Ancient Crowns: (left to right) Assyrian (Sennacherib), Assyrian (Sardanapalus III), Syrian (Tigrames), Assyrian (Nineveh), Persian (Persepolis). From www.bible-history.com/sketches/ancient/crowns.html
There is an interesting passage, of many, in Matthew Brown’s study of the temple, The Gate of Heaven, that caught my attention with regard to ancient crowns:
It is not known exactly what type of crown was worn by the Israelite kings, but we do know that the high priest of the temple wore a crown of pure gold. A single cord, string, or line (pathil) was used to secure the golden crown of the high priest onto the front of his white linen headress (see Exodus 28:36-38; Leviticus 8:9). This particular cord was dyed blue (see Exodus 28:36-37), suggesting by its color that it was symbolic or royal or heavenly status. It is presumed that this cord was tied off at the back of the head and its excess end or ends hung down freely. Perhaps a parallel can be seen in the long, decorated ribbons or lappets that are so often depicted hanging from the back or sides of the crowns that were worn by the ancient kings of Assyria, Egypt, and other Near Eastern nations. ((Matthew Brown, The Gate of Heaven, 129.))
Brown adds a detail about these crowns in a fascinating note taken from Spencer J. Palmer’s book Deity and Death:
The kings of India participated in a ceremony called the rajasuya in order that they might obtain access to heaven. “The rajasuya is without doubt an ascension ritually accomplished. The very first element of it is the prayaniya, a term which translates into ‘ascension’ . . . The king is clothed in sacred garments (‘The garment is connected with all the gods,’ says an ancient text); the garments are said to be marked in special ways, representative of the ceremony undertaken by the king. The garment consists of several parts, one of which is worn on the head (Widengren’s crown), the ends of which are tied into the upper garment. Throughout the ritual the king is called by the name of the various gods whom he is impersonating. He is taken back into primordial time and performs the same functions symbolically which the gods and the first king did at that time, by virtue of which they obtained heaven…” ((Matthew Brown, The Gate of Heaven, 151-152.))
I was curious what a “lappet” was. Wikipedia’s definition:
A lappet is a decorative flap or fold in a ceremonial headdress or garment… They remain strongly associated with religion. A bishop’s mitre has two lappets (infulæ) sewn to the back of it. The most famous usage of lappets occurs on the Papal Tiara.