The Phrygian cap is a soft felt or wool conical headdress fitting closely around the head and characterized by a pointed crown that curls forward. It originated in the ancient Phrygia in Anatolia, not exactly known the dating, and is represented in ancient Greek art as the type of headdress worn not only by Phrygians but by all inhabitants of Anatolia and of nations farther east.
This cap also turned into so many other forms including helmets and animal shape crowns. And spread all around the ancient world for centuries. The main problem is that the definition of it is not fully known. It has a great verity and a vast spreading and a long period of existence. Also, the Phrygian cap resembles other caps like the Scythian cap, Tiara, and pileus.
Origins of the Phrygian cap
The ancient Greeks considered the Phrygian cap, just like trousers, to be typically barbaric clothing, and whenever the Greeks depicted Persians, Scythians, or members of other peoples they considered barbarians on vases, wall paintings, or mosaics, they depicted them with it.
The oldest pictures of the Phrygian cap are from the east and reached to us by Achaemenian art in forms of stone carving, coin pictures, metalwork, and painting and from the historical accounts. But due to the major destruction of historical evidence in the middle east and lack of proper and sufficient researches, these pieces of evidence are less known than the westerns.
This cap shows the meaning of sacredness, orientalism, brotherhood, and liberty through its long history and with its various forms. It seems that it can have a mystical and sacred aspect too. That’s the reason why it has a significant presence in myths. The Persian god Mitra is always depicted with a Phrygian cap, as is Mithras, who may be equated with him and revered in the Roman Empire, and the Phrygian Attis. Other oriental deities that are often represented with her are the fertility god Sabazios, the Phrygian moon deity Men, and Iupiter Dolichenus, which is particularly popular with Roman soldiers, and the most important ones the three magi’s in the bible.
- main article: The Inception of the Phrygian Cap