Single women should wear maces

The Holy Crown of Hungary and the Coronation Insignia #

of Peter Diem

Photos: Hungarian National Museum.

To the director of the Hungarian National Museum, Mr. Dr. István Gedai, I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his kind suggestions and corrections.

The multiple historical links between the two neighboring countries Austria and Hungary suggest a detailed treatment of the Hungarian coronation insignia. From a symbolic standpoint, this is also justified because the "Holy Crown of Hungary", the so-called "St. Stephen's Crown", was part of the last common coat of arms of Austria-Hungary (see the illustration on the left and compare the article on the history of the Austrian national coat of arms. With this crown, the last Austrian emperor was named on December 30, 1916 Charles IV crowned king of Hungary. The story of the "Holy Crown of Hungary" is one of the most exciting chapters in (Central) European art history, perhaps comparable to that of the Turin Shroud. A popular scientific overview of the fate of the Hungarian coronation insignia reads almost like a detective novel.

Josef Deér, The Holy Crown of Hungary, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, 1966
Kaiman Benda / Erik Fügedi, A thousand years of the Stephanskrone. Szeged 1988

At the beginning of the year 1001 in Gran / Esztergom, Stephan the saint (969-1038, canonized on August 20, 1083) was crowned the first king of Hungary. The Magyar people had only settled in the Carpathian Basin a little over a hundred years earlier under their leader, Grand Duke Árpád (845-907). Both Byzantine and Roman Christianity campaigned for the Christianization of the young steppe people. Prince Geisa (Geza), Arpad's great-grandson and Stephen's father, had already made the historically significant decision to join the Roman Church through his baptism. He asked the German Kaiser to send missionaries and recruited a Bavarian princess for his son Waik, who had been baptized in the name of the Passau diocesan saint Stephan. Geisa thus linked Hungary once and for all to the Western European cultural area. With Stephen's coronation with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester I, Hungary was incorporated into the number of Christian states. By sending the crown and a cross from Rome, it was also made clear that Hungary was not under the patronage of the German emperor. The "holy crown of Hungary", which was later ascribed to Stephan I in "mystical backdating" and as the "holy crown of St. Stephen" became the central state symbol of the Hungarians, was probably created under Bela III (1148-1196), but at least in the period between 1074 and 1300.

Bela III. was brought up in Byzantium and, after his coronation (1172), reformed the administration of Hungary based on the Byzantine model. The circlet of the crown is that of a Byzantine woman's crown. In all probability it is a gift from the Eastern Roman Emperor Michael Dukas to Geisa I (1064-1074, King 1075-1077) for his wife, the Byzantine princess Synadene, a niece of the Eastern Roman Emperor Nicephoros Botaniates. The diadem is a gold band set with pearls, polished gemstones and cell melting plates, which has triangular and semicircular attachments typical of Byzantine crowns. On this wide gold band ("Corona graeca") two golden bands in the shape of a bow were riveted, which are hard soldered in the middle to a square plate. The expression "Corona latina" coined for the two bows is incorrect because the two gold bands are in Latin Bear inscriptions, but probably originated from an Eastern church liturgical object (reliquary or star-shaped top of a paten). Such an essay is called "Swesdiza" in the Russian Orthodox liturgy (derived from Russian "swesda" = star). It consists of two cross-shaped brackets, which are held together by a screw at the top so that they can be folded up or pushed apart like a cross. The Swesdiza is placed on a paten ("discus") so that the ceiling does not touch the pieces of bread cut out of the liturgical loaf ("Prospore") during the preparation of the offering ("Proskomidie" - Greek: bringing) with the help of a knife ("Lance") . "Swesdiza" also refers to the miracle star that appeared around the time of Christ's birth, the star of Bethlehem, which the wise men from the east had followed. The "discus" (Greek discos, plate) is a consecrated flat bowl on a broad foot, on which the "holy lamb" and the bread pieces are placed during the liturgy. The "holy lamb" is the middle part of the Prospore, a round, leavened loaf of bread stamped with Christian symbols IC XC, NI KA (Jesus Christ - Victory) during baking is determined by bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ. Liturgical bread in the Russian Orthodox Church is made from leavened yeast dough, i.e. from wheat flour, water and salt. Red wine diluted with water is used as wine. "Air" (vosduch) is the name of the blanket with which the holy gifts, which are prepared for consecration on the disc and in the chalice (potir), are covered after proscomidy.

