crown; that is, a circular ornament of metal, leaves, or flowers, worn by
the ancients round the head or neck, and used as a festive as well as
funeral decoration, and as a reward of talent, military or naval prowess,
and civil worth. It includes the synonyms, for which it is often used
absolutely, στεφάνη, στέφος, στεφάνωμα,
a garland or wreath.
The use of crowns on public and private occasions was so general in
antiquity, that there was a special literature on the subject, of which we
have remains in Theophrastus (Hist. Pl.
6.6), Athenaeus (lib.
xv.), Pliny (Plin. Nat. 21
§ 1-70, 22. § § 4-13), and Pollux (6.106-7). At
Rome Claudius Saturninus wrote a book De
(Tertull. de Cor. Mil.
7, 10, 12). We shall
first briefly describe the materials of which crowns were made, and then
mention the principal public and private occasions when they were used.
I. Materials of Crowns.
Crowns originally consisted of wool or the foliage of trees, especially
myrtle-twigs or ivy, with which flowers of various kinds were
subsequently interwoven. The makers and sellers of these garlands or
crowns formed a distinct trade, and were called in Greece στεφανηπλόκοι
Coronarii, or makers of garlands. (Museo Borbonico.)
(Theophr. Hist. Pl.
6.1; Plut. Quaest.
3.1, 2), and in Rome coronarii
(Plin. Nat. 21
§ § 54, 177; Fronto, ad M. Caes.
In ancient works of art we find frequent representations of the making
of crowns and garlands, as in the preceding drawing from a picture at
Pompeii. The flowers used for making crowns and garlands were named
a, f; Hesych.)
; Plin. Nat. 21.53
). The foliage and flowers
were sometimes fastened together by the inner bark of the linden-tree,
whence such garlands were called by the Romans coronae sutiles.
; Ov. Fast. 5.335
, 337; Mart. 5.65
Such crowns were also called nexae
; Lucan 10.164
). At Athens
the place in the market where crowns were sold was called αἱ μυρρίναι
(Aristoph. Thes. 448
, cf. 457), because the myrtle was the
most common material for making them. Many of the flower-girls were
celebrated in antiquity, especially Glycera of Sicyon, the mistress of
Pausias (Plin. Nat. 21.4
). At Rome the temple of the
Lares at the head of the Sacra Via was a place much frequented for the
sale of flower-garlands. (Ov. Fast.
; Becker-Göll, Gallus,
iii. p. 453.) Among the Romans crowns were frequently made of the leaves
of plants (without an intermixture of flowers), especially the ivy
Hor. Carm. 4.11.4
; Plin. Nat. 16
. § § 147,
155; 21. § § 52, 55), the myrtle (myrtus,
Cat. Agr. 8
; Hor. Carm. 1.4.9
; 2.7, 25;
Ov. Fast. 4.869
), and parsley
Hor. Carm. 1.36.16
; 2.7, 24; 4.11,
3). Pliny says (21.14), “paucissima nostri genera coronamentorum
intra hortensia novere, ac paene violas rosasque tantum.” Of
the various flowers used for crowns the violet was a favourite at
Athens, whence ἰοστέφανος,
“violet-crowned,” is an epithet of Athens (Pind.
46; Aristoph. Kn.
637). The hyacinth and the lily
were also used for crowns (Theocr. 10.28; Hor. Carm. 1.36.16
; Ov. Am.
). But the most popular
flower for crowns both in Greece and Rome was the rose, called the king
of flowers (Achill. Tat. 2.1), and the rose of the Loves (τὸ ῥόδον τὸ τῶν Ἐρώτων,
whence Demos in Aristophanes (Aristoph. Kn.
) is said to have been crowned with roses. They were
especially used for convivial crowns (Hor.
; 1.38, 3; 2.3, 14; 2.11, 14; 3.15, 15; 3.29, 3;
Ov. Fast. 4.870
). Garlands of roses
were in so much request in Rome that they were used in winter (Sen.
