The splendid emerald at the summit, which was engraved with the arms of Gregory XIII., was restored by Napoleon and now adorns another papal tiara at Rome.
The papal tiara (a Greek word, of Persian origin, for a form of ancient Persian popular head-dress, standing high erect, and worn encircled by a diadem by the kings), the triple crown worn by the popes, has taken various forms since the 9th century.
On a Persian intaglio are two sphinxes face to face, each wearing a tiara and guarding a sacred plant which is seen between them; but the sphinx, whether of the Egyptian or the Assyrian type, is not found in Persian sculptures (Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Persia, Eng.
Deposed, the cardinals assembled in conclave thought they could not do better than crown with the tiara this cosmopolitan prelate, who had an equal mastery of the Latin and Greek languages, and was renowned not only for his learning in theology but for his affability (June 26, 1409).
A little before this Gregory V., at the end of 996, had been compelled to flee from' the city; and the wily and ambitious Greek had now no scruple in accepting the papal tiara from the hands of Crescentius.
On returning to Rome, he was cordially received by the newly elected pontiff Nicolas IV., who gave him communion on Palm Sunday, 1288, allowed him to celebrate his own Eucharist in the capital of Latin Christendom, commissioned him to visit the Christians of the East, and entrusted to him the tiara which he presented to Mar Yaballaha.
His original name was Octavian, but when he assumed the papal tiara as successor to Agapetus II., he adopted the apostolic name of John, the first example, it is said, of the custom of altering the surname in connexion with elevation to the papal chair.
In 1440 Aleman obtained the support of the emperor Sigismund and of the duke of Milan to his views, and proclaiming the deposition of Pope Eugenius IV., placed the tiara upon the head of Amadeus VIII., duke of Savoy (henceforward known as antipope Felix V.).
Of Supplinburg, yielded to the papacy, and Lothair, who was elected by the clergy keenest to disavow the policy of Paschal II., was obliged to continue it when he assumed the tiara under the name of Calixtus II.
Cardinal Giulio de' Medeci, the cousin of that pope, had already exercised a decisive influence upon Catholic policy; and the tiara now fell to his lot.