The Phrygian cap or liberty cap is a soft conical cap with the apex bent over, associated in antiquity with several peoples in Eastern Europe and Anatolia, including Phrygia, Dacia, and the Balkans. In early modern Europe it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) slaves of ancient Rome. In artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.
It is used in the coat of arms of certain republics or of republican state institutions in the place where otherwise a crown would be used (in the heraldry of monarchies). It thus came to be identified as a symbol of the republican form of government. A number of national personifications, in particular France's Marianne, are commonly depicted wearing the Phrygian cap.
|20 centime with Marianne on obverse|
|Obverse: Marianne wearing the Phrygian cap of liberty.||Reverse: Face value and French motto: "Liberté, égalité, fraternité".|
|This coin was minted from 1962 to 2001.|
By the 4th century BC (early Hellenistic period) the Phrygian cap was associated with Phrygian Attis, the consort of Cybele, the cult of which had by then become graecified. At around the same time, the cap appears in depictions of the legendary king Midas and other Phrygians in Greek vase-paintings and sculpture. Such images predate the earliest surviving literary references to the cap.
By extension, the Phrygian cap came to be applied to several other non-Greek-speaking peoples ("barbarians" in the classical sense) as well. Most notable of these extended senses of "Phrygian" were the Trojans and other western Anatolian peoples, who in Greek perception were synonymous with the Phrygians, and whose heroes Paris, Aeneas, and Ganymede were all regularly depicted with a Phrygian cap. Other Greek earthenware of antiquity also depict Amazons and so-called "Scythian" archers with Phrygian caps. Although these are military depictions, the headgear is distinguished from "Phrygian helmets" by long ear flaps, and the figures are also identified as "barbarians" by their trousers. The headgear also appears in 2nd-century BC Boeotian Tanagra figurines of an effeminate Eros, and in various 1st-century BC statuary of the Commagene, in eastern Anatolia. Greek representations of Thracians also regularly appear with Phrygian caps, most notably Bendis, the Thracian goddess of the moon and the hunt, and Orpheus, a legendary Thracian poet and musician.
While the Phrygian cap was of wool or soft leather, in pre-Hellenistic times the Greeks had already developed a military helmet that had a similarly characteristic flipped-over tip. These so-called "Phrygian helmets" (named in modern times after the cap) were usually of bronze and in prominent use in Thrace, Dacia, Magna Graecia and the rest of the Hellenistic world from the 5th century BC up to Roman times. Due to their superficial similarity, the cap and helmet are often difficult to distinguish in Greek art (especially in black-figure or red-figure earthenware) unless the headgear is identified as a soft flexible cap by long earflaps or a long neck flap. Also confusingly similar are the depictions of the helmets used by cavalry and light infantry (cf. Peltasts of Thrace and Paeonia), whose headgear – aside from the traditional alopekis caps of fox skin – also included stiff leather helmets in imitation of the bronze ones.
The Greek concept passed to the Romans in its extended sense, and thus encompassed not only to Phrygians or Trojans (which the Romans also generally associated with the term "Phrygian"), but also the other near-neighbours of the Greeks. On Trajan's Column, which commemorated Trajan's epic wars with the Dacians (101–102 and 105–106 AD), the Phrygian cap adorns the heads of Trajan's Dacian prisoners. Parthians appear with Phrygian caps in the 2nd-century Arch of Septimius Severus, which commemorates Roman victories over the Parthian Empire. Likewise with Phrygians caps, but for Gauls, appear in 2nd-century friezes built into the 4th century Arch of Constantine.
The Phrygian cap reappears in figures related to the first to fourth century religion Mithraism. This astrology-centric Roman mystery cult (cultus) projected itself with pseudo-Oriental trappings (known as perserie in scholarship) in order to distinguish itself from both traditional Roman religion and from the other mystery cults. In the artwork of the cult (e.g. in the so-called "tauroctony" cult images), the figures of the god Mithras as well as those of his helpers Cautes and Cautopates are routinely depicted with a Phrygian cap. The function of the Phrygian cap in the cult are unknown, but it is conventionally identified as an accessory of its perserie.