Some researchers consider the two ribbons to be part of a valuable book cover, while others believe that they contain parts of the crown associated with the St. Stephen's reliquary. The four bands carry eight enamel plates with as many representations of the apostles. Four disciples of Jesus fell victim to the shortening of the gold ribbons when they were united with the "Corona graeca". The square central plate shows the pantocrator, which was brutally pierced in order to be able to put the cross on. The crooked cross that is so characteristic of the "St. Stephen's Crown" became unscrewed at the beginning of modern times. It probably replaced an early (double) cross with a cross particle. In 1611 at the latest, it was bent due to improper handling of the crown.

On the front the "Corona graeca" bears the enamel picture of the Pantocrator, underneath a triangular, light blue, uncut Indian sapphire (cf. the explanations on the "orphans" in the chapter on the imperial crown). This most important stone of the crown is flanked by the two archangels Michael and Gabriel. Behind them are the Byzantine equestrian saint Georg, the soldier saint Demetrios and the medical saints Kosmas and Damian. The heavenly hierarchy on the front is countered by the skilful iconography of the "Corona graeca" against the earthly order on the back: The Byzantine Emperor Michael Dukas (1071-1078) is enthroned over his son Constantine, who is also depicted as emperor, and the seventh Hungarian king, Geisa I The earliest date of origin of the Hungarian crown, namely 1074, is unquestionably evident from its representation.

The dark blue sapphire on the back of the crown is the only clear and modern cut stone of the crown. It may not have been inserted until the beginning of the 17th century. A credible theory of the well-known art historian Magda von Bárány-Oberschall is that the merging of "Corona graeca" and "Corona latina" around 1185 to form a closed sign of rule - a "Corona clausa" - was a symbolic publicist act to underpin Belas III's great power politics Bela was able to conquer Dalmatia and temporarily Galicia and was married to Margaret of France for the second time "Stephanos" (diadem) to the "stema" (Byzantine imperial crown) highly stylized "Corona graeca" a "sovereign symbol of rule, as wore the two highest rulers of the world at that time, the Byzantine basileus and the Roman-German Staufenkaiser".

Note: Accordingly, the "Holy Crown of Hungary" represents a geopolitical east-west symbol - symbolically an integral system (see chapter Heraldry) - which has remained characteristic of the two historical orientations of Hungary until recently.

Magda von Báràny-Oberschall, The Crown of St. Stephen. Vienna 1961, 45
An excellent website provides detailed information about the Hungarian crown treasure using numerous photos:

The Hungarian Crown Treasure #

The Hungarian crown treasure
Photo: Qorilla Schopenhauer
From: Wikicommons under CC
The Hungarian coronation insignia also includes the coronation mantle, the scepter, the orb and the sword.

The scepter is clearly the oldest object under the Hungarian rulers. It goes straight back to the time of Stephen. With its characteristic pommel - a cut rock crystal in which three lions are carved - it has the shape of an Ottoman mace, a unique form in Europe with a high symbolic content. On its top, the pommel bears an "infinite" (magic) knot, the The crystal pommel dates from the time of the Fatinist caliphs (end of the 10th century). As a scepter, the object goes back to the second half of the 12th century.

