Roman crowns were awarded as recognition of particular acts of valor or achievement, like modern military medals. A number of them also existed for festive and public events like weddings, funerals or religious purposes.
Ancient Roman crowns were important honorary awards given sparingly. Personal rank and position within society was an important element of being a Roman citizen, so the achievement of a Roman crown brought great personal and family prestige.
The ancient Romans employed crowns as a symbol of glory which was not necessarily reserved for the King, Consuls or Emperors alone. For example, Julius Caesar was awarded the crown of Oak leaves in his youth for the valor he showed in battle.
Examples of Roman crowns
The Laurel leaf “corona Triumphalis”:
The corona Triumphalis was awarded to generals for great victories. They were worn during a military triumph parade. The Laurel leaves from which it was made symbolised the divine influence of the God Apollo.
Roman Crown “Muralis”:
Awarded to soldiers for being the first to breach enemy walls.
Roman Crown “Navalis”:
Awarded for great naval triumphs or to sailors who had shown great valour. It was made of gold and precious stones. The points of the crown were fashioned to look like the battering prows of war ships, known as “Rostrum“.
Ancient Rome crown of oak:
This honorary Rome crown known as “Civica” was awarded to soldiers or citizens who had saved the life of a comrade in battle. It was made of oak sprigs. Julius Caesar is said to have been awarded it in his youth.
Roman crown of grass “Graminea” or “Obsidionalis”
The Roman crown “Graminea” was awarded to generals for breaking a siege. It was made of wild grass taken from the site. It might be as highly prized and respected as the Triumphalis because it denoted acts of particular heroism.
Corona Castrensis or “Vallaris”
Awarded to soldiers first breaching an enemy camp with valour.