A palace is a grand residence a royal residence, or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill in Rome which housed the Imperial residences. Most European languages have a version of the term, many use it for a wider range of buildings than English. In many parts of Europe, the equivalent term is applied to large private houses in cities of the aristocracy. Many historic palaces are now put to other uses such as parliaments, hotels, or office buildings; the word is sometimes used to describe a lavishly ornate building used for public entertainment or exhibitions, such as a movie palace. The word palace comes from Old French palais, from Latin Palātium, the name of one of the seven hills of Rome; the original "palaces" on the Palatine Hill were the seat of the imperial power while the "capitol" on the Capitoline Hill was the religious nucleus of Rome. Long after the city grew to the seven hills the Palatine remained a desirable residential area.
Emperor Caesar Augustus lived there in a purposely modest house only set apart from his neighbours by the two laurel trees planted to flank the front door as a sign of triumph granted by the Senate. His descendants Nero, with his "Golden House", enlarged the house and grounds over and over until it took up the hill top; the word Palātium came to mean the residence of the emperor rather than the neighbourhood on top of the hill. Palace meaning "government" can be recognized in a remark of Paul the Deacon. AD 790 and describing events of the 660s: "When Grimuald set out for Beneventum, he entrusted his palace to Lupus". At the same time, Charlemagne was consciously reviving the Roman expression in his "palace" at Aachen, of which only his chapel remains. In the 9th century, the "palace" indicated the housing of the government too, the travelling Charlemagne built fourteen. In the early Middle Ages, the palas was that part of an imperial palace, that housed the Great Hall, where affairs of state were conducted.
In the Holy Roman Empire the powerful independent Electors came to be housed in palaces. This has been used as evidence that power was distributed in the Empire. In modern times, the term has been applied by archaeologists and historians to large structures that housed combined ruler and bureaucracy in "palace cultures". In informal usage, a "palace" can be extended to a grand residence of any kind; the earliest known palaces were the royal residences of the Egyptian Pharaohs at Thebes, featuring an outer wall enclosing labyrinthine buildings and courtyards. Other ancient palaces include the Assyrian palaces at Nimrud and Nineveh, the Minoan palace at Knossos, the Persian palaces at Persepolis and Susa. Palaces in East Asia, such as the imperial palaces of Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and large wooden structures in China's Forbidden City, consist of many low pavilions surrounded by vast, walled gardens, in contrast to the single building palaces of Medieval Western Europe; the Brazilian new capital, Brasília, hosts modern palaces, most designed by the city's architect Oscar Niemeyer.
The Alvorada Palace is the official residence of Brazil's president. The Planalto Palace is the official workplace; the Jaburu Palace is the official residence of Brazil's vice-president. Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of the Portuguese Empire and the Empire of Brazil, houses numerous royal and imperial palaces as the Imperial Palace of São Cristóvão, former official residence of the Brazil's Emperors, the Paço Imperial, its official workplace and the Guanabara Palace, former residence of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil. Besides palaces of the nobility and aristocracy; the city of Petropolis, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, is known for its palaces of the imperial period such as the Petrópolis Palace and the Grão-Pará Palace. In Canada, Government House is a title given to the official residences of the Canadian monarchy and various viceroys. Though not universal, in most cases the title is the building's sole name; the use of the term Government House is an inherited custom from the British Empire, where there were and are many government houses.
