Elements of the Spear

Roland Rotherham explores the history of the Spear associated with the Grail legends. Is it a holy relic, a simple historical museum exhibit, or does it have a more mysterious history and legacy?

The Timeline

Time Line depicting events and characters in the life of the Spear of Destiny. (Dates B.C. are subject to debate and therefore unreliable.


2nd millennium BC
Phineas the prophet causes the spear to be made as a symbol of the magical powers inherent in the blood of Gods chosen people.
Joshua wields the spear as he gives the command for the Jewish host give the cry that makes the walls of Jericho fall to rubble.
Saul carries the spear as part of the sacred regalia and throws it in anger at David. (c.1100 BC ?)

Year ‘0’

Herod the Great holds the spear as he gives the command that results in the ‘Massacre of the innocents.

33 AD

Herod Antipas wields the spear as the king of Israel during the time of Christ’s ministry.
It is carried by the Temple Guards at the crucifixion as the Christ is executed between the thieves Gestas and Dismas.
Gaius Cassius rides forward at the scene and ‘Grabs a spear’ and delivers the blow of mercy to the Nazarene.
(Gaius Cassius is later known as Longinus).

2nd century

The spear passes from hand to hand as an underground talisman by early Christians.

3rd century

Mauritius, later called Maurice, holds the spear as he is martyred at the head of the Theban Legion in Egypt. This legion are Manichean Christians and are imprisoned by the emperor Diocletian and slaughtered by Maximian in a purge of non Roman religion.

4th century

Constantine rises to power and carries the spear at the battle of the Milvian Bridge that ensures his place as emperor.
Emperor Theodosius holds the spear as the Goths are held back from Constantinople.
Alaric claims the spear after his sack of Rome.

5th century

Emperor Aetius holds the spear as he turns back Atilla at the battle of Troyes.

8th century

Charles Martel defeats the Arab army while carrying the spear at the battle of Poitier.

9th century

Charlemagne claims the spear as his right and the title of Holy Roman Emperor. He lives and sleeps within arms’ reach of the spear for his entire reign.

10th century

Saxon King Heinrich 1st carries the spear at the battle of Unstrut and defeats the invading Magyar horde. He sends the spear to English King Athelstan who then defeats the Vikings with it at Malmesbury.
Heinrich’s son Otto marries Athelstan’s sister Eadgitta and the dowry includes the spear. Otto is dubbed with the spear as Emperor by Pope John X11.

11th century

The spear is carried on the First Crusade and appears as an image granting victory to the crusaders at the siege of Antioch.

12th century

Barbarossa carries the spear throughout his campaigns and is victorious until it falls from his hand while crossing a river in Sicily and he drowns.

13th century

Friedrich 11, king, occultist, scholar, carries the spear in the last true crusade.

14th-20th centuries

The spear has become part of the Hapsburg crown regalia and as times change it is used increasingly as a relic and no longer as a ‘Weapon of virtue’.
Von Moltke, adviser to Kaiser Wilhelm II, attempts to use its occult power during the 1st Great War but fails and dies from a stroke before completing the project.
Hitler becomes obsessed with the spear during the 20’s and spends much time at the Hofburg Museum where it is kept.
After Hitler’s rise to power many relics are taken and empowered by the Nazis to use against the allied forces in an attempt to secure world domination.
The spear is kept hidden and used in rituals in secret locations such as Schloss Wewelsburg, which had become the HQ of the Gestapo.
The spear was in the possession of Himmler as he devised the ‘Final solution’ and was used until late 1944 when it was hidden in Nurnberg and found there by the allied forces 6 hours after Hitler’s death.
It was claimed by the US and was in Patton’s hands when he gave the order to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The spear was later returned to the Hofburg Museum after the war and placed again with the Holy Roman Imperial regalia and there it remains, on display to this day. The museum is now known as the Kunst Historische Museum.