The incredible story of the Stephanskrone hikes #

Since the end of the 13th century consistently referred to as "St. Stephen's Crown", the crown, along with the right hand of St. Stephen, venerated as a relic, became the most distinguished cult object and most important state symbol of Hungary. It still stands for tradition, national unity and independence. And precisely this An almost unbelievable wandering life was bestowed on this venerable object, which in the course of its almost thousand-year history led the crown through the entire Danube and Carpathian region, to Vienna, Passau and Prague, far to Romania and finally even to Germany and America, until the St. Stephen's Crown in 1978 returned to her Hungarian homeland.

It is impossible at this point to report on all of the more than 30 stops on their journey through history. Only a few of them are shown - mainly those that also have a strong connection with Austria - Under King Wenzel, the Bohemian (1301-04), the Crown of St. out of the country. His father had appropriated the crown by cunning by having it shown to him, crowning his son with it and then flinging off with his riders along with the other insignia.

- Otto the Bavarian (1305-08) lost the crown on his way to Hungary. Tucked away in a wooden tub, she had been carried by the saddle button and suddenly fell to the floor one night. When they rode back the next day, towards evening they found her lying undamaged on the road. For the medieval way of thinking of the people, it was certainly a greater fortune than great symbolic power.

- After Albrecht von Habsburg's death (1437-39), his widow Elisabeth had the St. Stephen's Crown stolen from Plintenburg / Visegrad by her chambermaid, Helene Kottanerin, in order to keep it for the child she was expecting. In the oldest surviving memoirs by female hands in German, Helene Kottaner, the wife of a Viennese citizen named Johann Kottaner, describes in a cinematic way the process of stealing the crown by candlelight with the help of file, fire and cunning.

In view of the Turkish threat, the Hungarian magnates now had the Polish King Wladislaw III. elected king by using the crown of the relic of St. Stephen's head, which is mystically related to the crown of St. Stephen, as a "substitute crown". Elisabeth actually gave birth to a boy. At the age of three months, he was then legally crowned by the Archbishop of Gran / Esztergom in Weißenburg - but without the other insignia. After Vladislav fell in 1444, Ladislaus (V) Posthumus was finally recognized as king by the Hungarian estates. Since Elisabeth Kaiser Friedrich III. as the guardian of her son and gave him the crown and the
Pledged the city of Ödenburg / Sopron, the Holy Crown came into the possession of the Habsburgs for the first time.
- Matthias I. Corvinius had to be appointed king in 1458 in an "emergency ceremony" (by taking the oath and setting the throne) in Ofen / Buda. Through clever and persistent negotiations - and against the unlikely high price of 80,000 gold guilders, he succeeded in acquiring the crown after 24 years of exile from Wr. To bring Neustadt back to Ödenburg and then to furnace. Matthias I. Corvinus was crowned on March 25, 1464 and ruled until 1490. He was the first to create a law for the custody of the crown by two crown guardians from among the magnates.

