The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Corolla – Corona


From which lines we learn the distinction between the cornu and lituus, as from Ovid (Metam. i. 98) we learn that between the tuba, and carnu

" Non tuba directi, non aeris cornna flexi."

The following woodcut, taken from Bartholini (De Tibiis, p. 403), illustrates the above account. [B.J.J

COROLLA. [corona.]

CORONA (ffT€(j)avos)9 a crown, that is, a circular ornament of metal, leaves, or flowers, worn by the ancients round the head or neck, and used as a festive as well as funeral decoration, and as a reward of talent, military, or naval prowess, and civil worth. It includes the synonymes of the species, for which it is often used absolutely, <TTe<7>a*/r7, <7Te<£os, (Tre^ayw^a, corolla, septum, a garland or wreath.

Judging from Homer's silence,, it does not ap­pear to have been adopted amongst the Greeks of the heroic ages as a reward of merit, nor as a festive decoration; for it is not mentioned amongst the luxuries of the delicate Phaeacianjg, nor of the suitors. But a golden crown decorates the head of Venus in the hymn to that goddess (1 and 7)-.

Its first introduction as an honorary reward is attributable to the athletic games, in some of which it was bestowed as a prize upon the victor (Plin.. ff. N. xv. 39 ; Pindar. Qlymp. iv. 36),. from whence it was adopted in the Roman cireus. It was the only one contended for by the Spartans in their gymnastic contests, and was worn by them when going to battle.

The Romans refined upon the practice of the Greeks, and invented a great variety of crowns formed of different materials, each with a separate-appellation and appropriated to a particular purpose.. We proceed to enumerate these and their proper­ties, including in the same detail an account of the corresponding ones, where any, in Greece.

I. corona obsidiqnalis. Among the honorary crowns bestowed by the Romans for military achievements, the most difficult of attainment, and the one which conferred the highest honour, was the corona obsidionalis., presented by a beleaguered army after its liberation to the general who broke up the siege. It was made of grass, or weeds and wild flowers (Plin. H. N. xxii. 7), thence called corona graminea (Plin. H. N. xxii. 4), and grami-nea obsidionalis (Liv. vii. 37), gathered from the spot on which the beleaguered army had been enclosed (Plin. /. c. ; Aul. Gell. v. 6 ; Pestus, s. v. Obsidionalis) ; in allusion to a custom of the early ages, in which the vanquished party in a con­test of strength or agility plucked a handful of grass from the meadow where the struggle took place, and gave it to his opponent as a token of victory.


(Aul. Gell. v. 6 ; Plin. H. N. xxii. 4 ; Festus, s. v. Obsidionalis ; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. viii. 128.) A list of the few Romans who gained this honour is given by Pliny (H. N. xxii. 4, 5). A repre­sentation of the corona graminea is introduced in the annexed woodcut. (Guichard, De Antiquis Triumphis, p. 268 ; compare Hardouln, ad Plin. H. N. x. 68).

II. corona civica, the second in honour and importance (?lin, H. N. xvi. 3), was presented to the soldier who had preserved the life of a Roman citizen in battle (Aul. Gell. v. 6), and therefore accompanied with the inscription Ob civem servatum (Senec. Clem. i. 26). It was originally made of the ilex., afterwards of the aesculus, and finally of the quevcus (Plin. H. N. xvi. 5), three different sorts of oak, the reason for which choice is ex­plained by Plutarch (Qmest. Rom. p. 151, ed» Reisk..). It is represented! in the next woodcuf

As the possession of this crown was so high an honour, its attainment was restricted by very severe regulations (Plin. H. N. xvi. 5), so that the following combinations must have been satis­fied before a claim was allowed : — To have pre­served the life of a Roman citizen in battle, slain his opponent, and maintained the ground on which the action took place. The testimony of a third party was not admissible ; the person rescued must himself proclaim the fact, which increased the difficulty of attainment, as the Roman soldier was commonly unwilling to acknowledge his obli­gation to the prowess of a comrade, and to show


4 ' ' .*

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of