Spear of Destiny???


New Member
Does anyone know how to acquire a fairly accurate one of these that is maybe a resin cast or something that will not cost an arm and a leg?...maybe a cheap store bought one that i can doctor up...help help help...

in case you don't know, here is what it looks like:

thanks folks.



Master Member
I know the shop that made the one seen in Hellboy, made perfectly to the real one, but the cost is near $ 900. I would love to get one myself.

Lukes Roommate

Well-Known Member
There is a seller on eBay who makes them, they look pretty good, although the gold could use some weathering based on their pictures.
They are resin and a few other materials.


Master Member
For those that want the ebay resin copy:
Thank you for your interest in the Spear of Destiny. Yes, you can purchase it with a money order or check. If you'd like to purchase the The Spear of Destiny or any of the other items we have listed make the money order or check out to Allan Lavigne, and send it to:

The Bronze Armory
C/O Allan Lavigne
4245 Dubhe Court
Concord, CA 94521

Please note what you?re purchasing and where you'd like it shipped. Shipping and handling for the Spear of Destiny is $19.95 for domestic orders, and $29.95 for overseas shipping. Also please include your e-mail address so we can notify you that we received your order.
Thank you for your interest. Your patronage is appreciated.
Allan Lavigne
The Bronze Armory


Master Member
Yeah, been thinking about one of these myself since seeing it in the Hellboy movie. There is nothing that matches the real thing like a metal replica though and its darn pricey.
The Ebay resin one looks pretty good given the display and price.


Master Member
ive been wanting one of these for a while now, but i never have much luck finding em. the ebay one is nice, but id prefer to have it actually on a lance rather than a (to me) gaudy box to put it in. maybe a blue colored velvet or even black would look a little more... classy?

weird word for something that poked gods son though.

anywho, maybe pot metal and some gold foil might help make a decent one. the resin ones look damned nice, but still, its resin.

the one in hellboy was great. i think it even had the inscriptions and whatnot all along the internal sections to the spear. if ya gotta get one, its probably going to be the most accurate this side of robbing the vatican :)



Sr Member
I don't mean to be rude or anything it's just that the real spear is actually in a museum in Austria. That's how Hitler got a hold of it during the annexation of Austria and Germany. After the war, it was found by US troops, Patton got a hold of it and it was returned to the museum in Austria. Just had to add that. Sorry.


Sr Member
I don't mean to be rude or anything it's just that the real spear is actually in a museum in Austria. That's how Hitler got a hold of it during the annexation of Austria and Germany. After the war, it was found by US troops, Patton got a hold of it and it was returned to the museum in Austria. Just had to add that. Sorry.

I would be willing to bet that the one on display is NOT the real spear, and that the real spear is in a vault under the Vatican somewhere.



Sr Member
Gone but not forgotten.

Gimme more, gimme more... We've had plenty of cool talks about this thing, there's gotta be more good stuff out there...



Master Member
The Spear of Destiny, also known as the Spear Longinus, is an ancient weapon, supposedly forged by the equally ancient Hebrew prophet, Phineas. Legend has it, is has been passed down from dynasty to dynasty over the centuries.

At the crucifixion of Jesus, the Spear was in the possession of the Roman Centurion, Gaius Cassius Longinus. It was Longinus who pierced Jesus' side with the Spear, causing blood and water to spurt forth from the wound. The mixture apparently splattered in Longinus' face, restoring his vision, which had been failing. The circumstances surrounding Jesus' crucifixion had such a profound effect on Longinus that he later sought out the surviving Apostles, so he could learn from them. He later moved to Caesarea of Cappadocia and became a monk, where he was eventually condemned to death for being a Christian.

Among those who are alleged to have possessed the Spear at one time or another are : Herod the Great (King of Judea, ruled 37 BC-4BC), Maurice the Manichean (from Egypt, who held the spear until his death circa 306, to keep it from the Emperor Maximian), Constantine the Great (Roman Emperor, b.337, d.361, carried it into victory at the battle of Milvian Bridge and also while surveying the layout of his new city, Constantinople), Theodosius, Alaric (who sacked Rome), Theodoric (the only man to force Attila the Hun to retreat, circa 451), Justinian, Charles Martel (Frankish ruler, grandfather of Charlemagne, b.688?, d.741), and Charlemagne the Great (Carolingian King of France, Emperor of the West, b.771, d.814, carried the Spear through 47 victorious battles, but died when he accidentally dropped it).

