Order of Saint Michael, Cross (reduced size)
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The Order of Saint Michael was founded by Louis XI on August 1, 1469 in Amboise. It was the highest Order of Chivalry until the creation of the more prestigious Order of the Holy Spirit in 1578.
The Order of Saint Michael was awarded in recognition of distinguished service in the fields of arts and sciences, and for bringing honour to the state. The French government even considers this Order to be the precursor of the Order of Arts and Letters.
At the time of its formation it was composed of 36 knights, a treasurer, a scribe, and a herald of arms. In 1476 a prevost and a master of ceremonies were added. Under Charles IX there were 50 knights. By the time, the Order had fallen out of favour in 1578 there were up to 1500 members.
All members of the Order of the Holy Spirit were named members of the Order of Saint Michael.
The Order was suspended during the Revolution on July 30, 1791, revived in 1814 by Louis XVIII, and permanently abolished in 1830.
The motto of the Order was “Immensi Tremore Oceani,” which translates to “The tremor of the immense ocean.”
The Cross was instituted by Louis XIV during a period of reform in the years 1661-1665 as a replacement for the Collar. The Cross was meant to be worn around the neck or across the body as a sash. During the Restoration the Cross was reduced in size and generally worn on the breast. Despite the general trends in the size of the Cross, there is also a great deal of variation within periods. There may also be examples of the Cross which have the motto of the Order inscribed on the medallion.
Due to its rarity, there is limited information regarding this item.
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