122, 8). With this object they were grown under
glass (Mart. 4.22
), and were imported from
Egypt (Mart. 6.80
). As luxury increased the
leaves of the nardus
or spikenard, brought
from India, were used for crowns, with which roses were also intertwined
(Plin. Nat. 21.11
; Lucan 10.164
Garlands were also made of dried flowers, especially of amaranth, which,
when moistened, retained the appearance of fresh flowers, and were
called hibernae coronae
(Plin. Nat. 21.47
). The same name was
given to crowns made of artificial flowers (Plin. Nat. 21.5
). Sometimes they were made of a thin layer
of metal, covered with gold or silver, and called by the Romans corollae
(Plin. Nat. 21.5
; cf. Varr.
v. [p. 1.546]
Blümner, Techn. u. Term. d. Gewerbe u.
i. p. 304 seq.
crowns of pure gold were frequent among the Greeks as honorary
distinctions. (See below.) Crowns of silver were less common, but are
mentioned by Pliny (Plin. Nat. 21.6
Crowns of gold have been found in tombs in Etruria and the Crimea, of
which the following specimen found in a tomb at Armento in Southern
Italy, and now preserved in the museum at Munich, is one of the most
remarkable. It is composed of branches of oak, intertwined with garlands
of flowers, while a statue is placed at the top, and winged figures
amidst the foliage. It bears an inscription beneath the top figure.
(Gerhard, Antike Bildwerke,
i. x.) [CAELATURA
p. 326 a.
Golden Crown. (Museum at Munich.)
The Corona Etrusca
was made of pure gold in
the form of leaves, sometimes set with gems, and terminating in ribbons
) of the same metal. It was
held by a slave over the head of a general when he entered Rome in
triumph (Plin. Nat. 33.11
; Tertull. de Cor. Mil.
13). Crowns adorned
with such pendent ribbons were called Coronae
Verg. A. 5.269
). The lemnisci (λημνίσκοι
) were first made of wool, adorned with ribbons
wool, Fest. p. 155, M.),
afterwards of linden-bast, and subsequently of gold. Crowns so adorned
were the highest rewards of victors (Serv. l.c.;
Plin. Nat. 16.65
), whence Cicero
speaks of palma lemniscata,
means a victory or the highest reward
35, 100; cf. Aus. Ep.
20.5). Such crowns were also given as a distinction to guests at
banquets, and on other occasions (Plaut. Pseud.
; Suet. Nero 25
Other epithets applied to crowns require a few words of explanation.
(Cic. de Leg. 2.2. 4
, 60) resembled what we
call festoons, and were employed to decorate the doors of houses,
temples, amphitheatres, &c. (Ov. Fast.
). Hence we read in Juvenal (6.51) necte coronam postibus,
in Ovid (Ov. Met. 4.759
) sertaque dependent
and in Lucan (2.354
festa coronato non pendent limine
(Plin. Nat. 21.11
), probably the same as the corona plectilis
1.1, 37), corona
(Propert. 3.20, 18; cf. torta quercu,
“a twisted oak-crown,”
Verg. G. 1.349
64.283), and as the στέφανοι πλεκτοὶ
and κυλιστὸς στέφανος
of the Greeks.
It was made of flowers, shrubs, grass, ivy, wool, or any flexible
material twined or twisted together, and therefore opposed to the
described above (see p.
was made of leaves only,
closely cut, as for instance of the olive (Verg. A. 5.556
; tonsae olivae, Georg.
Serv. ad loc.
In ancient paintings females are frequently represented with crowns of
Females with Crowns. (Pict. Antiq. in |
Rom. tav. 8.)
II. CROWNS AS REWARDS.
Judging from Homer's silence, crowns do not appear to have been adopted
amongst the Greeks of the heroic ages as rewards of merit, or as festive
decorations; for they are not mentioned amongst the luxuries of the
delicate Phaeacians, or of the suitors. But crowns are mentioned in the
Homeric Hymns (6.42, 32.6) and by Hesiod (Hes.
, though this passage is considered spurious by many
critics). The Tragic poets, transferring the customs of their own days
to the heroic age, frequently represent the heroes wearing crowns. At
what time the wearing of crowns first came into use is uncertain. Some
writers attribute their introduction as honorary rewards to the athletic
games in which they were bestowed as prizes upon the victors; but in
opposition to this view is the express testimony of Pausanias (10.7.3
), that in the second Pythiad the
Amphictyons enacted that the reward in the contests should be simply a
crown or chaplet instead of the material prizes which had been formerly
given. It is more probable that crowns were of religious origin (see
below), and were for this reason given to the victors in the public
games as the highest distinction. In the Olympic games the prize was a
crown of wild olive (κότινος,
), in the Pythian a crown of
), in the Nemean a crown of
cf. Pind. N. 6.71
), and in the Isthmian a crown
of pine-leaves (πίτυς
), though crowns
of other materials were at different periods also given at the Isthmian
games (Plut. Symp.
