carinthia


King of Germany 887 - 899

 Crowned an Emperor 896


Seal  of Arnulf of Carinthia


Bust of Arnulf with crown of laurel, spear and small shield





Lothair Psalter

BL Add MS 37768"

Medallion of the Lothair Psalter



On the cover a portrait of Arnulf of Carinthia as on his seal with a crown of a diadem and a hoop





Gallican Psalter with canticles (the 'Lothar Psalter' or 'Lothaire Psalter')


Style: Treasure binding|Religious miscellaneous|Pictorial; Caption: Upper Cover; Colour: Red; Edge: Unspecified


Binding: 13c


Decorative Technique: Onlaid; Cover Material: Metal|Silk|Leather (unspecified)|Silve

Accession number

Shelfmark: Add ms 37768

place of creation

Binding: Germany

Object history

Text: 9c; Germany/France?; Unspecified


Origin: Germany, Aachen or Northern France, Tours. Provenance: The court of the Emperor Lothar at Aachen, probably made for a sister of the Emperor. Binding has been added to. Wooden boards covered on the outside with brown leather, and over that with dark red silk, with 4 strips of parchment from a 13th century manuscript inside the front and back covers. Silver corner-guards and silver clasps on red velvet bands. A large silver-gilt medallion showing a bearded and moustached head in profile wearing a crown or helmet (similar to heads of the seals of Louis and Lothar), perhaps of the 9th century, has been attached to the upper outside cover; this is enclosed in a framework of silver-gilt with a flat conventional leaf-pattern, probably of a later date (?10th or 11th century). The outside lower cover has been slightly hollowed for a 12th-century ivory figure of King David, seated, with a harp. This figure has been removed and is now stored separately.





Seal of Arnulf of Carinthia


Bust of Arnulf with diadem with hoop, spear and small shield




Louis III (IV), the Child


King of East--Francia 900-911

Emperor (?) 900-911


Louis III, the Child was a son of  King Arnulf of Carinthia and was made the heir of East Francia at the age of four in 897. and the last ruler of the Carolingian dynasty in East Francia. He was crowned in Forchheim on 4 January at the age of six. It is not clear if this coronation included an imperial coronation

Louis also inherited the crown of Lotharingia with the death of his elder illegitimate half-brother Zwentibold in 900.




Bust of Louis with spear and shield, wearing a crown with seven points set wit pearls



Bust of Louis with spear and shield



Louis III the Blind


King of Provence 887-905

King of Italy 900-905

Emperor 901-905


Louis the Blind (c.880 – 5 June 928) was the king of Provence from 11 January 887, King of Italy from 12 October 900, and briefly an Emperor, as Louis III, between 901 and 905. He was the son of Boso, the usurper king of Provence, and Ermengard, a daughter of the Emperor Louis II. Through his father, he was a Bosonid, but through his mother, a Carolingian. He was blinded after a failed invasion of Italy in 905.






End of Carolingian House, 911


Berengar of Friuli

King of Italy 888-924

Emperor 915-924


..only after the dying out of the italian branch of the Carolingians the elected italian king became to be crowned, perhaps to legitimize their rule. The first was Berengarius I of Friuli who was crowned in 888. Therefore the quote in the “Gesta Berengarii” stating that the ruler Berengarius was crowned in Pavia - “sustulit hic (in Pavia) postquam regalis insigne coronam”, may be true.


889 Sigillo de cera vergine, ovale (mm 40 x 35, di cui mm. 24 x 20 di impronta), aderente incassato.

Su fondo concavo si erge testa dai tratti giovanile, di profilo, volta a destra; sulla spalla, leggero drappegio. L.: X berengarius : rex. (ASVr, Orfanotrofio Femminile, Abazia S. Zeno, dipl. n. 5. Sigilli n° 32)


Emperor  915-924



Figure: Bust of Berengarius with crown of laurel, spear and shield



The Iron crown of Lombardy

The iron crown of Lombardy

Monza Cathedral, Treasury


In 1993, the crown was subjected to extensive scientific analysis performed by the University of Milan using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis and radiocarbon dating. Three of the twenty-four vitreous enamel plates are visually different from the others in colour and construction, and were traditionally considered to be later restorations. The XRF analysis confirmed that they were made with a different technique, with their glass being made of potassium salt, while the others are made of sodium salt (sodium is not directly detectable by the XRF analysis).

