In the famous Alexander Mosaic found in Pompeii, Darius is wearing some form of head covering, it appears to just be cloth wrapped around his head. What is the hat called? I can't find any information on it. Was this common combat attire, or just artistic?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


From this website http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/clothing-ii , in a section concerning historical clothing it goes into length on several styles of headgear. This style falls under the designation 'tiara'.

In any event, the tiara had a top like a hood, often lined inside with luxurious animal fur. Ordinarily it was worn flat, either pressed down in front to form three knobs or falling in folds on either side. Only the great king had the right to wear his tiara (kyrbasía) “upright,” that is, with the top erect, presumably held by inner retainers (Xenophon, Anabasis 2.5.23; Arrian, Anabasis 3.25.3; Plutarch, Artaxerxes 26, 28; idem, Themistocles 29). (emphasis mine)

from the mosaic:

Closeup of Darius

and a normal 'tiara' from the above mentioned web page shown in 'flat' style:

enter image description here

  • Remarkably similar to the Papal Tiara, although I don't know if this is mere coincidence.
    – TheHonRose
    Feb 27, 2019 at 15:16

It looks like a padded coif:


padded coif
(source: tripod.com)

OT aside: you might also find this Youtube video from Lindeybeige on mail coifs interesting.

  • @user2448131's answer seems better, however, I wouldn't be surprised if the coif were derived from the Persian tiara.
    – tox123
    Sep 17, 2016 at 1:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.