Swedish heraldry


Swedish heraldry

Swedish heraldry refers to the cultural tradition and style of heraldic achievements in modern and historic Sweden, including national and civic arms, noble and burgher arms, ecclesiastical heraldry, heraldic displays as corporate logos, and Swedish heraldic descriptions. Swedish heraldry belongs culturally to the German-Nordic heraldic tradition, noted for its scant use of heraldic furs, multiple crests, inseparability of the crest, and repetition of charges in the shield and the crest. Swedish heraldry is similar to Danish heraldry; both were heavily influenced by German heraldry. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 129
ISBN= 0713709405
] The medieval history of the Nordic countries was closely related, so they developed their heraldic individuality rather late. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 129
ISBN= 0713709405
] Finnish heraldry has a common history with Swedish heraldry until 1809. Unlike the macaronic and highly stylized English blazon, Swedish heraldry is described in plain language, using only Swedish terminology.

The earliest known achievements of arms in Sweden are those of two brothers, Sigtrygg and Lars Bengtsson, from 1219; the earliest example of Swedish civic heraldry is the city arms of Kalmar, which originated as a city seal in 1247. The seal (Swedish: "sigill"), used extensively in the Middle Ages, was instrumental in spreading heraldry to churches, local governments, and other institutions, and was the forerunner of the coat of arms in medieval Sweden. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 96
ISBN= 0713709405
] Armorial seals of noblewomen appeared in the 12th century, burghers and artisans began adopting arms in the 13th century, and even some peasants took arms in the 14th century. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 96
ISBN= 0713709405
]

Heraldry in Sweden today is used extensively by corporations and individuals; the rights of these private entities and of official bodies are upheld by Swedish law.Swedish law 1970:498 protects registered arms from abuse. cite web
url= http://www.notisum.se/rnp/sls/lag/19700498.HTM
title= Lag (1970:498) om skydd för vapen och vissa andra officiella beteckningar
accessdate=2008-06-27
work= Swedish Code of Statutes
publisher= Sveriges Riksdag
date= 1970-06-29
language= Swedish
] In order to become legally registered and protected under Swedish law, an official coat of arms must be registered with the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV), and is subject to approval by the National Herald ("Statsheraldiker"), who is appointed by the bureaucratic Heraldic Board of the National Archives of Sweden. Since 1999, the National Herald of Sweden is Henrik Klackenberg. [cite web
url= http://www.statensarkiv.se/default.aspx?id=1207
title= Heraldik
work= Statens Arkiv
language= Swedish
date=2008-01-14
accessdate=2008-08-01
] Heraldic arms of commoners (burgher arms), however, are less strictly controlled. These are recognised by inclusion in the annually published Scandinavian Roll of Arms.

Characteristics

Swedish heraldry has a number of characteristics that distinguish the Swedish style from heraldry in other European countries. Common features of Swedish heraldry are similar to those of other Nordic countries and Germany, placing it in the German-Nordic heraldic tradition, distinguished from Gallo-British heraldry and other heraldic traditions by several key elements of heraldic style. One of these is the use of multiple helmets and crests, which cannot be displayed separately from the main shield. Additionally, these crests are often repetitive of charges used on the main shield. Also, the use of semy and heraldic furs are more common in Gallo-British heraldry, but are rare in German-Nordic heraldry.

Consistent with German-Nordic heraldry, the most common charges in Swedish heraldry include lions and eagles. Additional animals that frequently appear in Swedish heraldry include griffins and (especially in the northern provinces) reindeer. Stars are common and are usually depicted with six points and straight sides (cf: Marian star), in contrast to the Gallo-British tradition, which typically depicts stars as either a five-pointed straight sided star ("mullet") or as a six-pointed wavy-sided star ("estoile"). In Swedish, these stars are usually described as "six-pointed stars" ("sexuddig stjärna"). In terms of blazoning, Swedish heraldry is described in plain terms using common Swedish language, rather than using specialized lingo such as Blazon.

