Crown an ornament often mentioned in Scripture, and in such a manner as in most cases to indicate the circumstances under which and the persons by whom it was worn; for crowns were less exclusively worn by sovereigns than among modern nations. Perhaps it would be better to say that the term "crowns" was applied to other ornaments for the head than those exclusively worn by royal personages, and to which modern usage would give such distinctive names as coronet, band, mitre, tiara, garland, etc. This ornament, which is both ancient and universal, probably originated from the fillets used to prevent the hair from being disheveled by the wind. Such fillets are still common, and they may be seen on the sculptures of Persepolis, Nineveh, and Egypt; they gradually developed into turbans (Josephus, Ant. 3, 7, 7), which, by the addition of ornamental or precious materials, assumed the dignity of mitres or crowns. The use of them as ornaments was probably suggested by the natural custom of encircling the head with flowers in token of joy and triumph ("Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds," Wisdom of Song 2:8; Song 3 Maccabees 7:16; Judah 15:13, and the classical writers, passim). SEE WREATH. The first crown was said to have been woven for Pandora by the Graces (comp. στέφανος Χαρίτων, Pr 4:9). According to Pherecydes, Saturn was the first to wear a crown; Diodorus says that Jupiter was first crowned by the gods after the conquest of the Titans. Pliny, Harpocration, etc., ascribe its earliest use to Bacchus, who gave to Ariadne a crown of gold and Indian gems, and assumed the laurel after his conquest of India. Leo Egyptius attributes the invention to His, whose wreath was cereal. These and other legends are collected by Tertullian from the elaborate treatise on crowns by Claud. Saturninus. Another tradition says that Nimrod was the first to wear a crown, the shape of which was suggested to him by a cloud (Eutychius Alexandr. Ann. i, p. 63). Tertullian, in his tract De Cor. Militis (c. vii sq.), argues against them as unnatural and idolatrous. He is, however, singularly unsuccessful in trying to disprove the countenance given to them in Scripture where they are constantly mentioned. SEE BONNET.

1. The word נֵזֶר, ne'zer (lit. consecration; hence consecrated hair, as of a Nazarite, and then generally long hair), is supposed to denote a diadem (Greek διάδημα, Re 12:3; Re 13:1; Re 19:12). It is applied to the inscribed plate of gold in front of the high-priest's mitre, which was tied behind by a ribbon (Ex 29:6; Ex 39:30), and which was doubtless something of the same kind that we see in figs. 8,11. This word is also employed to denote the diadem which Saul wore in battle, and which was brought to David (2Sa 1:10), and also that which was used at the coronation of the young Joash (2Ki 11:12); and, as another word is applied elsewhere to the crown used in this ceremonial, the probability is that the Hebrew kings wore sometimes a diadem and sometimes a crown, and that the diadem only was accessible to the high-priest, by whom Joash was crowned, the crown itself being most likely in the possession of Athaliah. Both the ordinary priests and the high-priest wore head-dresses of this ornamental description. The common mitre (מַגבָּעָה, Sept. κίδαρις, Ex 28:37; Ex 29:6, etc.; Josephus, ταινία; Hesych. στρόφιον ὅ οἱ ἱερεῖς φοροῦσι) was a flat cap (πῖλος ἄκωνος), forming a sort of linen toenia or crown (στεφάνη), Josephus, Ant. 3, 7. The ceremonial mitre (מַצנֶפֶת, Sept. βυσσίνη τιάρα) of the high-priest (used also of a regal crown, Eze 21:26) was much more splendid (Ex 28:36; Le 8:9; "an ornament of honor, a costly work, the desire of the eyes," Ecclesiasticus 45:12; "the holy crown," Le 8:9, so called from the Tetragrammaton inscribed on it, Sopranes, De re Vest. Jud., p. 441). It had a second fillet of blue lace (ἐξ ὑακίνθου πεποικιλμένος, the color being chosen as a type of heaven), and over it a golden diadem (נֵזֶר, Ex 29:6), "on which blossomed a golden calyx like the flower of the ὑοσκύαμος," or hyoscyamus (Josephus, Ant. 3, 6). The gold band (צַיוֹ, Sept. πέταλον; Origen, ἱλαστἠριον) was tied behind with blue lace (embroidered with flowers), and being two fingers broad, bore the inscription (not in bas-relief, as Abarbanel sys) "Holiness to the Lord." (Comp. Re 17:5; Braunius, De Vest. Sacerd. 2:22; Maimon. De Apparatu Templi, 9:1; Reland, Antig. 2:10; Carpzov, Appar. Crit. p. 85; Josephus, War, 5:5,7; Philo, De Vit. losis, 3, 519.) Some suppose that Josephus is describing a later crown given by Alexander the Great to Jaddua (Jennings's Jewish Ant. p. 158). The use of the crown by priests and in religious services was universal, and perhaps the badge belonged at first "rather to the pontficalia than the regalia." Thus Q. Fabius Pictor says that the first crown was used by Janus when sacrificing. "A striped head-dress and queue," or "a short wig, on which a band was fastened, ornamented with an asp, the symbol of royalty," was used by the kings of Egypt in religious ceremonies (Wilkinson's Anc. Egypt. 3, 354, fig. 13). The crown worn by the kings of Assyria was "a high mitre . . . frequently adorned with flowers, etc., and arranged in bands of linen or silk. Originally there was only one band, but afterwards there were two, and the ornaments were richer" (Layard, 2:320, and the illustrations in Jahn, Arch. Germ. ed., pt. 1, vol. 2, tab. 9:4 and 8). SEE MITRE.

