Liddel and Scott define ‘πόλος’, a polos as ‘a head-dress worn by goddesses.’ This is probably because the head-dress was no longer worn in classical times, but it still existed on many statues of goddesses. But there are few classical images with a polos. The caryatids on the Erechtheon in Athens do have poloi which they use to hold up the porch. The word ‘polos’, means ‘axis’ from Indo-European ‘kwel-1’, ‘To revolve, move around, sojurn, dwell’.
Poloi are more common in Mycenaean art. Many of the terracotta figurines from late Helladic IIIA Mycenaean period ca.1400–1300 B.C seem to wear poloi. Many of them look simply like baskets. But the nature of their material is not clear. Baskets would be woven of wood but poloi could also be woven of other fibers including wool or linen. They are not probably made of metal as there are none found in archeological remains. There is considerable range of shapes included as depicted in the following images.
Something seems to cascade down from the top of the polos, perhaps hair
The polos sometimes seems like just a ring.
The polos can look like a drum hat
A pad under a pot on the head looks like a polos
The use of poloi with caryatids suggests another aspect. Some of the poloi seem like the pads that many women have worn when they carry jugs on their head.
The crown worn by the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti in a number of her images is quite similar to a polos.
- Archaic statuette of a GODDESS wearing polos and jewelry. Terracotta. Southern Italian Greek, 6th-5th century BCE (56.85)
- Goddess head with polos. From the area of the Cult centre on the acropolis at Mycenae. 13th cent. BC. National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
- The Caryatid. Statues of young women with Polos and Peplos. Caryatids supported the roof of Erechtheion. Now are at the Acropolis Museum except one who is at British Museum-London. .
Dated to 420 B.C
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