5.3). [p. 1.547]
details see the articles on these games, and Hermann,
§ 50. Poets also were crowned
both among the Greeks and Romans, and are so represented in works of
Homer crowned and enthroned. (Bartoli, Admiranda, tav. 81.)
Crowns as rewards for public services are first mentioned in the time of
the Persian wars. The Lacedaemonians gave to Eurybiades an olive crown
as the prize of valour, and also to Themistocles a crown of the same
material as the prize of wisdom and dexterity, when he had failed to
obtain the prize at Athens (Hdt. 8.124
Athenians also refused the crown as a prize to Miltiades and Aristides
(Plut. Cim. 8
; Aeschin. c.
§ 45). They first granted it to Pericles
(V. Max. 2.6.5
); and next to
Thrasybulus and the exiles who had seized Phyle, on their return to
Athens (Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.
§ 50; Corn. Nep. Thrasyb. 4
inhabitants of Scione crowned Brasidas with a golden crown as the
liberator of Hellas (Thuc. 4.120
after the Peloponnesian war the Athenians substituted for the olive
garland a crown of gold, and granted it for every trifling feat, whether
civil, naval, or military. But, though such crowns were lavished without
much discrimination as far as regards the character of the receiving
parties, they were still subjected to certain legal restrictions in
respect of the time, place, and mode in which they were conferred. They
could only be presented in the public assemblies, and with the consent,
that is by the suffrage, of the people, or by the senators in their
council, or by the tribes to their own members, or by the δημόται
to members of their own δῆμος.
According to the statement of
Aeschines, the people could not lawfully present crowns in any place
except in their assembly, nor the senators except in the senate-house;
nor, according to the same authority, in the theatre, which is, however,
denied by Demosthenes; nor at the public games, and if any crier there
proclaimed the crowns he was subject to ἀτιμία.
Neither could any person holding an office receive
a crown whilst he was ὑπεύθυνος,
is, before he had passed his accounts. But crowns were sometimes
presented by foreign cities to particular citizens, which were termed
This, however, could
not be done until the ambassadors from those cities had obtained
permission from the people, and the party for whom the honour was
intended had undergone public investigation in which the whole course of
his life was submitted to a strict inquiry. Crowns were also given by
one state to another. Demosthenes tells us that the inhabitants of
Byzantium decreed a crown to the Athenian people in token of their
gratitude, and also that the Chersonesites for a similar reason bestowed
upon the senate and people of Athens a crown of gold of sixty talents.
(See Aeschin. c. Ctesiph.
and Dem. de
Among the Romans, in particular, honorary crowns of various kinds were
among the dona militaria,
bestowed upon the soldiers, and with which soldiers honoured their
generals. A full account of them is given by A. Gellius (5.6
), who, as well as Festus, derived his
information from Varro. (Cf. Marquardt, Röm.
ii. p. 556.)
Among the honorary crowns bestowed by the Romans for military
achievements, the most difficult of attainment, and the one which
conferred the highest honour, was the corona
presented by a beleaguered army after
its liberation to the general who broke up the siege. It was made of
grass, or weeds and wild flowers (Plin.
), thence called corona
), and graminea obsidionalis
), gathered from the spot
on which the beleaguered army had been enclosed (Plin. l.c.;
Fest. pp. 97, 190, M.); in allusion to a custom of the early ages,
in which the vanquished party in a contest of strength or agility
plucked a handful of grass from the meadow where the struggle took
place, and gave it to his opponent as a token of victory. (Gell. l.c.;
Plin. Nat. 22.8
; Fest. l.c.;
Verg. A. 8.128
) A list of the few
Romans who gained this honour is given by Pliny (22
. § § 9-13), who
tells us that though it was properly given by the army, yet Q.
Fabius Maximus received it from the senate and people, and Augustus
from the senate.
the second in honour and importance (Plin.
. § § 7-14), was presented to
the soldier who had preserved the life of a [p. 1.548]
Roman citizen in battle (Gel. 5.6
p. 42, M.), and therefore accompanied with the inscription Ob civem servatum
1.26, 5). It was originally made of the ilex,
afterwards of the aesculus,
and finally of the quercus
different sorts of oak, the reason for which choice is explained by
Plutarch (Quaest. Rom.