Rideau Hall is, since 1867, the official residence in Ottawa of both the Canadian monarch and his or her representative, the Governor General of Canada, has been described as "Canada's house". It stands in Canada's capital on a 0.36 km2 estate at 1 Sussex Drive, with the main building consisting of 175 rooms across 9,500 m2, 27 outbuildings around the grounds. While the equivalent building in many countries has a prominent, central place in the national capital, Rideau Hall's site is unobtrusive within Ottawa, giving it more the character of a private home. Along with Rideau Hall, the Citadelle of Quebec known as La Citadelle, is an active military installation and official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor General, it is located atop adjoining the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, Quebec. The citadel is the oldest military building in Canada, forms part of the fortifications of Quebec City
World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization as having cultural, scientific or other form of significance, is protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance, it may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet. The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones; the list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 "states parties" that are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund; the program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program; as of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China, France, Germany and Mexico. In 1954, the government of Egypt decided to build the new Aswan High Dam, whose resulting future reservoir would inundate a large stretch of the Nile valley containing cultural treasures of ancient Egypt and ancient Nubia. In 1959, the governments of Egypt and Sudan requested UNESCO to assist their countries to protect and rescue the endangered monuments and sites.
In 1960, the Director-General of UNESCO launched an appeal to the member states for an International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. This appeal resulted in the excavation and recording of hundreds of sites, the recovery of thousands of objects, as well as the salvage and relocation to higher ground of a number of important temples, the most famous of which are the temple complexes of Abu Simbel and Philae; the campaign, which ended in 1980, was considered a success. As tokens of its gratitude to countries which contributed to the campaign's success, Egypt donated four temples: the Temple of Dendur was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Temple of Debod was moved to the Parque del Oeste in Madrid, the Temple of Taffeh was moved to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the Temple of Ellesyia to Museo Egizio in Turin; the project cost $80 million, about $40 million of, collected from 50 countries. The project's success led to other safeguarding campaigns: saving Venice and its lagoon in Italy, the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, the Borobodur Temple Compounds in Indonesia.
UNESCO initiated, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a draft convention to protect the common cultural heritage of humanity. The United States initiated the idea of cultural conservation with nature conservation; the White House conference in 1965 called for a "World Heritage Trust" to preserve "the world's superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites for the present and the future of the entire world citizenry". The International Union for Conservation of Nature developed similar proposals in 1968, they were presented in 1972 to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Under the World Heritage Committee, signatory countries are required to produce and submit periodic data reporting providing the World Heritage Committee with an overview of each participating nation's implementation of the World Heritage Convention and a "snapshot" of current conditions at World Heritage properties. A single text was agreed on by all parties, the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
The Convention came into force on 17 December 1975. As of May 2017, it has been ratified by 193 states parties, including 189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Only four UN member states have not ratified the Convention: Liechtenstein, Nauru and Tuvalu. A country must first list its significant natural sites. A country may not nominate sites. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File; the Nomination File is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. These bodies make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee; the Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers or refers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site. There are ten selection criteria – a site must meet at least one of them to be included on the list
Mary, mother of Jesus
Mary was a 1st-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran. The gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament and the Quran describe Mary as a virgin; the miraculous conception took place when she was betrothed to Joseph. She accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem; the Gospel of Luke begins its account of Mary's life with the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced her divine selection to be the mother of Jesus. According to canonical gospel accounts, Mary was present at the crucifixion and is depicted as a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem. According to Catholic and Orthodox teachings, at the end of her earthly life her body was raised directly into Heaven. Mary has been venerated since early Christianity, is considered by millions to be the most meritorious saint of the religion, she is claimed to have miraculously appeared to believers many times over the centuries. The Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches believe that Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God.
There is significant diversity in the Marian beliefs and devotional practices of major Christian traditions. The Catholic Church holds distinctive Marian dogmas, namely her status as the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity, her Assumption into heaven. Many Protestants minimize Mary's role within Christianity, basing their argument on the relative brevity of biblical references. Mary has a revered position in Islam, where one of the longer chapters of the Quran is devoted to her. Mary's name in the original manuscripts of the New Testament was based on her original Aramaic name מרים, translit. Maryam or Mariam; the English name Mary comes from the Greek Μαρία, a shortened form of Μαριάμ. Both Μαρία and Μαριάμ appear in the New Testament. In Christianity, Mary is referred to as the Virgin Mary, in accordance with the belief that she conceived Jesus miraculously through the Holy Spirit without her husband's involvement. Among her many other names and titles are the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, the Mother of God, the Theotokos, Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, although the title "Queen of Heaven" was a name for a pagan goddess being worshipped during the prophet Jeremiah's lifetime.
