- Eagle (heraldry)
The eagle symbolized strength, courage, farsightedness and immortality. It is considered to be the king of the air and the messenger of the highest Gods. Mythologically, it is connected by the Greeks with the God
Zeus, by the Romans with Jupiter, by the Germanic tribeswith Odinand by Americans with God. [German Wikipedia article "Adler (Wappentier)", i.e. Eagle (heraldic animal)]
Use of the eagle
In the same way that a lion is considered the king of beasts the eagle is regarded as the pre-eminent bird in heraldry. It has been more widely used and more highly regarded in
Continental European heraldry than in English heraldry. For instance, in the roll of Henry III of England(reigned 1216-1272) there are only three eagles.
Eagles are often (outside of Italian heraldry) drawn with the beak, tongue and talons in a different colour to the rest of the body. In that case they are
blazoned “langued and armed "colour".”
An eagle can appear either single or double-headed. On at least one occasion a three-headed eagle is seen. [http://www.ngw.nl/int/dld/kreis/waibling.htm]
Iranian Empires (Persia) are among the first who used eagle as a standard.To the pagans, the eagle was an emblem of
Jupiter, the god of the sky. The eagle and lion of Inishowenwere used as Celtic drudic holy symbols. In 102 B.C. the Roman Consul Gaius Mariusdecreed that the eagle would be the symbol of the Senate and People of Rome. It is said that when the Second Temple of Jerusalem was being expanded and renovated in 20 B.C., Herod the Greatoffended the people by mounting a Roman golden eagle over the gate. When Herod died some years later, his opponents tore down the eagle. It is believed that the Prophet Muhammad’s first standard or flag in 7th century A.D. was a plain flag with no insignia on it to contradict the national standard of the opposing pagan Quraish tribe, Al-Uqaab, that had a black eagle on white background, the sacred Eagle that carried pagan prayers from Earth to the Sky.
Central Asian Turkish Shamans carried a wooden stick pole with seven or nine horizontal sticks forming stairs to an Eagle put on the top of the stick during their rituals. The eagle was regarded, for example, as a holy bird, a protective spirit, and the guardian of
heaven. It was also a symbol of potency and fertility. Eagles on tombstones reflected the Shamanistic belief that the souls of the dead rose up to Heaven in the form of birds or were accompanied and protected by the eagle while traveling in the underworld and the sky. Eagle also was believed to be a carrier of prayers to the sky. The Altaic figures carved into rocks suggest that the eagle also was a sign of grandeur and magnificence among the Turks.
shamanistic religious heritage of Asian roots survived to some extent after their acceptance of Islamand migration westwards. The metaphorical meaning of the name of Tougrul Beig (993-1063 A.D.) who founded the Seljuk State as its foremost commander was “Eagle”. The spirit of the Türkmen is accepted as ' horse' in the fifth and as “eagle” in the third period.
In mediæval and modern heraldry eagles are often said to indicate that the
armiger(person bearing the arms) was courageous, a man of action and judicious. Where an eagle's wings were spread (“displayed”) it was said to indicate the bearer’s rôle as a protector. When mythological beasts are used, such as a griffin(part eagle, part lion) they indicate that the bearer of the arms possessed a combination of those animals’ qualities.
Sumerian and Hittite eagles
At the base of Ab-ú’s statue, found in the Old
Sumerian shrine of Eshnunna (Tell Asmar), his symbol of a lion-headed eagle, with outstretched wings and talons, is shown as diving down upon his prey, arranged mirror-symmetrically. The lion-headed eagle was also known as the Ningirsu (storm-bird) in the Sumerian city of Lagash and said to have appeared as one or two lion-head eagles on recently excavated historical artifacts. The two-headed eagle later was an emblemof twin gods depicting power and omniscience. It appeared on monuments of the first Hittite Empirein central Anatoliaand was an attribute of Nergal. Another very archaic Mesopotamian symbol that survived in Phoenician culture was the Gryphon, a mythical beast with the lower body of a lion and upper body of an eagle.