92). As the
possession of this crown was so high an honour, its attainment was
restricted by very severe regulations (Plin. l.c.
), so that the following conditions must have been
satisfied before a claim was allowed:--To have preserved the life of
a Roman citizen in battle, slain his opponent, and maintained the
ground on which the action took place. The testimony of a third
party was not admissible; the person rescued must himself proclaim
the fact, which increased the difficulty of attainment, as the Roman
soldier was commonly unwilling to acknowledge his obligation to the
prowess of a comrade, and to show him that deference which he would
be compelled to pay to his preserver if the claim were established.
(Cic. pro Planc.
, 72.) Originally, therefore, the corona
was presented by the rescued soldier (Gell. l.c.;
), after the claim had been
thoroughly investigated by the tribune who compelled a reluctant
party to come forward and give his evidence (Polyb. l.c.
); but under the empire, when the prince
was the fountain from whence all honours emanated, the civic crown
was no longer received from the hands of the person whose
preservation it rewarded, but from the prince himself, or his
delegate. (Tac. Ann. 3.21
The preservation of the life of an ally, even though he were a king,
would not confer a sufficient title for the civic crown. When once
obtained, it might always be worn. The soldier who had acquired it
had a place reserved next to the senate at all the public
spectacles; and they, as well as the rest of the company, rose up
upon his entrance. He was freed from all public burthens, as were
also his father and his paternal grandfather; and the person who
owed his life to him was bound, ever after, to cherish his preserver
as a parent, and afford him all such offices as were due from a son
to his father. (Polyb., Cic., Plin., Aul. Gell. ll. cc.
A few of the principal persons who gained this reward are enumerated
in the following passages:--Plin. Nat.
. § § 101-6, 16. § §
11-14; Liv. 6.20
. L. Gellius Publicola proposed to confer it upon
Cicero for having detected and crushed the conspiracy of Catiline
); and among the honours
bestowed upon Augustus by the senate, it was decreed that a civic
crown should be suspended from the top of
Corona civica, on coins of Augustus (left hand) and of
Galba (right hand). (British Museum.)
his house (D. C. 53.16
6, 14; V. Max.
1.614, 4.953, Trist.
3.1, 6; cf. Sen. Clem.
1.26, 5; Suet.
26); hence a crown of oak leaves, flanked by two
branches of laurel, with the inscription ob civis
is frequently seen on the reverse of the
Augustan medals, as also on those of Galba, Vitellius, Vespasian,
Trajan, &c., showing that they likewise assumed to
themselves a similar honour.
also called classica
by Vell. 2.81
, a golden crown, given to the
sailor who first boarded an enemy's ship (Fest. p. 163, M. ; Gell.
). Virgil (Aen.
8.684) unites two of the terms in one line: “tempora navali
corona.” According to other
authorities, it was granted very rarely, and only to a commander who
destroyed the enemy's fleet, or gained any very signal victory at
sea. Thus it was conferred upon Varro by Pompeius in the war against
the pirates, and upon Agrippa by Augustus on his conquest of Sex.
Pompeius in B.C. 36. (Vell. Pat. 1. c.;
Liv. Epit. 129
; D. C. 49.14
; Ov. A.
Corona rostrata, on a coin of Agrippa. (British
392; Sen. de Ben.
3.32; Plin. Nat. 7.115
Suet. Cl. 17
3454.) It occurs on the coins of Agrippa,
the crowns being decorated with the beaks of ships, like the
in the forum (Plin. Nat. 16.7
; Eckhel, vi. p. 164).
The Athenians likewise bestowed golden crowns for naval services;
upon the trierarch who got his trireme first equipped, or the
captain who had his vessel in the best order. (Dem. de Cor.
p. 1228.1, ed. Schaefer.)
The first man who scaled the wall of a besieged city was presented by
his commander with a mural crown, made of gold and decorated with
turrets (quasi muri pinnis decorata,
); and being one of the highest
orders of military decorations, was not awarded to a claimant until
after a strict investigation. (Plb. 6.39
; Sil. It. 15.257; Suet. Aug. 25
Corona muralis and rostrata combined, on a coin of
Agrippa. (British Museum.)
