white band or fillet used to encircle the head. (V.
.) This ornament was of Oriental origin, and is
frequently represented on the heads of Eastern monarchs. Hence the Greeks
transferred it to their divinities. Its invention is ascribed by Pliny
(Plin. Nat. 7.191
) to “Liber
pater” ; and accordingly on coins and other works of art Dionysus
is represented with a diadema or band on his head, as is shown in the
accompanying coin of the city of Naxos in Sicily. (See also the figure of
Dionysus on p. 356.) In the same way we find on the coins of Bruttii the
heads of Apollo and Hercules wearing the diadema (Eckhel, i. p. 166); : and
Pliny (H. N.
Diadema on head of Dionysus. (Coin of Naxos in Sicily. British.
§ 79) speaks of a statue of Apollo as crowned with a diadema
The diadema was worn by the Assyrian kings. In the earliest monuments only
one band passed round the head-dress of the monarch, but at a later period
two or more were introduced, as in the accompanying figure (Layard,
ii. p. 320). In the same way a blue band
variegated with white spots encircled the tiara or cidaris of the Persian
kings. (Xen. Cyr. 8.3
§ 13; Plut. de Frat. Am.
15; “cidarim Persae vocabant regium capitis
insigne: hoc caerulea fascia albo distincta circumibat,”
; 6.20.4: see drawing under TIARA
) It was adopted by
Diadema on headdress of the Assyrian king. (Kouyunjik.)
Alexander after the conquest of Darius (Justin, 12.3
; Lucian, Dial. Mort.
12, 3), and became the
recognised symbol of royalty. It appears constantly on the coins of the
successors of Alexander in Syria and Egypt (see annexed cuts), and consisted
of a broad white band
Diadema on heads of Seleucus II., king of Syria (left-hand figure),
and of Ptolemaeus II., king of Egypt (right-hand figure). (Coins in
encircling the head, with bands hanging down behind. Its white
colour is frequently mentioned by ancient writers (ταινία λευκὴ περὶ τῷ μετώπῳ,
39; Appian, App. BC
; “candida fascia,”
Suet. Jul. 79
; “albentibus spumis in
Tac. Ann. 6.37
; “vitta albente,”
Sil. Ital. 16.241
). The [p. 1.620]
example of the Diadochi was followed by other Grecian kings,
for though Agathocles did not adopt it (Diod.
), it was worn by subsequent kings of Syracuse. Thus it appears
on the coins of Hieron II., though Eckhel thinks that they were struck after
his death, because it would appear from Livy (24.5
), that it was first adopted by his grandson Hieronymus.
(Eckhel, i. p. 253.)
Diadema on head of Hieron 11. (Coin in British Museum.)
The diadema, as a symbol of royalty (negni insigne,
Cic. Phil. 3.5
), was hateful to the Romans, and was therefore refused by Julius
Caesar, when M. Antonius offered him a laurel crown encircled by a diadem
(Διάδημα στεφάνῳ δάφνης περιπεπλεγμένον,
Plut. Caes. 61
Cic. Phil. 2.3. 4
; Suet. Jul.
). A diadem had been previously placed upon his statue, but was
removed by order of the tribunes (Suet. l.c.;
D. C. 44.9
; Appian, App. BC 2.108
). This diadem, like that of the Grecian kings, is
expressly said to have been a white band (Suet., Appian, ll. cc.
). It is indicative of the feeling of the Romans against
the name of king and the emblem of kingly power, that succeeding emperors,
though they exercised despotic power and assumed the corona radiata
as a mark of divinity [CORONA
p. 550 a
never represented with the diadem on their coins till the time of
Constantine. The mad Caligula thought of assuming the diadem, and turning
into a regnum,
but gave up the idea (Suet.
. Aurel. Vict. Epit.
3 says that Caligula
actually assumed the diadem). Elagabalus also wished to use a jewelled
diadem (Lamprid. Elagab.
23). Aurelius Victor says
35) that Aurelianus was the first emperor who wore
a diadem, but this is not confirmed by coins. It first appears, as we have
already said, on the coins of Constantine, sometimes in a plain form, and
sometimes adorned with precious stones. (Cf. Aurel. Vict. 41 of Constantine,
“caput exornans perpetuo diademate.” ) In the
it is said that Constantinus was
the first who wore the diadem adorned with pearls (Eckhel, vi. p. 80), and
Claudian speaks (de Nupt. Honor.
167) of the diadem inwoven
with heavy pearls gathered in the Erythrean sea. The diadem was regularly
worn by the emperors succeeding Constantine. Thus Julian had a magnificent
diadem adorned with precious stones ( “ambitioso diademate utebatur
lapidum fulgore distincto,”
Amm. Marc. 21.1.4
). The diadem was continually
increased in richness, size, and splendour, till this bandage was at length
converted into the crown which has been for many centuries the badge of
sovereignty in modern Europe (Eckhel, vi. p. 18; viii. pp. 79, 363, 502).
Before the diadem was worn by the Roman emperors as a symbol of sovereignty,
it was used as a head-dress by Roman women. Thus Isidore
19.31) defines the diadema as “ornamentum
capitis matronarum ex auro contextum.” (Becker-Göll,
iii. p. 279; Marquardt,