National personification

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Britannia arm-in-arm with Uncle Sam symbolizes the British-American alliance in World War I.

A national personification is an anthropomorphism of a nation or its people; it can appear in both editorial cartoons and propaganda.

Some early personifications in the Western world tended to be national manifestations of the majestic wisdom and war goddess Minerva/Athena, and often took the Latin name of the ancient Roman province. Examples of this type include Britannia, Germania, Hibernia, Helvetia and Polonia. Representations of the everyman or citizenry—rather than of the nation itself—are Deutscher Michel and John Bull.[1]

A national personification is not the same as a national animal, although in some cartoons the national animal rather than the human personification is used to represent a country.

Personifications by country or territory[edit]

Country Image Personification
 Albania Mother Albania Tirana 2.JPG Mother Albania
 Argentina 20060128 - Mausoleo del General San Martín en la Catedral de Buenos Aires.jpg Effigy of the Republic/Liberty/Progress/Fatherland, Gaucho, Martín Fierro
 Armenia Arm-3897-65 amyak end K 2.jpg Mother Armenia (Mayr Hayastan; lit. "Mother Hayastan")
 Australia Little Boy from Manly Australia
 Austria Austria (personification) and the federal eagle
 Bangladesh Mother Bengal or Bangla Maa
 Belgium La-Belgique-couronnant-ses-enfants-illustres-Jamar-1854.tif La Belgique or Belgica
 Brazil Rodrigues-republica-mab.jpg Efígie da República; the Bandeirante (only in São Paulo State); the Candango (in Brasília); the Gaúcho (in Rio Grande do Sul)
 Belarus Rus
 Bulgaria Georgi-Danchov-Svobodna-Bulgaria.jpg Mother Bulgaria,
 Cambodia Preah Thong and Neang Neak
 Canada Statue Dollard des Ormeaux, parc Lafontaine, Montréal 2005-08-29.jpg Mountie, Johnny Canuck, Le Vieux de '37 (French Canada), Adam Dollard des Ormeaux (used during the two World Wars as a military example), Mother Canada (at the Vimy Memorial)
 Chile Roto chileno.jpg El Roto, El Huaso, La Carmela, Doña Juanita (an average Chilean woman from the countryside)
 China DatongJiulongBi.jpg Chinese dragon, Yellow Emperor
 Czech Republic Vaclav Maly -The National Museum in Prague 048 Čechie, Czech Vašek, Double-tailed Czech lion, Svejk.
 Denmark Holger danske.jpg Holger Danske
 Dominican Republic Yania Tierra
 Egypt Mother of the World (Om El Donia)
 El Salvador SalvadorDelMundo.jpg Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo
 Europe Enlèvement d'Europe by Nöel-Nicolas Coypel (detail).jpg Europa or Europa regina
 Finland SuomiNeito.png Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito)
 France Marianne Symbol of french republic 3.jpg Marianne, Gallic rooster
 Georgia Saint George - Carlo Crivelli.jpg Georgia: Saint George, "Mother of Georgia" (Kartlis Deda)
 Germany Image Germania (painting).jpg Germany: Germania, Arminius (Hermann der Cherusker), Deutscher Michel

Bavaria: Bavaria, Berlin: Berolina, Brunswick: Brunonia, Franconia: Franconia, Hamburg: Hammonia, Prussia: Borussia, Palatinate: Palatia, Saxony: Saxonia

 Greece Athena Parthenos Altemps Inv8622.jpg Athena, "Greece" by Delacroix
 Haiti Czestochowska.jpg Ezili Dantor
 Iceland Arnason-front.jpg The Lady of the Mountains (Fjallkonan)
 India Bharat Mata.jpg Bharat Mata ("Mother India"), earlier the goddess Durga
 Indonesia Statue of Goddess or Queen at Monas.JPG Ibu Pertiwi
 Iran Illustrerad Verldshistoria band I Ill 058.jpg Cyrus the Great
 Ireland Edmund Dwyer Gray UnitedIrelandCartoon April1888.png Ériu, Banba, Fodla, Kathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia, Granuaile, Scotia,[2]
 Israel Srulik, King David
 Italy Reggio calabria monumento all'italia.jpg Italia Turrita
 Japan Amaterasu cave edit2.jpg Amaterasu Omikami,[citation needed] Samurai[citation needed]
 Korea Dangun
 Macedonia Mother Macedonia[3][4]
 Malta Malta 1922 One Pound.jpg Melita
 Mexico JarabeTapatio.jpg El Charro, La China Poblana, el Pelado.
 Mongolia YuanEmperorAlbumGenghisPortrait.jpg Genghis Khan
 Netherlands Wapen Bataafse Republiek.svg de Nederlandse Maagd` ("The Dutch Maiden"), De Leeuw van Oranje, Hans Brinker (outside the Netherlands), (Zeeland: Zeeuws Meisje)
 New England Brother jonathan.jpg Brother Jonathan, Puritan, Pine tree.
 New Zealand 1901 Universal Postage 1 penny red.JPG Kiwi, Zealandia, Southern man (for the South Island)
 Norway Paanigjen vikingen caricature.jpg Mother Norway, Ola Nordmann, Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
 Palestine Handala
 Peru The chalán, La Madre Patria
 Philippines RizalParkjf8065 33.JPG Juan dela Cruz, Maria Clara, Filipinas, Luzviminda, Lapu-Lapu, Jose Rizal
 Poland Quincunx Polonia.jpg Polonia, Lech,
 Portugal Zepovinho.jpg Zé Povinho, Eu nacional (National Self), Lusitania, República, Rooster of Barcelos, Guardian Angel of Portugal
 Romania Gheorghe Tattarescu - 11 februarie 1866 Romania Moderna.jpg România
 Russia RossiiaLaveretsky.jpg Mother Russia/Mother Motherland, Rus, Russian Bear, Ivan Grozny
 Scotland Caledonia, Jock Tamson, Scotia,
 Serbia Kosovka devojka.jpg Mother Serbia, Kosovo Maiden,
 Singapore Singapore Merlion BCT.jpg The Merlion
 Slovakia Wladyslaw Skoczylas - Janosik.jpg Jánošík
 Slovenia Kranjski Janez ("John from Carniola", an average man from Slovenia's central region), Peter Klepec
 Spain Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid) 02b.jpg Hispania
 Sweden Moder svea berga.JPG Mother Svea
  Switzerland Zweifranken (cropped).jpg Helvetia
 Turkey Anatolia
 Ukraine Cossack Mamay 1890.jpg Cossack Mamay, Rus
 United Kingdom Britannia-Statue.jpg Britannia, John Bull, Lion, Bulldog
 United States Unclesamwantyou.jpg Uncle Sam (government personification), Lady Liberty, Columbia, Johnny Rebel (The South, obsolete), Billy Yank (The North, obsolete)
 Wales Dame Wales.jpg Dame Wales, Deffroad Cymru, the Awakening of Wales