Cybele is always represented with this crown upon her head (Lucr. 2.607
; Ov. Fast. 4.219
shown in the woodcut on p. 553. Agrippa is represented on a coin
wearing a combination of the naval and mural crowns.
The first soldier who
surmounted the vallum,
and forced an
entrance into the enemy's camp, was, in like manner, presented with
a golden crown, called corona
Fest. p. 57, M.; V. Max. 1.8.6
; Liv. 10.46
; Suet. Aug.
; Plin. Nat. 33.38
Orelli, 749, 3509), which
was ornamented with the palisades (valli
) used in forming an entrenchment.
was worn upon the head of the commander during his triumph. It [p. 1.549]
was first made of laurel and bay leaves,
and afterwards of gold. (Gell. l.c.;
p. 367, M.; Liv. 10.7
; Cic. in Pis. 24
Dionys. A. R. 2.34
; Zonar. 7.21
; Plin. xv.
Corona laurea, on a coin of Augustus. (British
§ 127 seq.;
; Suet. Tib. 17
Those who had received the laurel crown had the right of wearing it
at the public games (D. C. 46.40
). It was. conferred upon Julius
Caesar and Augustus, and appears on the coins of subsequent emperors
as a mark of sovereignty, and was therefore not worn by any one but
the reigning emperor (Eckhel, vi. p. 361). The triumphal Etruscan
crown, made of gold and often enriched with jewels, was held over
the head of the general during his triumph, by a public officer.
(See above, p. 546 a.
) This crown, as
well as the former one, was presented to the victorious general by
his army. [TRIUMPHUS
Crowns, likewise of gold and of great value, were sent as presents
from the provinces to the commander, as soon as a triumph had been
decreed to him, and were carried before him in his triumphal
procession (Fest. p. 367, M.; Plut. Aem.
; Liv. 37.58
). In the early
ages of the republic, these were gratuitous presents, but
subsequently they were exacted as a tribute under the name of
to which none
were entitled but those to whom a triumph had been decreed. [AURUM
] The custom of presenting golden crowns from the
provinces to victorious generals was likewise in use among the
Greeks, for they were profusely lavished upon Alexander after his
conquest of Dareius (Athen. 12.
a); and the Romans probably borrowed the custom from
was another crown of less estimation, appropriated solely to
commanders who merely deserved an ovation [OVATIO
], on which account it was made of
myrtle, the shrub sacred to Venus, “Quod non Martius,
sed quasi Veneris
quidam triumphus foret.” (Gell.
Fest. p. 195, M.; Plut. Marc. 22
; cf. Plin. Nat. 15
. § §
125-6; Dionys. A. R. 5.47
was likewise an honorary wreath, made of the olive leaf, and
conferred upon the soldiers as well as their commanders. According
to Gellius (l.c.
), it was given to any
person or persons through whose instrumentality a triumph had been
obtained, but when they were not personally present in the action.
It was conferred both by Augustus and the senate upon the soldiery
on several occasions. (D. C.
III. Religious Crowns.
Crowns in general probably owed their origin to religious rites. Certain
trees were from the most ancient times regarded as sacred, and it is
probable that those who presented offerings to the gods carried in their
hands branches of such trees, which in course of time were woven into
garlands and worn upon the head. However this may be, the use of the
sacrificial crown, though later than the Homeric poems, was established
at least as early as the times of Sappho, who says that “the gods
turn away from those who are uncrowned” (Athen. 15.674
trees were sacred to certain divinities, as the ivy to Dionysus or
Bacchus, who is constantly represented with the corona pampinea
; 4.8, 33), the oak to Zeus, the laurel to Apollo, the
myrtle to Aphrodité or Venus, the olive to Athena or Minerva,
&c. Garlands of leaves and flowers were worn by the worshippers,
the priests and priestesses, and the victims offered in sacrifice. In
like manner persons who went to consult an oracle wore crowns, which
they laid aside when they returned. Crowns imparted a sanctity to the
persons, and secured them inviolability. Thus they were worn by the
archons at Athens (Dem. Mid.
§ 33), their office
being called στεφανηφόρος
§ 19), and by orators when addressing
the assembly (Aristoph. Thes. 380
For further details, see Hermann, Griech. Antiq.
1. § § 124, 129; vol. 2.
§ § 24, 35.
Among the Romans crowns were, in like manner, worn by priests and the
victim, as well as the bystanders, when officiating at the sacrifice. It
does not appear to have been confined to any one material, but was
sometimes made of olive (Stat. Theb.