Colored lithograph after nature by Eduard Gurk (1830)
Photo: Bildarchiv Austria
- At the coronation of Vladislav II (1490-1516), the Hungarian coronation ceremony was already fully developed: After the church ceremony (anointing, coronation, enthronement), the newly crowned king was in full regalia in a second church in the traditional coronation town of Weißenburg, namely in the Geisa's burial place, St. Peter's Church, where he beat a number of nobles to "knights of the golden spur". Then he had to swear the oath on the constitution in the open air and gallop to the top of the coronation hill to perform four strokes in all directions with the sword.
- After the crushing defeat against Sultan Suleiman in the Battle of Mohac (August 29, 1526) Hungary had two kings for 14 years. Both Johann I. Szapolyai (1526-40) and Ferdinand I von Habsburg (1526-64) were crowned with the crown of St. Stephen. The former allied with the Turks who marched against Vienna in 1529. In 1527 Johann paid homage to the Turkish sultan on the battlefield of Mohacs, who promptly took the crown from his "brother", but later returned it to him after he had put it on himself and his grand vizier "on a trial basis". - In 1551 Isabella, Johann's widow, renounced the crown in favor of Ferdinand, whereupon it set out on its way across the Carpathian Mountains and so fell into the hands of the Habsburgs for the second time and landed in Vienna. - In the following two years the crown was only brought to Hungary for the coronation ceremony, for example for Maximilian, who was crowned on September 8, 1563 - for the first time in Pressburg - probably because of the Turkish threat. The Krone had come by ship. On the day after the extremely splendid, precisely documented coronation of the king, Maximilian's wife Maria von Bayerm was anointed as Hungary's queen and symbolically touched on the shoulder with the Holy Crown.
- Under Rudolf II, the crown of St. Stephen came to Prague around 1580. When he renounced the throne in 1608 in favor of his brother Matthias II, this also meant another move for the crown, namely back to Vienna, where it was somewhat restored and received a mighty iron chest in which it would rest until 1920. After a few months she was brought to Pressburg.
- Under the Prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bethlen, who ruled almost the whole country, the Crown of St. Stephen reached Altsohl / Zólyom / Zvolen in 1620, then to Kaschau / Kassa / Kosice, from there to the Hungarian moorland of Ecsed. Under the care of her keeper and first historiographer Peter Revay, she moved on to Trenčín / Trencsen / Trenčín, where he died next to the precious item on June 22, 1622.
- Ferdinand III. was crowned in Ödenburg in 1637, after which the crown "returned" to Pressburg, from where it made a short excursion to Raab / Györ in 1624.
- Before the onslaught of the Turks in 1683, the Holy Crown fled via Vienna to Linz and Passau, but returned to Pressburg in the same year. When Joseph I was crowned the hereditary Hungarian king in 1687 at the age of nine (after confirmation on the spot and appointment as Knight of the Golden Fleece), the Archduke, who first appeared in hussar costume, was no longer crowned only by church dignitaries, but by the Primate and the Palatine on head - a specialty of the Hungarian royal ceremony.
- During Prince Rakoczi II's struggle for independence, which lasted from 1703 to 1711, the court left the crown with reference to the Kuruzzen attacks (estate rebels against the Habsburgs, before whose attacks Vienna with the "Kuruzzenwall", the later " Linienwall ", in the area of ​​today's belt, surrounded) bring to Vienna.

- After Maria Theresa had been crowned with grand pageantry in Pressburg in 1740 and had won over the Hungarian nobility ("vitam et sanguinem") (picture on the right), the crown had to move to the castle of Komorn / Komárom / for a few months for security reasons Komárno to be brought. Anecdote on this
- For Joseph II, who lacked any understanding of tradition and mysticism, the Hungarian crown was nothing more than a "museum piece". As a consequence, the uncrowned reformer ("King with the Hat") had them and the other coronation insignia brought to a glass cabinet in the Viennese treasury in 1784. The crown guards were dismissed, and Pressburg Castle was converted into a seminary.
- After Josef II.Having withdrawn most of the reforms on its deathbed, the Hungarian crown treasure once again made a triumphant entry into its homeland that embraced the whole country. This time the way led to Ofen.
- In 1790 Leopold II was crowned in Pressburg, while Franz I received the crown in Ofen in 1792, where it was kept until it fled from Napoleon in 1805 far east to Munkacs / Mukatchewo (today Ukraine). When Napoleon captured Vienna for the second time in 1809, it was taken to Eklau / Eger, where the imperial family had fled. At the end of 1809 the crown returned to Buda.
- One of the most spectacular changes in the location of the travel-loving crown was caused by the Hungarian independence movement under Lajos Kossuth in 1848. The escape car of St. Stephen's Crown, led by Samuel Bonis, a wealthy aristocrat, was the very first vehicle to cross the Chain Bridge, which is still under construction. A confiscated railway wagon took them to Szolnok and from there to Debreczin by farmer's wagons, where Kossuth's coronation chest was received. After a short return to the capital, they had to flee again.
This time it went to Szeged, to Großwardein and finally to Arad. Prime Minister Bertalan Szemere was plagued by doubts as to whether the crown was really in the chest. When he had this opened, he tried the crown just like Sultan Suleiman once did
to state that it was "not made for the human head". The escape of the freedom fighters continued and led through several villages, which are now in Romania, to Orsova, where they buried the chest in a house, only to find out immediately that they had been overheard. Finally, the crown treasure was buried in a willow grove somewhere in the direction of Wallachia.
- Although Emperor Franz Josef never thought of being crowned King of Hungary, Vienna, for understandable reasons, wanted to get the Hungarian coronation insignia. This was achieved in an adventurous way with the help of a spy who approached Hungarian emigrants in London. By chance he came across a confidante who revealed the place near Orsova, where the crown was buried, to 6,000 guineas. On September 8, 1853, the entire crown treasure was found dripping with moisture. The imperial steamer "Archduke Albrecht" immediately brought the valuable goods to Promontor / Budafok, where the crown was greeted by a committee of clergy and nobility and the insignia checked for completeness. Having arrived in Pest the next day, the chest was brought by eight magnates to the roar of cannons over the chain bridge, the construction site of which the crown had "fled", to the royal castle in Ofen. After a little over a week, we went to the Vienna Nordbahnhof in a saloon car and in a six-horse gala carriage to the castle, where the crown was brought to the treasury after a thanksgiving service. In the meantime, Franz Josef had rushed over from Olomouc by special train. The next morning, on September 19, 1853, there was a celebratory tour of the ceremonial hall of the Vienna Hofburg. After another mass celebration, the Holy Crown moved into the quarters in the Viennese treasury, which it had been familiar with since Joseph II. Shortly afterwards, however, King Franz Josef sent her back to Ofen, still with no intention of being crowned in Hungary.

