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Old August 21st, 2012, 08:36 AM   #1

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Post When did kings begin to wear crowns?


What is the oldest recorded example of a ruler wearing some kind of headpiece to symbolise his worldly power?
My guess is Egypt with the nemes [
Nemes Nemes
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Old August 21st, 2012, 08:48 AM   #2

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Here is an example from the 18th century BCE but the tradition was likely much older. The guy with the big fancy hat is always the leader right?
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Old August 21st, 2012, 08:49 AM   #3

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Sumerian carvings usually show the King wearing a distinctive headdress(looks like a cap)
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Old August 21st, 2012, 11:36 AM   #4

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Of course it depends on what you mean with the word "crown". Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were used to wear at least one crown and after the unification of the High and Low Egypt they begun to wear two crowns [called "pschent" when together].
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Old August 21st, 2012, 12:14 PM   #5
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Depends on where you live at what time period. In, europe before the Prodestant Reformation, monarchs wore simple gilded bands and diadems to essay their authority given by God via the Catholic Church as bishops would be the ones to place the circlet upon the noble's brow. This piece of headgear began in Achmaemenid Perisa, later adopted by Constantine which -like everything else he adopted- spread all over Europe.

This is the Iron Crown of Lombardy, one of the oldest pieces of royal symbology in Europe and believed to have been used by Constantine himself as a gift from his mother. Makes sense no?

Click the image to open in full size.

As the continent matured however and grew more secular, noble accessories become more ornate in tandem with the growing authority of the King and Queen. Just take a glance at how blue-bloods arrayed themselves in Elizabethan England or the Sun King.

As for a more general reference to the world, you can find crowns and other similar manifestations of royalty on nearly every continent. The oldest example of crowns are the Pharaoh's dual-crown.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 10:29 AM   #6
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Click the image to open in full size.

Amratian/Naqada I, found at Gebelein.

EDIT: I should add that while this is the oldest unambiguous proof of a royal headdress I can think of, I am fairly certain that there are older Sumerian depictions of divine headwear.

Last edited by Sokar Rostau; August 22nd, 2012 at 10:38 AM.
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 11:16 AM   #7

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Two stone vessels found in rich graves at Qustul, in northern Nubia, dating to about 3400-3200 BCE, carved of Nubian stone, show kings sitting in boats and wearing the "White Crown". This crown was once associated only with Egyptian kings. Because these vessels came from Nubia, some archaeologists think these kings may not be Egyptian but very early Nubian rulers. Also shown in these carvings are: a palace front, bound prisoners (suggesting that these scenes commemorate a victory), and a lion in a boat (perhaps symbolizing the king).
Click the image to open in full size.

As early as 3200BC, the kings of Southern Egypt are depicted wearing the "White Crown"

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 02:24 AM   #8
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The first King of England to wear a crown was Athelstan.

He was Alfred the Great's grandson and became King of Wessex in 924. But it was during his reign that, in 927, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms unified to form England, so he became the first King of England, and held that title until he died in 939.

Before Athelstan, Anglo-Saxons kings wore ceremonial helmets instead of crowns.

As a result of this, Athelstan was the first English (and probably British, full stop) monarch to be shown wearing a crown on coinage.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Brunel; August 29th, 2012 at 02:29 AM.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 04:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinoanGoddess View Post
Two stone vessels found in rich graves at Qustul, in northern Nubia, dating to about 3400-3200 BCE, carved of Nubian stone, show kings sitting in boats and wearing the "White Crown". This crown was once associated only with Egyptian kings. Because these vessels came from Nubia, some archaeologists think these kings may not be Egyptian but very early Nubian rulers. Also shown in these carvings are: a palace front, bound prisoners (suggesting that these scenes commemorate a victory), and a lion in a boat (perhaps symbolizing the king).
Click the image to open in full size.

As early as 3200BC, the kings of Southern Egypt are depicted wearing the "White Crown"

Click the image to open in full size.
I don't think that that image is showing the White Crown only, the one on the left looks more like the Red Crown. It's also very interesting to note that, in the lower half of the image, the king with the Red Crown has a royal beard and is holding a flail (at least that's how it's been reconstructed), while the one with the White Crown has neither.

For reference, the Amratian/Naqada I culture that produced the figurine in my earlier post dates to c.4000 - 3500 BCE.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 05:11 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sokar Rostau View Post
I don't think that that image is showing the White Crown only, the one on the left looks more like the Red Crown. It's also very interesting to note that, in the lower half of the image, the king with the Red Crown has a royal beard and is holding a flail (at least that's how it's been reconstructed), while the one with the White Crown has neither.

For reference, the Amratian/Naqada I culture that produced the figurine in my earlier post dates to c.4000 - 3500 BCE.
This is the categorization of the Egyptian Crowns:

Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

Based on the iconography it does look like a white crown, and not a double crown or red crown as it is tall and cononical in shape.

The White Crown - Hedjet
(The Bright One - hdt). The crown of Upper Egypt is a tall white conical crown, known from as early as the Pre-Dynastic Period and is depicted on the Narmer Palette, it is associated with the kingship of the two lands.
Worn by the king to show him as ruler of Upper Egypt.
Click the image to open in full size.

The Red Crown - Deshret
(The Red One - dsrt). The crown of Lower Egypt is a stair like headress suplemented by a wire that ends in a spiral. This crown is also depiceted on the Narmer Palette and is worn by the king to show him as rule of Lower Egypt.
Click the image to open in full size.

The Double Crown - Pschent.
(The Two Powerful Ones - sekhemti) This was the Double Crown of Ancient Egypt and it symbolised the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, it was worn by the king to show him as a ruler of both Upper and Lower Egypt.
Click the image to open in full size.
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