In the early 900's, it fell into the possession of the Saxon Dynasty of Germany, passing from Heinrich I the Fowler (Duke of Saxony, Saxon King of Germany, ruled 919-936, the Spear was present at his victorious battle against the Magyars) to his son Otto I the Great (Saxon King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, ruled 936-973, Pope John XII (term 955-963) used the Spear to chrsiten him Holy Roman Emperor in 936 - Otto went on to carry the Spear into vicctory over the Mongols in the Battle of Leck). After his death, there are conflicting stories of what happened to the Spear. One tale says it was passed on to his son Otto II (Saxon King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, ruled 973-983), then to Otto III (Saxon King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, ruled 983-1002), and eventually to Henry II the Saint (Saxon King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, ruled 1002-1024). Another story claims it was moved to Antioch following the death of Otto I the Great, where it remained until rediscovered in 1098, during the First Crusade.

Eventually, it fell into the possession of the house of Hohenstaufen (descendants of the house of Saxon) and to Frederick Barbarossa (Holy Roman Emperor and conqueror of Italy during the 12th century, ruled 1152-1190, Barbarossa died within minutes after accidentally dropping the Spear into a stream), Henry VI (King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, ruled 1190-1197), Otto IV (Holy Roman Emperor, ruled 1198-1218), and Frederick II (King of Germany, Holy Roman Emperor, ruled 1218?-1250). It was allegedly possessed by three other Hohenstaufen Emperors as well.

Napoleon attempted to sieze the Spear after the Battle of Austerlitz, but it had smugged out of Vienna just prior to the battle, so he never managed to obtain it.

Obviously, having "the Great" (or a Roman Numeral) as part of your name increases your chance of actually possessing the Spear - as does having the occupation of "Emperor".

In the early 20th century, it was briefly in the possession of Kaiser Wilhelm, before eventually ending up the Hofsburg Treasure House in Vienna. It was there, in September of 1912, where Adolf Hitler first laid his eyes upon it...

"I knew with immediacy that this was an important moment in my life...I stood there quietly gazing upon it for several minutes, quite oblivious to the scene around me. It seemed to carry some hidden inner meaning which evaded me, a meaning which I felt I inwardly knew, yet could not bring to consciousness...I felt as though I myself had held it in my hands before in some earlier century of history - that I myself had once claimed it as my talisman of power and held the destiny of the world in my hands. What sort of madness was this that was invading my mind and creating such turmoil in my breast ?"

Adolf Hitler seized the Spear in the name of the Third Reich on March 12th, 1938, the day he annexed Austria. It was shipped via an armored SS train to Nuremberg on October 13th (the same date that the Knights Templar were destroyed centuries earlier), where it remained for six years in St. Catherine's Church before being moved to an underground vault for protection.

During the final days of the war in Europe, at 2:10 PM on April 30th, 1945, Lt. Walter William Horn, serial number 01326328, of the United States 7th Army, took possession of the Spear in the name of the United States government.

Within 90 minutes of the United States capturing the Spear, Adolf Hitler committed suicide.

Generals Eisenhower and Patton decided to return the Spear to the Royal House of Hapsburg shortly thereafter.

The staff of the spear has long since disappeared. All that remains now are the Spear's head (in two sections), and a bolt used to connect the two sections, rumored to be one of the actual nails from the True Cross.

The Spear has been in the possession of the Royal House of Hapsburg (de jure Holy Roman Emperors) for quite some time. It now rests, once again, in the Hofsburg Treasure House in Austria, where Hitler first saw it in 1912, and where the public can see it, free of charge, Monday through Saturday, 9am-6pm.

A copy of the Spear is kept in Cracow, Poland. Another Spear, also claimed to be the true Spear of Destiny, was taken by St. Louis to Paris, following his return from the Crusades in Palestine in the 13th century. Yet another "true" Spear was sent to Pope Innocent VIII by the Ottoman Sultan Bajazet II in 1492. That Spear is now encased in one of the pillars supporting the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.