- But it turned out differently. Through the settlement with Hungary, the dualistic state of the Austro-Hungarian Danube Monarchy was created in 1867. Franz Joseph was crowned King of Hungary with tremendous pomp on June 8, 1887 at the side of his wife Elisabeth in the Matthias Church in Ofen. The emperor finally took the oath on the constitution in front of the Pest parish church, which was sounded in Hungarian for the first time in 350 years. Before that, the coronation mantle had been restored and the silver orb was galvanically re-gilded. The coronation sword received a new red velvet scabbard.
- In 1880 the first scientific investigation of the St. Stephen's Crown was approved - admittedly only by visual inspection, which hardly helped to establish its actual identity.
- In 1900 a separate armored hall was built in the castle in order to keep the crown, as it was thought, for good.
- On December 30, 1916, in the second year of the terrible First World War, Charles I, Austria's last emperor, was crowned King of Hungary as Charles IV. All coronation events took place in Budapest Castle. In Matthias Church, Prince Primate Johann Csernoch and Prime Minister Stephan Graf Tisza Karl put the crown on their heads together. As the ceremony stipulates, Empress Zita was touched on the shoulder with the St. Stephen's crown - as a sign that she had to bear the burden of the crown. In front of the Trinity Column, in the open air, with the crown of St. Stephen on his head and his face turned to the east, Karl swore the oath on the constitution. The coronation mound for the four strokes of the sword, which the emperor managed only with difficulty, had been built from earth from all Hungarian counties. It was an ice cold, gray winter day. At the - as photos and film recordings show - rather gloomy ceremony, Karl appeared in the dress uniform of a hussar general and Queen Zita in a white dress with a meter-long veil.

The official coronation photo shows the imperial couple with Crown Prince Otto.
The accolade for the Golden Spur, to which numerous mutilated officers in front clothing and on crutches had appeared, was particularly eerie.

