Crown of Christian Princes

Crown OF Christian Princes

From the portraits on their coins, it appears that the early emperors adopted the diadem, or simple fillet, worn either simply or encircling the helmet with which their head was covered. The coins of Constantine the Great depict him wearing diadems or fillets of various kinds; some ornamented with gems; some enriched with a double row of pearls, with the loose ends of the fillet hanging down over his shoulders. Sometimes he wears a helmet surrounded by a diadem, with a cross in front. This combination is also seen ion the coins of Gratian, Talentinian II, Theodosius, and the emperors Leo and Basil. Heraclius, A.D. 610-641, is represented as wearing a helmet encircled by a gemmed diadem with pendent ends, and a cross above the forehead. The combination of the diadem with the tiara was borrowed from the Orientals, among whom it had been in use from ancient times. It was worn by Zenobia, and was adopted by her conqueror, Aurelian. It is seen in medals, under the form of a peaked cap ornamented with gems, rising from a jewelled diadem or fillet, tied behind. The cap, in later times, assumed the popular name of tuphan, the origin of the modern turban. Zonaras describes the emperor Basil, in the 9th century, as wearing a "tiara," popularly known as "tuphan." Another form of the imperial head-gear was a low-crowned cap, apparently destitute of diadem or any special distinction of royalty. This was known as CAMELAUCIUM SEE CAMELAUCIUM (q.v.). Constantine appears in this cap on his triumpal arch in Rome and in an illumination from a MS of the 9th century representing the Council of Nicea. Justinian in the mosiacs of the sanctuary of San Vitale at Ravenna has his head covered with a jewelled cap, while the empress Theodora wears a tiara surrounded with three circlets of gems. Strings of pearls and other gems hang down form each.

The diadem in its original form of a linen or silken ribbon or fillet gradually went out of use from Justinian's time and was replaced by a flexible band of gold somtimes adorned with a band of pearls and precious stones, representing the old "diadem." The name "crown" was in use for the imperial symbol as early as the time of Constantine. This circlet was closed by a cap of rich stuff decorated with gems. In the time of Constantinus Porphyrogentius the royal treasury contained circlets or stemmata of various colors, white, green and blue, according to the enamel with which they were coated. These circlets decorated with gems are mentioned by Claudian in connection with the two sons of Theodosius, Arcadius and Honorius towards the end of the 4th century.

The most ancient examples of crowns are thoe long preserved in the treasury of the cathedral of Monza, in Lombardy, belonging to the early part of the 7th century. these crowns were three in number: (1) the so- called Iron Crown "Corona Ferrea" (2) The crown od Agilulf and (3) that of Theodelinda. Agiluf's crown was taken to Paris as a prize of war by Napolean I in 1804 by mistake for the Iron Crown and was stolen from the "Cabinet des Medailles" in which it was deposited and melted down. SEE CORONATION.

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