State heraldry

The greater national arms ("stora riksvapnet") originated in 1448 and has remained unchanged in Swedish law since 1943. The first legislation of state arms in Sweden was in 1908, and prior to that the state arms were changed by royal decree. [cite web
url= http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/se-coa.html
author= Elias Granqvist
title= Sweden: State Arms
work= Flags of the World
date=2000-07-08
accessdate=2008-08-01
] It is also the personal coat of arms of the king of Sweden; as such he can decree its use as a personal coat of arms by other members of the Royal House, with the alterations and additions decided by him. Since the beginningof the reign of Gustav Vasa in 1523 it has been customary in Sweden to display the arms of the ruling dynasty as an inescutcheon in the centre of the greater arms.cite book
author= Neubecker, Ottfried
date= 1979
title= A Guide to Heraldry
publisher= McGraw-Hill
location= Maidenhead, England
pages= p. 225
ISBN= 0070463123
]

Blazon: The greater national arms consist of a shield azure, quartered by a cross Or with outbent arms, and an inescutcheon containing the dynastic arms of the Royal House. In the first and fourth fields three open crowns Or, placed two above one. In the second and third fields three sinisterbendwise streams argent, a lion crowned with an open crown Or with armaments gules. The inescutcheon is party per pale the arms for the House of Vasa (Bendwise azure, argent and gules, a "vasa" (sheaf of wheat) Or); and the House of Bernadotte (Azure, issuant from a wavy base a bridge with three arches and two towers embattled argent, in honor point an eagle regardant with wings inverted resting on thunderbolts Or, and in chief the Big Dipper constellation of the same). The main shield is crowned by a royal crown and surrounded by the insignia of the Order of the Seraphim. Supported by two lions regardant, crowned and with forked tails Or and armaments gules, standing on a compartment Or. All surrounded by ermine mantling, crowned with a royal crown and tied up with tasseladorned strings Or."cite web
url= http://www.notisum.se/rnp/sls/lag/19820268.HTM
title= Lag (1982:268) om Sveriges riksvapen
accessdate=2008-06-27
work= Swedish Code of Statutes
publisher= Sveriges Riksdag
date= 1982-04-29
language= Swedish
] The greater national arms may be displayed without the Order of the Seraphim insignia, supporters, compartment or mantling. While the arms have undergone significant changes over the years (such as changing the inescutcheon with the ruling dynasty), they are based on arms created by King Karl Knutsson (Bonde) in 1448. [cite web
url= http://www.statensarkiv.se/default.aspx?id=1268
title= Stora riksvapnet
work= Statens Arkiv
date= 2008-03-17
language= Swedish
accessdate=2008-07-14
]

The coat of arms of Queen Silvia of Sweden is similar to the greater arms of Sweden, but without the ermine mantling, and with the central inescutcheon exchanged for her personal arms: per pale gules and Or, a fleur-de-lis counterchanged. The shield is encircled by an azure ribbon with dependent cross of the Order of the Seraphim. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 94
ISBN= 0713709405
]

The lesser coat of arms of Sweden ("lilla riksvapnet") is emblazoned: "Azure, with three coronets Or, ordered two above one; Crowned with a royal crown." This is the emblem used by the government of Sweden and its agencies; it is, for example, embroidered on all Swedish police uniforms. Any representation consisting of three crowns ordered two above one is considered to be the lesser coat of arms, and its usage is therefore restricted by Swedish Law, Act 1970:498.

The three crowns have been a national symbol of Sweden for centuries; historians trace the use of the symbol back to the royal seal of Albrecht of Mecklenburg, and even earlier.cite web
url= http://flagspot.net/flags/se-3kron.html#hist
title= Three Crowns of Sweden
work= Flags of the World
date= 2007-02-10
accessdate=2008-07-01
] The three crowns have been recognized as the official arms of Sweden since the 14th century. The earliest credible attribution of the three crowns is to Magnus Eriksson, who reigned over Norway and Sweden, and in 1330s, bought Scania from Denmark. Written in 1378, Ernst von Kirchberg's "Reimchronik" depicted Magnus Eriksson with a national banner of dark blue, charged with three crowns, although this banner did not ultimately become the national flag of Sweden.

