Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Longinus’ Spear

Avenging Spear, Bleeding Lance, la Lance Vengeresse, Longius Spear, la Saintisme Lance, Spear of Vengeance(?)

This lance, also called the Bleeding Lance, found its way to Britain and became one of the objects in the Grail Procession. It constantly dripped blood from its tip. His name reflects the Greek word for “spear.”

Balin found this spear in a chamber of King Pellam’s castle: “a marvellous spear strangely wrought” standing on a table of clean gold with four silver legs, in a chamber

marvellously well dight and richly, and a bed arrayed with cloth of gold.

Since Pellam was pursuing him for killing Garlon, Balin snatched up the spear to defend himself and dealt Pellam the Dolorous Stroke, at which “three counties” were wasted and most of the castle caved in. Although Balin had not known it, this was the spear with which the centurion Longinus smote Jesus on the cross.

It would seem to be as well the same Spear of Vengeance which other knights beheld in the Grail CastleCarbonek. Sometimes they saw it bleeding; sometimes it came and wounded them when they slept in the Castle AdventurousGalahad healed the Maimed King by anointing him with blood from the spear.

In XVII, 5, Malory tells us that Pelles (or Pellam) was smitten through both thighs with the spear because he dared try to draw David’s Sword when he found Solomon’s Ship. One may suppose that the spear did not come at once of itself, but that some time elapsed before Balin unwittingly administrated the punishment of the Dolorous Stroke as described above.

After Galahad’s death, the spear was taken to Heaven along with the Grail.

There have been three or four major relics that are claimed to be the Holy Lance, or parts of it.

  • The Holy Lance in Rome
    Is found under the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
  • The Holy Lance in Vienna
    Is displayed in the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.
  • The Holy Lance in Echmiadzin
    Is conserved in Vagharshapat, Armenia.
  • The Holy Lance of Antioch
    Where found by the monk Peter Bartholomew who, after a vision, began to dig in the Church of St. Peter in Antioch.

See also
Holy Relics | The Legend of King Arthur

External Link
Holy Lance | Wikipedia