Twin-headed eagle and the Turks
The Seljuk Turks emigrating from Central Asia occupied
Baghdadin 1055and Tougrul captured Mosul, and upon returning to Baghdad in 1058was given the title of the '’King of the East and West'’. The Seljuks were even more anxious to have their rule legitimized: seen as aliens they were unpopular with the townsfolk of Persia and Iraq, and Tougrul's investiture by the Caliphin 1058, in a magnificent ceremony during which two crowns were held over his head as symbols of his regal authority over East and West, confirmed that the he now was the Commander of the Faithful. At the time the double-headed eaglebecame his and the Seljuk state’s coat of arms and flag, one head symbolizing the east and the other one symbolizing the west. Fact|date=June 2008 As the Seljuk Empire’s insignia, the twin-headed eagle appears in Turkish coins from 11th century and onwards as well as a number of architectural remains scattered in central and east Anatolia. These architectural remains also depict palm trees under bicephalous eagle as the tree of life, symbolizing peace and prosperity. Seljuk Turkish Sultans’ use of references to the east and the west as well as the palm tree of life were inspired by the passages in Quran:
“And the pains of childbirth drove Mary to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried in her anguish: 'Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!' But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the palm-tree: 'Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee. And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. So eat and drink and cool thine eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, 'I have vowed a fast to Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into not talk with any human being'. At length she brought the (baby
Jesus) to her people, carrying him in her arms. They said: 'O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!' (19:23-27) (Moses) said (to the Pharaoh): 'He is the god of the East and the West, and all between; if you only had sense'(28:28) Now I do call to witness the Lord of all points in the East and the West (70:40) (He is) Lord of the East and the West: there is no god but He: take Him therefore for (thy) Disposer of Affairs (73:9)”.
Seljuk Turks, led by AlpArslan whose name meant "a valiant lion" and who was the nephew of Tougrul Beg, captured
Jerusalemfrom the Egyptians in 1071, the same year as they entered Anatolia through Manzikert, introducing to the localities the bicephalous eagle standard of Seljuks of Rum (Roma) which transcended to generations from subsequent interface of nations through the crusades.
Arabs used the eagle in their heraldry before Islam.The Quraishi hawk, used today in the coats of arms of Yemen, Syria and the UAE, was also used by the
Quraishtribe, the strongest in Arabia.Another very popular eagle, used by Arab states today and historically, is the Saladin Golden Eagle.Used by Saladin in the 12th century, it is also used in the coats of arms of several Arab countries today, such as Egypt and Iraq.
Western European heraldry
Carl-Alexander von Volborththe first instance of the use of an eagle as an heraldic charge is the Great Seal of the MargraveLeopold IV of Austria in 1136. On the seal his figure carries a shield charged with an eagle. Also from about this time is a coin, minted in Maastricht(the Netherlands), dating from between 1172and 1190after contacts with the East via the crusades. It shows a single-headed eagle, see [http://www.ngw.nl/int/dld/duitslan.htm here] .
From the reign of
Frederick Barbarossain 1155the eagle became a symbol of the Holy Roman Empirein its one-headed state. The eagle was clearly derived from the Roman eagle and continues to be important in the heraldry of those areas once within the Holy Roman Empire. Within Germany the placement of one’s arms in front of an eagle was indicative of princely rank under the Holy Roman Empire. The first mention of a double-headed eaglein the West dates from 1250in a roll of arms of Matthew Parisfor Emperor Frederick II. Charlemagnewas a Frankish ruler and the first Holy Roman Emperorfrom AD 800 - 814, well before the introduction of heraldry. In later periods, a coat of arms attributed to Charlemagne shows half of the body of a single-head black eagle as the symbol of the German emperors next to a fleur-de-lisas the symbol of the kings of France on an impaled shield.