Titles in use vary among Anglicans, Catholics, Protestants and other Christians. The three main titles for Mary used by the Orthodox are Theotokos, Aeiparthenos as confirmed in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, Panagia. Catholics use a wide variety of titles for Mary, these titles have in turn given rise to many artistic depictions. For example, the title Our Lady of Sorrows has inspired such masterpieces as Michelangelo's Pietà; the title Theotokos was recognized at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The direct equivalents of title in Latin are Deipara and Dei Genetrix, although the phrase is more loosely translated into Latin as Mater Dei, with similar patterns for other languages used in the Latin Church. However, this same phrase in Greek, in the abbreviated form ΜΡ ΘΥ, is an indication attached to her image in Byzantine icons; the Council stated that the Church Fathers "did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Mother of God". Some Marian titles have a direct scriptural basis.
For instance, the title "Queen Mother" has been given to Mary since she was the mother of Jesus, sometimes referred to as the "King of Kings" due to his ancestral descent from King David. Other titles have arisen from special appeals, or occasions for calling on Mary. To give a few examples, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Our Lady of Navigators, Our Lady Undoer of Knots fit this description. In Islam, she is known as mother of Isa, she is referred to by the honorific title sayyidatuna, meaning "our lady". A related term of endearment is Siddiqah, meaning "she who confirms the truth" and "she who believes sincerely completely". Another title for Mary is Qānitah, which signifies both constant submission to God and absorption in prayer and invocation in Islam, she is called "Tahira", meaning "one, purified" and representing her status as one of two humans in creation to not be touched by Satan at any point. The Gospel of Luke mentions Mary the most identifying her by name twelve times, all of these in the infancy narrative.
The Gospel of Matthew mentions her by name six times, five of these in the infancy narrative and only once outside the infancy narrative. The Gospel of Mark names her once and mentions her as Jesus' mother without naming her in 3:31 and 3:32; the Gospel of John never mentions her by name. Described as Jesus' mother, she makes two appearances, she is first seen at the wedding at Cana. The second reference, listed only in this gospel, has her standing near the cross of Jesus together with Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas (or Cleophas
Reims, a city in the Grand Est region of France, lies 129 km east-northeast of Paris. The 2013 census recorded 182,592 inhabitants in the city of Reims proper, 317,611 inhabitants in the metropolitan area, its primary river, the Vesle, is a tributary of the Aisne. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire. Reims played a prominent ceremonial role in French monarchical history as the traditional site of the crowning of the kings of France; the Cathedral of Reims housed the Holy Ampulla containing the Saint Chrême brought by a white dove at the baptism of Clovis in 496. It was used for the most important part of the coronation of French kings. Reims functions as a subprefecture of the department of Marne, in the administrative region of Grand Est. Although Reims is by far the largest commune in its department, Châlons-en-Champagne is the prefecture. Before the Roman conquest of northern Gaul, founded circa 80 BC as *Durocorteron, served as the capital of the tribe of the Remi — whose name the town would subsequently echo.
In the course of Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul, the Remi allied themselves with the Romans, by their fidelity throughout the various Gallic insurrections secured the special favour of the imperial power. At its height in Roman times the city had a population in the range of 30,000 - 50,000 or up to 100,000. Christianity had become established in the city by 260, at which period Saint Sixtus of Reims founded the bishopric of Reims; the consul Jovinus, an influential supporter of the new faith, repelled the Alamanni who invaded Champagne in 336. In 496 – ten years after Clovis, King of the Salian Franks, won his victory at Soissons — Remigius, the bishop of Reims, baptized him using the oil of the sacred phial – purportedly brought from heaven by a dove for the baptism of Clovis and subsequently preserved in the Abbey of Saint-Remi. For centuries the events at the crowning of Clovis I became a symbol used by the monarchy to claim the divine right to rule. Meetings of Pope Stephen II with Pepin the Short, of Pope Leo III with Charlemagne, took place at Reims.
