The Spear of Destiny
We're not talking just any spear here, but the Holy Lance. The spear that pierced the side of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. The Spear of Longinus as it is sometimes referred is an ancient weapon, forged by the Hebrew prophet, Phineas. It is so revered for its power in battle that it remained a sought after weapon by generals, emperors and kings up until modern times.
The spear was in possession of a Roman Centurion, Gaius Cassius Longinus at the crucifixion. He was the one who pierced the side of Jesus causing blood and water to spurt from the wound. This action resulted in some of the blood and water to splatter in Longinus' face. This had the restorative and miraculous effect of fixing his ailing eyesight making him a believer and converting him to Christianity. Ironically he was also later condemned to death for his new, altered beliefs.
Leading up to this, many great historical figures possessed this religious artifact including Herod the Great, Maurice the Manichean, Constantine the Great, Theodoric, Justinian, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, Pope John XII. Sadly, it is not easy to follow the line of those that possessed it perfectly. Napoleon attempted to seize it after the Battle of Austerlitz, but it had been smuggled out of Vienna prior to the battle and he never found it.
Eventually it ended up in the Hofburg Treasure House in Vienna. It was there, in September 1912 that a young Adolf Hilter first laid eyes on it. He never lost the feeling he had when first seeing it and on the same day in 1938 when he annexed Austria the Third Reich took control of it. During the final days of the war, the US Army took possession of the Spear. 90 minutes after capturing the Spear, Adolf Hilter took his life. It was returned to the House of Hapsburg shortly after.
The shaft of the spear has long disappeared, there only remains the head in two sections and a large nail used to connect the sections. The nail is rumored to be one of the actual nails from the True Cross. Today, the Spear rests again in the Hofburg Treasure House. A copy can be seen in Cracow, Poland. And to confuse matters, another Spear, claimed to be the true one is in Paris following St. Louis return from the Crusades. On top of that, another was sent to Pope Innocent VIII by the Ottoman Sultan Bajazet II. That one is now encased in one of the pillars supporting the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Each is very old and look very similar. Who can tell which is the real one?
When possessed with care and reverence it carried many kings and emperors to glorious victory in battles. With it, for example, Theodoric forced Attilla the Hun into retreat, the only one to do so! But, when not in possession of it, or worse careless possession, it could deal grave misfortune. As noted it changed Longinus and he was killed for the same belief that Jesus was prosecuted for, an odd turn of events for sure. Charlemagne carried the Spear through 47 successful battles, but died when he accidentally dropped it. Frederick Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor died within minutes after accidentally dropping it into a stream on one fateful river crossing! Finally, there was the death of Hilter not long after the spear was recovered by Allied troops. Coincidence?