Sr Member
This spear is said to have pierced Jesus on the cross, turned Hitler into the Antichrist, and inspired Picasso's greatest work. Now forensic science reveals the truth. Investigation by Richard Girling.

For a meager six hours, the management of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum allows the Lance of Longinus to be removed from its case. On its short journey to the Institute of Sciences and Technologies in Art, in nearby Schillerplatz, it is accompanied by two armed guards and a curator, Dr. Franz Kirchweger, whose level of anxiety could not have been higher if he'd been looking down the barrel of a Luger. There are good reasons for all this. In a rare concession to science, the museum is allowing an English metallurgist to conduct some x-ray tests and take some biological swabs.

It is the swabbing that most inspires Dr. Kirchweger's horror. Only when a hairdryer has been found, to burn off all traces of moisture left by the dampened cotton, does he allow the investigation to go ahead. Like a scenes-of-crime officer, the metallurgist dabs gently around the weapon's every nook and corner. Like a scenes-of-crime officer, he is looking for traces of blood. Rather less like any scenes-of-crime officer unaffected by drink or drugs, he has no thought for the due processes of law.

The blood he seeks is that of Jesus Christ.

To find the beginning of this story, we must turn to the gospel of St. John. To bring it forward we must share the company of, among others, saints Longinus and Maurice, the emperors Constantine and Charlemagne, a clutch of scheming Dark Age kings, Napoleon, Richard Wagner, Pablo Picasso, Adolf Hitler and a waft of medieval warlords reincarnated as Nazis. After them will come General George 'blood-and-guts' Patton, a second-world-war US intelligence officer, an SS informer, Indiana Jones and a German U-boat captain heading for Antarctica.

It is a story that requires us to keep a tight hold on our credulity. Many of its protagonists are grail-seekers steeped in the occult, who want us to share their belief in magic. Some are imperial conmen. Others are cautious historians who believe the spear to be no older than the 8th century and see its journey to Vienna as little more than a process of hand-me-down through the Holy Roman and Hapsburg empires.

The legend has its root in St. John's account of the crucifixion - specifically chapter 19, verses 31 to 36. To hasten the deaths of Jesus and the two crucified thieves, it was put to the Roman governor, Pilate, that their legs should be broken. This was done to the thieves but, when it came to Jesus, one of the Roman soldiers realised he was already dead. To prove it, he thrust his spear into Jesus' side and released a flow of blood and water (a phenomenon explained by the fact that blood after death separates into red cells and colourless plasma). Thus it happened that faith was kept in the Old Testament prediction that 'a bone of him [the Messiah] shall not be broken'.

Legend says that the soldier was a half-blind centurion called Longinus, who immediately fell to his knees and had his sight miraculously restored to him. Various accounts - some of them lurid and violent - exist of Longinus's subsequent life. Put simply, he seems to have retired from the army, become a monk, died under torture and become a saint. He does not convince everyone, however. Biblical accounts are inconsistent, and the Rev Sabine Baring Gould, in his magisterial Lives of the Saints, argued that the name derived from a Latinised misreading of the Greek word longche, meaning simply 'spear'. Be that as it may, various relics of the saint are scattered throughout Christendom, including a rival spear at St. Peter's in the Vatican (for which no serious claim for authenticity is made), where there is also a fine statue of Longinus by Bernini.

But the veracity of St. Longinus is not central to the issue. All that matters is that, as St. John tells it, someone pierced the crucified Christ with a spear. You do not have to be a theologian, or a Christian of any kind, to understand the significance of this Christ-stained weapon as a holy relic. For those who believed in such things, its supernatural powers made it nothing less than an instrument of world domination. He who held the spear ruled the planet. Tyrants throughout history have either possessed or sought to possess it. Men have been paralysed by the sight of it, or thrown to the ground as if struck by lightning. No wonder Dr. Kirchweger wants a hairdryer.

The modern history of the spear is, if anything, even more obscured by lies and legends than its ancient origins. For all that the Kunsthistorisches' curators would like to play it down, one name dominates the later chapters of its story. The true extent of Hitler's involvement with the so-called spear of destiny is an issue as divisive as belief in the hereafter. Did the Nazis covet the spear only as part of their generalised greed for other people's art and artefacts? Or did Hitler himself have a deeper, specific interest in it? Was he even enslaved by it, driven to acts of literally satanic cruelty by its demonic power?

