We all have a general idea of what a king’s crown is supposed to look like: a decorative ring with a collection of jewels and protrusions. However, I have come across an interesting challenge. What crown design is fit for an emperor? Since an emperor outranks a king, should a crown be more regal and elaborate than a king’s crown? If so, how should it look like and what design would be worthy of an absolute imperial ruler? I have struggled with these questions for some time while writing my fantasy book. Does anyone have suggestions? If so, feel free to share. Thank you for your cooperation.

4 thoughts on “AN EMPEROR’S CROWN”

  1. “Emperor outranks king” is a bit of an oversimplification. An emperor is just a king of more than one place. Some empires had no “kings” under their emperor. Elizabeth II was both Queen and Empress at the same time, and it wouldn’t make much sense to say she outranked herself.

    In general, I’d guess the only real measure of how nice a crown is supposed to look is the level of resources and craftsmanship the ruler could afford, irrespective of rank. An emperor’s crown is not necessarily going to look all that much different from a neighboring king’s, unless said emperor had access to some particularly rare jewel or metal from one of his colonies (e.g. the Koh-i-Noor falling into the hands of the British after the conquest of the Punjab).

    If we’re talking a king who is acting as a vassal to an emperor, I doubt there would be any fixed rule about how particularly nice the crowns were supposed to look relative to each other – but related to the point about wealth above, if a local king had some transcendentally amazing bit of jewelry, it would probably have been taken from him during the incorporation of his realm.

  2. It depends on the attitudes of the empire and of the emperor, of course, but I’m partial to the trope of having a very high-ranking individual’s insignia (crown, scepter, etc.) be very plain. Sort of an “I don’t have to prove myself to you people” attitude.

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