What is the symbolism of the scepter

The imperial insignia

The crown

The crown is arguably the most important symbol of a king or emperor. The coronation ceremony introduced kings and emperors into office. With the coronation came the sacred act of anointing.

The anointing as king or emperor can be traced back to Old Testament tradition, according to which the Israeli kings were installed in their office and received part of the grace of God through the anointing.

Since the solemn coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III. in Rome in the year 800 the coronation is part of the rite of power. You could only become emperor if you completed the coronation ceremony, experienced the anointing by a high ecclesiastical dignitary and had the crown placed on your head.

Today in most monarchies it is no longer customary to be crowned in office. Spain, for example, has no such tradition at all.

The crown as a splendid royal headgear has ancient forerunners. In ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, the rulers already wore tiaras or wreaths, for example made of laurel.

The crowns themselves have different meanings depending on their shape. While open crowns can also be worn by barons and counts, the closed form, the royal crown, indicates the higher rank of a ruler.

The scepter

The word scepter (outdated also "scepter") comes from the Greek: from "skeptron" (staff) and "skeptein" (to support). The scepter is an important part of the coronation insignia. It is a very long, often richly decorated rod made of valuable metal.

As a royal ruling staff, it symbolizes the worldly power of the king.

Like the anointing of the king, the sign of the scepter also has Old Testament references. In the books of 2 and 4 of Moses it is mentioned that Aaron carried a staff with him to perform his high priestly office.

At the solemn coronation of the British Queen ElizabethII. on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey, the Queen even carried two sceptres, which are part of the British Crown Jewels.

In her left hand she held the "Sovereign's Scepter with the Cross" (the scepter of the sovereign with the cross), symbol of secular rule under the sign of the cross.

In her right hand she carried the "Dove Scepter" (scepter with a white dove), which is also known as the "Rod of Equity and Mercy". The dove symbolizes the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

The imperial orb

In addition to the crown and scepter, there is also the imperial orb. The imperial orb is a preciously crafted golden ball with a cross. The ball stands for the earth, a symbol of the emperor's world domination, the cross is a symbol of the emperor's commitment to the Christian faith.

The imperial orb was reserved for the world ruler, as the highest ruler on earth, i.e. the emperor or the Roman-German king as the future emperor.

In fact, this principle was not implemented consistently, and the imperial orb was also worn as a sovereign insignia by kings without claim to the imperial dignity.