In Schillerplatz this January, the object that Dr. Kirchweger lifts from its cushioned nest of Japanese tissue paper looks like what it is - a museum exhibit. It is fascinating in the way that old weapons always are, but wears its celebrity lightly. In one of the more flamboyant accounts of its history, the writer describes its effect on a visitor to the museum - a young soldier named Walter Johannes Stein - in 1915.

'Quite soon he became aware of its psychometric qualities ... Before he could summon the strength to cast it off, he was deep in the grip of an experience which overwhelmed his senses ... [He] was whisked through Time like some unwilling captive on a magic carpet bound for the unknown ... Above him in the distance he could discern a mighty figure leading an array of angelic hosts, a translucent Spirit girded around the breast in white raiment that fell in folds of living beauty ... He knew ... that he was standing before the Archangel of the Grail ... His helmet shone with the consecrated fire of molten light in a cosmic forge. In his right hand he grasped a blade of light which he smote across the heavens ... lightning flashing from the blade forked down to strike clusters of demonic spirits ...'

Walter Stein bravely stifled the impulse to flee. 'Somehow he found the courage to remain. Searing pain and anguish arose in his soul as the lightning struck him. He felt as though he was being hollowed out as the evils of false pride and materialism were burnt out of his soul. When he could withstand the agony no longer, he swooned into unconsciousness.'

Strangely, the visitors now gathered in the Institute of Sciences and Technologies in Art seem to feel none of this. The metallurgist, Dr. Robert Feather, measures and weighs and swabs. The radiographers take their x-rays. A crew from the award-winning film company Atlantic Productions, who are pursuing the true story of the spear for a BBC2 programme, The Spear of Christ, and who have themselves won permission for the forensics, roll their cameras while the Sunday Times photographer waits his turn. No sparks fly. No archangel appears. Nobody swoons.

Confusingly, the spear goes by a number of different names: lance of Longinus, lance of St Maurice, holy lance, spear of destiny. The museum nods to tradition in labelling it 'Holy Lance' but remains unshakably mundane in its description: 'Carolingian, 8th century'. Certainly there is little in its appearance to suggest that it merits anything more. The object is 20in long and seems to be made of steel, iron, brass, silver, gold and leather. It is of winged design with an ornamental iron pin fixed through the blade, and a number of small brass crosses laid into it. At some stage it was broken and the two parts bound together with silver wire. A gold sleeve, bearing the inscription Lancea et clavus Domini (Lance and nail of the Lord), which also covers the break, conceals an apparently older, silver band.

By 'nail of the Lord' is meant one of those that were hammered into the cross through Jesus' hands and feet. Along with the spear and fragments of the 'true cross' and crown of thorns, these are holy relics of supreme importance.

For at least 1000 years, the belief has persisted that the blade incorporates either a complete nail of the cross (the iron pin) or had one or more fragments of nails forged into it. The fundamental belief, that the spear itself is the one mentioned by St. John, has launched it not just into the stratosphere of Christian iconography but down into the darker halls of the occult.

In 1938 the Nazis seized the Hapsburg royal family's 'crown jewels', including the spear, from the museum in Vienna and took them to Nuremberg. In the minds of academic historians, who restrict themselves to verifiable facts, this is entirely consonant with Hitler's well-known thirst for plunder. Although they acknowledge that some Nazis did have a fascination with the paranormal, it is not obvious that the spear was of greater significance to the Fuhrer than any other stolen property. In the minds of occultists, however, the spear to Hitler was as Excalibur to King Arthur - the very fount and protector of his power. For as long as he held it, he would remain invincible. Without it, he would be lost. How else, other than by magic, could such an unprepossessing little man with his silly flop of hair and comical moustache have exerted so much power over so many people for so long?

Sooner rather than later, anyone interested in the holy lance will come across Trevor Ravenscroft's book Spear of Destiny. According to his publisher, Ravenscroft, who died in 1989, was a 'White Magic practitioner of the occult magic arts' and a former commando who was captured by the Germans in 1941 while trying to assassinate Rommel.

