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A fillet was originally worn in classical antiquity, especially in cultures of the Mediterranean, Levant and Persia, including Hellenic culture. At that time, a fillet was a very narrow band of cloth, leather or some form of garland, frequently worn by athletes. It was also worn as a sign of royalty and became symbolized in later ages as a metallic ring which was a stylized band of cloth. Greeks called it Diadema (διάδημα) and although most Roman Emperors didn't wear it, after Caesar refused it when offered him by Antonius, except in a few cases, Constantine the Great adopted the Greek emblem of royalty. Before the diadem was worn by the Roman emperors as a symbol of sovereignty, it was used as a head-dress by Roman women.[1]

Later, in medieval times, a fillet was a type of headband worn by unmarried women, in certain monk hoods, usually with a wimple or barbette.[2] This is indicated in the sign language of said monks (who took oaths of silence), wherein a sweeping motion across the brow, in the shape of a fillet, indicated an unmarried woman.[2]


See also


  1. ^ Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898), Diadema
  2. ^ a b Netherton, Robin; Gale R. Owen-Crocker (2005). Medieval Clothing and Textiles. Boydell & Brewer. p. 49. ISBN 9781843831235. Retrieved 2010-12-27.