The Lothair Crystal (also known as the Lothar Crystal or the Susanna Crystal) is an engraved gem from Lotharingia in northwest Europe, showing scenes of the biblical story of Susanna, dating from 855–869. The Lothair Crystal is an object in the collection of the British Museum
Jun 16, 2010 · Lothair's queen was forced, possibly through torture, to confess to incest with her brother by the bishops of Cologne and Trier This crystal was made for Lothair II, king of the Franks. It depicts...
- Brief Identification
- Technical Evaluation
- Local Historical Context
- World-Historical Significance
- Suggested Bibliography
The Lothair Crystal, also referred to as the Susanna Crystal, is an engraved rock crystal that currently resides in the British Museum. It was produced between 855-869 CE during King Lothair II rule and depicts the story of Susanna from the Bible. It was produced in what is now present day Germany and served as a piece of art and possibly a symbol for law at the time. It is 18.6 cm wide and has a depth of 1.39 cm making it relatively small piece of artwork.
The Lothair Crystal is a very unique piece of artwork. It is a single piece of clear crystal and was “form[ed] from pure snow” which was probably used “to symbolize purity of faith” (Kornbluth, 27). The artist of the piece is not known, but whoever the artist was hand engraved the scenes found on this crystal. The Lothair Crystal is “elaborately engraved with forty-one figures” and was done so completely by hand (Kornbluth, 25). The crystal is able to be traced back to King Lothair II because of the “prominent inscription [that] draws attention to the patronage of Lothair II” who ruled from 855-869, and because of this is “one of very few objects from the early Middle Ages datable with precision” (Kornbluth, 25). The piece was cracked and thrown into the Meuse river in 1793 and was finally acquired by the British Museumin 1855.
The Lothair Crystal was produced during a time of great change in Europe at the time. King Lothair II was granted land to rule over upon his father’s, Lothair I, death in 855. He was given the lands known as Lotharingia which was most of the lands located north of the Alps in present day Germany. This area was claimed by Charlemagne in the late 8thcentury when “he launched a 30-year campaign that conquered and Christianized the powerful pagan Saxons in the north...and By 800 was the undisputed ruler of Western Europe”. During Lothair II’s rule, the rise of the Christian church was taking place in Europe. In this society, the king ruled over everyone and most people were serfs who worked on farms. There was also a class of skilled laborers from which this crystal was probably engraved. The Lothair Crystal is “connect[ed] with the divorce of Lothair II” and was most likely the reason it was engraved during this time period (Kornbluth, 25). The crystal is engraved with depictions from...
The Lothair Crystal was produced during not only the rise and spread of Christianity all over Europe, and was a example of the influence that accompanied Christianity. Through Charmlemagne’s earlier conquest of much of Europe, Christianity was also spread into these conquered areas. The Lothair Crystal shows the influence that the church had on government and law because it “focused on the judicial process”, and the crystal strongly “emphasizes the political message” engraved in it (Kornbluth, 31,33). The Christian church’s influence over government and law during this time can be seen through the Lothair Crystal. Similar scenes from the Bible were produced to show what was considered the right thing, such as stained glass windows in churches or paintings describing a scene. The rapid spread and acceptance of Christianity during this time allowed for the Lothair Crystal and many other forms of Biblical art to exemplify the idea that law and justice were shaped heavily by religion.
Kornbluth, Genevra. "The Susanna Crystal of Lothar II : Chastity, the Church, and Royal Justice." Gesta 31.1 (1992): 25-39. ATLA Religion Database. EBSCO. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. "The Historical Charlemagne." UCLA Humanities Division. 1991. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. . "Lothair Crystal › The British Museum." The British Museum › Welcome to the British Museum. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.
Title: Lothair Crystal; Date Created: 855/869; Physical Dimensions: Weight: 650.00g (incl frame); Diameter: 115.00mm (crystal); Diameter: 183.00mm (incl frame); Thickness: 13.00mm; External Link:...
The Lothair Crystal, depicting Susannah and the Elders (855 - 869 AD), probably from Germany Royal divorces generally mean political trouble. The marital problems of Henry VIII plunged England into...
Jan 30, 2020 · The crystal weighs 650 grams and is mounted in a 15 th century gilt frame. The crystal originated in Lotharingia (site of Aachen in modern Germany sometime between 843-855) The subject matter may reflect Lothair’s own marital problems. He attempted to divorce his wife, accusing her of incest.
Lothair’s Crystal, circa 865. British Museum, London, England. This piece is a 4-inch diameter crystal disc with eight scenes from Susanna, reputedly cut to commemorate the vindication of Lothair II’s wife after she was falsely accused by two bishops of incest and abortion in the king’s attempt to divorce her.
Mar 23, 2012 · The crystal was commissioned by Lothair II (d. 869), of the Carolingian dynasty, and so we read in the center of the crystal, above the canopy: "LOTHARIVS REX FRANC [ORUM MEF]IERI IVSSIT," Lothar, King of the Franks, caused me to be made.* First a rehearsal of the story of Susannah is in order.
One of the most famous hardstone carvings, the Lothair Crystal, is made from pure quartz. Common colored varieties include citrine, rose quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, milky quartz and others. Quartz goes by an array of different names. Experts like to distinguish between two types of quartz. The first type is known as macrocrystalline which ...
Jul 24, 2020 · One of the most famous historical artifacts that contains quartz is called the Lothair Crystal. Now kept safe and sound in the British Museum in London, the intricate quartz engraving dates from the years 855-869.
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