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A crown ( Latin corona , 'the wreath'; Greek κορώνα , 'wreath', 'crown') is a precious head ornament, mostly made of gold and precious stones, of predominantly Christian- Western rulers: it is an expression of their power and dignity as well as a symbol of their rule over a particular people or territory. Therefore, “the crown” is also used as a synonym for a kingship or empire endowed with state dignity.

Imperial crown in the Vienna treasury

Historical precursors

Wearing crowns came into use in the ancient Orient . As early as ancient Egypt , the Babylonian Empire , Persia and ancient Greece, rulers wore a crown or a royal armband or a diadem . The Persian kings were among the first to wear a closed crown, a tiara . This shape was later adopted by the Byzantine emperors and the popes , who wore a triple crown until 1964.

The Roman emperors used the tiara or the laurel wreath of the emperors as symbols of their power. The rulers of the Germanic peoples wore a helmet or a headband. While the first crowns were still open and thus could not deny their origin in the tiara, since the time of the Carolingians , partially closed crowns, which were vaulted by one or more brackets - the latter have a certain protective effect for the wearer and can be worn probably due to helmets.

The coronation

In the European Middle Ages , the correctly performed coronation with the right crown in the right place conferred by the right, i.e. H. royal crowns ( coronators ) authorized a ruler his legitimacy . In the Holy Roman Empire, for example, the elected king was usually crowned with the imperial crown by the Archbishop of Cologne in Aachen  - from the 16th century in Frankfurt am Main by all spiritual electors . The imperial coronation was carried out - also up to the 16th century - by the Pope in Rome or by a papal legate . The coronation church of the French kings was Reims Cathedral , that of the British kings and queens is Westminster Abbey in London.

Typology of crowns


The carcass, or metal frame, of the Archduke's hat of Emperor Joseph II.

European crowns can be roughly typed on the basis of various external features that can also appear together.

  • If the crown circlet is round, it is a simple crown circlet, if it consists of plates, one speaks of a plate crown.
  • If the hoop is covered with ermine fur , one does not speak of a crown, but of a hat, e.g. B. the Archduke's hat .
  • If lily -shaped or leaf-shaped ornaments protrude above the hoop, one speaks of a lily crown .
  • If there are spikes instead, one speaks of a spiky or heather crown .
  • One speaks of a closed crown when a crown is present, an open crown does not contain a crown.
  • If one or more stirrups are present that span the crown, then it is a stirrup crown
  • If a miter is used in a bow-shaped crown instead of a crown , it is called a miter crown .

Special formats:

The carcass of a crown is the bare framework without precious stones, pearls or other decorations.


  • Crowns, which generally characterize the rule and status of a noble person, are considered to be crowns in the narrower sense and are z. B. called ruler's crown.
  • If a crown is hung over an altar, it is a votive or consecration crown .
  • Both crowns on a real helmet and on a (heraldic) helmet are known as a helmet crown .
  • A crown that is traditionally woven from ears of wheat on the occasion of the harvest is called a harvest crown .
  • Grave crowns are given to rulers as grave goods. In addition, there was also the so-called death crown in customs .
  • The topping-out crown is produced on the occasion of the topping-out ceremony of a building.

Manufacturing and materials, values

For the decoration of the crowns, the goldsmiths used the most valuable and largest gemstones that the client had available to represent the rank and prestige and the corresponding political or military power of the owner. Often individual stones had to be sold after losing power or due to financial bottlenecks, such as the regent . In the historical epochs partly different values ​​existed, so the cross nail in the Iron Crown is its ideally most valuable part. The cast-iron crown of Romania also clearly shows this idea.


As the most important symbol of power, the places where the crowns were kept were always strategically motivated; they were and are particularly fortified and symbolic structures, such as the Tower of London or Trifels Castle . Today most of the crowns are in museums.


Certain crowns are used exclusively by specific wearers. There are different shapes for imperial and royal crowns .

Crowns of Roman-German rulers

Secular Treasury Vienna (190) 2.JPG Imperial Crown The imperial crown has been the crown of kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire since the High Middle Ages . It was a symbol of the rule of the king or emperor, so that a coronation without the imperial insignia was often viewed as illegitimate. The imperial crown is kept in the secular treasury of the Vienna Hofburg .
Ottonian royal crown.jpg Crown of the Essen Madonna / Otto III. The Essen crown belonged to an Ottonian Madonna in the Essen monastery. It is believed that the crown may have been the crown for the coronation of Otto III. could have served. You can still see it in Essen today.
Crown of Empress Kunigunde.JPG Crown of Empress Kunigunde The crown of Empress Kunigunde is a simple crown circlet with rich gemstones that adorned the reliquary of Empress Kunigunde in Bamberg. Today he can be seen in the treasury of the Munich residence .
Crown of Constance of Aragon - Cathedral of Palermo - Italy 2015whiteback.jpg Kamelaukion Frederick II /
Constanze v. Aragon
The Byzantine camel akion was found at the opening of the grave of the Empress Constance of Aragon in the 18th century. It is located in the Cathedral Treasury in Palermo. Because of the jewelry, it is not counted among the grave crowns, but with ruler's crowns worn. It is uncertain whether the crown was originally worn by her or by Frederick II.
Iron crown of Henry VII as King of Italy Henry VII had an iron ring adorned with lobes and precious stones for the Italian royal coronation after the search for the legendary coronation crown of Italy, the Iron Crown, was unsuccessful.
Iron Crown.JPG Lombard crown Longobard Crown in Monza
Norman crown Norman Crown , also called Crown of Apulia, in the Church of S. Nicola in Bari

