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The History of the Golden Cross of Toledo

Where it was first kept; the events which caused it to be adopted by Constantine the Great and the circumstances which placed it in the hands of the Goths and then the Merovingians. Its place in the Cult of the Dead amongst the Celts, and Constantinian Arianism.



During the time of the Celts: the place where this cross was first kept.


"[...] In her work, '" Montjoie & Saint Denis, The center of Gaul - the origins of Paris and Saint-Denis "(Paris, 1989), Anne Lombard-Jourdan [...] has specifically identified the Lendit plain which lies to the north of Paris, the site of the Abbey of St. Denis, as the locus (location) of a Gallic Druidic shrine of great importantance, which was later Romanised as a temple of Apollo and which was considered as the omphalos of the world...the Delphi of Gaul [...] "


"[...] The Lendit plain (now located at the site of the Saint-Denis plain) had a burial mound, the" Montjoie ", and the "Perron", a stone used for sacrifices. This was the place where the boundaries between the territories of the four great Gallic neighbouring nations converged: Bellovaci and Suessiones to the north, Carnutes and Senones to the south. [...] The Parisii were the custodians of this sacred shrine which held a common interest to all the Gallic tribes [...] "


"[...] A deified ancestor, associated with a "solar" figure, was buried under the mound of Montjoie [...]. This was a sacrificial victim whose properties of both good and evil gave rise to a separation of the Parisii territory into two halves, one half called "clear" in the south and the other called "dark" in the North. [...] "

Fleur de Lys
Anne Lombard Jourdan, Fleur de Lis et Oriflamme
'Constantine at the Milvian Bridge'
Moses erecting the Brazen Serpent
Dagobert coin, Golden Cross of Toledo
Constantine the Great coin front and reverse
Crista Fresco Rennes le Chateau church


Anne Lombard Jourdan's book

'Constantine at the Milvian Bridge'

Ewing Galloway/Corbis

'Moses erecting the Brazen Serpent'

William Blake  1800 - 1803

Intriguing  Dagobert coin 629 - 639 A.D?

Constantine the Great: Coin Front and Reverse

Crista Fresco, Rennes le Chateau Church

"A vast literature [...] presupposes that the propaganda of Constantine.... including those found in the Panegyrici Latini and on the coins of the era, reflects the religious beliefs of the emperor at the same time. [...]

The author of the Panegyric of 310 wrote that Constantine was said to have made sumptuous offerings at a magnificent temple of Apollo in Gaul, and that in this temple Constantine saw the god himself, accompanied by a Victory (the goddess of Victory), and he saw in this vision that it was to Constantine himself that world domination had been promised (Pan. Lat. 6 [7] .21).

For years, researchers have interpreted this to mean that Constantine had professed a kind of Apollonian faith, or that he had actually identified himself with Apollo [...] "


Constantine seems to have possessed from that moment on, a cross of gold with an unusual appearance ...the two descending curving arms (Geminae Cristae). Its design was similar to the shape of two "P's" joined back to back with one another and associated with a bar embedded in the lower part. The general shape of the object appears to have been close to a "B" lying on his back. This is the "cross" that Childebert discovered centuries later in Toledo, which had originally been stored in the sacred vacuum of the Lendit plain before the remains of Saint Denis were removed from the tumulus Montjoie in the fifth century by St. Geneviève.

