Roman Emperor Nero Crowned Tiridates I Of Armenia

Tiridates I was the King of Armenia beginning in 53 AD and the founder of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia. He reigned from 52-58 AD, then again from 62-88 AD.

The coronation of Tiridates I of Armenia

In 66 AD, the Armenian king Tiridates, who had been unable to overcome Roman and homegrown resistance in his kingdom, traveled to Rome in royal splendor with all his court in order to receive his regal diadem (royal crown) from the hands of the emperor.

For the Romans, the coronation of a foreign king by a Roman emperor took place in the heart of the city, on the Forum. According to Cassius Dio, the Roman people had taken position in the center of the square, dressed in white, carrying branches of laurel, and ordered by rank, surrounded by richly clad soldiers. The tiled roofs of all the neighboring buildings could not, reports Dio, be seen due to the throng of spectators who had climbed onto them.

It was against this backdrop that Nero entered the Forum, wearing a triumphal dress and accompanied by the Roman senate and praetorian guard. He drew towards the speaker’s platform, the rostra, to place himself there, according to Suetonius, surrounded by standards and banners, seated on a sella curulis, the official seat of a Roman magistrate.

Tiridates and his entourage then entered. Following a deferential speech by the king, translated by an ex-praetor, Nero ordered Tiridates to step up to him on the platform, using stairs that had been erected specifically for this purpose, and to place himself at his feet. Nero then removed the tiara from Tiridates’ head and crowned him with the diadem, followed by loud applause and much jubilation.

The ceremony as a whole and the symbolically charged actions of which it was comprised was the result of detailed planning.

When they first met in Naples, for instance, Tiridates had refused to part with his dagger as he was approaching Nero. This problem of the ceremony was solved in that he carried the dagger, which had, however, been secured in its sheath with nails.

The date of the coronation itself, which had been fixed by edict was postponed owing to misty weather to create the best possible circumstances for this unusual event.


Politics and Society in Imperial Rome. Aloys Winterling. pp. 9 -10. ISBN: 978-1-4051-7969-0.