The Armenian Crown, Tiara

The Armenian Crown, TiaraThe precursor of the royal headgear more commonly known as a fwas a browband called “diadem”. Diadems have been worn by the emperors of Near Eastern states. Roman Emperor Constantine I (272 AD – 337 AD) was the first to adopt the diadem, and every subsequent ruler of the Roman Empire would wear it. The crown that we now know from European monarchs have been based on the diadem.

While Armenian kings are known to have been wearing a diadem at some point, the most iconic ancient Armenian royal headgear was the Armenian Tiara. This headgear’s depiction reached our time thanks to ancient artworks, coins dedicated to Armenian kings, and murals. In fact, the Tiara has been so closely associated with Armenia that after its conquest, Romans would depict the Armenian Tiara as a symbol of Armenia itself.

It should be noted that apart from the Tiara, the Romans also considered the bow and arrow as symbols of Armenia. Armenians have been known as excellent bowmen in antiquity. The legend of Hayk, the progenitor of Armenians who defeated the Babylonian King Bel by shooting an arrow through his eye, demonstrates the Armenian affinity with that weapon.

Ancient Roman playwriter Titus Maccius Plautus (254 – 184 BC) wrote that the Tiara was a headdress with a large, high crown that covered the ears of the wearer. The Tiara was especially worn by the Armenians, Persians, and Parthians.

Below, you can see several examples of the Armenian Tiara from historical accounts.

Mark Antony Denarius Silver, 37 BC. In memory of the victory over Armenia. Head of Antony on the left. Armenian tiara symbol of Armenia on the right. On the backdrop bow and arrow another symbols of Armenia
Silver coin of the famous Armenian king Tigranes the Great (140 – 55 BC) showing a depiction of the royal Armenian Tiara
Silver coin of Augustus circa 19-18 BC, in celebration of the victory over Armenia. On the right ARMENIA CAPTA, Armenian Tiara and bow case with quiver.
Stone head with Armenian tiara, ca. first century A.D., from Dvin, Sardarapat Museum. Photo: Dickran Kouymjian

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