Diadem

CULTURE:
Greek
DATE:
7th–6th century BCE
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General Description

From an early period in Greek history, ornamented bands made from sheet gold were worn around the head. These diadems varied from simple gold or silver bands to pieces with stamped and applied decorations. Three pieces in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art illustrate the development of the Greek diadem from the Archaic to the Hellenistic periods: an Archaic gold band with separately made rosettes [1991.75.38], a Classic Greek diadem with an ornamental frieze [1991.75.54], and an elaborate, three-dimensional diadem [1991.75.75] that embodies the Hellenistic style.

This Greek diadem is from the Archaic period. It is composed of a long fillet of thin sheet gold and embossed from the back with large, multipetaled rosettes, one following the other. The edges of the gold band are turned backward slightly. Pierced thread holes at both ends allow the piece to be secured around the head.

Many similar diadems made from thin sheet gold with applied or impressed adornment, have been found in Greek tombs dating to the 6th century BCE and continuing through the Roman period (2nd century BCE). The diadems could have been worn in life at banquets, as victors' prizes in war or athletic competitions, or on religious or civic occasions, but their burial defined a different kind of triumph.

Adapted from

Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 17; 141.

Fun Facts

  • This diadem appears to have been severely crushed at one time, and there are burial accretions on the surface.