King Louis IV gave the city and countship of Reims to the archbishop Artaldus in 940. King Louis VII gave the title of duke and peer to William of Champagne, archbishop from 1176 to 1202, the archbishops of Reims took precedence over the other ecclesiastical peers of the realm. By the 10th century Reims had become a centre of intellectual culture. Archbishop Adalberon, seconded by the monk Gerbert, founded schools which taught the classical "liberal arts"; the archbishops held the important prerogative of the consecration of the kings of France – a privilege which they exercised from the time of Philippe II Augustus to that of Charles X. Louis VII granted the city a communal charter in 1139; the Treaty of Troyes ceded it to the English, who had made a futile attempt to take it by siege in 1360. Louis XI cruelly suppressed a revolt at Reims, caused in 1461 by the salt tax. During the French Wars of Religion the city sided with the Catholic League, but submitted to King Henri IV after the battle of Ivry.
In the invasions of the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1814, anti-Napoleonic allied armies captured and re-captured Reims. In August 1909 Reims hosted the first international aviation meet, the Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne. Major aviation personages such as Glenn Curtiss, Louis Blériot and Louis Paulhan participated. Hostilities in World War I damaged the city. German bombardment and a subsequent fire in 1914 did severe damage to the cathedral; the ruined cathedral became one of the central images of anti-German propaganda produced in France during the war, which presented it, along with the ruins of the Cloth Hall at Ypres and the University Library in Louvain, as evidence that German aggression targeted cultural landmarks of European civilization. From the end of World War I to the present day an international effort to restore the cathedral from the ruins has continued; the Palace of Tau, St Jacques Church and the Abbey of St Remi were protected and restored. The collection of preserved buildings and Roman ruins remains monumentally impressive.
During World War II the city suffered additional damage. But in Reims, at 2:41 on the morning of 7 May 1945, General Eisenhower and the Allies received the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht. General Alfred Jodl, German Chief-of-Staff, signed the surrender at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force as the representative for German President Karl Dönitz; the British statesman Leslie Hore-Belisha died of a cerebral haemorrhage while making a speech at the Reims hôtel de ville in February 1957. The principal squares of Reims include the
Gothic architecture is a style that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Originating in 12th-century France, it was used for cathedrals and churches, until the 16th century, its most prominent features included the use of the rib vault and the flying buttress, which allowed the weight of the roof to be counterbalanced by buttresses outside the building, giving greater height and more space for windows. Another important feature was the extensive use of stained glass, the rose window, to bring light and color to the interior. Another feature was the use of realistic statuary on the exterior over the portals, to illustrate biblical stories for the illiterate parishioners; these technologies had all existed in Romanesque architecture, but they were used in more innovative ways and more extensively in Gothic architecture to make buildings taller and stronger. The first notable example is considered to be the Abbey of Saint-Denis, near Paris, whose choir and facade were reconstructed with Gothic features.
The choir was completed in 1144. The style appeared in some civic architecture in northern Europe, notably in town halls and university buildings. A Gothic revival began in mid-18th-century England, spread through 19th century Europe and continued for ecclesiastical and university structures, into the 20th century. Gothic architecture was known during the period as opus francigenum, The term "Gothic architecture" originated in the 16th century, was very negative, suggesting barbaric. Giorgio Vasari used the term "barbarous German style" in his 1550 Lives of the Artists to describe what is now considered the Gothic style, in the introduction to the Lives he attributed various architectural features to "the Goths" whom he held responsible for destroying the ancient buildings after they conquered Rome, erecting new ones in this style; the Gothic style originated in the Ile-de-France region of northern France in the first half of the 12th century. A new dynasty of French Kings, the Capetians, had subdued the feudal lords, had become the most powerful rulers in France, with their capital in Paris.
