When Christian missionaries asked the north Teutons who or what they believed in, they received the reply which centuries previously the south Teutons — who had believed in Das Gott (neuter) — might also have given, that they believed in their power (matt) or strength (magin), a power working within them, a deity filling the religious man, an inner-worldly and inner-spiritual deity. Such an answer must have seemed to the missionaries, as it would to many present day commentators, a mere boast of power or an idolatrous presumption, while in fact it must be understood as a factual “The God” (Das Gott) corresponding to the dominans ille in nobis deus. But it is easy to understand that the missionaries, who in Christianity had accepted the extra-mundane, transcendent ideas of a “personal” God, from the Semitic peoples, were at a loss when confronted by faith in a destiny ruling within men.
The Sword of Spiritual Justice
- Maker: Zandona Ferrara (bladesmith active circa 1600) Creation Date:
- Dated: early 17th century
- Medium: iron, steel, copper, wood with scabbard of leather, velvet, silver gilt
- Measurements: 116.8 x 99.7 cm
- Acquirer: Charles I, King of Great Britain (1600-49), when King of Great Britain (1625-49)
- Provenance: probably supplied for the coronation of Charles I in 1626
The sword has a gilt-iron hilt with a wooden, wire-bound grip, the escutcheons of the guard triangular and rather sharply pointed, with a steel blade, struck with the maker’s mark at the top and incised further down with a “running wolf” mark, and with a velvet-covered scabbard with gold embroidery and silver-gilt mounts.
This sword, known as the Sword of Spritual Justice, is one of three swords which are carried unsheathed, pointing upwards, in the coronation procession. This sword is accompanied by the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Mercy (with a blunted tip). The practice of carrying three swords, representing kingly virtues, dates back to the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189.
The three swords were made for the coronation of Charles I in 1626 and then placed with the regalia in Westminster Abbey. Together with the coronation spoon, these three works were the only pieces to survive the Civil War and Interregnum untouched. It is not known whether they were used in the coronation procession of Charles II, but they have certainly been used since 1685. A new scabbard was made for the sword in 1821 for the coronation of George IV.