What Does A Laurel Wreath Crown Symbolize?

The Ancient Greeks bestowed laurel wreaths on winners of the Olympics and lyrical contests. The laurel wreath crown was an Apollo “cult” emblem, and the leaf itself was thought to have spiritual and bodily purifying properties. 

Laurel wreaths were worn on the head or the neck. Laurel wreaths were initially constructed from the branches and leaves of the bay laurel. Butcher’s brooms, cherry laurel, and olive trees were later used to make wreaths.

A Roman laurel wreath crown was later used to celebrate a victorious military commander in Rome.

In today’s post we discuss the laurel wreath crown symbolism and its meaning. With some ancient history thrown in for fun, as per usual. Let’s get on with it then.

How many gold laurel leaf crowns do you need?

What Is The Greek Laurel Wreath Crown?

The laurel wreath emblem is an insignia that arose from the popularity of the laurel wreath crown. The laurel wreath crown was a popular foliage headband in Ancient Greece. The laurel crown is a garland formed of interwoven leaves and branches, as the name indicates.

It was initially manufactured from the bay laurel plant’s leaves (botanical name: Laurus nobilis). These leaves are mildly aromatic and have a smooth and lustrous texture. Other plants’ foliage, such as cherry laurel (botanical name: Prunus laurocerasus) or butcher’s broom (botanical name: Ruscus hypoglossum), was used to form the laurel wreath.

The Laurel Tree – doesn’t look so special, right?

It was given as an award to be worn over the head or around the neck as a symbol of triumph or to remember a significant occasion. For a very long time, the laurel wreath crown and emblem have been extremely important.


The Symbolism Of The Laurel Wreath Crown

Throughout history, the laurel wreath has had many different connotations. Here are a few examples:

A Symbol of Honor and Victory

It was given to athletes, warriors, and Pythian Games champions in ancient Greece and Rome. Great poets were decorated with laurel wreaths throughout the Renaissance period to denote their status as princes among writers. As a result, the laurel wreath, like an Olympic medal or an Oscar, became a symbol of achievement and success.

A Success, Fame, and Prosperity Symbol

When Greek and Roman kings wore laurel wreaths on their heads, it symbolized their position, prestige, and authority. If you see a painting of Julius Caesar, he’s probably wearing a laurel wreath. It was also employed as an emblem of Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire.

Because it was thought that lightning never struck a laurel tree, Roman Emperor Tiberius wore a laurel wreath on his head as protection. In folklore, it is also used to fend off evil and is recognized for its therapeutic benefits.

The Wreath As A Symbol of Hospitality

Did you know that in Greco-Roman culture it was customary for the party host to bestow each guess with a wreath crown made from laurel, olive or other decorative type leaf plant? This signified great hospitality by symbolizing the guest to be “treated as royalty”. Perhaps a tradition we should adopt in our modern cultures?

Symbol of Infamy? Adolf Hitler and The Laurel Wreath Leaf Crown

Did you know that Adolf Hitler and his infamous German Third Reich made significant references to the laurel wreath crown in various propaganda speeches? They also used the laurel leaf crown symbol in many Third Reich symbols such as the Swastika, the German Cross and the German Eagle. 

An old German military belt with Swastika, German Imperial Eagle and Laurel Wreath


Infamous laurel crown quotes by Adolf Hitler include:

Because the more a man works for the future, the less the present can grasp them; the more difficult his battle, and the rarer his triumph. once in a lifetime, success comes to a man, perhaps a faint ray of his future greatness will light upon him in his later years. To be sure, these great individuals are simply the Marathon runners of history, and the laurel wreath of the present barely touches the dying hero’s brow. – Adolf Hitler


German Medal from World War 1 with laurel wreath


In 1939 Hitler used the laurel wreath crown reference to make a wretched and phony please for peace. He rambled for over one hour in Warsaw laying out a ridiculous series of lies and twisted truths to essentially gaslight the Polish (and global) populace. If this sounds familiar, then you’ll understand one of the key manipulation techniques dictators and narcissists like to employ:

“…German soldiers have once more firmly established the right to wear the laurel wreath of which they were meanly deprived in 1918” – Adolf Hitler as reported in TIME Magazine on October 16, 1939.

German Imperial Eagles holding Laurel Leaf Wreaths like this were common. This one on a wall in Munich.

Laurel Leaf Crown Historical Use Cases and Meaning

Many civilizations employ Laurel leaf, sometimes known as bay leaf, in their food. Aside from that, people give laurel leaves as gifts because they are a sign of success, renown, money, and prosperity.

As Protection

As a result, certain Roman emperors, like Tiberius, wore a laurel crown on their heads as an auspicious symbol of protection. A laurel leaf represented not just protection from natural disasters, but also protection from unexpected threats. These threats were certainly abundant for every Roman Emperor.

Bust Statue of Roman Emperor Tiberius wearing Laurel Leaf Crown

Many civilizations see the laurel plant as a holy plant that keeps evil spirits at bay. That is why many individuals have a laurel tree planted in their yards and dried laurel leaves in their kitchens.


For Purity

The Laurel leaf is also a symbol of purity. Many civilizations employ laurel leaves to cleanse an area and expel any negative energy and evil spirits. Folklore contains the cultural background for something. In legend, after slaying the Python, Apollo cleanses himself with a laurel. 

Apollo presumably playing soothing tunes to himself after the battle and laurel cleanse?

It was thought that doing so would shield him from the bad spirits of the beast and other mankind.

As a result, many people employ laurel leaves in their purification rituals.

The famous marble copy of the original Bronze Apollo Belvedere statue


An Award

Laurel wreaths were presented to persons for significant achievements in many ancient customs and civilizations. In the inaugural modern-day Olympics, the second-place finisher received a laurel branch and a copper medal. Even now, the Olympic medals feature laurel wreath designs etched on them.

The Olympic Laurel is a unique honor given to athletes who have made great contributions to humanity and peace via sport in the contemporary Olympics.

Have you received a medal like this old wrestling gold medal with laurel leaf emblem?

What Does the Laurel Leaf Crown Mean as a Gift?

Graduation from college or university is a crucial life event for everyone. Many people begin to work and live on their own after graduation. That is why they are presented with laurel wreaths to wish them success in the future.

You can send a laurel leaf to a loved one who is departing to explore new chances. This might be a sign of good fortune. When someone walks away from you to pursue something new, something they enjoy, you should encourage them. You are wishing for a better future for them by giving them a laurel leaf.

Giving a laurel crown to your lover on your anniversary might reflect your solid relationship. A solid relationship is essential for spouses. There will always be struggles. This is where your strong love link and connection can assist you to get through any difficult conditions.

If you and your lover have a strong link, just enjoy it and treasure the sense of love. Perhaps a nice romantic dinner with you both proudly wearing laurel wreaths?

Giving a laurel leaf crown to someone who is going through a difficult moment will help them draw much-needed good energy. This can assist them to motivate and improve things.


 This concludes our discussion of the Laurel Wreath Crown symbolism. If you enjoyed it, you’ll probably like our broader discussion on Laurel Wreath Meaning, Laurel (Greek And Roman), and Tattoo Ideas. Thank you for visiting.

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