They allied themselves with the bishops of the major cities of northern France, reduced the power of the feudal abbots and monasteries. Their rise coincided with an enormous growth of the population and prosperity of the cities of northern France; the Capetian Kings and their bishops wished to build new cathedrals as monuments of their power and religious faith. The church which served as the primary model for the style was the Abbey of St-Denis, which underwent reconstruction by the Abbot Suger, first in the choir and the facade, Suger was a close ally and biographer of the French King, Louis VII, a fervent Catholic and builder, the founder of the University of Paris. Suger remodeled the ambulatory of the Abbey, removed the enclosures that separated the chapels, replaced the existing structure with imposing pillars and rib vaults; this created higher and wider bays, into which he installed larger windows, which filled the end of the church with light. Soon afterwards he rebuilt the facade, adding three deep portals, each with a tympanum, an arch filled with sculpture illustrating biblical stories.
The new facade was flanked by two towers. He installed a small circular rose window over the central portal; this design became the prototype for a series of new French cathedrals. Sens Cathedral was the first Cathedral to be built in the new style. Other versions of the new style soon appeared in Noyon Cathedral; the Gothic style was adapted by some French monastic orders, notably the Cistercian order under Saint Bernard of Clairvaux It was used in an austere form without ornament at the new Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay and the church of Clairvaux Abbey, whose site is now occupied by a French prison. The new style was copied outside the Kingdom of France in the Duchy of Normandy. Early examples of Norman Gothic included Coutances Cathedral. Through the rule of the Angevin dynasty, the new style was introduced to England and spread from there to Low Countries, Spain, northern Italy and Sicily; the Gothic style did not replace the Romanesque everywhere in Europe. The Late Romanesque continued to flourish in the Holy Roman Empire under the Hohenstaufens and Rhineland.
From the end of the 12th century until the middle of the 13th century, the gothic style spread from the Île-de-France to appear in other cities of northern France. New structures in the style included Chartres Cathedral; the early type of rib vault used of Saint Denis and Notre Dame, with six parts, was modified to four parts, making it simpler and stronger. Amiens and Chartres were among the first to use the flying buttress. At Reims, the buttresses were given greater weight and strength by the addition of heavy stone pinnacles on top; these were decorated with statues of ange
Life of the Virgin
The Life of the Virgin, showing narrative scenes from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a common subject for pictorial cycles in Christian art complementing, or forming part of, a cycle on the Life of Christ. In both cases the number of scenes shown varies with the space available. Works may be in any medium: frescoed church walls and series of old master prints have many of the fullest cycles, but panel painting, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, stone sculptures and ivory carvings have many examples; the Life of the Virgin sometimes merges into a cycle of the Life of Christ, sometimes includes scenes from the Passion of Christ, but jumps from the childhood of Christ to the Death of the Virgin. The Finding in the Temple, the last episode in the childhood of Christ ends the cycle. Important examples whose scenes are listed in the table below, include those in the Tornabuoni Chapel by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop between 1485 and 1490, the Scrovegni Chapel by Giotto, completed about 1305, the Maestà by Duccio completed in 1308.
The important and extended Late Byzantine mosaic cycle of the Chora Church shows some differences between East and West—the First seven steps of the Virgin were celebrated by an Orthodox feast day—but the 16 scenes taken to reach a point before the Visitation are similar to the 15 taken in Giotto's near-contemporary cycle. When the Chora cycle resumes, it has become part of the Life of Christ beginning with his Incarnation, as has Giotto's and many Western examples; the Giotto cycle is full at 26 scenes, but in a small ivory only two scenes may be shown. The commonest pair in such a case is the Annunciation and the Nativity of Jesus, although there were times when the Coronation of the Virgin might displace one of these; the Tornabuoni Chapel cycle has nine scenes. In this case, as often, other scenes, such as the Visitation, including Mary are contained in the complementary cycle of the Life of St John the Baptist on the walls. A Life of Christ has many more scenes that overlap with the Life of Mary, as the Scrovegni Chapel demonstrates.
