Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The Sword of Charlemagne

Joyeuse, is the name traditionally attributed to Charlemagne's personal sword. The sword of Joyeuse, which resides in the Louvre Museum, is one of the most famous swords in history. Historical records link the sword to Charlemagne the Great, King of the Franks. The story begins in 802 AD. Legend says that the sword was forged by the famous blacksmith Galas, and took three years to complete. The sword was described as having magical powers. It was said to have been so bright that it could outshine the sun and blind its wielder's enemies in battle, and any person who wielded it could not be poisoned.
Charlemagne (742-814 AD) did much to define the shape and character of medieval Europe. After the fall of the Roman Empire, he was the first to reunite Western Europe. He ruled a vast kingdom that encompassed what is now France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Low Countries. The sword was moved to the Louvre in 1793 following the French Revolution. It was last used by a French king in 1824 with the crowning of Charles X.

The pommel (top fitting) of the sword dates from the 10th and 11th centuries, the cross to the second half of the 12th century, and the grip to the 13th century. The grip once featured a fleur-de-lis, but was it removed for the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804.