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The bicorne or bicorn (two-cornered/horned or twihorn) is a historical form of hat widely adopted in the 1790s as an item of uniform by European and American military and naval officers. It is now most readily associated with Napoléon Bonaparte but in practice most generals and staff officers of the Napoleonic period wore bicornes, and it survived as a widely worn full-dress headdress until at least 1914.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
An army or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch, service branch or armed service of a nation or state. It may also include aviation assets by possessing an army aviation component. In certain states, the term army refers to the entire armed forces. Within a national military force, the word army may also mean a field army.
A navy or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields. The strategic offensive role of a navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores. The strategic defensive purpose of a navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Naval operations can be broadly divided between riverine and littoral applications, open-ocean applications, and something in between, although these distinctions are more about strategic scope than tactical or operational division.
Descended from the tricorne, the black-coloured bicorne originally had a rather broad brim, with the front and the rear halves turned up and pinned together (in English, the shorter front brim was called "the cock"—hence "cocked hat"—and the longer rear brim was termed "the fan"), forming a semi-circular fan shape; there was usually a cockade in the national colours at the front. Later, the hat became more triangular in shape, its two ends became more pointed, and it was worn with the cockade at the right side. This kind of bicorne eventually became known in the English language as the cocked hat, although to this day it is still known in the French language as the bicorne.
The tricorne or tricorn is a style of hat that was popular during the 18th century, falling out of style by 1800, though actually not called a "tricorne" until the mid-19th century. During the 18th century, hats of this general style were referred to as "cocked hats". At the peak of its popularity, the tricorne varied greatly in style and size, and was worn not only by the aristocracy, but also as common civilian dress, and as part of military and naval uniforms. Typically made from animal fiber, the more expensive being of beaver-hair felt and the less expensive of wool felt, the hat's most distinguishing characteristic was that three sides of the brim were turned up (cocked) and either pinned, laced, or buttoned in place to form a triangle around the crown. The style served two purposes: first, it allowed stylish gentlemen to show off the most current fashions of their wigs, and thus their social status; and secondly, the cocked hat, with its folded brim, was much smaller than other hats and therefore could be more easily tucked under an arm when going inside a building, where social etiquette dictated that a gentleman should remove his hat. Tricornes with laced sides could have the laces loosened and the sides dropped down to provide better protection from the weather, sun, and rain.
A cockade is a knot of ribbons, or other circular- or oval-shaped symbol of distinctive colours which is usually worn on a hat.
National colours are frequently part of a country's set of national symbols.
Worn in the side-to-side "athwart" style during the 1790s, the bicorne was normally seen fore-and-aft in most armies and navies from about 1800 on. This change in style coincided with the flattening out of the pronounced front peak of the original headdress. The French gendarmerie continued to wear their bicornes in the classic side-to-side fashion until about 1904 as do the Italian Carabinieri in their modern full dress.
The Carabinieri are the national gendarmerie of Italy who primarily carry out domestic policing duties. It is one of Italy's main law enforcement agencies, alongside the Polizia di Stato and the Guardia di Finanza. As with the Guardia di Finanza but in contrast to the Polizia di Stato, the Carabinieri are a military force. As the fourth branch of the Italian Armed Forces, they come under the authority of the Ministry of Defence. In practice, there is a significant overlap between the jurisdiction of the Polizia di Stato and Carabinieri, who are contacted on separate emergency telephone numbers. Unlike the Polizia di Stato, the Carabinieri have responsibility for policing the military, and a number of members regularly participate in military missions abroad.
Some forms of bicorne were designed to be folded flat, so that they could be conveniently tucked under the arm when not being worn. A bicorne of this style is also known as a chapeau-bras or chapeau-de-bras.