Albrecht Dürer produced a popular and influential series of 19 scenes in woodcut. The total number of scenes was very large up to the early Gothic period. Seventeen of these scenes preceded the Birth of the Virgin; these apocryphal scenes became much more restricted in the Middle Ages. Certain events from the Life were celebrated as feasts by the Church, others were not. Other Marian devotional practices affected the composition of cycles; the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, the Seven Joys of the Virgin and the 15 sections of the Rosary influenced selection of scenes, for example in the standardised illustrations for the Speculum Humanae Salvationis. Theological developments influenced selection those concerning the Death of the Virgin and the Assumption, with the latter replacing the former in the West; the table below shows whether a scene was the subject of a feast-day in the Western church, gives the contents of the cycles by: Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel, a typical Book of hours, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, the cycle of the "Master of the Louvre Life of the Virgin", Ghirlandajo's Tornabuoni Chapel cycle, the print cycles of Israhel van Meckenem and Albrecht Dürer.
The sample above is correct in suggesting that the Annunciation and the Nativity were the only indispensable scenes. The Nativity is always represented, but this may be done by the Nativity itself, the Adoration of the Shepherds, or the Adoration of the Magi – or by a combination of these three. Although the eight scenes for Books of Hours were the standard selection, followed for example by the two examples described by Robert Calkins, it will be noticed that the much longer cycle in the "Hours of Catherine of Cleves" only overlaps with the standard scheme for three scenes. Ghirlandajo has large rectangular spaces to fill, avoids scenes with only a few participants, except for the Annunciation. Christ taking leave of his Mother was a subject new in the 14th century, only popular from the 15th; the depiction of scenes from the life of the Virgin goes back to the earliest days of Christian art. Early cycles tend to include more scenes and details from the apocryphal Gospels, including the story of Mary's parents, Saint Anne and Joachim, before her birth.
The influence of these stories never disappeared partly because the canonical Gospels give few details of Mary's life before and after the years around the birth of Jesus. In the West the Pseudo-Matthew was the dominant apocryphal source. Cycles of the Life of Mary were less frequent in the West than the East until the Gothic period; the cycle of the Nativity in the tympanum of the right portal of Chartres Cathedral is the earliest Western monumental cycle to appear un
Talisman of Charlemagne
The Talisman of Charlemagne is a 9th-century Carolingian reliquary encolpion that may once have belonged to Charlemagne and is purported to contain a fragment of the True Cross. It is the only surviving piece of goldwork which can be connected with Charlemagne himself with some degree of probability, but the connection has been questioned; the talisman is now kept in Rheims in the Palace of Tau. The 7.3 cm long medallion is one of the few surviving items of goldsmithery from the ninth century AD. It is not a piece of religious artwork, but a reliquary for personal purposes, it was set with two large sapphires in the centre, with the supposed hair of Mary between them, but in 1804 they were replaced with a piece of enamel glass. The talisman is covered in sumptuous gemstones and filigree work, but it lacks the figural depictions, coloured enamels, animal designs and interlace patterns which are common in older works; the work is thus dominated by the filigree work itself, along with pearls and jewels in box and palmette designs.
Thus the arrow-shaped repoussé decorations between the filigree could recall motifs which were common. The shape of the amulet combines three different forms with their own meanings. Firstly, it mimicked the shape of the Palestinian pilgrims' ampules, common in the west in the fifth and sixth centuries, thereby indicated the origins of hair which it contained. Secondly, it uses four emeralds and a central stone to create the a cross, just like St. Stephen's Purse; the magnificent front serves as a frame for the relic visible behind the translucent gemstone. It is that it was used to heal or protect a high ranking individual. According to legend, the talisman was a gift from Caliph Harun al-Rashid to Charlemagne in 801. In fact, the reliquary appears to be a late work of Aachen in the time of Charlemagne, based on stylistic factors, it held hair purported to belong to the Virgin Mary. Charlemagne's pre-eminent theologian, Alcuin wrote in a letter to Archbishop Æthelhard of Canterbury, that he was trying to stop the emerging custom of wearing reliquaries around the neck, since it was "better to imitate the example of the saints with the heart than to carry their bones around in little sacks... this is a Pharisee superstition."
