Museo e Tesoro

Il Regnum Italiae

Berengar’s donation

At the beginning of the 10th century, thanks to Berengar of Friuli, king of Italy in 888 and emperor in 915, two splendid gold pieces dating from the late 9th – early 10th century became part of the Treasury. The first, a massive gold cross-reliquary studded with precious stones and pearls, was known as the Cross of the Kingdom because it was worn by the kings of Italy during their coronation. The second is a bag-shaped reliquary known as the Reliquary of the Tooth of St John; the gold front has an eight-pointed star surrounded by gems, pearls and filigree, while the back consists of a lamina with an engraving of the Crucifixion.

The donation included some liturgical codices whose rare bindings made from antique ivory diptychs made them unique and precious objects worthy of inclusion in an imperial legacy. The most famous of the three surviving examples is the Diptych of Stilicho named after the Vandal general in charge of the Roman army who is portrayed on it (front) together with his wife Serena and son Eucherius (back).