Early Christian art (and continuing well into the Middle Ages) build on the same Greco-Roman perceptions of (Pseudo-)Zoroaster and his "Magi" as experts in the arts of astrology and magic, and routinely depict the "three wise men" (that follow a star) with Phrygian caps.
In late Republican Rome, a soft felt cap called the pileus served as a symbol of freemen (i.e. non-slaves), and was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, thereby granting them not only their personal liberty, but also libertas— freedom as citizens, with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, Brutus and his co-conspirators instrumentalized this symbolism of the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to the (Roman) republican system.
These Roman associations of the pileus with liberty and republicanism were carried forward to the 18th-century, when the pileus was confused with the Phrygian cap, with the Phrygian cap then becoming a symbol of those values.
In 1675, the anti-tax and anti-nobility Stamp-Paper revolt erupted in Brittany and north-western France, where it became known as the bonnets rouges uprising after the blue or red caps worn by the insurgents. Although the insurgents are not known to have preferred any particular style of cap, the name and color stuck as a symbol of revolt against the nobility and establishment. Robespierre would later object to the color, but was ignored.
The use of a Phrygian-style cap as a symbol of revolutionary France is first documented in May 1790, at a festival in Troyes adorning a statue representing the nation, and at Lyon, on a lance carried by the goddess Libertas. To this day the national allegory of France, Marianne, is shown wearing a red Phrygian cap.
By wearing the bonnet rouge and sans-culottes ("without silk breeches"), the Parisian working class made their revolutionary ardor and plebeian solidarity immediately recognizable. By mid-1791, these mocking fashion statements included the bonnet rouge as Parisian hairstyle, proclaimed by the Marquis de Villette (12 July 1791) as "the civic crown of the free man and French regeneration." On 15 July 1792, seeking to suppress the frivolity, François Christophe Kellermann, 1st Duc de Valmy, published an essay in which the Duke sought to establish the bonnet rouge as a sacred symbol that could only be worn by those with merit. The symbolic hairstyle became a rallying point and a way to mock the elaborate wigs of the aristocrats and the red caps of the bishops. On 6 November 1793, the Paris city council declared it the official hairstyle of all its members.
The bonnet rouge on a spear was proposed as a component of the national seal on 22 September 1792 during the third session of the National Convention. Following a suggestion by Gaan Coulon, the Convention decreed that convicts would not be permitted to wear the red cap, as it was consecrated as the badge of citizenship and freedom. In 1792, when Louis XVI was induced to sign a constitution, popular prints of the king were doctored to show him wearing the bonnet rouge. The bust of Voltaire was crowned with the red bonnet of liberty after a performance of his Brutus at the Comédie-Française in March 1792.
During the period of the Reign of Terror (September 1793 – July 1794), the cap was adopted defensively even by those who might be denounced as moderates or aristocrats and were especially keen to advertise their adherence to the new regime. The caps were often knitted by women known as tricoteuses, who sat beside the guillotine during public executions in Paris and supposedly continued knitting in between executions. The spire of Strasbourg Cathedral was crowned with a bonnet rouge in order to prevent it from being torn down in 1794.
In 1814, the Acte de déchéance de l'Empereur decision formally deposed the Bonapartes and restored the Bourbon regime, who in turn proscribed the bonnet rouge, La Marseillaise and Bastille Day celebrations. The symbols reappeared briefly in March–July 1815 during "Napoleon's Hundred Days", but were immediately suppressed again following the second restoration of Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815.
The symbols resurfaced again during the July Revolution of 1830, after which they were reinstated by the liberal July Monarchy of Louis Philippe I, and the revolutionary symbols—anthem, holiday, and bonnet rouge—became "constituent parts of a national heritage consecrated by the state and embraced by the public."
The republican associations with the bonnet rouge were adopted as the name and emblem of a French satirical republican and anarchist periodical published between 1913 and 1922 by Miguel Almereyda that targeted the Action française, a royalist, counter-revolutionary movement on the extreme right.
