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Coronation mantle

Coronation Mantle, 1133/34, fabric from Byzantium or Thebes, samite, silk, gold, pearls, filigree, sapphires, garnets, glass, and cloisonné enamel, 146 x 345 cm (Neue Hofburg, Vienna). Likely made for the Norman ruler Roger II in 1133/34 in the royal workshop in Palermo of fabric from Byzantium or Thebes, Samite, silk, gold, pearls, filigree, sapphires, garnets, glass, and cloisonné enamel. The Kufic script reads: "This mantle was worked in the most magnificent clothing workshop and is connected with the desire and hopes, felicitous days and nights without cease or change, with authority, with honor and felicity, assurances of trust, reverent care, protection, good destiny, freedom from harm, triumph and livelihood in the capital city of Sicily in the year 528" (or 1133/34 in the Gregorian calendar). Neue Hofburg, Vienna.  Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.

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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user mtboy66
    how heavy is it?
    (48 votes)
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  • male robot johnny style avatar for user johnathanatodd
    Do you think that modern artisans could have produced such a fine robe?
    (14 votes)
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    • purple pi purple style avatar for user Ant.Stryk
      Yes, there are many medieval groups who delight in recreating such splendid objects. I know of one local member of the SCA who has spent over 400 hours sewing a similar cloak, she's about a quarter of the way through. She uses period techniques and materials. By the time she's finished, the cloak will be worth half a million dollars or more in labour alone. That doesn't include the pearls and gold she's using.
      (29 votes)
  • male robot hal style avatar for user Adam.Clark
    Can anyone offer an educated guess at the number of man hours it would take to create something as ornate as this?
    (6 votes)
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  • leaf grey style avatar for user cmaryk12296
    What were the relations between the Normans and Arabs?
    (8 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Stephen Wood
      ...in many cases, very cordial - listen carefully to what the lecturers say about King Roger. Also it is not useful in the long run to group all the Muslim people of the region in question as "Arabs": the Muslim population of the Iberian Peninsula was made up of Berbers, Arabs, Slavs and native converts. It is noted that many Christian Spaniards (Mozarabs) could read, write and speak Arabic. Also noteworthy is the fact that religious changes brought about changes in the relationships between peoples. Unfortunately the period is often seen through the filter of later historical events.
      (8 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Thomas Waite
    What does the Arabic writings at the bottom say?
    (5 votes)
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    • leaf orange style avatar for user TB
      This belongs to the articles worked in the Royal workshop, (which has) flourished with fortune and honour, with industry and perfection, with might and merit, with (this) sanction and (his) prosperity, with magnanimity and majesty, with renown and beauty and the fulfillment of desires and hopes and with felicitous days and nights without cease of change!, with honour and solicitude, with protection and defence, with success and certainty, with triumph and industry. In the (capital) city of Sicily I the year 528.
      Quoted from: http://www.viennatouristguide.at/Altstadt/Schatzkammer/Mantel/englkro.htm
      Note: It uses the islamic calendar, so the year is misleading.
      (9 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Alec!
    How much would it cost in USD these days?
    (4 votes)
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    • piceratops sapling style avatar for user Justin Bres
      Ok. Wow, this is crazy, it was made with about 100,000 pearls. assuming that we use the CHEAPEST pearl available, which averages out to somewhere around 1224 USD, multiply that 100,000 times and we get.. 122,400,000, One Hundred and Twenty Two Million dollars
      and that is ONLY the pearls. Not including any of the gold on it.
      (3 votes)
  • purple pi purple style avatar for user rumaysap
    who were the roman emperor? and what is the sceptre?
    (4 votes)
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  • ohnoes default style avatar for user Aaron
    At in the video Steven says vitrify but the interactive trancript has the word incorrectly transcribed as petrify. Can someone tell me the proper way to notify Khan Academy of typos, content errors or other piquant miscellany, that is if they wished to be notified at all?
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf red style avatar for user Kris
    I love how the camels' eyes seem to 'pop' out.