Grave crowns of Roman-German rulers

Grave crown Konrad 2.jpg Grave crown of Conrad II. The grave crown of Emperor Conrad II from the Salier graves in Speyer Cathedral, today in the Palatinate History Museum (Speyer). Their inscription poses numerous puzzles.
Grave crown Giselas.jpg Grave crown of the Empress Gisela The grave crown of Empress Gisela from the Salier graves in Speyer Cathedral, today in the Palatinate History Museum (Speyer).
Heinrich grave crown 3.jpg Grave crown of Emperor Heinrich III. The grave crown of Emperor Heinrich III. from the Salier graves in Speyer Cathedral , today in the Palatinate History Museum (Speyer).
Heinrich grave crown 4.jpg The grave crown of Emperor Henry IV. The grave crown of Emperor Heinrich IV. From the Salier graves in Speyer Cathedral, today in the Palatinate History Museum (Speyer). In addition to the crown, the crown hood is preserved, which is strongly reminiscent of a miter due to its shape with golden infuln.

House crowns of Roman-German rulers

Hans Burgkmair the Elder  Ä.  005.jpg House crown of Frederick III. The private crown of Frederick III. has been handed down through portraits, the epitaph and a description.
House crown of Maximilian I. The private crown of Maximilian I has been handed down through portraits and a detailed description.
Peter Paul Rubens 119.jpg House crown of Charles V The private crown of Charles V has been handed down through portraits and a detailed description.
Secular treasury Vienna white.jpg House crown of Rudolf II. Rudolf II's private house crown from 1602 was accepted as the Austrian Imperial Crown when the Austrian Empire was proclaimed in 1804.
Imperial house crowns of Charles VII - Munich Residence.JPG House crowns of Charles VII The house crowns of Charles VII were made as private crowns on the occasion of his election and coronation in 1742.

Reliquary crowns of Roman-German rulers

KarlsbusteKrone1.jpg Imperial crown on the Charles reliquary The imperial crown, also known as the royal crown, and the reliquary most likely date back to Charles IV. The bow of the crown is removable.
Reliquary Otto II.jpg Crown of the bust reliquary of Otto II. The so-called crown of Otto II adorned a bust reliquary of Otto II. A detailed sketch is preserved in the Hallescher Heilumsbuch. It has been considered lost since the middle of the 16th century.
Treasury Residenz Muenchen Krone Heinrich II 1270.jpg Crown of the bust reliquary of Henry II. The so-called Crown of Henry II adorned the bust reliquary of the canonized Henry II in Bamberg. Today it is in the treasury of the Munich Residence.


Secular treasury Vienna white.jpg Imperial Crown The Austrian Imperial Crown was made as the house crown of Emperor Rudolf II in 1602 and accepted as the Austrian Imperial Crown in 1804 when the Austrian Empire was proclaimed . When the empire was transformed into the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy, it remained the imperial crown.
Richard Fallenboeck 001.jpg Archduke's hat The Archduke's hat of Austria is in Klosterneuburg Abbey . It is a symbol of the unity of the Austrian hereditary lands. Another archducal hat was made by Maximilian III. Donated for Mariastein Castle near Kufstein in Tyrol. A copy was made for the coronation of Emperor Josef II and is in the treasury of the Vienna Hofburg.
Rain crown fig.  17.png Ducal hat The ducal hat of Styria is located in the Joanneum in the provincial capital Graz. It is a symbol of the Duchy of Styria and adorns the Styrian coat of arms.
Zita magyar királyné.jpg Diamond crown of Empress Elisabeth The diamond crown was made or reworked for the Hungarian royal coronation in 1867 for Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It has been considered lost since 1925.


Crown of St. Wenceslas.svg Wenceslas Crown The Wenceslas Crown is the royal crown of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the

oldest part of the Bohemian coronation insignia.

