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Category: Ancient Roman Accessories
No one really knows when fans first came into being but we do see them early and can only suspect that they came about even earlier. Some have even survived, a thin gold fan (chased – hammered metal) was found in the grave of Tutankhamen from 1350 BCE, a woven bamboo fan from the 2nd century BCE was found in China, and then there is the fan of Queen Theodolinda made of purple vellum from the 6th century CE. In Ancient Rome fans or flabellum served a few purposes: ceremonial to waft/ignite incense, to beat grain, fan cooking flames, and of course to keep cool… cooler.
In the SCA, we bestow upon those who have gained great skill or insight in the arts and sciences a laurel wreath. As we associate the laurel wreath with wisdom it makes a fitting symbol for a laurel… hopefully. A wreath worn on the head is also the stereotypical look of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as any Halloween store will show you. However, the history of wreaths is far more complex and arcane than some might think. And the laurel wreath was only one of many kinds.