), sometimes of gold (Prudent. Peristeph. x.
1011; Tertull. de Idol.
18), and sometimes of the ears of
corn, then termed corona spicea,
was the most ancient one amongst the Romans (Plin. Nat. 18.6
; Tac. Ann.
), and was consecrated to Ceres (Hor. Carm.
30; Tib. 2.1
), before whose temples it was customarily suspended (Tib. 1.1
particular the insigne
of the Fratres
Arvales was the corona spicea
and infulae albae,
or white woollen fillets (Gell.
vii. (vi.) 7.8; Plin. l.c.;
iii. p. 429). [INFULA
] The corona spicea
was likewise regarded as an emblem
of peace (Tib. 1.10
), in which character it appears in the subjoined coin, which
commemorates the conclusion of the civil war between Antony and D.
Corona spicea, on coin of D. Albinus Brutus.
Corona spicea, on the head of Antonia. (British
The corona spicea
also appears in coins on
the heads of some of the females of the imperial family, as Livia,
Antonia, and Agrippina (Eckhel, vi. p. 257).
Among religious crowns may be mentioned the corona
which was a mark of divinity. It had been
originally given only to gods and deified heroes,--thus Virgil
12.162) represents the hero Latinus:
Cui tempora circum
Aurati bis sex radii fulgentia cingunt,
Solis avi specimen,--
and it was first assumed by some of the successors of Alexander
the Great, who claimed divine [p. 1.550]
honours. Thus we
find it on the coins of the Ptolemies, kings of Egypt.
Among the Romans divine honours were decreed to Julius Caesar and
Augustus, who claimed a divine descent (corona
Suet. Aug. 94
); but the first emperor who
assumed the corona radiata
in his lifetime
was Nero, upon whose
Corona radiata, on a coin of Ptolemaeus V., king of Egypt.
coins it appears. We find, however, Augustus thus represented
on coins struck after his death, as in the accompanying coin of
Caligula. The example of Nero was not followed by the subsequent
emperors till Caracalla, who is represented on coins with the corona radiata,
Corona radiata, on head of Augustus. (Coin of Caligula in
Corona radlata, on a coin of the Emperor Decius. (British
and it appears frequently on those of succeeding emperors.
(Eckhel, vi. p. 269 ff.)
IV. Funeral Crowns.
The practice of crowning the dead with chaplets of leaves and flowers was
doubtless of religious origin. Clemens of Alexandria
ii. p. 181) explains it by the crown being a
symbol of freedom and deliverance from every annoyance. In any case it
was regarded as a mark of honour (Eur. Tro.
; Aristoph. Eccl.
pro Flacc. 31
, 75; Alciphr. 1.36; Tert.
10). Thus Euripides (Eur. Phoen. 1632
) represents Creon
forbidding the crowning of the corpse of Polynices under the penalty of
death. All kinds of flowers and leaves were used for this purpose
(στεφανώσαντες τοῖς ὡραίοις
Lucian. de Luct.
11), but parsley
) was most commonly
employed among the Greeks (Plut. Tim. 26
Suid. s. v.). Although the corpse was probably crowned with only one
garland, the relations and friends sent, as with us, numerous garlands
to the funeral, with which they crowned both the bier and the tomb. The
), bands, ribbons, or fillets of leaves and flowers,
not necessarily for crowning, were also sent to funerals (τὰς ταινίας, ἃς τοῖς νεκροῖς ἔπεμπον οἱ
Aristoph. Lys. 603
). Caecilius (op.
Fest. s. v.) speaks of a “tomb, full
as usual;” and on
ancient vases funeral stelae are often represented hung with chaplets or
bound with taeniae. (Dennis, Etrur.
i. p. 395; Stephani,
for 1874, p. 114.) Such chaplets or
fillets were frequently deposited on tombs, not only at the time of the
funeral, but also at subsequent periods. The Greeks entwined with
garlands the cinerary urn of their friends (Plut. Demetr. 53
); Philopoemen's urn was so covered with
chaplets as scarcely to
A funeral stele, with crowns and taeniae. (Baumeister.)
be visible (Plut. Phil. 21
and Hannibal crowned the urn of Marcellus (Plut. Marc. 30
The crowning of the dead was not so common among the Romans as among the
Greeks. But a law of the Twelve Tables enacted that a person who had
obtained an honorary crown in his lifetime might have it placed upon him
in the funeral procession. (Cic. de
Ley. 2.2. 4
, 60; Plin.