The anti-tax associations with the bonnet rouge were revived in October 2013, when a French tax-protest movement called the Bonnets Rouges used the red revolution-era Phrygian cap as a protest symbol. By means of large demonstrations and direct action, which included the destruction of many highway tax portals, the movement successfully forced the French government to rescind the tax.
In the 18th century, the cap was often used in English political prints as an attribute of Liberty. In the years just prior to the American Revolutionary War of independence from Great Britain, Americans copied or emulated some of those prints in an attempt to visually defend their inherited liberties as Englishmen. Later, the symbol of republicanism and anti-monarchial sentiment appeared in the United States as headgear of Columbia, who in turn was visualized as a goddess-like female national personification of the United States and of Liberty herself. The cap reappears in association with Columbia in the early years of the republic, for example, on the obverse of the 1785 Immune Columbia pattern coin, which shows the goddess with a helmet seated on a globe holding in a right hand a furled U.S. flag topped by the liberty cap.
Starting in 1793, U.S. coinage frequently showed Columbia/Liberty wearing the cap. The anti-federalist movement likewise instrumentalized the figure, as in a cartoon from 1796 in which Columbia is overwhelmed by a huge American eagle holding a Liberty Pole under its wings. The cap's last appearance on circulating coinage was the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, which was minted through 1947 (and reused on the current bullion American Silver Eagle).
The U.S. Army has, since 1778, utilized a "War Office Seal" in which the motto "This We'll Defend" is displayed directly over a Phrygian cap on an upturned sword. It also appears on the state flags of West Virginia (as part of its official seal), New Jersey, and New York, as well as the official seal of the United States Senate, the state of Iowa, the state of North Carolina (as well as the arms of its Senate,) and on the reverse side of the Seal of Virginia.
In 1854, when sculptor Thomas Crawford was preparing models for sculpture for the United States Capitol, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (a slaveowner and later the President of the Confederate States) insisted that a Phrygian cap not be included on a Statue of Freedom, on the grounds that "American liberty is original and not the liberty of the freed slave". The cap was not included in the final bronze version that is now in the building.
Many of the anti-colonial revolutions in Latin America were heavily inspired by the imagery and slogans of the American and French Revolutions. As a result, the cap has appeared on the coats of arms of many Latin American nations. The coat of arms of Haiti includes a Phrygian cap to commemorate that country's foundation by rebellious slaves.
The cap had also been displayed on certain Mexican coins (most notably the old 8-reales coin) through the late 19th century into the mid-20th century. Today, it is featured on the coats of arms or national flags of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Paraguay.
The Phrygian cap in Latin American coats of arms
Media related to Phrygian caps at Wikimedia CommonsCoat of arms of Argentina
The coat of arms of the Argentine Republic or Argentine shield (Spanish: Escudo de la República Argentina) was established in its current form in 1944, but has its origins in the seal of the General Constituent Assembly of 1813. It is supposed that it was chosen quickly because of the existence of a decree signed on February 22 sealed with the symbol. The first mention of it in a public document dates to March 12 of that same year, in which it is stated that the seal had to be used by the executive power, that is, the second triumvirate.
On April 13 the National Assembly coined the new silver and gold coins, each with the seal of the assembly on the reverse, and on April 27 the coat of arms became a national emblem. Although the coat of arms is not currently shown on flags, the Buenos Aires-born military leader Manuel Belgrano ordered to paint it over the flag he gave to the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, and during the Argentine War of Independence most flags had the coat of arms.Coat of arms of Bolivia
The coat of arms of Bolivia has a central cartouche surrounded by Bolivian flags, muskets, laurel branches, and has an Andean condor on top.Coat of arms of Colombia
The coat of arms of Colombia contains a shield with numerous symbols. Perched on top of the shield is an Andean condor holding an olive crown and the condor symbolizing freedom. The national motto, Libertad y Orden (Spanish for Liberty and Order), is on a scroll in between the bird and the shield in black font over golden background. The condor is depicted as displayed (with his wings extended) and looking to the right.Coat of arms of Cuba
The Cuban coat of arms is the official heraldic symbol of Cuba. It consists of a shield, in front of a fasces crowned by the Phrygian cap, all supported by an oak branch on one side and a laurel wreath on the other. The coat of arms was created by Miguel Teurbe Tolón and was adopted on April 24, 1906.
