“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” William Shakspeare
In Pharaonic Upper Egypt a white crown, called the hedjet was worn. The red crown, the deshret, symbolized the pharaoh’s power over Lower Eqypt and after the unification of Eqypt around 3150 BC the two crowns were combined to form the pschent, the double crown.
Both Nekhbet, the goddess of Nekhebet, and Horus, the falcon god of Hierakonpolis, were generally depicted wearing the white crown. The red crown was worn by the god Geb, original ruler of Egypt, Wadjet, the serpent goddess, and Sais, the creator-goddess.
European crowns are inspired by diadems, worn for example by Greek rulers. After Alexander the Great´s death, his empire was torn apart by his generals who wore silk-embroidered ribbons ending in a Herakles knot on their heads as a symbol of their status as rulers. The ribbon was called διάδημ (diadema), from the verb diadeo, meaning “I fasten” or “I bind round”. The silk versions were soon replaced by ones made of gold.
Many Western crowns show an orb topped with a cross (globus cruciger), symbolizing Christ´s power over the world, held in the dominion of an earthly ruler. They are often made of precious materials, such as gold and gemstones.
Crowns in other civilizations, like Native American ones, use rare feathers in their headdresses.
The crown is also a symbol of the Vatican City and the Roman Church. The papal tiara is a crown worn by popes and took a three-tiered from in the 14th century. This three-tiered crown is known as the triple tiara, triple crown or triregnum in Latin. It is not certain what the three layers symbolize. One theory implies it signifies the threefold office of Christ, who is priest, prophet and king. Another explanation suggests the three tiers refer to “father of princes and kings, ruler of the world, vicar of Christ”, words used when a pope was crowned. Yet another interpretation says it is the link to the threefold authority of the Supreme Pontiff: universal pastor (top), universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction (middle) and temporal power (bottom).
1. a decorative object that is shaped like a circle and worn on the head of a king or queen for special ceremonies
2. a similar object worn by someone who is not an actual king or queen
3. a ring of leaves or flowers worn on the head of someone who has won a game, contest, or award (source: Merriam Webster).
Crown, kroon and corona all derive from Latin corona, crown, originally wreath/garland, which is related to Greek korone, meaning anything curved.
Crown in other languages:
Spanish: la corona
Italian: la corona