The book, first published in 1972, is a creepy, supernatural saga that makes The Lord of the Rings look like sober academic history. En route to Hitler, the spear passes through the hands of, among others, King Herod, the Roman emperors Constantine (who used its power to Christianise the empire and gave his name to Constantinople) and Theodosius the Great (who used it to tame the Goths in AD385).

Then came Alaric the Bold, Aetius and the 'mighty Visigoth' Theodoric (who used it to turn back Attila the Hun). And so it goes on. In A.D. 732, Charles Martel, Charlemagne's grandfather, successfully wielded it against the Moors at Poitiers, thus saving Europe from Islam. Charlemagne himself, the first Holy Roman emperor, successfully fought 47 campaigns with it. 'Altogether,' says Ravenscroft, '45 Emperors had claimed the spear of destiny between the coronation in Rome of Charlemagne and the fall of the old German Empire exactly a thousand years later. And what a pageantry of power and gallantry it was. The spear had passed like the finger of destiny, forever creating new patterns of fate which had again and again changed the entire history of Europe.'

Ravenscroft bases much of his account on the testimony of the Viennese scientist and swooning ex-soldier Walter Johannes Stein (the same who was transported to the Archangel of the Grail in 1915). Stein, who died in 1957, also filled some of the gaps in history with accounts of his own previous existence as Charlemagne's closest friend and confidant, Hugo of Tours.

Almost nobody features significantly in Ravenscroft's account who was not the reincarnation of some earlier hero or villain. Helmuth von Moltke, for example, the German chief of staff at the outbreak of the first world war, spent nine years in the mid-9th century as Pope Nicholas I. One of Hitler's earliest Nazi collaborators, General Erich Ludendorff, was another 9th-century pope, John VIII, a prelate who was closely acquainted with Hitler's own earlier self, the warlord Landulf of Capua - who, according to Ravenscroft, was the model for the evil magician Klingsor in Wagner's opera Parsifal, in which the spear of destiny is central to a macabre parable of good and evil. Hitler's near-addiction to Wagner is as well known as his moustache and reputed monorchism.

Stein in his modern incarnation claimed to have met Hitler when the future dictator was a scarecrow-scruffy postcard painter living like a down-and-out in a Viennese flophouse. They went together to the museum and, decades later, Stein was able to give Ravenscroft a verbatim account of young Adolf's reactions to the spear: '[It] appeared,' said Hitler, 'to be some sort of magical medium of revelation ... I felt as though I myself had held it in my hands before in some earlier century of history - that I myself had once claimed it as my talisman of power and held the destiny of the world in my hands.'

Whether or not Hitler indulged in the depraved sexual practices and drug-taking that Ravenscroft argues fast-tracked him to his destiny as the Antichrist, it is commonly asserted that leading Nazis did dabble in the occult, and true that some of them (Ludendorff in particular) worshipped pagan gods. In this may lie the small core of verifiable truth that underlies Stein and Ravenscroft's journey into the shadowy understoreys of human imagination.

It is true, too, that the advancing Americans under Patton went to extraordinary lengths to get the spear back - or at least to recover the treasure to which it belonged. In researching the film, Atlantic Productions' producer Sarah Strupinski tracked down the US Army interrogator who believes he made the vital breakthrough. Felix Rosenthal was himself German, a Jewish linguist who had escaped from Nazi persecution and been recruited by US Field Intelligence, which trained him in the new black art of bugging prisoners' cells. It happened that, in the spring of 1945 as allied troops advanced across Germany, a friend of Rosenthal's, Walter Horn, an art historian who had been attached to an army unit improbably designated Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives, was summoned by a senior officer. 'Lieutenant Horn, find the [Austrian] crown jewels. You have 30 days. Dismissed.'

Rosenthal himself was enjoying something of a cushy billet on a farm at Freising, 25 miles north of Munich. Returning from a duck hunt one day, he was startled when a Jeep suddenly stopped in front of him and the driver jumped out to embrace him. It was Walter Horn, who for 15 increasingly frantic days had been scouring Germany for the Hapsburg crown jewels. So far he had drawn a blank. 'Felix, do you by any chance know anything?'

