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After the prolonged and destructive Thirty Years War of 1618-48, Europe split into a Catholic south and a Protestant north. As a result, the number of Baroque churches and places of pilgrimage in the Alpine region increased. This led to a great demand for religious medals, crosses and souvenir jewellery, often in a form that was specific to a particular holy site.
The Ulrichkreuz, or cross of St. Ulrich, was associated with Augsburg, the site of the great Benedictine abbey of Saints Ulrich and Afra. The original cross, which contained a piece of the True Cross, given to St. Ulrich in Rome, was shaped like an equilateral Greek cross. The pilgrim souvenirs always preserved this shape, but the images and inscriptions varied. This cross has the Battle of Lechfeld on one side, showing St. Ulrich riding into battle side by side with the Emperor, and receiving the cross of victory from an angel. On the other side is St. Benedict, standing between the two earlier saints to whom the Benedictine abbey at Augsburg was dedicated. The Shield of St Benedict, below, is a talismanic design of a cross, with letters along the arms, and encircling it, which consist of the initial letters of prayers.
The Ulrich cross was considered particularly effective against plagues of mice.
Pendant medallion shaped like a Greek cross. On one side is a cast picture of the Battle of Lechfeld, 955 AD, above the inscription 'CRUX/S/VDALRICI' (cross of St. Ulrich), on the other St Benedict between Saints Ulrich and Afra, with the Trinity above, and the shield of St Benedict below.
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Height: 5 cm, Width: 4.5 cm, Depth: 0.8 cm
Silver cross of St. Ulrich (Ulrichkreuz), Augsburg (Germany), 1700-1799.
Christianity; Jewellery; Metalwork; Traditional jewellery (Europe)