The talisman is meant to have been found around Charlemagne's neck when his tomb in Aachen Cathedral was opened by Emperor Otto III in the year 1000 or when it was opened by Frederick Barbarossa on 8 January 1166. The truth of this story is not clear, it would have formed part of the Aachen cathedral treasury, but again there are many doubts about this because a medallion containing the hair of the Virgin Mary is not mentioned in the records until the 12th century. The connection to Charlemagne is mentioned for the first time in 1620; until 1804, the Talisman was kept in the Aachen Cathedral Treasury, but Marc-Antoine Berdolet the first Bishop of Aachen gave it to the Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, along with a bone fragment from Charlemagne's right arm, on the occasion of her visit to Aachen, during the procession of Corpus Christi on 9 December 1804 in order to thank Napoleon for returning the relics of the cathedral, confiscated during the French Revolution. She gave it to her daughter Hortense, who passed it in turn to her son, Napoleon III.
At the fall of the Second French Empire, Empress Eugenie entrusted it to Henri Conneau who hid it in a wall of his house and transmitted it to her in England. In 1919 it passed from to the Archbishop of Rheims, Cardinal Louis Luçon, who placed it in the church treasury of the Abbey of Saint-Remi; the exchange of the hair of Mary for a piece of the True Cross may have taken place in this period. Franz Kaufmann: Vom Talisman Karls des Großen. Kanonikus Anton Joseph Blees und der Aachener Münsterschatz zur Zeit der französischen Revolution. Zwei Abhandlungen zur Geschichte des Münsterschatzes. Creutzer, Aachen 1920. Blaise de Montesquiou-Fezensac: "Le Talisman de Charlemagne." Art de France 2, 1962, pp. 68–76. Jean Taleron: "Le talisman de Charlemagne." Les monuments historiques de la pp. 24–43. Ernst Günther Grimme: Goldschmiedekunst im Mittelalter. Form und Bedeutung des Reliquiars von 800 bis 1500. M. DuMont Schauberg, Köln 1972, ISBN 978-3-7701-0669-1, pp. 21–23. Ernst Günther Grimme, Ann Münchow: Der Aachener Domschatz.
Schwann, Düsseldorf 1973, No. 7, pp. 14–15. Christoph Winterer, "«Das Wort Gottes, in ruhmvollem Glanz blinkend». Kunst im Umkreis Karls des Großen." in Michael Imhof, Christoph Winterer: Karl der Große. Leben und Wirkung, Kunst und Architektur. Imhof, Petersberg 2013, ISBN 978-3-932526-61-9, pp. 76–117, on p. 104. Georg Minkenberg, Sisi Ben Kayed: Verlorene Schätze. Ehemalige Schatzstücke aus dem Aachener Domschatz. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-7954-2834-1, p. 20. Thomas Labusiak: "»Er schenkte der Kirche viele heilige Gefäße aus Gold und Silber.« Goldschmiedekunst in der Zeit Karls des Großen." In Peter van den Brink, Sarvenaz Ayooghi: Karl der Große – Charlemagne. Karls Kunst. Katalog der Sonderausstellung Karls Kunst vom 20. Juni bis 21. September 2014 im Centre Charlemagne, Aachen. Sandstein, Dresden 2014, ISBN 978-3-95498-093-2, pp. 75–93, at pp. 90–92. Karlsausstellung: Goldschmiede erstellen Replik des Talismans Karls des Großen. Aachener Zeitung, 14 April 2014