As it happened, Felix did. A while back, a couple of prisoners had mentioned the crown jewels to him, and claimed they were 'in the hill at Nuremberg'. Much more significant, though, was something he had gathered from bugging a cell. 'Among the prisoners was an SS colonel who was locked up with some other high-ranking people, and he was explaining to them that he would re-establish the Nazi party 10 years hence, and that he would use as a symbol of the reborn Germany Hitler's body and the crown jewels.

'And of course I immediately told everybody, 'For God's sake let him talk. Don't take the other prisoners out. Let them hatch their plot ...' and so he said they had Hitler's body in a large tin casket and had sunk it in a lake in Bavaria. Because at that time we had no idea where Hitler's body was, I even got the US Navy to dredge the lake.'

As a result of his eavesdropping, Rosenthal was able to pass to Horn a list of people - 'countesses, ex-officers and stuff' - who might lead him to the hoard. Finally, says Rosenthal, Horn found himself in Nuremberg questioning a man who eventually agreed to show him the hiding place. 'He took Walter to the hill, and to the little tunnel that they had dug for it.'

Inevitably, the moment has different meanings for different people. For Horn it was just the happy climax of an unusually challenging quest. For Trevor Ravenscroft, the passing of the spear from one holder to another was apocalyptic - the arrival of mankind at yet another of destiny's crossroads. Timing was all. The Americans, he calculated, became 'the new claimants to the spear of destiny' at precisely 2.10pm on April 30, 1945. Less than 11/2 hours later, with destiny ripped from his grasp, the Antichrist in his bunker shot himself through the mouth. Dominion now rested with the United States, whose unanswerable power would soon be made manifest at Hiroshima.

This is, literally, the stuff of legend - a good story but, alas, fatally flawed. As Rosenthal's reference to ashes makes clear, the action all took place after Hitler's death. There is, too, serious doubt that Horn found the spear at all. Another well-sourced version suggests that it was discovered, separately from the rest of the crown jewels, by another American officer a month after Hitler's suicide, and that Horn himself did not reach the tunnel until July.

What rationally happens next is that a mildly interesting military relic from the European Dark Ages is returned to Vienna, where its legendary associations rather than its true history continue to excite sceptical interest. The fortunes of its Austrian guardians unsurprisingly fall well short of world domination. The paranormalists, however, have an answer even for this. Austria has not recovered its power simply because it does not possess the spear. The object in the museum is a fake, substituted in 1945 by the Americans, who kept the original in order to forge their own almighty power. Others believe that the Americans themselves were duped. The true spear, they say, was spirited away by submarine long before Patton's men reached Nuremberg and concealed somewhere in Antarctica or South America. When the time is right, as the SS colonel boasted to his fellow officers, it will be brought out again to launch the Fourth Reich.

On the internet, every kind of site from ultra-religious Catholic to fascist fruitcake and new-age cult adds a few more grains to the sands of illusion. The spear of destiny provides the theme and title of both a popular kill-a-Nazi computer game and an Indiana Jones comic adventure, and the name for a post-punk rock band. Some theorists claim to see in Picasso's anti-war painting, Guernica, not only the spear itself but a hidden image of Hitler. The operas of Wagner, all blood legend and retributive violence, continue to cast their dark and disturbing spell.

Dr. Kirchweger's hairdryer, meanwhile, is back in its box and the metallurgist, Robert Feather, is keying his figures into a computer. Facts are bearing down on the myths and trying them for size. Big questions loom. Could this really be the spear that pierced the side of Christ? Is it, as the Kunsthistorisches' curators insist, a run-of-the-mill royal relic of the Dark Ages? Or is it, as the paranormalists need it to be, a 20th-century fake?

Dr. Feather, author of a forthcoming book, The Mystery of the Copper Scroll of Qumran, is an archeologist whose speciality is ancient metal. His first results, from the swabs, are no surprise to anyone. Two thousand years after the crucifixion, and after innumerable cleanings, the spearhead can hardly be expected to retain traces of blood. Forensics reveal only a few sloughed skin cells, some minute mineral particles and spores - typical ingredients of house dust. Next under the microscope is the silver wire.

If it is truly ancient - earlier, say, than A.D. 600 - then it will be made of thin metal strips that have been hammered flat, then cut and twisted. Its threaded profile would be unmistakable. Later wire, such as this turns out to be, is drawn through a die and has a regular round or oval profile. Analysis of the lettering also suggests a date from the second millennium. The inner, silver sleeve appears to belong to the 11th century, and the outer, gold one from the 14th.