It is the only coat of arms of a currently socialist country that does not use any communist symbolism.Coat of arms of El Salvador
The coat of arms of El Salvador has been in use in its current form since 15 September 1912.Coat of arms of Haiti
The coat of arms of Haiti was originally introduced in 1807, and has appeared in its current form since 1986.
It shows six draped flags of the country, three on each side, which are located before a palm tree and cannons on a green lawn. On the lawn various items are found, such as a drum, bugles, long guns, and ship anchors. Above the palm tree, there is a Phrygian cap placed as a symbol of freedom. On the lawn between the drum and the ribbon there were supposed to be two pieces of chain with a broken link symbolizing the broken chain of slavery.The ribbon bears the motto: French: L'Union fait la force ("Unity Makes Strength"), which is also the motto of several other countries. This should not be confused with the national motto of Haiti, which according to the Constitution of Haiti is "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
The oldest use of a symbol for Haiti is known since 1807. The symbol shows several national flags, with two cannons and palm trees. The symbol indicates the battle for independence of the republic. The motto, in French, means 'Strength through unity'. The use of the symbol was interrupted twice; once was during the period of Henri I. The then president Henri Christophe declared himself as the Emperor of Haiti and adopted a Royal Coat of Arms. On the yellow shield of the arm there was a phoenix rising from its flames with five-pointed stars around it, and the motto Je renais de mes cendres (I will rise in my ashes) inscribed on a ribbon outlining the shield. Two royally crowned lions supported both sides of the shield, and the motto Dieu ma cause et mon épée (God, my cause and my sword) was placed on another ribbon at the bottom. In 1814 Henri I slightly changed his Royal Arm, the lions were removed and the motto was changed to a Latin one: Ex cineribus nascitur (Reborn from the ashes). Another change occurred in 1849, when President General Faustin Soulouque crowned himself as Emperor Faustin I. He adopted new Imperial arms, showing two cannons and a French imperial eagle. Two lions were again used as supporters and the whole was placed in a purple mantle, with a motto similar to the one Henri I used: Dieu, ma patrie et mon épée (God, my country and my sword). The emperor was forced to leave the country in 1859, and the old symbol was later restored. Ever since the composition has been the same, but the colors and items have changed somewhat.The coat of arms is on the national flag of Haiti, but not on its civil flag.Coat of arms of New York
The coat of arms of the state of New York was formally adopted in 1778, and appears as a component of the state's flag and seal.
The shield displays a masted ship and a sloop on the Hudson River (symbols of inland and foreign commerce), bordered by a grassy shore and a mountain range in the background with the sun rising behind it. The unheraldic nature of the Hudson River landscape reveals the modern origin of the design.
The shield has two supporters:
Left: Liberty, with the Revolutionary imagery of a Phrygian cap raised on a pole. Her left foot treads upon a crown that represents freedom from the British monarchy that once ruled what is now New York as a colony.
Right: Justice, wearing a blindfold (representing impartiality) and holding scales (representing fairness) and the sword of justice.A banner below the shield shows the motto Excelsior, a Latin word meaning "higher", "superior", "lordly", commonly translated as "Ever Upward."
The shield is surmounted by a crest consisting of an eagle surmounting a world globe.
The flag of New York is the coat of arms on a solid blue background and the state seal of New York is the coat of arms surrounded by the words "The Great Seal of the State of New York."Coat of arms of Nicaragua
The Nicaraguan coat of arms was first adopted on August 21, 1823 as the coat of arms of Central America, but underwent several changes during the course of history, until the last version (as of 1999) was introduced in 1971.Flag and seal of Idaho
The seal of the Territory of Idaho was adopted in 1863 and redrawn several times before statehood in 1890. The state Great Seal was designed by Emma Edwards Green, the only woman to design a state seal.
