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A mural crown (Latin: corona muralis) is a crown or headpiece representing city walls or towers. In classical antiquity, it was an emblem of tutelary deities who watched over a city, and among the Romans a military decoration. Later the mural crown developed into a symbol of European heraldry, mostly for cities and towns, and in the 19th and 20th centuries was used in some republican heraldry.
In Hellenistic culture, a mural crown identified tutelary deities such as the goddess Tyche (the embodiment of the fortune of a city, familiar to Romans as Fortuna), and Hestia (the embodiment of the protection of a city, familiar to Romans as Vesta). The high cylindrical polos of Cybele too could be rendered as a mural crown in Hellenistic times, specifically designating the mother goddess as patron of a city.
The mural crown became an ancient Roman military decoration. The corona muralis (Latin for "walled crown") was a golden crown, or a circle of gold intended to resemble a battlement, bestowed upon the soldier who first climbed the wall of a besieged city or fortress to successfully place the standard of the attacking army upon it. The Roman mural crown was made of gold, and decorated with turrets, as is the heraldic version. As it was among the highest order of military decorations, it was not awarded to a claimant until after a strict investigation. The rostrata mural crown, composed of the rostra indicative of captured ships, was assigned as naval prize to the first in a boarding party, similar to the naval crown.
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