But of course this tells us only when the spear was repaired or altered. It says nothing about its date of manufacture. The first dating test, nevertheless, is passed with ease. Old spearheads are forged (shaped by a smith), not cast in a mould, and this one clearly shows the marks of hammering. The blade is indistinguishable from the one stolen in 1938, but there is little in its appearance to suggest that it could be early Roman. For a start, it is too big. Pre-Christian Roman spearheads typically are 8-10in long; this one is 20in. Its shape - minus the wings, which were added later - might, just, put it in the late Roman period, but this is still far too late for any association with the crucifixion. In the opinion of Feather and other academic experts, the likeliest date is the 7th century - only slightly earlier than the Kunsthistorisches Museum's own estimate.

As for the 'Nail of the Lord', examination reveals it to be not a nail at all, but some kind of pin or toggle. All that remains is the possibility - real, according to Feather - that some fragments of a genuine crucifixion nail might have been forged or beaten into it.

To put the issue beyond reasonable doubt, Feather sets off for the British Museum to compare x-rays of the Vienna spear with others of a similar design and period. If they match, he will have ended the argument. It is impossible to believe that a faker in 1945, let alone any technological visionary in or before the time of Christ, could have replicated with microscopic accuracy the materials and methods of a 7th-century armourer.

With Feather's results, the last gasp of air leaks from the fantasists' balloon. The metallurgical profile of the spear of destiny precisely matches the British Museum's medieval lookalikes. The spear is exactly what it appears to be - old, but not old enough to have pierced the side of Christ; and emphatically not a fake. The plot of Parsifal is fiction. So is Walter Stein's Archangel of the Grail. So is the reincarnation of a 9th-century warlord as a lank-haired, one-testicled, 20th-century Antichrist with history's worst moustache.

What, then, is the real story? The earliest authenticated reference to the spear occurs in 961, in the writings of Luitprand of Cremona, a bishop, historian, papal adversary, political machinator and notorious gossip. At this time the lance was held by the German king Otto I, but, like Ravenscroft, Luitprand also links it to Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, who died in 337. As the spearhead cannot have been forged until some 300 years after Constantine's death, this is no less fanciful than the association with Jesus. The earliest possible imperial owner would have been Charlemagne.

Professor Corine Schleif, an art historian from Arizona State University, and her colleague Volker Schier, a German musicologist, have spent five years trying to unravel the spear's true history. At every stage, she says, there has been wishful thinking. 'We have of course this strong desire to make things as old as they could possibly, or even impossibly, be. And as part of that effort there was an attempt to take the lance all the way back to the crucifixion.'

First, however, came an attempt to take it back to St. Maurice - according to legend, he was an Egyptian commander in the Roman army who was executed in the late 3rd century for refusing to honour pagan gods. For this excursion into mythology we have to thank Henry IV, crowned Holy Roman emperor in 1084, who gave the spear its silver band, which he inscribed in Latin: 'Nail of the Lord, Henry by God's grace ordered this silver band to be made in order to strengthen the Nail of the Lord and the Lance of St. Maurice'. Thus the legend of the nail makes its inaugural appearance, though we have to wait a little longer for the final, imaginative leap that brings us to the Christ-piercing spear of destiny.

The author of this fiction, and father of the cult that grew from it, was the 14th-century king of Bohemia, and later of Germany, Charles IV. Lacking a decent collection of holy relics to dignify his royal court, he set about acquiring some. His attention soon fell upon the lance of St. Maurice, which by now had found its way to a Cistercian monastery in the Tyrol. All it took was a new gold sleeve to cover Henry's silver one, and a brazen new inscription: Lancea et clavus domini. 'Lance and nail of the Lord.'

Off he then went to the Pope, whom he persuaded to grant a new annual Feast of St. Longinus, based upon the spear, for which Charles also commissioned a special new liturgy and mass. But it was not so much the Almighty who was exalted as Charles himself. As Volker Schier now explains, he needed to show tangible justification for his accession to the throne. 'The prime justification seemed to have been the holy lance. Or at least, he turned it into that, as it didn't have that meaning when he became king.'