.) Garlands of flowers were also placed upon the
bier and the funeral pyre (Plin. Nat.
; Dionys. A. R. 11.39
Pliny (ib. § 11) says that crowns were used in honour of
sepulchres and the manes. (Cf. Ov. Tr. 3.3
We have seen that funeral crowns were usually of leaves and flowers, but
golden crowns in the shape of leaves and flowers have also been found in
tombs. (See above, p. 546 a.
i. p. 260, iii. pp.
122, 159; Gallus,
iii. p. 491.)
V. Crowns as signs of rejoicing.
The name of coronae
was only applied to
convivial garlands at a late period, as the word was originally
restricted to religious crowns, and those given as rewards (Plin. Nat. 21.3
). Among the Greeks
and Romans, the guests wore crowns at their banquets, but they were
not put on till the first course was finished, and the symposium
began (Athen. xv. pp. 685, 669; Plut;
3.1, 1; V. Max.
). Guests crowned with
flowers are frequently depicted in the drinking scenes on ancient
vases. The practice was borrowed by the Romans from the Greeks, and
was already usual in the second Punic war: but it was considered a
mark of luxury; and when anyone was seen in public, even
accidentally, crowned with flowers, he was severely punished. (Plin. Nat. 21.8
.) At first woollen
fillets were only used, tied round the head, to prevent
intoxication, but afterwards crowns of leaves and flowers,
especially the myrtle and the rose (Plin. ib. § 3). The
Greeks also believed that crowns of flowers likewise mitigated the
effects of wine. (Athen. xv. pp. 674, 675; Plut.
3.1.) On the various kinds of flowers,
especially roses, used for convivial crowns, and the luxury
attending them, see above, p. 545. The rose was used as synonymous
with, or to indicate, the comissatio.
Thus Cicero says (de Fin.
in rosa potare;
and Martial (10.19
cum regnat rosa, cum
also (3.68, 5) deposito post
vina rosasque pudore.
Unguents or perfumes were
introduced with the flowers (Sen. de Ir.
; Mart. 10.19
), and sometimes, as a special honour, crowns were
Guests crowned in a Symposium. (From a painting on a
dedicated with lemnisci
pendent ribbons, like the triumphal crowns already mentioned (p.
546). (plaut. Pseud.
5.1, 21; Capitol.
5.) In ancient times each guest brought his own
crown (Ov. Fast. 1.403
subsequently the crowns were provided by the host. The guests not
only wore crowns upon their heads, but also garlands round their
necks, called ὑποθυμίδες
), so that
they might enjoy the scent. Thus Verres is represented as wearing
one garland on his head, and another round his neck (Cic. Ver. 5.11, 27
). The garlands round the neck, as
well as on the head, are mentioned in other passages (Hor. Sat.
2.3, 256; Catull. 7.51; Ov. Fast.
The god Hymenaeus with a nuptial crown.
739). Among the extravagances in the house of Trimalchio we are told
that the legs, feet, and ankles of the guests were bound with
flowers (Petron. 70). (On convivial crowns, see
Both the bride and bridegroom among the Greeks and Romans wore crowns
869; cf. Aves,
159), and are often so represented on ancient vases. Those who were
present at the marriage also wore crowns; and the doors of the
bridegroom as well as the bridal bed were also decorated with
garlands (στέφος γαμήλιον,
1.88; Lucian. Dial.
2.3; Plut. Amat.
55; Catull. 64.294; Juv. 6.51
; Lucan 2.358
; Stat. Silv. 1.2
4.100.26.) Among the Romans the verbena
and other plants, of which the
bridal crown was composed, were plucked by the bride herself. (Fest.
p. 63, M.; cf. Catull. 61.7.)
the chaplet suspended over the door of the vestibule of the house in
which a child was born (Juv. 9.85
Athens, when the infant was male, the chaplet was made of olive;
when female, of wool (Hesych. s. v.
). (Paschalius, de Coronis,
Paris, 1610; Garcke, de Horatii Corollis,
Altenburg, 1860; the
works of Becker-Göll, Hermann, Blümner, Marquardt,
referred to above; Daremberg and Saglio, s. v.)