Tuesday, October 23
Tiara, Tiara, who's got the Tiara?
The heraldic readers of the blog will remember the controversy that surrounded Benedict's apparent decision to not use the tiara as one of the external ornaments of his personal arms, as well as the tiara's subsequent re-appearance in the Vatican flowerbed design version of Benedict's arms, as well as on the Swiss Guard flag and a few other spots, though the tribanded mitre has shown up on papal tapestries afterwards.
An additional wrinkle to the situation has been added by this notice posted up on San Gregorio dei Muratori, hardly official but interesting nonetheless. It shows a sort of tiara resembling nothing so much as the camelaucum worn by early popes, not unlike another suggestion of a group of heraldists to replace the curious (and confusing) tribanded mitre when the design was first circulated.
I believe their proposal included the three bands as well, as opposed to the single ornamented circlet here. I was a bit skeptical of this suggestion at first but the representation here is not without its charm, though it is different from both It serves to indicate he is more than a bishop, though given it differs from the received practice and the (somewhat curious) form Benedict currently favors it may confuse things further. I imagine this is wholly unofficial, but has anyone seen this variant form elsewhere in the Eternal City?