And so it became official. This was the spear that pierced the side of Christ on the cross. Over the years it passed through various hands until, in 1424, Charles's descendant Sigismund of Luxembourg agreed to sell it to the town council of Nuremberg. Security, even then, being paramount, it made the journey to its new home concealed beneath a wagonload of fish. In 1438 a silver-embossed chest was made to contain it, and hung for safekeeping from the rafters of the church at the Hospital of the Holy Ghost.

Once a year, along with lesser relics - a sliver of wood from the manger, a tooth of John the Baptist, an arm bone of St Anne - it was taken down and displayed to pilgrims in the market square. Such was its imagined power that Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain sent a piece of cloth to be pierced by it, making it a holy relic in its own right; Count Ferdinand of Austria had it dipped into a keg of wine; and pilgrims looked at it through mirrors in the belief that they could capture its image and take it home.

The spear remained at Nuremberg until 1800, when it was smuggled to Vienna to prevent its theft by Napoleon. And it was in Vienna, among the crown jewels of the Hapsburgs, that it remained until 1938, when - for reasons criminal, political, religious or satanic - it made the return journey and passed from legend into infamy.


Down the centuries, different parts have been added to the spear - each shrouded in its own fantastic myth

The Golden Sheath - Placed on the spearhead by the 14th-century German king Charles IV, and inscribed Lancea et clavus Domini - 'Lance and nail of the Lord'. The Pope sanctioned a new feast day for it, and Charles himself commissioned a special liturgy and mass.

The Silver Sheath - Dating from the 11th century, its inscription contains the first mention of the 'nail of the Lord' and associates the spear with St. Maurice. The sheath helped to hold the two parts of the spear together after an earlier break.

The Blade - Was this the blade that pierced the side of Christ? The legends associated with it are said to have inflamed the imaginations of Wagner and Hitler. In 1938 the Nazis seized it from Vienna and took it to Nuremberg, where the Americans found it in 1945.

The Wings - Two wing-like blades are attached by thongs to the lower end of the blade. Not part of the original spear, they are thought to be from knives made in the 7th or 8th century.

The Silver Wire - This was added some time after AD600 to bind the broken blade. Earlier wire would have been made from silver strips, hammered flat, then twisted. This was made by the later method of drawing the metal through a die.

The Nail of the Lord - At some time in the distant past, an iron pin was attached to the blade. Legend insists it is a nail from the crucifixion. Although science does not support this, it is possible that some fragments from a true nail were forged into it.


Jerusalem A.D. 30 - The crucifixion: on the cross, Christ's side is pierced by a Roman spear.

4th century - According to legend, Constantine the Great uses the power of the spear to Christianise the Roman empire.

742 - Birth of Charlemagne, said to have been empowered by the holy lance. Possibly the date when the spear was made.

961 - First written reference to the spear, by Luitprand of Cremona, who connects it to the first Holy Roman emperor, Constantine.

1084 - Coronation of the Holy Roman emperor Henry IV, who claims the spear embodies a nail from the cross and links it to St. Maurice.

14th century - To promote his kingship and inflate the value of the spear as a holy relic, Charles IV of Bohemia and Germany proclaims it the 'lance of the Lord'.

1424 - Sigismund of Luxembourg sells the spear to the town council of Nuremberg.

1800 - To save it from capture by Napoleon, the spear is smuggled from Nuremberg to Vienna.

1912 - According to legend, the young Adolf Hitler sees the spear in a Viennese museum and recognises it as a talisman of demonic power.

1938 - Nazis seize the spear and take it to Nuremberg.

1945 - American troops recover the spear and return it to Vienna. Nazi zealots claim it is a fake.

2003 - Scientific analysis reveals the truth.


Sr Member
Originally posted by GB_DAN@Oct 21 2005, 09:21 AM
Nexus- Do you have a reference for where you got that information from? Very interesting post man.
I'll see if I can find it. Incidently, there is a documentary that is aired from time to time on the 'Discovery Times' channel called: "The Spear of Jesus". Most of the info in my post can be seen there. I watch it everytime it's on, as it's hella-interesting & very well done.

I've been SCOURING every source I can find for a project I'm planning. I'm in the process of putting together the funds now.
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