Municipal heraldry

There are 290 municipalities in Sweden, each with its own coat of arms. A local government reform in the 1960s–1970s made all cities part of a municipality. The city arms often—but not always—became the coat of arms of the new municipality. As some municipalities were created at this time by merging smaller communities, this led in some cases to arms consisting of two parts, each derived from one of the communities. Some new municipalities also lacked historical cities within, and therefore created wholly new coats of arms. Municipalities can, if they choose, have a mural crown on top of their coat of arms. This is practised by some municipalities, whih carry the name of a fomer city. Kalmar was the first to establish city arms in 1247, and Stockholm, Skara and Örebro were also among the first cities in Sweden to establish city arms.

Former city arms

The following is not an exhaustive list of the 133 historic cities in Sweden, but a brief list of cities that are notable or bear heraldic significance within the context of Swedish heraldry. Each is listed by the city name, in general chronological order with the approximate year of settlement or city charter. Note that most city arms originated in the Middle Ages as a city seal, and all were registered as municipality ("kommun") arms in the 1970s.

Skara (established in 988) is one of the oldest cities in Sweden. It has used various versions of its cathedral in its symbol since the 1600s, and received its current arms in 1963. Blazon: Argent, a shingled Romanesque church with apse and two towers gules, roofs pointed with crowning crosses, the right tower highest with door and windows argent. [cite web
url= http://www.skara.se/index.php?id=11
title= Skara Kommun Stadsvapnet
work= Skara
language= Swedish
date= 2006-12-17
accessdate=2008-07-05
]

Kalmar (1100) has the oldest known city arms in Sweden, depicting a fortified tower ("borgtorn") and dating to 1247. [cite web
url= http://www.wadbring.com/historia/sidor/kalmar.htm
title= Kalmar
work= Bengans historiasidor
language= Swedish
date=2008-05-14
accessdate=2008-07-05
] The two stars were added by the end of the 13th century, and the arms have remained vitually unchanged to date. [cite web
url= http://www.ngw.nl/int/zwe/k/kalmar.htm
title= Kalmar
work= Sveriges Kommunvapen (Swedish Civic Heraldry)
date=2008-07-01
accessdate=2008-07-05
] Blazon: Argent, a tower embattled gules, with door and windows Or, issuing from a wavy base azure, between two mullets of six points gules.

Malmö (1250) is the southernmost, and third largest, city in Sweden. Malmö's arms, granted by Eric of Pomerania in 1437, survive virtually unchanged today and, together with Halmstad, are unique in having a helmet and crest included in the achievement of arms. Blazon: Argent, a griffin head [erased] gules crowned Or; the same upon the helmet, issuing from the crown a bundle of ostrich feathers argent.

Landskrona (1413) was established by Eric of Pomerania as an anti-Hansa city in competition with the Danish port cities of the time, shortly after Scania had been conquered by Sweden. The city was originally symbolised by a gold "queen's crown" on a red field, in direct reference to Margrethe Valdemarsdatter, and the city received its present arms in 1880, based on a city seal from 1663 depicting a crown, a lion, a ship and a cornucopia on a quartered field. [cite web
url= http://www.landskrona.se/pages/cgi-bin/PUB_Latest_Version.exe?pageId=1279&allFrameset=1&r=1215292050360
title= Landscrone/Landskrona
language= Swedish
author= Louise Persson
date=2004-09-02
accessdate=2008-07-05
] Landskrona is unique among Swedish municipal arms in having its own crown and supporters as part of its own achievement of arms. Since Landskrona was a city, the municipality has, in theory, the option to crown the shield with a wall crown, but this is not done since Landskrona already has its very own crown.