The royal crown originated in the diadem, which was a simple fillet fastened round the head, and tied behind. This obviously took its rise among a people who wore long hair, and used a band to prevent it from falling over the face. The idea occurred of distinguishing kings by a fillet of different color from that usually worn; and being thus established as a regal distinction, it continued to be used as such even among nations who did not wear the hair long, or was employed to confine the head-dress. We sometimes see this diadem as a simple fillet, about two inches broad, fastened round the otherwise bare head; we then find it as a band of gold (first cut, above, figs. 2, 5). In this shape it sometimes forms the basis of raised ornamental work (figs. 6, 7, 8, 10), in which case it becomes what we should consider a crown; and, indeed, the original diadem may be traced in most ancient crowns. Fig. 10 is curious, not only from the simplicity of its form, but on account of the metallic loop to be passed under the chin-a mode of securing the crown probably adopted in war or in the chase. Then we find the diadem surrounding the head-dress or cap (figs. 3, 9, 13), and when this also is ornamented, the diadem may be considered as having become a crown. SEE DIADEM.

Bible concordance for CROWN.

2. The more general word for a crown is עֲטָרָה, atarah' (a circlet, Gr. στέφανος); and it is applied to crowns and head ornaments of different sorts, including those used by the kings. When applied to their crowns, it appears to denote the state crown as distinguished from the diadem. Such was probably the crown, which, with its precious stones, weighed (or rather "was worth") a talent, taken by David from the king of Ammon at Rabbah, and used as the state crown of Judah (2Sa 12:30). Some groundlessly suppose that, being too heavy to wear, it was suspended over his head. The royal crown was sometimes buried with the king (Schickard, Jus Reg. 6:19, p.421). Idolatrous nations also "made crowns for the head of their gods" (Ep. Jer. 9). The Rabbins allege that the Hebrew state-crown was of gold, set with jewels. Of its shape it is impossible to form any notion, unless by reference to the examples of ancient crowns contained in the preceding cut. These figures, however, being taken mostly from coins, are not of that very remote antiquity which we would desire to illustrate matters pertaining to the period of the Hebrew monarchies. In Egypt and Persia there are sculptures of earlier date, representing royal crowns in the shape of a distinguishing tiara, cap, or helmet, of metal, and of cloth, or partly cloth and partly metal. The diadem of two or three fillets (figs. 4, 5, first cut, above) may have been similarly significant of dominion over two or three countries. In Re 12:3; Re 13:1; Re 19:12, allusion is made to "many crowns" (διαδήματα) worn in token of extended dominion. Thus the kings of Egypt used to be crowned with the "pshent," or united crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 3, 351 sq.; comp. Layard, 2:320); and Ptolemy Philometor wore two diadems, one for Europe and one for Asia. This would, in fact, form three crowns, as his previous one was doubtless the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. Similarly the three crowns of the papal tiara mark various accessions of power: the first corona was added to the mitre by Alexander III in 1159; the second by Boniface VIII in 1303; and the third by Urban V in 1362. These Egyptian tiaras were worn in war and on occasions 'of state, but on ordinary occasions a fillet or diadem was used. It is important to observe that the mitre of the high-priest, which is also called a crown (Ex 39:30), was of similar construction, if not shape, with the addition of the golden fillet or diadem.

3. Similar also in construction and material, though not in form, was the ancient Persian crown, for which there is a distinct name in the book of Esther (1. 11; 2:17; 6:8), viz., כֶּתֶר, ke'ther (chaplet), which was doubtless the cidaris or citaris (κίδαρις or κίταρις), the high cap or tiara so often mentioned by the Greek historians. From the descriptions given of it, this seems to have been a somewhat conical cap, surrounded by a wreath or fold; and this would suggest a resemblance to fig. 12 (of the first cut, above), which is, in fact, copied from a Parthian or later Persian coin. This one is worthy of very particular attention, because it forms a connecting link between the ancient and modern Oriental crowns, the latter consisting either of a cap, with a fold or turban, variously enriched with aigrettes as this is; or of a stiff cap of cloth, studded with precious stones. It must often occur to the student of Biblical antiquities that the modern usages of the East have more resemblance to the most ancient than have those which prevailed during that intermediate or classical period in which its peculiar manners and institutions were subject to much extraneous influence from the domination of the Greeks and Romans. So, in the present instance, we are much impressed with the conviction that such head-tires and caps as those represented in the above cut more correctly represent the regal "crowns" of the Old Testament than those figured in the first cut, above (with the exception of fig. 12 and the simple diadems); which, however, may be taken to represent the style of the crowns which prevailed in and before the time of the New Testament. SEE TURBAN.

