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A crown is often an emblem of the monarchy, a monarch's government, or items endorsed by it. The word itself is used, particularly in Commonwealth countries, as an abstract name for the monarchy itself, as distinct from the individual who inhabits it see The Crown.
A specific type of crown or coronet for lower ranks of peerage is employed in heraldry under strict rules.
Indeed, some monarchies never had a physical crown, just a heraldic representation, as in the constitutional kingdom of Belgium, where no coronation ever took place; the royal installation is done by a solemn oath in parliament, wearing a military uniform: Three distinct categories of crowns exist in those monarchies that use crowns or state regalia.
Crowns or similar headgear, as worn by nobility and other high-ranking people below the ruler, is in English often called a coronet ; However, in many languages, this distinction is not made and the same word is used for both types of headgear e.
In some of these languages the term "rank crown" rangkroon, etc. In Classical antiquity , the crown corona that was sometimes awarded to people other than rulers, such as triumphal military generals or athletes , was actually a wreath or chaplet, or ribbon-like diadem.
The precursor to the crown was the browband called the diadem , which had been worn by the Achaemenid Persian emperors. It was adopted by Constantine I and was worn by all subsequent rulers of the later Roman Empire.
Numerous crowns of various forms were used in antiquity, such as the Hedjet , Deshret , Pschent double crown and Khepresh of Pharaonic Egypt.
The Pharaohs of Egypt also wore the diadem, which was associated with solar cults, an association which was not completely lost, as it was later revived under the Roman Emperor Augustus.
The corona radiata , the " radiant crown " known best on the Statue of Liberty , and perhaps worn by the Helios that was the Colossus of Rhodes , was worn by Roman emperors as part of the cult of Sol Invictus prior to the Roman Empire 's conversion to Christianity.
Perhaps the oldest extant Christian crown in Europe is the Iron Crown of Lombardy , of Roman and Longobard antiquity, later again used to crown modern Kings of Napoleonic and Austrian Italy, and to represent united Italy after In the Christian tradition of European cultures, where ecclesiastical sanction authenticates monarchic power, when a new monarch ascends the throne, the crown is placed on the new monarch's head by a religious official in a coronation ceremony.
Some, though not all, early Holy Roman Emperors travelled to Rome at some point in their careers to be crowned by the pope. Napoleon , according to legend, surprised Pius VII when he reached out and crowned himself, although in reality this order of ceremony had been pre-arranged see coronation.
Today, only the British Monarchy and Tongan Monarchy , with their anointed and crowned monarchs, continue this tradition, although many monarchies retain a crown as a national symbol.
The French Crown Jewels were sold in on the orders of the Third French Republic , with only a token number, their precious stones replaced by glass, retained for historic reasons and displayed in the Louvre.
Special headgear to designate rulers dates back to pre-history, and is found in many separate civilizations around the globe. Commonly, rare and precious materials are incorporated into the crown, but that is only essential for the notion of crown jewels.
Gold and precious jewels are common in western and oriental crowns. In the Native American civilizations of the Pre-Columbian New World , rare feathers , such as that of the quetzal , often decorated crowns; so too in Polynesia e.
Coronation ceremonies are often combined with other rituals, such as enthronement the throne is as much a symbol of monarchy as the crown and anointing again, a religious sanction, the only defining act in the Biblical tradition of Israel.
In other cultures, no crown is used in the equivalent of coronation, but the head may still be otherwise symbolically adorned; for example, with a royal tikka in the Hindu tradition of India.
Crown of the Essen Cathedral Treasury 11th century. Crown of the Holy Roman Empire 11th century. Medieval Crown of Bulgaria kert in the National history museum of Bulgaria.
Holy Crown of Hungary 12th century. Crown of Eric IX of Sweden 12th century. Crown of Saint Wenceslas ; modern replica shown.
Preserved at British Museum , London. The Great Crown of Victory Thailand. Because one or more crowns, alone or as part of a more elaborate design, often appear on coins, several monetary denominations came to be known as 'a crown' see Crown British coin or the equivalent word in the local language, such as krone.
This persists in the case of the national currencies of the Scandinavian countries and the Czech Republic.