    My question is: Where was this mantle found before it was put in the museum? Was it passed down from generation to generation, or just left in a room somewhere?
    (3 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user John Draper
      It was pretty much passed down, as the Holy Roman Empire only ended in 1806, and the Austrian Emperor reigned after that until 1918. The mantle formed part of the Nuremberg Regalia, and was housed in Nuremberg from 1424-1796 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Regalia). It was transferred to the Imperial Treasury (Ger: Schatzkammer) at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, around 1800, as a protection against Napoleon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Treasury_%28Vienna%29), and entered the Hofburg Palace. Subsequently, they were returned to Nuremberg by the Nazis in 1936, then back to Vienna following the conclusion of WWII; the Imperial Treasury is now part of the Museum of Art History (Ger: Kunsthistorisches Museum). What I would like to know is whether the mantle was used in coronations of later emperors; usage would probably imply more conservative tendencies.
      (2 votes)
  • male robot donald style avatar for user Matt Ross
    Why would a Christian ruler wear a coronation mantle that has Islamic motifs? ()
    (3 votes)
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Video transcript

DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: We're in the Hofburg in Vienna, in the royal treasury, which is filled with crowns and scepters. DR. BETH HARRIS: Reliquaries and jewels. It's amazing. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: And one of the real treasures is an enormous mantle that was worn during the coronations of the Holy Roman emperors. But that's not what this was made for. This was made in the 12th century in Sicily-- actually, in the royal workshops of Roger II, who was a Norman that ruled. Now the Normans, you might remember, actually began as Vikings. They came down from the north and they eventually settled in Northwestern France and also at the bottom of Italy and the island of Sicily. And that's where this was made. DR. BETH HARRIS: So this is a really large cloak. You can see the clasps at the top, for where it would have been worn over the shoulders. And it's made of red silk, gold stitching, and thousands of pearls, and enamel plates, and jewels. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: And it's in exceptional condition. The enamel is made of cloisonne, where very fine walls of gold separate the enamels themselves as they melt, as they vitrify. And what's so interesting about this mantle is if you look at its imagery, even though it was made for a Christian ruler, it's full of Islamic motifs. It was made by Islamic artisans. DR. BETH HARRIS: And we see that in the lion overpowering a camel. We see it in the calligraphic script along the semicircular bottom. And the tree of life in the center. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: A motif almost identical to that in the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. These are motifs that come out of pattern books that would have transversed the Islamic world and were copied over hundreds of years. DR. BETH HARRIS: The robe was clearly meant to symbolize power. Look at the forms of those lions. They're schematic and not terribly naturalistic, but they evoke a real sense of fierceness in their faces and their puffed out chests. And the camels look so subdued and overpowered. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: Those camels are domesticated. They're actually wearing saddles. One of the interpretations of this iconography, of this symbolism, is that the lions are actually representing the Normans. The house of Roger II had as its symbol the lion. Whereas the camel might be a reference to the peoples that Roger had conquered. DR. BETH HARRIS: So although this cloak was made in the 12th century, it acquired the legend that it was made for Charlemagne, for the very first Holy Roman Emperor for the 9th century. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: But we know that that's not the case because, in fact, the Kufic conscription, Arabic writing, gives us a specific date. DR. BETH HARRIS: This mantle is worked in the most magnificent royal splendor. Perfection, might, superiority, approval, prosperity, magnanimity, beauty, the fulfillment of all desires and hopes, felicitous days and nights without cease or change. With authority, with honor, freedom from harm, triumph, and livelihood in the city of Sicily in the year 528. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: 528, according to the Islamic calendar, dating from the time of Muhammad. This correlated with the 12th century in the Western calendar. Those plates also have an important iconography that has an Islamic origin. You'll see a star that's made out of the intersection of two squares. And going back to the beginning of Islam there was a notion that the Earth was a square and the heavens were a square. And here we see those overlaid. And so you do have a cosmological reference. And perhaps a reference that Roger, himself, ruled overall. DR. BETH HARRIS: There's a clear sense here of speaking to the owner's grandeur. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: Just imagine through history those that were crowned Holy Roman Emperor wearing this garment. Carrying an orb. Carrying a scepter. The pope. A huge ensemble of the most powerful people in the West. It must have been quite a sight to see.