To the Greeks the τιάρα
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
: 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
; Strabo xv. p.734
). The only
reference to the shape of the τιάρα
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
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
Aristophanes, referring to it under the name κυρβασίαν ὀρθήν
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.
) 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.
111) calls a κουκούλιον
) worn by children, a tia/ra.
The Scholiast on Plat. Rep.
8.553 tells us
that the proper name for the upright τιάρα
), 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
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.
and Serv. ad loc.;
). It is interesting to note on a
South Italian vase-painting (Baumeister, Denkmäler,
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.
23.258), and the Church writers used it for a bishop's mitre (cf. Hieron.
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