Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Bronze Serpent

In a recent post on the NLM, Matthew wrote:

Maybe it's not a major part of the Reform of the Reform, but I wouldn't mind adapting the arunda serpentina to make a splendid Paschal Candle stand, with all the resonances of the Biblical bronze serpent.

An old story tells that the famous Bronze Serpent was brought from Constantinople to Milan by Archbishop Arnulf II around 1000 A.D. as a wedding present for the solemn marriage between princess Stephania and Emperor Otto III, together with other precious things.

However, when the ship with the Archbishop and the bride docked in Italy, the Emperor was dead, and the wedding present remained in Arnulf's possession.

He decided to put the precious relic on the top of a Roman marble column inside the famous Basilica of St. Ambrose, in Milan, where it can still be seen.

A legend tells that, on the day of the Judgement, the snake will take life, and will announce the end of the time. Then it will slither back to Josafat valley where Moses once forged it, leading the whole Humankind to its final judgement.

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