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Limburg - Byzantine Staurothek or  „Reliquary of the True Cross” | by petrus.agricola
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Limburg - Byzantine Staurothek or „Reliquary of the True Cross”

Front or Showside

„Reliquary of the True Cross” or Staurothek

Constantinople Byzantine, c. 960 CE

gold, gems, cloisonné enamel polychrome h: 48 cm

from Limburg a.d. Lahn; Diözesanmuseum or Dom-Museum, Domschatz


In the cathedral treasury of Limburg is preserved one of the most beautiful and gorgeous works surviving from the middle ages: "the gold reliquary of the True Cross".

The gold box is covered inside and out with jewels and cloisonné enamel, with chasing and filigree, with figures and inscriptions. No one who has not studied it can form any conception of the skill, artistry and magnificence of Byzantine workmanship in the middle tenth century.

Around the edge run two inscriptions:

"The emperors Constantine and Romanus {that is Romanus II}, in setting of translucent gems and pearls, have given this sacred Wood a home of wonders."

and the other inscription reads:

"In deepest honouring of Christ Basil the President caused this repository to be decorated."


The young Romanus II became emperor in 948, and his father (Constantine VII) died in 959. The object is thus securely dated to these eleven years, and probably to the late 950s.

The reliquary was removed from Constantinople after the sack of 1204.


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Taken on November 4, 2014