Emperor Karl I died in Madeira on April 1, 1922. On October 3, 2004, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square in Rome. With the elevation to the honor of the altars, a beatification process initiated in 1954 came to an end.
- After the overthrow of the monarchy, Hungary was a soviet republic from March 21 to August 1, 1919, after which the monarchy was re-established without the election of a king. However, imperial administrator Miklos Horthy (1868-1957) ruled with the authority of a monarch. Again two Crown Guardians were appointed by law, who together with the Hungarian Prime Minister had the keys to the armored room and the chest.
- In 1938, on the occasion of the 900th anniversary of the death of Stephan, there was again an opportunity for a scientific investigation of the crown treasure. Again, touching the insignia was forbidden - probably out of fear that the study might uncover Italian or German origins of the crown, which was viewed as politically too risky.
- In 1944 the last chapter of the Odyssey of the Holy Crown of Hungary begins. The last two crown guards bury the insignia taken from the chest near the castle. The commandant of the guard, Colonel Pajtas, had been briefed and reassured the guards, who had noticed the change in the seal through the peephole in the armored hall, with an excuse.
- On October 16, 1944, Ferenc Szálasi and his Arrow Cross rulers took over Hungary. He leaves the crown treasure again
and on November 4, 1944, he swore his oath as "leader of the nation" in parliament on the crown. The insignia are again kept in the armored hall. Szálasi then decides to take the coronation insignia with him on any escape from the Russians. As a precaution, he asks the Hitler government for asylum for the crown treasure. Bypassing the Crown Guardians, the insignia was transported to Güns / Köszeg on December 6, 1944, from there to Velem on the border with what was then the "Ostmark" and on March 18, 1945 to the bunker of the former imperial hunting lodge Mürzsteg (still a recreation area for the Austrian Federal President) brought to Mürzzuschlag.

- Szalasi is now moving his government from Ödenburg to a hotel in Salzburg, while the crown treasure is being brought on a truck via Mariazell to Mattsee.

First, Szálasi married on April 28, 1945 (Hitler married the next day) in the parish church of Mattsee. Then he hands over the relic he has carried, the arm of St. Stephan, and the coronation regalia to Pastor Anton Strasser for safekeeping in the rectory. The coronation sword is brought in a locked chest to the Zellhof belonging to the Mattsee Abbey (now a scout camp) and heavily guarded there. The six-person crown guard holds the crown, the scepter and the imperial orb in leather cases and sinks them into a two-meter-deep pit on the shores of the Mattsee in a sawed-up petrol barrel. The emptiness
The scattered heap carried the coronation chest with him until he was captured on May 5, 1945 near Augsburg. In order to open the chest, the Americans first have to get Szalasi's adjudicator Ernö Gömbös from the Salzburg prison, who says that Szálasi's hiding place is to be kept secret for five years and only then to be disclosed to the National Socialists in Hungary or Germany. The Americans are not a little surprised when the chest turns out to be empty. Colonel Pajtas finally leads them to Mattsee, where the crown will be dug up for the last time. Again, as so often before, the pieces of fabric had been destroyed by the wet. The Holy Crown of Hungary survived this last act unscathed. The transport to the United States could not harm her either. While the Stephans relic was brought back to Hungary after a short stay with Archbishop Rohracher in Salzburg, the crown treasure came to Ford Knox and remained in the custody of the Americans until it was removed from a détente on January 6, 1978 under President Jimmy Carter's détente Congress delegation was returned to the Hungarian people and ceremoniously handed over to Parliament. Szalasi was executed in Budapest in 1946.

A detailed description of the processes in Mattsee can be found at Hugo Portisch, Austria II, a. a. Cit., 350 ff.

Most Hungarians may not be familiar with the almost unbelievable history of St. Stephen's Crown in detail, but it is certain that it still has a strong binding effect today. That is also the reason why, after the end of communist rule on July 11, 1990, it was again part of the Hungarian coat of arms, which it had crowned through all the confusions of history until the end of the Second World War.

If the state symbol was protected by guards with submachine guns under communist rule, the St. Stephen's Crown could later be viewed in the Hungarian National Museum. At the beginning of the Hungarian Millennium, the crown, the scepter, the imperial orb and the coronation sword were transferred to the domed hall of the Hungarian Parliament on January 1st, 2000.

Compare the article in the "coin"