Coat of arms of Hungary
Coat of arms of Hungary
Coat of Arms of Hungary.svg
Details
Armiger Republic of Hungary
Adopted

14th century,

July 3, 1990
Crest Holy Crown of Hungary
Escutcheon Per pale, the first barry of eight Gules and Argent, the second Gules, on a mount Vert a crown Or, issuant therefrom a double cross Argent
Earlier versions see below
Use on banknotes, buildings of governmental institutions, communal schools

The current coat of arms of Hungary was adopted on July 3, 1990, after the end of communist rule. The arms have been used before, both with and without the Holy Crown of Hungary, sometimes as part of a larger, more complex coat of arms, and its elements date back to the Middle Ages.

The shield is split into two parts:

  • The sinister (right side from the viewers point) consists of a silver double cross on red base, situated inside a small golden crown, the crown is placed on the middle heap of three green hills, representing mountain ranges (Tátra, Mátra, Fátra) (strictly in this order) as written in István Werbőczy's 'Tripartitium', but this is not explained there. The first explanation of the hills are from a Portuguese Jesuit Antonius Macedo in his work "Divi Tutelares..." from 1687, writing: "mons essurgit numero triplex qui tres praecipuos eiusdem regni monti significant", but not naming them. Later in the 18th century, two other Jesuits, József Koller in "Cerographia" and Timon "Imago Novae Hungariae" state that "Alteram scuti partem Montes Regni praecipui, iique summi insigniunt. Nomen illis: Tatra, Matra, Fatra vulgare passim (...) atque omnium est cognitum". Timon adds, that the double cross is an ancient symbol of the Kingdom of Hungary, to which the three hills were connected. Finally, a not so well-known theory for the triple hills is that it symbolizes the hills of Calvaria (Golgota), where Jesus was crucified.
  • The dexter (left side from the viewers point) features the so-called Árpád stripes, four silver and four red stripes. It is sometimes said that the silver stripes represent four rivers (Duna, Tisza, Dráva, Száva).

Contents

History

Coa Hungary Country History Bela III (1172-1196).svg

The most common motifs of the ninth and the early tenth centuries -the griffin, wolf and hind- seldom figure in later Hungarian iconography and heraldic symbolism, however the Hawk or Turul which in shamanistic lore rested upon the tree of life connecting the earth with the netherworld and the skies preserved for longer as a device belonging to the ruling house.[1] Another ancient element of the coat of arms is the double cross. For a long time, it was thought to have been given to Saint Stephen by the pope as the symbol of the apostolic Kingdom of Hungary. Today, the most accepted theory is that it derives from Byzantine influence, as the cross appeared around 1190 during the reign of King Béla III, who was raised in the Byzantine court. The cross appears floating in the coat of arms and on the coins from this era. Hungarian and Slovak (as the symbol is also used in the coat of arms of Slovakia) heralds have opposed the theory that the double cross is derived from Saints Cyril and Methodius.

Coa Hungary Country History Imre (1196-1204).svg

The red and white stripes were the symbol of the Árpáds, the dynasty of the first Hungarian kings (1000-1301), and they were first used in the coat of arms in 1202 on a seal of King Emeric. This seal did not include the double cross, only the stripes, and there were nine lions on the white stripes. In the Golden Bull of King Andrew II of Hungary there were only seven lions facing each other. In the middle of the stripes linden leaves were depicted. This coat of arms was used for a short time only; Béla IV used the one with the double cross again.

Coa Hungary Country History Charles I (1310-1342).svg

When the House of Árpád became extinct and the Angevins came into power, they wanted to emphasize their legitimacy and their matrilineal relation to the previous royal house by using the Árpáds' coat of arms, the red and white stripes. They combined this coat of arms with their own, using a coat of arms that resembles the one currently in use, but with the Angevins' fleur-de-lis in place of the cross.

Coa Hungary Country History (19th Century).svg

The coat of arms with the stripes on the (bearer's) right and the cross on the hills on the (bearer's) left appeared during the reign of Louis I of Hungary (1342-1382). The crown above the coat of arms appeared during the reign of Vladislaus I of Hungary (1440-1444). At first it was only a non-specific diadem but on the 1464 seal of Matthias Corvinus it resembled more the Holy Crown of Hungary.