The flag of the state of Idaho consists of the state seal on a field of blue. The words "State of Idaho" appear in gold letters on a red and gold band below the seal. According to the official description of the flag, there should also be a fringe of gold around the edges, but a long time ago the versions of the flag were not shown until they remodeled the flag after War.The seal depicts a miner and a woman representing equality, liberty, and justice. The symbols on the seal represent some of Idaho's natural resources: mines, forests, farmland, and wildlife.
The current seal contains the text "Great Seal of the State of Idaho" in the outer ring, with the star that signifies a new light in the galaxy of states. The inner ring contains a banner with the Latin motto, Esto perpetua ("Let it be perpetual" or "It is forever"). A woman, signifying justice, and a man, dressed as a miner, support a shield. The miner represents the chief industry of the state at the time of statehood.
Inside, the shield bears images symbolic of the state. The pine tree in the foreground refers to Idaho's immense timber interests. The husbandman plowing on the left side of the shield, together with the sheaf of grain beneath the shield, are emblematic of Idaho's agricultural resources, while the two cornucopias, or horns of plenty, refer to the horticultural. Idaho has a game law, which protects the elk and moose, and an elk's head rises above the shield. The state flower, the wild syringa or mock orange, grows at the woman's feet, while the ripened wheat grows as high as her shoulder. The river depicted in the shield is the Snake or Shoshone River.
In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association surveyed its members on the designs of all 72 Canadian provincial, U.S. state and U.S. territorial flags, combined. Idaho finished in the bottom ten, finishing 64th out of the 72.Head of Camille Claudel
Head of Camille Claudel is a polychrome glass paste sculpture by the French artist Auguste Rodin, conceived in 1884 and executed in 1911. It is now in the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City. It shows his studio assistant Camille Claudel in a Phrygian cap.
Claudel, a now-renowned sculptor, studied under Rodin's friend Alfred Boucher and then with Rodin. When Rodin took over Boucher's classes he met Claudel, and took her on as a studio assistant and then as an associate and lover. He produced the head during the early stages of their collaboration.Liberty Cap large cent
The Liberty Cap large cent was a type of large cent struck by the United States Mint from 1793 until 1796, when it was replaced by the Draped Bust large cent. The coin features an image of the goddess of Liberty and her accompanying Phrygian cap.Liberty pole
A liberty pole is a tall wooden pole, often used as a type of flagstaff, planted in the ground, surmounted by a Phrygian cap. The symbol originated in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar by a group of Rome's Senators in 44 BC. Immediately after Caesar was killed, the leaders of the assassination plot went to meet a crowd of Romans at the Roman Forum; a pileus (a kind of skullcap that identified a freed slave) was placed atop a pole to symbolize that the Roman people had been freed from the rule of Caesar, which the assassins claimed had become a tyranny because it overstepped the authority of the Senate and thus betrayed the Republic. In his "Apotheosis of Venice" (1585) Paolo Veronese has the ascendant Venice (depicted as a woman) flanked by several symbolic persons, one of whom represents Liberty, dressed as a peasant hoisting a red Phrygian cap on a spear. During the French revolution, the Roman pileus was confused with the Phrygian cap, and this mis-identification then led to the use of the Phrygian cap as a symbol of liberal democratic republicanism.Marianne
Marianne (pronounced [maʁjan]) is a national symbol of the French Republic, a personification of liberty and reason, and a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty.
Marianne is displayed in many places in France and holds a place of honour in town halls and law courts. She symbolizes the Triumph of the Republic, a bronze sculpture overlooking the Place de la Nation in Paris, and is represented with another Parisian statue in the Place de la République. Her profile stands out on the official government logo of the country, is engraved on French euro coins and appears on French postage stamps; it was also featured on the former franc currency. Marianne is one of the most prominent symbols of the French Republic, and is officially used on most government documents.