Eastern imperial eagles
double-headed eaglebecame the symbol of the Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. Palaiologos recaptured Constantinople from the Crusaders in 1261 and adopted the double-headed eagleas his symbol of the dynasty's interests in both Asia and Europe. It represented looking towards the East (Asia Minor, traditional power center of the Byzantine-government in exile after the IVth Crusade) and the West (newly reconquered land in Europe) centered on Constantinople. The Byzantine double-headed eaglehas been seen in late 13th century, certainly pre-dating the development of the same in western heraldry.
Russiait was Ivan III of Russiawho first assumed the two-headed eagle, when, in 1472, he married Sophia, daughter of Thomas Palæologus, and niece of Constantine XI, the last Emperor of Byzantium. The two heads symbolised the Eastern or Byzantine Empire and the Western or Roman Empire.
Empire of Trebizond(1204-1461), one of the states created after the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, used the emblem of the normal (single headed) eagle. The black eagle on yellow background is still used today in Greece by descendants of Pontian greeks.cite book | title=Greek flags, arms and insignia (Ελληνικές Σημαίες, Σήματα-Εμβλήματα) | language=greek | author=Eleni Kokkonis-Lambropoulos & Katerina Korres-Zografos | year=1997 | publisher=E. Kokkonis-G. Tsiveriotis | isbn=960-7795-01-6| pages=52 ]
Later use of the eagle
20 June 1782, the United States has used an American Bald Eagle, wings displayed, on its Great Seal.
flag of Egyptillustrates an eagle as its official coat of arms.
Many modern states and individuals continue to use the eagle in their arms. These include:
Poland(see Coat of arms of Poland)
Austria(see Coat of arms of Austria)
Germany(see Coat of arms of Germany)
Albania(see Coat of arms of Albania)
Russia(see Coat of arms of Russia)
Serbia(see Coat of arms of Serbia)
Romania(see Coat of arms of Romania)
Moldova(see Coat of arms of Moldova)
Iraq(see Coat of arms of Iraq)
Brandenburg, a German State
Anhalt-Zerbst, a German district in Saxony-Anhalt
*the German cities of
Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Schweinfurt, Goslar, Aachen
Tyrol, a County of the Holy Roman Empire, and the modern Austrian State of Tyrol.
*the Italian Provinces of Trento and Bolzano-Bozen, along with the city of
Spainthe eagle, though it was first used by the Catholic monarchsas a symbol of Saint John the Evangelist, came to be associated with the regime of Francisco Franco and since his death has been removed from official usage.
The popular, informal term spread eagle is derived from a heraldic depiction of an
eagle"displayed," with both wings, the body and the legs displayed, which has been used as the emblemof a number of states and monarchs.
Examples can be seen:
* on the
Great Seal of the United States
* on the
Coat of Arms of Poland
* on the
Coat of Arms of Romania
* on the Barclays Bank logo
Gallery of flags with animals#Birds of prey
*Fox-Davies, A.C.; "A Complete Guide to Heraldry", Bloomsbury Books, London, 1985
*Puttock, Colonel A.G.; "Heraldry in Australia", Child & Associated Publishing Pty. Ltd. Frenchs Forest, 1988
*von Volborth, Carl-Alexander; "Heraldry, Customs, Rules and Styles", New Orchard Editions, Poole, 1981
* [http://www.heraldica.org/topics/national/byzantin.htm The Arms of Byzantium]
* [http://heraldica.org/topics/arthur.htm Arthurian Heraldry]
* [http://www.fleurdelis.com/meanings.htm Fleur-de-lis designs]
* [http://www.heraldsnet.org/saitou/parker/Jpglosse.htm A Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry by James Parker]
* [http://www.coinsite.com/content/Articles/heraldry.asp The Heraldic Eagle: The Story Behind The Bird]
* [http://www.ngw.nl/int/mex/mexico.htm International Civic Heraldry]
* [http://digiserve.com/heraldry/pimb_e.htm Pimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry – E]
* [http://www.qmfound.com/heraldry1928.htm QM Web (Quartermaster Museum)]
* [http://www.imperialcollegeofheraldry.org The Imperial College of Heraldry]
* [http://www.pgsa.org/russcoll.htm Russian College of Heraldry]
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