The bicorne was widely worn until World War I as part of the full dress of officers of most of the world's navies. It survived to a more limited extent between the wars for wear by senior officers in the British, French, US, Japanese and other navies until World War II but has now almost disappeared in this context.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
In addition to its military/naval uses, the bicorne was widely worn during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by civilian officials in European monarchies and Japan, when required to wear uniforms on formal occasions. This practice generally ceased after World War I except in the context of diplomatic uniform. However British colonial governors in temperate climates and governors general in some countries of the Commonwealth (notably Australia, Canada and New Zealand) continued to wear bicornes with ceremonial dress until the second half of the twentieth century.
Diplomatic uniforms are ornate uniforms worn by diplomats—ambassadorial and consular officers—at public occasions. Introduced by European states around 1800 and patterned on court dress, they were abandoned by most countries in the twentieth century, but diplomats from some countries retain them for rare, formal occasions.
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.
By the twentieth century, the term cocked hat had come to be used more often than not in official UK usage (uniform regulations etc.) with reference to this shape of hat (particularly when worn as part of a uniform);however, in the rare instances where hats were directed to be worn side-to-side ('athwarts') rather than front-to-back - e.g. by footmen in full state livery - the term bicorn tended to be preferred.
In its most commonly seen form at this time, the cocked hat was pinned up at two sides to form a hump-back bridge shape and was worn perpendicular to the shoulders, with the front end above the face and the back end over the nape. A cockade in the national colours might be worn at the right side (French tradition) and a plume might be attached to the top (British military c. 1800). Cocked hats were often trimmed with gold or silver bullion lace and tassels. Naval officers wore them without further decorations, but those worn by military and civilian officials might be lavishly decorated with coloured ostrich or swan feathers.
To be knocked into a cocked hat is to be soundly and swiftly defeated.
Members of the Académie française wear the habit vert (green habit) at the Académie's ceremonies. The habit includes a black jacket and a bicorne in the cocked-hat style, each embroidered in green.
Students at the École Polytechnique wear a bicorne as part of their Grand Uniforme (GU). Female students used to wear a tricorne hat but now also wear a bicorne. The bicorne also formed part of the historic black and red full dress of cadets at the French Military Medical School ("École de Sante des Armées") until this uniform was withdrawn in 1971, except for limited use on special occasions. The bicorne is still worn by the members of the Cadre Noir in full dress uniform.
The uniform of the horsemen of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna includes a bicorne.
Diplomatic uniforms worn on such occasions as the presentation of credentials by ambassadors normally included bicornes worn with feathers and gold or silver braiding. Until World War II such uniforms were worn by even junior embassy staff but now survive only for ambassadors in a few long-established diplomatic services such as those of Britain, France, Sweden, Belgium and Spain.
In the United Kingdom cocked hats continue to be worn by certain office-holders on special occasions:
In the Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree Knights of the Color Corps may wear regalia which includes a chivalric chapeau. The color of the plume denotes the office held by the wearer.
The Italian Carabinieri wear a bicorn with points sideways with their full dress uniform. The large tricolor cockade in front has given it the popular name of la "lucerna", the "lamp".
In Java, a cocked hat is still in use in the parade uniform of the Dhaeng and Ketanggung brigades; both are from Yogyakarta Sultanate. Since the end of the Java War, they no longer function as combat troops. This cocked hat is known in Javanese as mancungan hat, because of its shape like a pointed nose, mancung. Only used on special occasions, such as Grebeg and other cultural or ceremonial events held by the kraton (palace), the headgear came as a part of Western influence in Yogyakarta, during the reign of Sultan Hamengkubuwono IV.
The Pickelhaube, also Pickelhelm, is a spiked helmet worn in the 19th and 20th centuries by German military, firefighters, and police. Although typically associated with the Prussian Army, which adopted it in 1842–43, the helmet was widely imitated by other armies during this period. It is still worn today as part of ceremonial wear in the militaries of certain countries.
A slouch hat is a wide-brimmed felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform, often, although not always, with a chinstrap. It has been worn by military personnel from many different nations including Australia, Britain, India, New Zealand, Southern Rhodesia, France, the United States, the Confederate States, Germany and many others. Australia and New Zealand have had various models of slouch hat as standard issue headwear since the late Victorian period.
