A petasos or petasus (Greek: πέτασος) is a sun hat of Thessalian origin worn by the ancient Greeks, often in combination with the chlamys cape. It was usually made of wool felt, leather or straw, with a broad, floppy brim. It was worn primarily by farmers and travellers, and was considered characteristic of rural people. As a winged hat, it became the symbol of Hermes, the Greek mythological messenger god (Roman equivalent Mercury).
A type of metal helmet worn by Athenian cavalry was made in the shape of a petasos. Some examples have holes around the outer edge of the brim, presumably so a fabric cover could be attached. These are known from reliefs and vase paintings, with at least one archaeological example found in an Athenian tomb.
Hermes wearing petasos with caduceus
- Nicholas Sekunda, The Ancient Greeks (Osprey Publishing, 1986, 2005), p. 19.
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