Vienna Spear of Destiny

Materials: steel, brass, silver, gold, leather.
Techniques: forging, metalwork, engraving, rusting, patination
Dimensions: 51×7.9 cm

Author’s copy of the Spear of Destiny. Other names: Vienna spear, Hofburg spear, spear of St. Mauritius, spear of Longinus. The original is kept in the Vienna Museum of Art History.

The spear is considered one of the greatest relics of Christianity. According to legend, it was with them that the centurion Gaius Cassius Longinus struck the crucified Jesus Christ in the chest.

But archaeological analysis of the spear showed that it is a winged spear tip characteristic of the 8th century with subsequent, later additions. The middle of the spear was cut out and a nail was fixed into the hole (according to legend, a nail from the cross of the Lord). Closer to the base, two blades were added. When the spear was broken in half, it was fastened with leather cords, which were later replaced with silver wire. They also applied iron plates first, and later silver ones. Presumably, changes to the spear occurred before the middle of the 10th century. The last major addition was the attachment of gold plates in the 14th century.