The Merovingians take on the succession of Constantine and claim the Arian inheritance of the emperor: The Cross / Tau of Toledo



"[...] At the time of the Merovingian era, this symbol, known as the Crista was displayed on the coins, and it survived at the abbey of Saint-Denis, because the Abbots Suger and Rigord mention it cautiously in the twelfth century as a type of ornament. The Merovingian kings were designated and known by the term cristati / crinati by the Byzantines, perhaps in reference to both their hairstyle in a crest (crista) and to their possession of the crista symbol. The Carolingians and early Capetians are represented alongside this symbol in their images of majesty, but in the twelfth century the need, apparently masterminded mainly by Abbot Suger to finalise the christianisation of this ancient solar symbol ( actually already christianised since the early days of early Christians) had clearly caused its assimilation into the Fleur de Lys, more resonant in the semantic plan and similar in terms of form, a graphic evolution [which was] accompanied by textual allegories relating to the flower. [...] "



The Gold Cross of Toledo is moved to Paris. It is kept in the abbey of Saint-Denis, not far from the Lendit plain, its place of origin



"[...] The abbey of Saint-Denis preserved and exhibited in its church, an incomparable ornament called by the priests: " Crista ". In the early twelfth century, a "Crista" was placed on the main altar of the abbey church of Saint-Denis on the eve of the anniversary of King Dagobert. Later on, Suger was to put this "Crista" above the altar of the new basilica that he had built. This shows the importance that he attached to this symbol. At the end of the twelfth century, Rigord, monk of Saint-Denis, speaks of the "Crista" adorned with gems of an inestimable value, and then.....we loose its trail. [...] "

Cult of the Dead at the Lendit plain and the ritual murder of St. Denis.



"[...] St. Denis arrived in Paris around the year 250 AD and founded the first church in the île de la Cité.. Because of his resistance to pagan beliefs and his refusal to sacrife to the Gallic gods , he, along with his two companions were martyred on the Lendit and was buried at Montjoie [...]. "


The ritual murder of St. Denis must have led to the integration of local Christianism into the burial rites, which, since time immemorial, were celebrated on the field of the Lendit plain. The remains of the Saint were buried in the same location where the mythological hero of the Parisii tribe who was at the same time both a "guilty scapegoat and deified champion" was once sacrificed. Here, there was indeed an important pagan necropolis, a vast area composed of a multitude of densly piled graves, tombs and burial mounds, entangled over the centuries. It was only in the High Middle Ages, that there came a true "ownership" of this "realm of death" when it was appropriated by the "bishops and the abbots".



The first mention of the Gold Cross of Toledo and its assimilation into the "Tau / Pax" "The Invincible Sun" by Constantine the Great and the Arians:



"[...] Anne Lombard-Jourdan thinks the Fleur de Lys of the twelfth century was derived from a solar symbol revered by the people of Gaul at the Lendit Apollonian temple.....a symbol shaped like a Greek cross with his upper arm divided into two descending curved lines (geminae cristae). This symbol, evoking the rising sun (crista, from crescere "to grow, to get bigger" refers to an upward movement of the newly born sun), and appeared on the crown offered to Constantine the Great in 310 AD during his visit to a shrine in Gaul dedicated to Apollo, the place that Anne Lombard-Jourdan identifies as the Lendit. This symbol is also identified as the "heavenly or celestial sign" ( the PAX or Assyrian-Chaldean TAU), that according to Lactantius appeared to Constantine the Great in 312, which he then ordered to he be inscribed on the shields of his soldiers before the battle of Milvian Bridge. [...] "

The Sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 AD


The Gold Cross of Constantine was part of the treasures torn from the city of Rome by the Visigoths. They deposited the precious relic in Toledo, their Spanish capital. Spanish arian theologians identified the Cross of Toledo, that is to say the "Crista", with the staff of Moses, to which the Prophet had fixed a brazen serpent. By extension, the form of the Golden Cross of Toledo is closer to that of a caduceus, the crests of fire were claimed and attributed to the brazen serpent of Moses, and to the person of Moses himself by the new owners of the "Crista".


So that, even after Childebert claimed and took away the Cross of Gold from Spain, Wamba, king of Visigothic Hispania who reigned from 672 to 681, still persisted in claiming the crests of fire, that is to say the symbol of Constantine. At his coronation, Wamba asked Julianus the bishop of Toledo, to legitimise the Holy Unction that he was about to receive from his hands by giving it the effect of these famous plumes or crests: "[...] Soon, from the summit of his head, where the sacred oil had been poured, a kind of vapor, resembling smoke, rose like a column from the top of his head and from his head a crest began[...] "


Childebert's raids into Spain regain the Golden Cross of Toledo. Germain the Bishop of Paris became its custodian.

