Germania (personification)

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For other uses, see Germania (disambiguation).
Painting by Philipp Veit, 1848. This image once covered the old organ inside the Paulskirche, above where the Frankfurt Parliament assembled from 1848 to 1849.
figure of Germania atop the Niederwalddenkmal in the Rhine valley, dedicated 1883

Germania is the personification of the German nation or the Germans as a whole, most commonly associated with the Romantic Era and the Revolutions of 1848, though the figure was later used by Imperial Germany.


Germania is usually depicted as a robust woman with long, flowing, reddish-blonde hair and wearing armour. She often wields the "Reichsschwert" (imperial sword), and possesses a mediaeval-style shield that sometimes bears the image of a black eagle on a gold field. Additionally, she is sometimes shown as carrying or wearing the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

In post-1918 images, the banner she holds is the black-red-gold flag of modern Germany, but in depictions from 1871 to 1918 it is the black-white-red flag of the German Empire.

Meanings of some symbols[edit]

Attribute Significance
Broken chains Being freed
Breastplate with eagle Symbol of the German empire - strength
Crown of oak leaves Heroism
Sword Symbol of power, readiness to fight
Chastetree branch around the sword Noli tangere (touch-me-not), warning/protection
Black, red and gold tricolour Flag of the liberal-nationalists in 1848; banned by dukes of the German states
Rays of the rising sun Beginning of a new era

See also[edit]


  • 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.

External links[edit]