I know it's been out for a while, but I was just re-listening to Skin Game and realized I could not identify all the referenced artifacts found

In Hades vault

Some were easy, some less so. Any ideas?

For the record they were:

  • “ancient wooden placard”
  • a “circlet woven from thorny branches”,
  • a “clay cup”,
  • a “folded cloth”, and
  • a “knife with a wooden handle and a leaf-shaped blade”

I don't have the quote handy, but I recall that they were all related to the crucifixion of Christ in some fashion.

The ones revealed in the text are:

the cup is the Holy Grail


the folded cloth is the Shroud of Turin

I figure the circlet is the Crown of Thorns placed on Christ's head by the romans, and I assume that the wooden placard with faded inscriptions reads INRE (allegedly a label placed on him as well, for the latin for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews), but those are guesses. I originally thought the "knife" was actually the tip of the Spear of Longinius, but it's described pretty consistently as a knife rather than just a blade.

Those are my guesses, though; do we have anything else that I missed in the text or from interviews, etc?

  • Just for reference, the wooden sign comes up again in Battle Ground and is exactly what you say it is.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 14, 2021 at 3:07
  • Yep, read and enjoyed, thanks.
    – Paul
    Jan 19, 2021 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


I think you've got them all right, save the knife.

As for that, I believe it's Jesus's bread knife. Quoth Wikipedia

According to French traveler Jules-Léonard Belin the knife used by Jesus to slice bread was permanently exhibited in the Logetta (decorated entrance hall) of St Mark's Campanile in Venice.

So clearly this knife is of some importance in certain corners of Christianity.

  • In the absence of Word of Jim, I'm going to accept this as the answer.
    – Paul
    Jan 18, 2018 at 15:08
  • 1
    @Paul - This is now revealed in Battle Ground.
    – AerusDar
    Sep 29, 2020 at 2:07

All artifacts associated with Jesus Christ:

  • “ancient wooden placard” - Placard "Jesus, King of the Jews", from his crucifixion.
  • “circlet woven from thorny branches” - Crown of Thorns, from this crucifixion.
  • “clay cup” - The Holy Grail.
  • “folded cloth” - The actual Shroud of Turin.
  • “knife with a wooden handle and a leaf-shaped blade” The remains of the Holy Spear (the Spear of Destiny, or the Lance of Longinus), that pierced Christ's side during his crucifixion. It is often described to have a leaf shaped blade, similar to many descriptions of Roman spears.

Edit: Little more homework:

From wikipedia: In 615, Jerusalem and its relics were captured by the Persian forces of King Khosrau II (Chosroes II). According to the Chronicon Paschale, the point of the lance, which had been broken off, was given in the same year to Nicetas, who took it to Constantinople and deposited it in the church of Hagia Sophia, and later to the Church of the Virgin of the Pharos. This point of the lance, which was now set in an icon, was acquired by the Latin Emperor, Baldwin II of Constantinople, who later sold it to Louis IX of France. The point of the lance was then enshrined with the crown of thorns in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. During the French Revolution these relics were removed to the Bibliothèque Nationale but the point subsequently disappeared.

(Italicised emphasis mine)

We know in the Dresden Files that Hades collects relics to keep them safe, and out of the hands of the unworthy. Maybe he was in France during the Revolution. We've seen evidence in the Dresden Files of ancient weapons being reworked (See the Swords of the Cross), perhaps the missing point of the Spear was worked into a knife.

  • 1
    I of course considered the spear of Longinus, but from the description it sounds like a knife. I can’t imagine that Harry wouldn’t know the different between a spear tip and a knife. And given that there’s meaningful knife in Christian lore/
    – Adamant
    Jan 18, 2018 at 3:43
  • And further, I’d expect that Harry would have heard of the Lance of Longinus in particular. So if he still thought it was a knife, it probably was a knife.
    – Adamant
    Jan 18, 2018 at 3:50
  • It’s not very easy to mistake the head of a Roman spear for a knife. Take a look at these Roman spear heads: ebay.com/bhp/roman-spear. There’d be an iron shaft extending down from the tip, and all in all it wouldn’t look like a knife to anyone even mildly acquainted with spears.
    – Adamant
    Jan 18, 2018 at 3:52
  • I struggle to reconcile Jesus's bread knife sitting in an /armoury/ next to other objects from his Crucifixion. Yes, I get that the cup he drank from at the last supper is there, but at least that has an incredible amount of lore associated with it.
    – AerusDar
    Jan 18, 2018 at 4:17
  • 1
    Though it’s not impossible that having billions of believers is simply better than having a few thousand, like Hades probably does. But that’s not the impression I got.
    – Adamant
    Jan 18, 2018 at 5:49

Abraham's knife, possibly

The knife with a wooden handle and a leaf-shaped blade may be the knife that Abraham almost used to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22).

Leaf-shaped daggers(1) were in use in the Middle East around the time of Abraham and Isaac(2). The other items in Hades' vault – placard, circlet, cup, and cloth – pertain to Jesus' crucifixion, and a prominent Christian interpretation of the Binding of Isaac draws parallels between Abraham and God the Father, in that they were each willing to sacrifice their sons, as well as between Isaac and Jesus, both of whom chose to submit to their fathers' plans.

(1) Dagger with Leaf-shaped Blade, 2500 - 2000 BCE. (Although the handle of this particular dagger is not wooden, that's a minor detail compared to the blade style. It's reasonable to suppose that similarly-shaped daggers from that time and place used a variety of handle materials.)

(2) A quick Google search gives the date of Isaac's birth as 1896 BC [BCE]. This search method is probably good enough for a rough approximation, which is all we need here.

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