The history of civilization is full of legends and myths that have cut across cultural barriers and are nowadays some of the most well-known stories related to the old times of religion and civilization. One of these myths include, among others, the Holy Graal, the Shroud of Turin, or the Spear of Destiny, both of them linked to the life and death of Jesus Christ.
The present research provides a detailed account of the history of the Spear of Destiny, or the Holy Spear, which is considered to have been the one that eventually killed Jesus on the Cross. The accounts of this artifact is important and to some extend crucial for the history of Christianity in particular because of the role it played in the final hours of Jesus' life and, at the same time, due to the mysticism and meaning that has been attributed to it along the centuries. It is said to have been an object of belief not only for the religious believers but also for the military and the Church. Currently, it is said to be sheltered in the United States, at the military center of Fort Knox, after having been retrieved from the Germans at the end of the Second World War. However, there are no clear documented accounts of the whereabouts of the Spear and the mystery surrounding it has offered both common people and scientists alike to provide a variety of versions of the history of the Spear.
The research takes into account several aspects. In order to have a complex overview of the Spear and its meaning in present times, it is important to take into account the events to which this Spear was linked and the role it played in taking the life out of Jesus in its final hours on the cross. From this point-of-view, an important part of this research is focused on the accounts of the events that took place in Jerusalem in AD 33, when, as per religious sources, the Roman soldiers crucified the Son of the Lord, Jesus Christ. His sacrifice led to the redemption and salvation of human kind and allowed humanity to follow a course of action that is accounted for in history references to this day.
As a second focus of the research, the Spear had a tumultuous history after it had achieved its goal of piercing Christ simply because it became a symbol of a holy element and hence an artifact of early Christianity. Therefore, the meanings and symbols that have been attributed to the Spear have been numerous and the search for it and the need to have it has determined endless retrieval attempts, starting from the Roman soldiers in the early days of Christianity, to the Knights Templers and more recently to Adolf Hitler, who, during the Second World War considered the Spear to be a source of mysticism that would allow him to leave the war victorious against the Allied Forces. As mentioned above, the history of the Spear is at a stall at this moment, with most voices attributing the Spear to the United States and its military headquarters in Fort Knox. This approach is again important in order to underline the way in which the myth and the meanings that have been attributed to the Spear have fueled the desire and need of humans to possess this artifact. At the same time, it is important to take into account the massive number of actions that have engaged some of the most well-known names and personalities in history and which have determined such a vivid and exciting historical variations of the Spear. Moreover, this approach provides a link between the Spear and other objects that have been historically and scientifically linked to Jesus Christ and his life and death.
Finally, despite its long history, or particularly because of the long history of the Spear, this artifact has ensured a special place in religious adulation and in the history of human civilization. The controversy surrounding the Spear is hugely important for the historical truth and at the same time to reveal the actual considerations of the Spear as either a holy element of Christianity of in fact a mere fighting tool. The discussions on the actual number of the spears, the location of them and even who actually possesses the Spear that spiked Jesus Christ are crucial for an overall image of the Spear as fact, fiction, or legend.
Role of the Spear of Destiny in early Christianity -- Jesus Christ
One of the most important artifacts in the history of civilization is a spear. However, this is not an ordinary spear. The basic information about this object is that a craftsman in Damascus, current Syria, created it. It is said to have been made out of a special material, similar to what is know today as a moonstone. However the legends surrounding the manufacturing and symbolism of the Spear have been numerous. One specialized lecturer on this subject points out the endless numbers of legends that the Spear, a military object at the time of the Roman presence in Jerusalem, entailed, "from its mythical creation by Tubal-Cain, seventh generation grandson of Adam, to its appearance at the Crucifixion; its use by Constantine, Rome's first Christian Caesar; to Charlemagne's claim that with it he ruled the Holy Roman Empire by Divine Right; and on through twelve hundred years of kings and emperors, until it came within Adolf Hitler's grasp -- and beyond! Did it really rest for a while in Antarctic ice? Is it now hidden in Europe, awaiting the next person to claim its power to shape the destiny of mankind? Or is it just an old spearhead, with no powers of its own?" (Smith, 2006) This comes to point out the fact that there have been numerous legends surrounding this artifact particularly because of the mystery that surrounds the events taking place at the moment of the crossing of Christ.
The actual history of the making of the Spear is rather straightforward, although there are no major written accounts on it, but legends point out that this Spear was made by a craftsman in Damascus and was sold to a Roman soldier for am impressive amount of money at the time (Ravenscrof, 1982). Furthermore, the legend points out that the spear had been said to have supernatural powers and would not be a waste of money for the soldier.
In order to understand the role of the Spear at that time, it is important to take into account the Roman soldier that purchased the spear and who eventually drove the spear through Christ. Therefore, "according to the Gospel of John (19:31-37) as Jesus hung on the Cross a Roman centurion pierced his side with a spear. Christian tradition later named that soldier as Gaius Cassius Longinus" (Jerry E. Smith and George Piccard, n.d.) . The Gospel of John is among the few biblical accounts of the moment in which the Roman centurion pierced the body of Christ with the Spear. This account is rather detailed and points out to ancient beliefs of the need to have blood and water flow from a man in order to assess his death. More precisely, "Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water" (Don Schwager, n.d. )
There are several points to consider. First and foremost, the legend focuses not only on the spear but also takes into account the person that listened to the word of God and did not intervene as all the other soldiers would have wanted, but rather minimized the suffering of Christ by spiking Him. Secondly the role of the myth through which blood and water must pour from a man's body in order for him to die was upheld in the sense that there was no clear medical account of such a truth or at least not one that a Roman soldier would have access to at the time. Yet, the legends and myths were kept and the role of Word of God listened to.
One of the first merits of the Spear and of the soldier that handled it was the fact that it put Christ of the pain He was in on the cross. The crucifixion is a very important and painful process of torture that ultimately brings death. More precisely, "Roman crucifixion was only used since probably about…