Secular Treasury Vienna (72) .JPG Elector's hat The elector's hat with the cloak, gloves and scepter of the King of Bohemia in his function as elector is in the Vienna treasury.
WLA lacma Bohemia Articulated Crown 15th century.jpg Articulation crown Bohemia, 15th century, metalwork, silver gilt, pearls, glass paste, Height: 4 ⅛ inches (10.48 cm), diameter: 6 inches (15.24 cm), Gift of the Judas Collection (M.84.200),

exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art


Armory-flickr09.jpg The cap of Monomakh, the Muscovite Tsar's hat, was the coronation insignia of all crowned Grand Dukes of Moscow and Tsars from Dmitri Donskoy to Peter the Great.
RussianRegalia.jpg The Tsar's Crown was the official crown of the Russian Tsars. It is now in the treasury of the Moscow Kremlin .
The Polish crown of Tsarina Anna

Crowns of other rulers

Medieval Crown of Bulgaria.jpg The medieval crown of the Second Bulgarian Empire . It is kept in the National Historical Museum in Sofia.
Imperial State Crown2.JPG The Edwardian Crown and Imperial State Crown is the oldest of the British Royal Crowns and part of the British Crown Jewels. It is kept in the Tower of London.
Iron Crown.JPG The Iron Crown is the royal crown of the Longobards . Inside there is an iron circlet that is said to have been made from a nail from the cross of Christ .
Royal crown of Sweden.jpg The Erik crown of the Swedish king Erik XIV. Is a tradition crown, which has lost as Krönungsinsignie in importance and is only used as an exhibit.
Steel Crown of Romania.svg The Steel Crown of the Kingdom of Romania was made from a cast steel cannon captured by the Romanian army in the Romanian War of Independence .
Crown, Sword and Globus Cruciger of Hungary2.jpg The Crown of St. Stephen of the Kingdom of Hungary was the crown of the lands of St. Stephen's Crown .
Tiara.png The tiara is the extra-liturgical crown worn by the Pope on solemn occasions, later with a triple crown circlet. There are several versions made for different popes.
Treasury of Munich Residence Crown of the Kingdom of Bavaria2.jpg The crown of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the crown of the Bavarian queen were made on the occasion of the uprising of Bavaria in 1806.
Treasury Residenz Muenchen crown of an english queen 1370.jpg The Palatinate Crown or Bohemian Crown is the oldest surviving English crown and came into the possession of the House of Wittelsbach as a dowry of the Countess Palatine Blanca of England (1392–1409) .
Crown of Friedrich Ludwig as Prince of Wales.jpg The crown of Friedrich Ludwig, Prince of Wales
Imperial Empress Crown 2.png The crown of Empress Farah Pahlavi
Korona sredzka.jpg The presumed crown of the Blanca Margaret of Valois discovered 1985–1988 in Środa Śląska
ImperialCrownOfIndia2.jpg The Imperial Crown of India Imperial Crown of India , → United KingdomBritish India
The Persian Kiani Crown
Brazilian Imperial Crown2.jpg The Imperial Crown of the Empire of Brazil
Crown of Empress Eugenie.png The crown of the Empress Eugénie
Couronne Louis XV.jpg The royal crown of Louis XV. from France
Württemberg royal crown-MFr-3.jpg The crown of the Kingdom of Württemberg
Corona Prusia-mj2.jpg The Crown of Wilhelm II. Is part of the Prussian Crown Jewels
Secular Treasury Vienna (131) .JPG The crown Stefan Bocskai
Crown of Napoleon I.png The imperial crown of Napoleon I.
The ancient Egyptian Atef crown
Couronne Monomaque - Musée national hongrois.jpg The Byzantine Monomachus Crown
Haakon and Maud 1906.jpg The Crown of the Kingdom of Norway and the Crown of the Queen of Norway
Christian v crown.jpg Denmark crown.jpg The crown of Christian IV. And the newer Absolute crown are part of the Danish Crown Jewels
The Royal Crown of the Kingdom of Scotland is part of the Scottish Crown Jewels
Crown of João VI.png The Crown of Portugal is part of the Portuguese Crown Insignia
Crown of Elizabeth Kotromanic in Zadar.JPG Crown of Queen Elizabeth of Bosnia
Gothic lily crown from Bamberg.JPG Gothic lily crown of Empress Kunigunde
Korona Augusta II Mocnego.JPG The Polish royal crown of Augustus the Strong is part of the coronation regalia (cloak, sword, imperial orb and crown) and was designed by Friedrich himself. The entire regalia is so heavy that it was difficult to survive the ceremony in the Wawel on September 15, 1697, the entire regalia is on display in the armory (Dresden) .
ImperialMexicanCrown1 Crown of the Emperor of Mexico . The Imperial Crown of Mexico was the crown of Emperor Maximilian I (Mexico) . The original crown was destroyed, a copy is still visible to the public. → Empire of Mexico
Golden Crown Replica of King Wanli Crown of the Emperor of China . The photo shows a replica of the crown of Emperor Wanli . → Emperor of China
Spanish Royal Crown 1crop.jpg Crown of the Kingdom of Spain

See also



middle Ages

Religious crowns

Other rulers' crowns

Other 'crowns'


Web links

Wiktionary: Krone  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Crowns  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files