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In Hinduism , Lord Shiva is often shown wearing a crescent moon on his head symbolising that the lord is the master of time and is himself timeless.
It is used as the astrological symbol for the Moon , and hence as the alchemical symbol for silver. From its use as roof finial in Ottoman era mosques , it has also become associated with Islam , and the crescent was introduced as chaplain badge for Muslim chaplains in the US military in The crescent symbol is primarily used to represent the Moon , not necessarily in a particular lunar phase.
When used to represent a waxing or waning lunar phase, "crescent" or "increscent" refers to the waxing first quarter, while the symbol representing the waning final quarter is called "decrescent".
The crescent symbol was long used as a symbol of the Moon in astrology , and by extension of Silver as the corresponding metal in alchemy.
In Roman Catholic tradition, the crescent entered Marian iconography , by the association of Mary with the Woman of the Apocalypse described with "the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" in Revelation The most well known representation of Mary as the Woman of the Apocalypse is the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The crescent shape is a type of lune , the latter consisting of a circular disk with a portion of another disk removed from it, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs which intersect at two points.
In a crescent, the enclosed shape does not include the center of the original disk. The tapered regions towards the points of intersection of the two arcs are known as the "horns" of the crescent.
The classical crescent shape has its horns pointing upward and is often worn as horns when worn as a crown or diadem, e. The word crescent is derived etymologically from the present participle of the Latin verb crescere "to grow", technically denoting the waxing moon luna crescens.
As seen from the northern hemisphere, the waxing Moon tends to appear with its horns pointing towards the left, and conversely the waning Moon with its horns pointing towards the right; the English word crescent may however refer to the shape regardless of its orientation, except for the technical language of blazoning used in heraldry , where the word "increscent" refers to a crescent shape with its horns to the left, and "decrescent" refers to one with its horns to the right, while the word "crescent" on its own denotes a crescent shape with horns pointing upward.
The shape of the lit side of a spherical body most notably the Moon that appears to be less than half illuminated by the Sun as seen by the viewer appears in a different shape from what is generally termed a crescent in planar geometry: Assuming the terminator lies on a great circle , the crescent Moon will actually appear as the figure bounded by a half- ellipse and a half-circle, with the major axis of the ellipse coinciding with a diameter of the semicircle.
The crescent was well used in the iconography of the ancient Near East and was used transplanted by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC as far as Carthage in modern Tunisia.
The crescent and star also appears on pre-Islamic coins of South Arabia. The combination of star and crescent also arises in the ancient Near East , representing the Moon and Ishtar the planet Venus , often combined into a triad with the solar disk.
In the iconography of the Hellenistic period , the crescent became the symbol of Artemis - Diana , the virgin hunter goddess associated with the Moon.
Numerous depictions show Artemis-Diana wearing the crescent Moon as part of her headdress. The related symbol of the star and crescent was the emblem of the Mithradates dynasty in the Kingdom of Pontus and was also used as the emblem of Byzantium.
Astarte with horns, statuette from Seleucid -era Mesopotamia. Bust of Selene on a Roman sarcophagus 3rd century.
Note the crescent above the arch. The crescent remained in use as an emblem in Sassanid Persia , used as a Zoroastrian regal or astrological symbol.
In the Crusades it came to be associated with the Orient the Byzantine Empire , the Levant and Outremer in general and was widely used often alongside a star in Crusader seals and coins.
It was used as a heraldic charge by the later 13th century. Anna Notaras , daughter of the last megas doux of the Byzantine Empire Loukas Notaras , after the fall of Constantinople and her emigration to Italy, made a seal with her coat of arms which included "two lions holding above the crescent a cross or a sword".
From its use in Sassanid Persia, the crescent also found its way into Islamic iconography after the Muslim conquest of Persia.
Umar is said to have hung two crescent-shaped ornaments captured from the Sassanid capital Ctesiphon in the Kaaba. The Roman Catholic fashion of depicting Madonna standing or sitting on a crescent develops in the 15th century.
The goddess Diana was associated with the Moon in classical mythology. In reference to this, feminine jewelry representing crescents, especially diadems , became popular in the early modern period.
The tarot card of the " Popess " also wears a crescent on her head. Conrad Grünenberg in his Pilgrimage to the Holy Land consistently depicts cities in the Holy Land with crescent finials.
Prints depicting the Battle of Lepanto , including the print by Agostino Barberigo of Rome made just a few weeks after the battle,  and the Martino Rota of Venice in the following year, show the Ottoman vessels displaying flags with one or several crescents in various orientations as do the monumental paintings commissioned later based on these prints.
Rota also shows numerous crescent finials, both on ships and on fortresses depicted in the background, as well as some finials with stars or suns radiant, and in some cases a sun radiant combined with a crescent in the star-and-crescent configuration.