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p1130 Tiara


[image ALT: An engraving of a cameo depicting the bust of a man in profile facing left, wearing a tall loosely conical cap decorated with stars and a ribbon. It is a representation of the ancient Persian head-dress called the tiara.]

Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p1130 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

TIARA or TIARAS (τιάρα or τιάρας: Att. κυρβασία, Moeris, s.v.; Herod. V.49, VII.64; Aristoph. Aves, 487), a hat with a large high crown. This was the head-dress which characterized the north-western Asiatics, and more especially the Armenians (Xen. Cyr. 1 §13; Sueton. Nero, 13), the Parthians, and the Persians (Herod. III.12; Philost. Sen. Imag. II.31; Plaut. Pers. IV.2.2), as distinguished from the Greeks and Romans, whose hats fitted the head or had only a low crown. The Mysian hat, or "Phrygian bonnet," as it is now called [Pileus, p919B], was a kind of tiara (Virg. Aen. VII.247; Servius, in loc.; Sen. Thyest. IV.1.40, 41; Philostr. Jun. Imag. 8), formed with lappets to be tied under the chin (Juv. VI.516; Val. Flacc. VI.700), and dyed purple (Ovid. Met. XI.181).

The king of Persia wore an erect tiara, whilst those of his subjects were soft and flexible, falling on one side (Herod. VII.61; Xen. Anab. II.5 §23, Cyrop. VIII.3 §13; Schol. in Aristoph. l.c.). He was also distinguished by the splendid colours of his tiara (Themist. Orat. 2 p36C, 24, p306C), and by a Diadema, which encircled it, and which was variegated with white spots upon a blue ground. The Persian name for this regal head-dress was cidaris (Curt. III.8; Pollux, VII §58). The preceding woodcut shows the cidaris as represented on a gem in the Royal Cabinet at Paris, and supposed by Caylus to be worn by a sovereign of Armenia (Recueil d'Ant. II p124). From a very remote period (Aeschyl. Pers. 668) down to the present day the tiara of the king of Persia has been commonly adorned with gold and jewellery.


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Page updated: 30 Jun 13