Charlemagne’s ”Jouyeuse” Letter Opener
5 in stock
Description of the Product
Charlemagne, Charles the Great, was a King of Franks. Franks were one of the numerous Slavic and Germanic tribes, like the Huns, Goths and Visigoths, which migrated over large parts of Europe from circa the fourth century onwards. The Romans had called these tribes "Barbarians" due to their uncivilized customs, and viewed their migration as an invasion. Barbarian was a Greek term meaning anyone not speaking Greek, i.e. whose speech sounded gibberish, “bar-bar-bar”. These new tribes filled the power vacuum after the fall of the Roman Empire, some only briefly to be forgotten by history, some with longer legacies. Eventually a more centralized system started to develop in Charlemagne's empire, from 768CE onwards. His empire was based on the fighting strength of the Franks. Their insatiable ambition, and fervent desire to expand Christendom led them to rule large parts of western Europe. Eventually on Christamas day of 800CE, Charlemagne was crowned Roman emperor, the first one since the fall of Rome. An aggressive conqueror, wise politician, statesman and fortunate general, Charlemagne built and shaped his vast empire. Although the empire lasted only a generation after him the significance of this empire has lasted to modern times; it resulted in the Holy Roman Empire and the foundations of France and Germany.
Charlemagne’s sword, “Joyeuse”, is one of the most famous swords in the world. It is the coronation sword of French kings and the original is kept in the Louvre. According to tradition, the Joyeuse was Charlemagnes personal sword, and legend states that it was forged by the famous blacksmith Galas, and took three years to complete. The sword was described as having magical powers, having been so bright that it could outshine the sun and blind enemies in battle, and any person who wielded it could not be poisoned. One story tells of how Charlemagne once lost Joyeuse and promised a great reward to whoever found it. One of his knights returned it to the king who stuck it in the ground and declared the lands around that spot to belong to the knight, which is the origin of the French town of Joyeuse, founded on that spot and named in honor of the sword. But as with all ancient relics there are also claims that it is much more recent, in this case 12th C. With the Joyeuse the ideals of a western civilization, Roman justice and -practices and the idea of European unity were spread. Within a few centuries of his death Charlemagne was lifted to be the symbol of that unity, a legacy which still continues.
Made by Marto of Toledo. Overall length 26 cm
Silver Finish hilt. Stainless Steel Blade.
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