Serbian eagle

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Serbian eagle
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Small coat of arms of Serbia
 
Heraldic tradition Byzantine
Jurisdiction Serbia, and Serb-inhabited territories
Governing body Serbian Heraldry Society

The Serbian eagle is a specific bicephalous heraldic eagle, which is a common symbol in Serbian heraldry and vexillology. The emblem has mostly been depicted as a white eagle (beli orao) since 1804. The Serbian cross, another common symbol, has been used as the shield with the Serbian eagle in the contemporary design of the coat of arms of Serbia, following the tradition established by the Kingdom of Serbia of 1882. The Order of the White Eagle was a royal order awarded Serbian and Yugoslav citizens for achievements in peace or war, or for special merits to the Crown, the state and nation, between 1883 and 1945.

History[edit]

The double-headed eagle itself has a much longer history, and was adopted in medieval Serbia under Byzantine influence. The Byzantine heraldic meaning was that the heads represent the dual sovereignty of the emperor (secular and religious) and/or dominance of the Byzantine Emperors over both East and West.

Beginning in the 14th century, it can be seen more often on inscriptions, medieval frescoes and embroidery on the clothes of Serbian royalty.[1][2] Earlier, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja (r. 1166–1196) 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

After the Ottoman invasion and subsequent occupation that lasted until the early 19th century, the double-headed eagle was forbidden to be used as it was a symbol of Serbian sovereignty and statehood. The Serbian cross; with four fire-steels ("ocila") came into greater use as another symbol of Serbs as it also was used in the Middle Ages. The emblem has mostly been depicted as a white eagle (beli orao, pl. beli orlovi) since 1804, when Gavrilović issued a revolutionary flag based on the Nemanyid eagle in Stemmatographia.[6] The Serbian Revolution resurrected the Nemanyid tradition, and the white double-headed eagle became the symbol of Serbia as the coat of arms following independence from the Ottoman Empire. The Serbian cross has been used as the shield with the Serbian eagle in the contemporary design of the coat of arms of Serbia, following the tradition established by the Kingdom of Serbia of 1882. The Order of the White Eagle was a royal order awarded Serbian and Yugoslav citizens for achievements in peace or war, or for special merits to the Crown, the state and nation, between 1883 and 1945.

Use in heraldry[edit]

Use in modern municipalities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alexander Solovyev (1958). The History of the Serbian coat of arms. p. 130. 
  2. ^ J. Kovacevic (1953). Medieval Clothes of the Slavs in the Balkans. pp. 19–97, 183–210. 
  3. ^ Solovyev 1958, pp. 134-135
  4. ^ A. Ivic (1910). Old Serbian Stamps and coat of arms. p. 30. 
  5. ^ Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, vol. 8, Osteuropa-Institut München, F. Steiner Verlag, 1960, p. 511.
  6. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=jWGDAAAAMAAJ.  Missing or empty |title= (help)