Gallery[edit]

1914 poster showing Marianne, Mother Russia and Britannia, the "Triple Entente" allies in the first World War (1914).. 
Columbia, personification of the United States (World War I patriotic poster) 
French Marianne « Freedom for France, freedom for the French » (1940). 
Germania representing Germany, in a painting by Phillip Veit from 1848. 
Allegory of the Second Spanish Republic, Hispania embracing French Marianne (1931). 
Eugène Delacroix, Greece Expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi (1827) 
Theodoros Vryzakis' depiction of Hellas as a woman surrounded by rebels of the Greek War of Independence 
España y Filipinas, 1886 painting by Juan Luna. Depicts the reformist view of the relationship between the Philippines and "Mother Spain
Italia and Germania by Friedrich Overbeck, symbolising the friendship between Germany and Italy 
Norway, Denmark and Sweden joining hands in a 19th Century poster 
Statue of Mother Svea representing Sweden on a building in Stockholm
World War I recruiting poster featuring John Bull
Gold Coated Statue of Bharat Mata
Brazilian Constitutionalist Revolution recruiting poster, showing a Bandeirante with the dictator of Brazil, Getúlio Vargas, in his hand. 
Allegory drawing depicting the friendship between the Argentine Republic and the newly formed Brazilian Republic
Zé Povinho, caricature of a Portuguese working class man of the 19th century 
In this 1806 French print, the woman with the Menorah represents the Jews being emancipated by Napoleon Bonaparte 
James Gillray's cartoon on the 1803 Peace of Amiens, features a fat and non-martial Britannia kissing "Citizen François", a personifiaction of Revolutionary France 
Revolutionary Romania. Painting by C. D. Rosenthal, made in Paris exile in the early 1850s 
Romania Breaking off Her Chains on the Field of Liberty, also by C. D. Rosenthal 
A later depiction of Romania as a helpless woman threatened by the brutal Germany in a World War I French caricature 
Uncle Sam in a U.S. Army recruitment poster used in both World War I and World War II 
The figures in this late 18th century painting by Shiba Kōkan represent Japan, China, and the West. 
Columbia, America personified as a young woman holding up a Phrygian cap on a clipper ship card of the Young America Movement 
Polonia (Poland), by Jan Matejko, painted after the failure of the 1863 January Uprising
Lady of the mountain in Iceland. 
Cossack Mamay, personification of Ukraine and Ukrainians
Peru (left), Argentina (centre) and Chile (right), personified at the Mausoleum of General San Martín, Buenos Aires
Free Bulgaria; lithography by Georgi Danchov 
17th century map by Frederik de Wit showing mythological Europa as the continent's personification 
"Mrs. Britannia" and her daughter "Miss Canada" discussing "Cousin Jonathan"(the US) in an 1886 political cartoon. 
John Bull, a national personification of the United Kingdom holds the head of Napoleon I of France in an 1803 caricature by James Gillray
Albanian caricature from 1913 shows Albania as a woman defending herself from beasts representing neighboring countries seeking at the time to divide Albania's territory between them: Montenegro (monkey), Greece (leopard) and Serbia (snake), saying: "Get away from me! Bloodsucking beasts!" 
The woman on the right, holding out a letter of thanks to the enthroned Jonathan Swift, represents Ireland (from the 1735 edition of Swift's works). 
Bavaria, an early 19th-century statue made when Bavaria was a fully sovereign Kingdom with a considerable national pride 
Political cartoon depicting the tangled web of European alliances. 
In this Belarusian caricature commenting on the 1921 Peace of Riga, Russian Bolsheviks (to the right) and Nationalist Poles (on the left) are dividing the territory of Belarus. 

See also[edit]

  • Mural crown
  • National emblem for other metaphors for nations
  • Hetalia, a popular Japanese webcomic/manga/anime based on original personifications of countries created by Hidekaz Himaruya

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eric Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870-1914," in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, 1983), 263-307.
  2. ^ O'Clery, M. (2003) Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters as translated into English
  3. ^ A Manifesto from the Provisional Government of Macedonia. 1881. "Our mother Macedonia became now as a widow, lonely and deserted by her sons. She does not fly the banner of the victorious Macedonian army" 
  4. ^ Bulgarian graphic representation of Bulgaria, East Rumelia and Macedonia

Lionel Gossman. "Making of a Romantic Icon: The Religious Context of Friedrich Overbeck's 'Italia und Germania.'" American Philosophical Society, 2007. ISBN 0-87169-975-3. [1]

External links[edit]