Definition of crown

4. Other Hebrews terms rendered "crown" are זֵר, zer, a wreath or border of gold around the edge of the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:11, etc.); and קָרקֹר, kodkod', the scalp or crown of the human head (Ge 49:26, etc.; κορυφή, Bel, 36). There are several words in Scripture for a crown (but not so rendered) besides those mentioned, as פּאֵר, peer', the headdress of bridegrooms (Isa 61:10; Bar. 5:2; Eze 24:17), and of women (Isa 3:20); צפַירוֹת, tsephiroth', a head-dress of great splendor (Isa 28:5); לַויָה, livyah', a wreath of flowers (Pr 1:9; Pr 4:9); such wreaths were used on festal occasions (Isa 28:1); צָנַיŠ, tsaniph', a common tiara or turban (Job 29:14; Isa 3:23); כִּרבּלָא, karbela' ("hat," Da 3:21, rather mantle). Στέμμα occurs in the N.T. only once (Ac 14:13) for the garlands used with victims. In the Byzantine court this word was confined to the imperial crown (Du Fresne, Gloss. Grec. p. 1442). SEE GARLAND.

The Jews boast that three crowns were given to them: כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה, the crown of the law; כֶּתֶר כּהֻנָּה, the crown of priesthood; and מִלכוּת, the royal crown; better than all which is כֶּתֶר שֵׁם טוֹב, the crown of a good name (Carpzov, Apparat. Critic. p. 660; Othonis Lex . Rabb. s.v. Corona). Crowns were so often used symbolically to express honor and power that it is not always safe to infer national usages from the passages in which they occur. Hence we would scarcely conclude from Eze 23:42 that crowns were worn by Jewish females, although that they wore some ornament which might be so called is probable from other sources. Mr. Lane (Arabian Nights, 1:424) mentions that until about two centuries ago a kind of crown was worn by Arabian females of wealth and distinction. It was generally a circle of jeweled gold (the lower edge of which was straight, and the upper fancifully heightened to a mere point), surmounting the lower part of a dome-shaped cap, with a jewel or some other ornament at the summit. It is certain that "crowns" of this or some similar kind were worn at marriages (Song 3:11; Isa 61:10); and it would appear that at feasts and public festivals "'crowns of rejoicing" were customary. These were probably garlands (Wisdom of Song 2:8; Song 4:2; Ecclesiasticus 1:11).

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

With the ancients generally the crown was the symbol of victory and reward, it being customary for conquerors to be crowned, as were also victors in the Grecian games. From ancient coins and medals we may observe that these crowns or wreaths usually consisted of leaves of trees, to which were added flowers. The crown worn by the victor in the Olympian games: was made of the wild olive; in the Pythian games, of laurel; in the Nemean games, of parsley; and in the Isthmian games, SEE CORINTH, of the pine. Indeed, Claudius Saturninus says there was hardly any plant of which crowns had not been made. The Romans had several kinds of crowns or wreaths which were bestowed for various services; but the noblest was the civic crown, given to him who had saved the life of a citizen; it was made of oak leaves, and was presented by the person who had been saved to his preserver. These were all corruptible, for they began to wither as soon as they were separated from the trees or plucked out of the earth. In opposition to these, there is an incorruptible crown, a crown of life, hid up for those who are faithful unto death (Jas 1:12; 1Pe 5:4; Re 2:10; see Am. Presb. Rev. July, 1863). Pilate's guard platted a crown of thorns, and placed it on the head of Jesus Christ (Mt 27:29) with an intention to insult him, under the character of the king of the Jews (see below). The laurel, pine, or parsley garlands given to victors in the great games of Greece are finely alluded to by Paul (1Co 9:25; -2Ti 2:5, etc.). SEE GAMES. They are said to have originated in the laurel-wreath assumed by Apollo on conquering the Python (Tertull. de Cor. Mil. 7, 15). (On the Greek and Roman honorary crowns, see Smith, Dict. of Class Antiq., s.v. Corona.) SEE AMA- RANTHINE. "Crown" is often used figuratively in "the Bible as a general emblem of an exalted state (Pr 12:4; Pr 17:6; Isa 28:5; Php 4:1, etc.). The term is also applied to the rims of altars, tables, etc. (Ex 25:25, etc.; De 22:8; comp. Vitr. 2:8; Q. Curt. 9:4, 30). The ancients as well as the moderns had a coin called "a crown" (τὸν στέφανον ὃν ὀφείλετε, 1 Maccabees 13:39; 10:29; A. V. "Crown-tax," v. Suid., s.v. στεφανικὸν τέλεσμα); so called, doubtless, because coins usually bore the head of the sover. cign encircled with a wreath. SEE COIN.

The chief writers on crowns are Gaschalius (De Coronis, lib. 10) and Meursius (De Coronsi, Hafniae, 1671). For others, see Fabricilis, Bibl. Ant. 14:13. SEE HEAD-DRESS.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.