Radiocarbon dating of fragments of beeswax used to fix the enamel plates to the gold foils of the crown showed that the wax under the "strange" plates was from around 500 AD, while the ones under the "normal" plates came from around 800 AD. This is consistent with the tradition of a more antique crown, further decorated during the reign of Theoderic (*~451-†526) (with the addition of the enamels), and then extensively restored during the reign of Charlemagne.


As the rim of the crown is pierced with little holes for hanging pendilia, the crown may have been a lady’s crown. This makes it possible to ascribe him to the spouse of Theodoric by name of Audofleda.

Audofleda was a Gothic queen. She was the sister of Clovis I, King of the Franks. She married Theoderic the Great, King of the Ostrogoths (471–526), around 493 AD (exact date unknown). Theoderic sent an embassy to Clovis to request the marriage.This political move allied Theoderic with the Franks, and by marrying his daughters off to the kings of the Burgundians, the Vandals, and the Visigoths, he allied himself with every major 'Barbarian' kingdom in the West.

Audofleda was a pagan prior to her marriage, and was baptised at the time of her wedding by an Arian bishopTheoderic and Audofleda had one daughter, Amalasuntha, who was married to Eutharic and had one daughter and one son; Amalasuntha then ruled as Regent/Queen of the Ostrogoths from 526-34.


Sant’Agnese wearig a cilindrical crown.


This crown is on a mosaic in the  chapel of  Sant’ Agnese Fuori le Mura in Rome. The chapel was built by order of Pope Honorius I (625-638). It  is of the model of the Crown of Lombardy.


Cross of King Berengarius I. – the “Crux Regni”

Monza Cathedral, Treasury

A square cross, 23.5 cm high and 23 cm wide; the upper vertical arm is a little longer than the lower one. A profusion of precious and semiprecious stones covers the front. In the middle sits a large sapphire stone in triangular eaves. In a similar version sit the larger gems, grenades, emeralds, amethysts and hyacinths.

The tradition that attributes this cross to King Berengarius has not been doubted with any serious argument. It probably originated at the end of the 9th or at the beginning of the 10th century in a northern Italian workshop in which Germanic decorative forms mingled with Byzantine traditions. [5]




On Berengars death the powerful Roman family of the Crescentii, determined to keep authority in its own hands, stepped in and suppressed the imperial title. Thus the empire created in 800 disappeared, ineffective and unmourned.


House of Franconia


Conrad I


Duke of Franconia 906-918

King of East Francia 911-918


Conrad I called the Younger, was the king of East Francia from 911 to 918. He was the first king not of the Carolingian dynasty, the first to be elected by the nobility and the first to be anointed. He was elected a king by the rulers of the East Frankish stem duchies after the death of young king Louis the Child. Ethnically Frankish, prior to this election he had ruled the Duchy of Franconia from 906.


Seal of Conrad I [6]


Crowned warrior with spear with pennon and shield.



According to the Res gestae saxonicae by chronicler Widukind of Corvey, Conrad on his deathbed persuaded his younger brother Eberhard of Franconia to offer the royal crown to Henry the Fowler, the duke of Saxony and one of his principal opponents, since he considered Henry to be the only duke capable of holding the kingdom together in the face of internal rivalries among the dukes and the continuous Magyar raids. It was not until May 919, when Eberhard and the other Frankish nobles accepted Conrad's advice, and Henry was elected king as Henry I at the Diet of Fritzlar. Kingship now changed from Franks to Saxons, who had suffered greatly during the conquests of Charlemagne and were proud of their identity.



To: Ottones

To: France




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 © Hubert de Vries 2019-05-19




[1] Zuylichem, C. van, ed. Amsterdam Antwerpen, mcmlv, H. xxiii. Translation:

[2]  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

[3] Zuylichem, C. van, ed. Amsterdam Antwerpen, mcmlv, H. xxiii. Translation: 

[4] And:  (​wiki/​Die_Siegel_der_deutschen_Kaiser_und_K%C3%B6nige_Band_1/​Tafel_3)

[5] Bárány-Oberschall, Magda von-: Die Eiserne Krone der Lombardei und der Lombardische Königsschatz. pp.  65-67

[6] From: Gudrun Vögler, König Konrad I. (911-918), P.88