The final version of the coat of arms was set during the reign of King Matthias II of Hungary in the beginning of the 17th century. Its usage became regular during the reign of Queen Maria Theresa of Hungary.

Coa Hungary Country History med (1915).svg

In the following centuries, the coat of arms of Hungary became more and more complex. It included the coats of arms of the territories which were conquered by Hungary, like Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia,[2] and Bosnia, but the so-called "small coat of arms" always remained the central piece. (The more complex ones were called "medium" and "large coat of arms".) The image to the left shows the medium coat of arms, in official use (with some modifications) from the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 till the end of World War I (1918). The outer pieces (anti-clockwise from top left) are the coats of arms of Dalmatia, Slavonia, Bosnia (added in 1915), Fiume, Transylvania, and Croatia.

When Hungary became part of the Habsburg Empire, the coat of arms became a part of that of the Empire, but later it became of marginal importance and during the reign of Joseph II - who did not even have himself crowned with the Holy Crown - it was omitted from the coins.

Hungary large coa 1849.png

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, following the dethroning of the Habsburg dynasty on 14 April 1849, the Holy Crown was removed from the coat of arms. The remaining small coat of arms is usually referred to as the "Kossuth Coat of Arms" (Hungarian: Kossuth-címer) after Lajos Kossuth, Regent-President of Hungary (so unlike the name suggests, it was not the coat of arms of the Kossuth family). In the large coat of arms, however, a laurel wreath replaced the crown both in the central piece and above the shield, as shown on the image to the left.

After the revolution was repressed, the Hungarian coat of arms was not used again until the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, when the small coat of arms with the crown once more became a part of a more complex coat of arms, similar to the medium coat of arms shown above.

In 1918, the Kossuth-style coat of arms was used again for a short while. The Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919 totally abolished the traditional coat of arms and used the communist five-pointed red star on official documents. After the fall of the Soviet Republic in August 1919, and the restoration of the Kingdom, the small coat of arms (with the Holy Crown) became official again until 1944.

Coa of the Hungarian State (1945).svg

During the rule of the Arrow Cross Party in 1944-1945 at the end of World War II, the letter "H" (for Hungaria) and the Arrow Cross symbol were added to it.

Coat of arms of Hungary (1949-1956).svg

Between 1946 and 1949 the Kossuth-style coat of arms was used, then the Communist regime introduced a new state coat of arms in line with socialist heraldry, with a layout closely resembling that of the Soviet Union's. Heraldically, this was not a proper coat-of-arms, due to the lack of shield. This symbol, known as the "Rákosi badge", was not popular with the majority of the Hungarian population.

Kossuth Coat of Arms.svg

During the 1956 revolution, the "Kossuth" Coat of Arms was used again. In old newsreels, the Kossuth badge can be seen painted onto the turrets of many revolutionary tanks fighting against the Soviet invasion in the streets of Budapest. Although this revolution was crushed quickly by the Soviet Red Army, the new Communist government didn't want to reinstate the unpopular "Rákosi badge", and thus this coat of arms was used for about a year.

Coa Hungary Country History (1957-1990).svg

The new Socialist coat of arms was created in late 1957 by combining the general shape of the "Rákosi badge" with a small shield in the middle that had its entire area covered by the Hungarian national tricolor. This so-called "Kádár badge" conveniently omitted the cross from the non-religious Hungarian worker-state insignia, but it was scrapped during the change of regime in 1989.

Since 1990 the historical crowned small coat of arms has served as the official symbol of the Republic of Hungary.

In the first democratically elected Parliament there was considerable debate about the depiction of the Holy Crown on the coat of arms. The liberal opposition party (Alliance of Free Democrats, SZDSZ) proposed the Kossuth-style "Republican" version but the conservative government backed the historical crowned one. After the majority decision, the restored coat of arms with the crown soon became generally accepted by every political party and there is a national consensus concerning it.

References

External links

See also


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