The Guarrazar Hoard

Corona de Recesvinto Pulse para ampliar Tesoro de Guarrazar. Sala 23, vitrina 23.3

The Visigothic monarchy

Six crowns and five crosses of gold with precious stones, pearls and cut glass from this hoard are displayed in the Museum. It was concealed in two pits near the town of Guadamur (Toledo). The most important piece in the hoard—which also happens to be the largest and most ornate—is Reccesvinth’s crown, with hanging gold letters that spell out his name. Except for the exquisitely crafted Byzantine pectoral cross, all of the elements in the hoard were manufactured at royal workshops in the Visigothic capital of Toledo during the seventh century. The crowns were not intended to be worn, as Visigothic kings were not crowned but anointed with oil. They are actually votive offerings presented by monarchs and, in some cases, other high-ranking civil or church authorities, to the principal basilicas, where they were displayed to embellish important spaces like the altar or the tombs of venerated saints. These rich artefacts testify to the alliance forged between the monarchy and the church, the crown and the cross, as a way of mutually legitimising their authority.