Marianne is a significant republican symbol. As a national icon she represents opposition to monarchy and the championship of freedom and democracy against all forms of oppression. Other national symbols of France include the tricolor flag, the national motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, the national anthem "La Marseillaise", the coat of arms, and the official Great Seal of France.Phrygian cap (anatomy)
In medicine, a Phrygian cap is the folded portion of some gallbladders that resembles the Phrygian cap (a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward, associated in antiquity with the inhabitants of Phrygia, a region of central Anatolia). It is a normal anatomical variant seen in 1-6% of patients. It is caused by a fold in the gallbladder where the gallbladder fundus joins the gallbladder body. Apart from the chance of being mistaken for stones on a sonogram, it has no other medical implications nor does it predispose one to other diseases.
However, due to potential decrease in bile flow, it may warrant a preventative removal of the gallbladder.Seal of Iowa
The Great Seal of the State of Iowa was created in 1847 (one year after Iowa became a U.S. state) and depicts a citizen soldier standing in a wheat field surrounded by symbols including farming, mining, and transportation with the Mississippi River in the background. An eagle overhead bears the state motto.Seal of New York
The state seal of New York features the state arms (officially adopted in 1778) surrounded by the words "The Great Seal of the State of New York". A banner below shows the New York State motto Excelsior, Latin for "Ever Upward".
Allegorical figures of Liberty (left) and Justice (right) support the shield and an American eagle spreads its wings above on a world globe. Liberty's left foot treads on a crown, a symbol of freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and holds a staff topped with a Phrygian Cap, a symbol of freedom and the pursuit of liberty. Justice is blindfolded and holds a sword in one hand and a scale in the other, symbolizing impartiality and fairness.
The center shield displays a masted ship and a sloop on the Hudson River (symbols of inland and foreign commerce) bordered by a grassy shore and a mountain range with the sun rising behind it.Seal of North Carolina
The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina was first authorized by the North Carolina Constitution of 1776, created in its first form in 1778, and largely took on its modern form in 1835. According to a state law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in the 19th century:
The Governor shall procure of the State a Seal, which shall be called the great seal of the State of North Carolina, and shall be two and one-quarter inches in diameter, and its design shall be a representation of the figures of Liberty and Plenty, looking toward each other, but not more than half-fronting each other and other-wise disposed as follows: Liberty, the first figure, standing, her pole with a cap on it in her left hand and a scroll with the word "Constitution" inscribed thereon in her right hand. Plenty, the second figure, sitting down, her right arm half extended toward Liberty, three heads of grain in her right hand, and in her left, the small end of her horn, the mouth of which is resting at her feet, and the contents of the horn rolling out.
The background on the seal shall contain a depiction of mountains running from the left to the right to the middle of the seal. A side view of a three-masted ship shall be located on the ocean and to the right of Plenty. The date "May 20, 1775" shall appear within the seal and across the top of the seal and the words "esse quam videri" shall appear at the bottom around the perimeter. No other words, figures or other embellishments shall appear on the seal.
The date of May 20, 1775, refers to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, allegedly the first declaration of independence adopted during the American Revolution.
The motto "Esse quam videri" means "To Be Rather Than To Seem." The "pole with a cap" is a liberty pole.
In 1971, the seal was officially standardized after the state's chief deputy attorney general discovered that there was more than one version in use. In 1983, state Senator Julian R. Allsbrook proposed a revision to the seal to add to the seal the date April 12, 1776, the date of the Halifax Resolves; this revision was approved by the state legislature. These two dates are also on the flag of North Carolina.Seal of West Virginia
The Great Seal of the State of West Virginia was adopted in September 1863. The obverse center of the seal contains a boulder that has been inscribed June 20, 1863, the date West Virginia became a state. In front of the boulder lie two crossed rifles and a liberty cap as a symbol of the state's fight for liberty. The two men on either side of the boulder represent agriculture and industry. On the left stands a farmer with an ax and plow before a cornstalk. On the other side stands a miner with a pickax, and behind him an anvil and sledge hammer. The outer ring contains the text "State of West Virginia" and the state's motto "Montani Semper Liberi", ("Mountaineers are Always Free"; the state nickname is "the Mountain State"). The reverse of the seal, also called the lesser seal, is the official seal of the Governor. Its motto reads "Libertas E Fidelitate" ("Liberty out of Fidelity").
Clothing generally not worn today, except to appear anachronistic