Coat of arms of Serbia

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Coat of arms of Serbia
Coat of arms of Serbia.svg
Coat of arms of Serbia small.svg
Lesser arms
Armiger Republic of Serbia
Adopted 2004 (16 June 1882)
Crest The Crown of Serbia
Escutcheon Gules, an eagle displayed with two heads Argent armed Or, between two fleurs-de-lys in base Or, surmounted by an inescutcheon Gules thereon a cross between four firesteels Argent
Other elements Behind the shield a mantle Gules fringed and tasselled Or and lined ermine, at the top thereof the Crown of Serbia proper
Earlier versions See history and gallery
Use Governmental

The coat of arms of Serbia is a re-introduction of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Serbia (1882–1918) adopted by the Republic of Serbia in 2004 and later slightly redesigned in 2010.[1]


The principal field stands for the Serbian state. It consists of a silver double-headed eagle on a red shield; its body and wings in silver, and tongues, beaks, legs and claws in gold, between two golden fleur-de-lis. The inescutcheon stands for the Serbian nation; in a red shield, a cross between "B" (Cyrillic "Ve" or Greek "Beta"), is arranged in the quarters around it. All of the letters face horizontally outwards.

A blazon in heraldic terms is: Gules, a bicephalic eagle Argent armed Or, two fleurs-de-lys Or. Overall an escutcheon Gules, a cross Argent between four firesteels Argent. All crowned with a royal crown. The design on the inescutcheon has been used by Serbian states and the Serbian church since the Middle Ages. The four shapes around the central cross are a stylized form of letters, as explained above.

Although Serbia is now a republic, the coat of arms features the royal crown of the former monarchy. The lesser arms is used more frequently, appearing on passports, identity cards, driver's licenses, and the state flag.


Serbian eagle[edit]

Main article: Serbian eagle
The Imperial emblem of the late Byzantine Empire

The use of the double-headed eagle dates back to the late Byzantine era (since the 11th century). The double-headed eagle can be seen more often on inscriptions, medieval frescoes and embroidery on the clothes of Byzantine and Serbian royalty.[2][3] Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja (r. 1166-1196) was among the first in Serbia who used the symbol. The Serbian Orthodox Church also adopted it; the entrance of the Žiča monastery, which was the seat of the Archbishop of the Serbs between 1219–1253, and by tradition the coronational church of the Serbian kings, is engraved with the double-headed eagle. The survived golden ring of Queen Teodora (1321–1322) has the symbol engraved. The Nemanjić dynasty coat of arms was the double-headed eagle. During the reign of Emperor Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–1345), the double-headed eagle can be seen on everyday objects and state related documents, such as vax stamps and proclamations. In 1339, map maker, Angelino Dulcert, marks the Serbian Empire with a flag with a red double-headed eagle.[4] Other Serbian dynasties also adopted the symbol as a symbolic continuation, like the Mrnjavčević and Lazarević. Prince Lazar (r. 1371-1389), when renovating the Hilandar monastery of Mount Athos, engraved the double-headed eagle at the northern wall.[5] The Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 (fl. 1371-1389) has richly attested artwork of the Serbian eagle. The double-headed eagle was officially adopted by Stefan Lazarević after he received the despot title, the second highest Byzantine title, by John VII Palaiologos in August 1402 at the court in Constantinople.[6]

Serbian cross[edit]

Main article: Serbian cross
Serbian cross is almost identical to the tetragrammic cross of the late Byzantine dynasties

Τhe so-called Serbian Cross, surrounded by four Ve also derives from a Byzantine emblem. It is almost the same or identical with the imperial emblem used in Byzantine flags during the late age. As a Byzantine symbol though, it might dates back to several centuries earlier. Serbian historian Stanoje Stanojević argues that it was officially adopted as a Serbian symbol as well in 1345, with Dušan the Mighty's raising to a Serbian Empire.[7] Stojan Novaković argues that the recorded use of the Serbian cross, as a national symbol, began in 1397, during the rule of Stefan Lazarević.[8] It was possibly derived from a known candle chandelier from the Visoki Dečani.[8] Later, the Serbian cross is found in the Korenić-Neorić Armorial (1595), which shows the coat of arms of Serbia (Svrbiae) as a white cross over a red and gold background, also depicting the Mrnjavčević noble house with the same design, with inverted colours and the Serbian eagle in the center of the cross. According to Mavro Orbini (1607), it was used by Vukašin Mrnjavčević (King, 1365–1371) and Lazar Hrebeljanović (Prince, 1371–1389).[7] Miloš Obrenović adopted the Serbian cross as the military flag when forming the first units of the regular army in 1825.[9] The Serbian cross then appeared on all Serbian coats of arms, except the Serbian coat of arms dated 1974, which had the cross removed, leaving only the four stylized B; this was done symbolically by the Yugoslav government to "socially curtail and politically marginalize religious communities and religion in general".[10]

In modern times, a Serbian folk etymology interpreted the four letters around the cross as a stylised form of Cyrillic "C", a belief which is sometimes reflected on older coats of arms. In all of these coat of arms though (see gallery below), the letters retain the straight side of the letter B, or at least a projection in the middle, that is the middle part of "B" between the two semicircles.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Grb Srbije: Dvoglavi orao menja perje" [Coat of arms of Serbia: Double-headed eagle changes feathers] (in Serbian). Večernje novosti. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Alexander Solovyev (1958). The History of the Serbian coat of arms. p. 130. 
  3. ^ J. Kovacevic (1953). Medieval Clothes of the Slavs in the Balkans. pp. 19–97, 183–210. 
  4. ^ Solovyev 1958, pp. 134-135
  5. ^ A. Ivic (1910). Old Serbian Stamps and coat of arms. p. 30. 
  6. ^ Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, vol. 8, Osteuropa-Institut München, F. Steiner Verlag, 1960, p. 511
  7. ^ a b Atlagic, p. 5
  8. ^ a b Atlagic, p. 4
  9. ^ Posebna izdanja 295. Srpska Akademija Nauka i Umetnosti. 1957. p. 133. 
  10. ^ Mitja Velikonja. Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina. p. 187. nations (in a symbolical sense as well, for example, by removing the cross from the Serbian coat of arms but keeping the four stylized esses), and to socially curtail and politically marginalize religious communities and religion in general. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Atlagić, M. 1997, "The cross with symbols S as heraldic symbols", Baština, no. 8, pp. 149-158.
  • Atlagić, M. 2007, "Dečanski polijelej", Baština, no. 22, pp. 245-250.
  • Palavestra, A. "O ocilima", Glasnik SHD, June 1998
  • Mitja Velikonja, Religious separation and political intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina, p. 299; footnote 19. Texas A&M University Press, 2003

External links[edit]