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Crowns and Coronets

crown, enamel, iron, circlet, ancient, plates, gold and cap

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CROWNS AND CORONETS. Crowns may be divided into three classes; they may be either emblems of royalty, insignia of office or authority, or decorations of honor. The insignia of royalty adorning the heads of the ancient Eastern kings (Assyrian, Babylonian, etc.), which in English works usually are termed crowns, were ribbons or bands of linen or silk (sometimes of thin gold) worn round the head and passing over the temples. These were the diadema. The cidaris of the ancient Persian monarchs was in the form of the Phrygian cap (our cap of Liberty) later copied for the crowns of the old Doges of Venice. The ancient Greeks' crowns of honor were wreaths made from vegetable growths entwined. The Roman Caesars changed the wreaths as insignia in,o a circlet or ring of metal. Perhaps the earliest of actual crowns, according to present definition of the term, were those of the Nile kings. The pshcnt combination of Upper and Lower Nile kingdoms was a true crown as dif ferentiated from the wreath or cap of honor. (See Fig. 1). In the 10th century we find the Byzantium emperor with a closed crown (arched over).

Historic Crowns.— A number of regal and imperial crowns of old historic interest are still preserved. The Austrian Imperial Crown (Fig. 2) dates back to 1602 (Rudolf II). The Hun garian (Stephan's crown) also belongs to the Austrian Empire's regalia; it dates back to the llth century. The Bohemian crown ("Crown of Wenceslaus") is of the 14th century. The crown of Lombardy or "Iron Crown° dates from the 8th century; it was lost to Austria in 1866, when it was returned to Italy. Most noted of all is the crown of the Holy Roman Empire of Germany.

Descriptions.— The crown of the Holy Ro man Empire is of fine gold. It is in the Hof burg in Vienna, and was used by Pope Leo III in crowning Charlemagne at Saint Peter's, Rome, in 800 A.D. This crown consists of eight flat plates rounded at the top and rivetted to an inner frame of two iron octagonal rings. Four plates are studded with pearls and polished, but uncut, precious stones (most are pierced, show ing they originate from a pre-Christian neck lace probably). The other four plates show gorgeous enamel pictures depicting symbolic and allegoric subjects. The arch (diadem) was added by Conrad III in 1147. It weighs seven pounds. The Saint Stephen's crown, known also as the Corona Sancta or Holy Crown of Hungary (recently used at the coronation of Charles I), was sent (1072) by Michael Ducas, emperor of the Eastern Empire, to Geisa, the lst Dyke of Hungary. Its Byzantine style shows

its origin. King Stephen (canonized as saint on account of Pope Sylvester II giving him the title of "Apostolic King") was crowned with this "Holy Crown." It is preserved in. the castle at Buda-Pesth and consists of a can of gold surrounded by a circlet of six plaques hinged together. The edge of these plaques is surmounted by five arched and four triangular plates of gold open-work, decorated with im brication (scale) pattern, the openings in the metal being filled in with a green enamel (pliane d jour). In the centre, above a plaque, is an arched-shved plate depicting, in enamel, an artistic"Christ enthroned." The plaques form ing the circlet show large polished precious stones set in enamel surroundings and, alter nately, the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, Saints Come, Damian, Demetrius and George, two Greek princes and a king. Two diadems (arches), supporting a plain cross bottone in the apex, are decorated with enamel medallion figures of Saints John, Bartholomew, Thomas, James, Peter and Philip, Paul and Andrew. The cross leans to one side, whether by acci dent or with occult intent is unknown. Three kataseistas (pendant chains) of flat rubies are suspended from the lower edge of the cir clet, two at the sides and one behind after Eastern ancient style. This crown has been used in the cation of over 50 Hun garian kings. T1 Bohemian crown, or crown of ‘Venceslaub,. consists of four plates in fleur-de-lis form fastened together by hinges and studded with uncut precious stones. Two arches support a cross and a cap of crimson velvet lines the inside. It is of Byzantine work manship, The "Iron Crown° or crown of Lom bardy, preserved in the cathedral at Monza, is of uncertain origin. The ancient monarchs of Lombardy were crowned with this "Corona Ferrea," and Napoleon I, with his own hands, crowned himself with this crown. Charlemagne, as king of the Lombards, was inducted with this circlet. Its name is derived from the fact that it contains, in its make-up, a narrow wrought iron band, which tradition says was forged from one of the nails taken from the cross on which our Saviour was crucified. The golden circlet to which the iron band acts as interior frame is composed of six plaques about two and one half inches wide and hinged together. Each plaque has as decoration a setting of jewels surrounded by floral blooms and foliage of chased and enamel work. The diameter of the jewel is but six inches.

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