In 543 the Merovingian king Childebert 1st made several incursions into Spain, penetrating deep into Visigoth territory. He went back to Paris taking with him two related relics, the Gold Cross of Toledo and the tunic of St. Vincent. Germain the bishop of Paris, becomes the custodian and in 550 decides that Childebert himself should finance the building of the church that will house these relics and that it should be built on the foundations of an ancient temple of Isis.... so there arose the basilica of Saint-Vincent and Sainte-Croix ....the future Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés....which changed its name shortly afterwards, when Queen Radegund and the poet Fortunatus moved the Golden Cross south to Poitiers, and hid it in the monastery of St. Croix, probably in anticipation of any disruption in Paris by marauding hordes.

The ritual murder of St. Denis, the Golden Cross of Toledo and the Lendit plain, becomes the foundation of royal legitimacy, the perogative of the heirs of Constantine and Arianism


"[...] A cornucopia of hagiographic stories saw the light of day from the ninth century onwards. The most famous was probably the one that was edited by Hilduin, abbot of Saint-Denis...... The Parisian saint (St. Denis) was identified with Dionysius the Areopagite who had been converted by St Paul and commissioned by Pope Clement 1st to come and preach in Paris. In this story it is reported that he was tried and beheaded along with his two companions on the Mons Martyrium (Montmartre). But Denis got to his feet, picked up his severed head, took it in his hands and then walking two miles, he stopped where he wished to be buried, that is to say the place which is now occupied by the abbey of St. Denis. This is of course, a fiction designed to accommodate the story. The author has tried to make an obscure bishop of Paris into a theologian whose fame was the size of the known world at the time. His aim was also to make people forget the old pagan sacred vacuum of the Lendit plain, by locating the place of martyrdom as being that of Montmartre. [...]

This story became very well known and it helped secure the reputation of the abbey as the sole custodian of evidence underpinning the legitimacy of royal power. Because from then on, after the royal coronation which took place at Reims, and before taking possession of his capital, the new king had to go and stay at the Abbey of Saint-Denis. [...] "


"[...] Christianity had first captured the sacredness of this area by assigning the tumulus of Montjoie, centrally located on the Lendit plain, as the site of martyrdom and the place of the tomb of St. Denis; later on the ideologues, for the most part made up of monks from Saint - Denis, built upon the reputation of the site as the foundation of royal legitimacy. [...] "



Faced with persistent criticism about the pagan origins of the "Crista", the theologians of the Gallican Catholic Church tried to assimilate the cross of gold into an inverted omega.



"We soon see, that in order to keep the religious symbolism, the top of the cross has become an inverted omega. [...] Subsequently, the coins minted in Paris present a serif in the place where the junction point of the cross meets. Then the engravers isolate the inverted omega to give it an independent reality. The first Merovingian coins of this type were probably struck by the goldsmith Eloi (Eligius monetarius) between 629 and 640-41, under Clotaire II, Dagobert 1st and Clovis II. It seems that it is to this man that we should attribute the idea of equating the crests with an upside down Omega. "


On the other hand, if the omega existed before, a capital A...alpha, has since been placed below it. There is apparently something contrary to logic here. But the lower case omega is not a Biblical reference its only purpose is that by its form (when turned upside down), it approximates that of the cross.


The upturned omega would finally become separated, the cross evolving into the now familiar Latin form.


A final step consisted in giving the alpha and omega a symmetrical form, to the right and left of the cross in the purest tradition of Constantine, as we now see it , by a PAX. (Α PAX ω) or (Α PX ω), and not, as would be logical.... (A PAX Ω).

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Isaac Ben Jacob

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