The kepi is a cap with a flat circular top and a peak, or visor. Etymologically, the term is a loanword of the French képi, itself a re-spelled version of the Alemannic Käppi: a diminutive form of Kappe, meaning "cap". In Europe, this headgear is most commonly associated with French military and police uniforms, though versions of it were widely worn by other armies during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In North America, it is usually associated with the American Civil War, as it was worn by soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
The glengarry bonnet is a traditional Scots cap made of thick-milled woollen material, decorated with a toorie on top, frequently a rosette cockade on the left side, and with ribbons hanging down behind. It is normally worn as part of Scottish military or civilian Highland dress, either formal or informal, as an alternative to the Balmoral bonnet or tam o' shanter. The Royal Regiment of Scotland wears the glengarry with diced band and black cock feathers as its ceremonial headdress.
The pith helmet, also known as the safari helmet, sun helmet, topee, sola topee or topi, is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of sholapith. Pith helmets were often worn by European travelers and explorers, in the varying climates found in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the tropics, but have also been used in many other contexts. They were routinely issued to European military personnel serving overseas "in hot climates" from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.
A peaked cap, forage cap, barracks cover or combination cap is a form of headgear worn by the armed forces of many nations, as well as many uniformed civilian organisations such as law enforcement agencies and fire departments. It derives its name from its short visor, which was historically made of polished leather but increasingly is made of a synthetic substitute.
Czapka is a Polish and Belarusian generic word for a cap. However, it is perhaps best known to English speakers as a word for the 19th-century Polish cavalry headgear, consisting of a high, four-pointed cap with regimental insignia on the front to which feathers or rosettes were sometimes added.
A shako is a tall, cylindrical military cap, usually with a visor, and sometimes tapered at the top. It is usually adorned with some kind of ornamental plate or badge on the front, metallic or otherwise, and often has a feather, plume, or pompom attached at the top.
Full dress uniform, sometimes called dress uniform, is the most formal type of military uniform, reserved for parades, ceremonies, official receptions, and other special occasions of the most formal level, including private ones such as marriages and funerals. Full dress uniforms often goes with order insignias and full size medals. In Western dress codes, full dress uniform is a permitted supplementary alternative corresponding to the civilian white tie for evening wear or morning dress for day wear - sometimes collectively called full dress - although military uniforms are the same for day and evening wear.
Court uniform and dress were required to be worn by those in attendance at the royal Court in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The Uniforms of the Canadian Armed Forces are the official dress worn by members of Canada's military while on duty.
The uniforms of the British Army currently exist in twelve categories ranging from ceremonial uniforms to combat dress. Uniforms in the British Army are specific to the regiment to which a soldier belongs. Full dress presents the most differentiation between units, and there are fewer regimental distinctions between ceremonial dress, service dress, barrack dress and combat dress, though a level of regimental distinction runs throughout.
"Chapeau" is a French term signifying a hat or other covering for the head. In mainland European heraldry, it is used as a mark of ecclesiastical dignity, especially that of cardinals, which is called the red chapeau. It is worn over the shield by way of crest, as mitres and coronets are.
The Uniform of the Union Army was widely varied and, due to limitations on supply of wool and other materials, based on availability and cost of materials during the United States Civil War.
Fashion in the twenty years between 1775–1795 in Western culture became simpler and less elaborate. These changes were a result of emerging modern ideals of selfhood, the declining fashionability of highly elaborate Rococo styles, and the widespread embrace of the rationalistic or "classical" ideals of Enlightenment philosophes.
The Royal Marines uniform is the standardised military dress worn by members of the Royal Marines.
The uniforms of the Australian Army have changed significantly over the past century, although the accoutrements worn over this period have remained relatively similar. The forces of the Australian colonies and the early forces of the Commonwealth post-Federation in 1901 closely followed the uniforms of the British Army. Since then it has continued to be influenced by British but also US styles, as well as including some distinctly Australian designs, reflecting local conditions and trends.