So after I looked at the Habsburgs’ art collection, then I went to their treasury. Usually a treasury has money in it, but this treasury was full instead of some real treasures – some of the most amazingly valuable objects I have ever seen!
This is the Habsburg crown and orb and scepter, which were made about 500 years ago, and about 200 years ago became the crown jewels of the Austrian Empire:
This is a picture of the Emperor of Austria wearing them about 200 years ago:
and then there was the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which is much, much older – probably around a thousand years old:
Even older – maybe a hundred years older – is this cross, and the objects on either side of it.
The one on the right is supposed to be a piece of the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified (of course it probably isn’t, but sometimes it’s what people believe that matters). The other is more controversial: it is supposed to be the point of the spear which was stuck by a Roman soldier into Jesus’ belly to check whether he was dead or not, after he had been hanging on the cross for several hours, inlaid with one of the nails which were hammered through Jesus’ hands. Sometimes known as the Holy Lance, and at other times as the Spear of Destiny, it was associated with Frederick Barbarossa, a Holy Roman Emperor of 900 years ago, and is sometimes supposed to have occult powers, so that the destiny of Europe will lie in the hands of whoever controls it. Some people say that part of Adolf Hitler’s motive in invading Austria in 1938 was to retrieve the spear from the museum for this reason; certainly he moved it from Vienna to Nuremberg, where it had been before for several hundred years, and where he held his biggest public rallies. His operation to invade Russia in 1941 and so complete his domination of Europe was called Barbarossa. Of course this theory has its problems; if the Spear is in Vienna, why don’t the Austrians now control Europe?
Finally, there was this emerald, the largest in the world, which was turned into a reliquary by one of the emperors. At least, he ordered it: the artist who cut it had to be really careful to make sure he didn’t damage it while he did so…