Order of the Iron Crown, Dignitary Breast Star (with Italian inscription) (1809-1813)
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The Order of the Iron Crown was instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte on June 5, 1805, shortly after he was crowned King of Italy.
The Order was awarded for services that benefited the Crown of Italy. This included military service, as well as services in administration and the arts.
At the time of its creation, the Order had 20 Dignitaries, 50 Commanders, and 500 Knights. On December 19, 1807 an additional 15 Dignitaries, 50 Commanders and 300 Knights were added to the Order.
The Kingdom of Italy was lost by France in 1813, and the Order was taken over by King François of Austria in 1814.
The decoration has an inscription that runs along the base of the crown. The inscriptions may vary between "DIO ME L'HA DATA GUAI A CHI LA TOCCHERA," "DIO ME L'HA DATA GUAI A CHI LA TOCCA," and "DIO ME LA DIEDE GUAI A CHI LA TOCCA." All translate to "God gives it to me, beware whoever touches it."
The Order of the Iron Crown is translated from the French "Ordre de la Couronne de Fer".
The embroidered Breast Star was worn by Dignitaries beginning in September 1806 when the embroidered sash was discontinued. Subsequent versions feature metallic medallions, while later versions are entirely metallic. Early versions also have inscriptions in French, while versions manufactured after October 1809 have inscriptions in Italian.
Aside from the language of the inscription and composition, the following variables may be encountered on the Dignitary Breast Star: inscription punctuation; size; manufacturer; medallion; laurel crowns with or without enamel; right or left-facing portraits of Napoleon.
See also Order of the Iron Crown in the Orders of Austria for more information.
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