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TIARA To the Greeks the τιάρα or τιάρας was known only as the head-dress of the Persians. Herodotus, whose information on this point, unlile that of most classical writers, is at first hand, says that it was of soft felt (7.61, τιάρας καλεομένους πίλους ἀπαγέας: cf. 3.12), and was worn by the Persians not only when campaigning, but at the more peaceful occupation of sacrificing (1.132: cf. Serv. ad Aen. 7.247). Later writers add that it was the distinctive dress of the Magi (Paus. 5.27, 6; Strabo xv. p.734). The only reference to the shape of the τιάρα seems to be the comparison of some leather helmets with a knot in the middle of them which Xenophon makes (Anab. 5.4, 13, κράνη σκύτινα κρώβυλον ἔχοντα κατὰ μέσον ἐγγύτατα τιαροειδῆ).

One particular form, however, the upright ριάρα, is often mentioned as being the peculiar badge of the Great King; no one else being allowed to wear it (Xen. Anab. 2.5, 23). Aristophanes, referring to it under the name κυρβασίαν ὀρθήν (Av. 487), compares it to a cock's comb. This comparison enables us to identify it with the head-dress of Darius on the celebrated South Italian Vase-Painting in the Naples Museum. It is evidently highly adorned with jewels (cf. V. Fl. 6.699), though we cannot trace the diadem which sometimes surrounded it (cf. Xen. Cyrop. 8.3, 13, εἶχε (Κῦρος) δὲ καὶ διάδημα περὶ τῇ τιάρᾳ). The tiara which Xerxes in his flight after Salamis gave to the people of Abdera was bedecked with gold (Hdt. 8.120, δωρησάμενος τιήρῃ χρυσοπάστῳ), and was doubtless the kingly form. The ordinary tiara is that worn by the youth who stands behind Darius in the vase-painting, and is a felt cap of the kind familiar to us as the Phrygian cap. It is long and conical, and the point falls forward over the brow of the wearer, and, like the upright form, has lappets at each side of the ear, which could be tied under the chin, so that in late Greek it was used of a hood. Sozomen (H. E. 3.14, p. 111) calls a κουκούλιον (= cucullus) worn by children, a tia/ra. The Scholiast on Plat. Rep. 8.553 tells us that the proper name for the upright τιάρα is κίταρις (or κίδαρις), though he adds that Theophrastus says it is Cypriote, not Persian (τινὲς δὲ καὶ κίταριν λέγουσι τὸ αὐτό: Θεόφραστος δὲ ἐν τῷ περὶ βασιλείας Κυπρίων εἶναι λέγει). Curtius gives a still fuller account of it under the same name, saying that it is bound round with a blue and white band (3.3, 19, “cidarim Persae vocabant regium capitis insigne quod caerulea fascia albo distincta circumibat” ). [p. 2.840]

There has been some discussion as to whether κυρβασία is identical with the τιάρα, or not, but the passage quoted above from Aristophanes and

Tiara. (From a coin of Tigranes, king of Armenia, B.C. 83-69.)

its use in Herodotus (5.49) seem to place it beyond a doubt. The only passage that conflicts with this view is the descripption in Herodotus of the caps of the Sacae, which were upright, stiff, and pointed (7.64, Σάκαι . . . κυρβασίας ἐξ ὀξὺ ἀπιγμένας ὀρθὰς εἶχος πεπηγυίας), Scythians and not Persians, and the word might well be used in describing the felt or sheepskin caps worn by Tartars and other Asiatic tribes down to this day

Tiara. (From a coin of Abgarus, king of Edessa.)

Roman writers all use the word in a loose way, and regard it as being especially a Phrygian head-dress, both of men and women (Juv. 6.516). Thus in Graeco-Roman art it was generally given to Paris, Mithras, and other Asiatic characters; while the kingly tiara falls to the lot of Priam (Verg. A. 7.246 and Serv. ad loc.; Juv. 10.267). It is interesting to note on a South Italian vase-painting (Baumeister, Denkmäler, fig. 792) that Priam, weeping over the dead body of Hector, wears an upright tiara with the “cock's comb.”

Later writers spoke of it as Parthian (Sidonius, Carm. 7.98; 23.258), and the Church writers used it for a bishop's mitre (cf. Hieron. Ep. 64, n. 13; Eucher. Instr. 2, 10). It is needless to say that it had no connexion with the μίτρα known as Asiatic to classical writers. [MITRA]


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