Gothenburg (1619), the second largest city in Sweden, was founded in 1621 by Gustav II Adolf. The city arms feature the Folkung lion of the Greater Coat of Arms of Sweden, but armed with a drawn sword and bearing the "Svea Rikes" shield (a blue shield charged with three gold crowns). The lion, king of the animals, stands for power and agility.cite web
url= http://www.goteborg.se/wps/portal/!ut/p/c0/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjU-9AJyMvYwMDSycXA6MQFxNDPwtTIyNXM_2CbEdFAB7ex1E!/?WCM_PORTLET=PC_7_25KQB2J3009BD02TD41N8522E3_WCM&WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/goteborg.se/goteborg_se/PolitikoOrganisation/Om+Goteborg/Historia/art_N010_Stadsvapnets_historia
title= Stadsvapnets historia
work= Om Göteborg
language= Swedish
accessdate=2008-07-04
] The direction of the Gothenburg lion and the crown have been especially controversial. [cite web
url= http://www.ngw.nl/int/zwe/g/goteborg.htm
title= Gothenburg
work= Sveriges Kommunvapen (Swedish Civic Heraldry)
date=2008-07-01
accessdate=2008-07-04
] The blazon received in 1952 read: "Azure, three wavy bends sinister argent, overlaid with a lefthanded lion crowned with closed crown Or, with forked tail, langued and armed gules, swinging with the right forepaw a sword Or, and maintaining in the left a shield azure with three crowns Or, arranged two and one."

Kristianstad (1614) was founded in 1614 as Christianstad by King Christian IV of Denmark, and has used arms derived from his own since 1622. [cite web
url= http://www.kristianstad.se/sv/Om-kommunen/
title= Om kommunen
work= Kristianstad.se
language= Swedish
accessdate=2008-06-29
] [cite web
url= http://www.ngw.nl/int/zwe/k/kristian.htm
title= Kristianstad
work= Sveriges Kommunvapen (Swedish Civic Heraldry)
date=2008-07-01
accessdate=2008-07-02
] Blazon: Azure, a C4 monogram crowned and supported by lions Or.

Sundsvall (1621) was chartered as a city in 1621, later became a leader in industrial lumber production, and continues to be important to the pulp and paper industry. Sundsvall Municipality uses a red S-shaped dragon symbol in all official documents and on its website. It also has arms depicting two crossed blue furkets ("muskötgafflar") and a helmet of blue on a field of silver, symbolizing the city's military history and dating back to the 1620s. [cite web
url = http://www.sundsvall.se/omsundsvallskommun/organisation/stadsvapenochmarke.4.5c31f1e71084d60515e80002441.html
title = Stadsvapen
language = Swedish
accessdate=2008-06-29
date = 2008-06-29
publisher = Sundsvall.se
] [cite web
url= http://www.ngw.nl/int/zwe/s/sundsval.htm
title= Sundsvall
work= Sveriges Kommunvapen (Swedish Civic Heraldry)
date=2008-07-01
accessdate=2008-07-02
]

Other municipal arms

Oxelösund is one example of a municipality emerging from a split between two cities – in this case, Nyköping and Oxelösund, which are now in neighboring municipalities since the splitting of Nikolai rural municipality in 1950. The town of Oxelösund was established in 1900 and became a city in 1950, when it became a separate municipality from Nyköping. [cite web
url= http://www.oxelosund.se/index.php?id=500
title= Oxelösunds historia
work= www.oxelosund.se
language= Swedish
accessdate=2008-07-25
]

Stenungsund is one example of a municipality that, having no historic city arms, created wholly new arms in the 1970s. This device, displaying a hydrocarbon molecule, alludes to the area's petrochemical industry, and is also an example of distinctly modern arms. The arms, registered with the PRV in 1977, display: "Argent, a hydrocarbon molecule of three pellets conjoined with six bezants gules, over a base wavy azure". [cite web
url= http://www.stenungsund.se/vanstermeny/omkommunen/stenungsundshistoria/kommunvapnet.4.c492c81098de830d68000645.html
title= Kommunvapnet
work= Stenungsunds Kommun
language= Swedish
date=2008-06-10
accessdate=2008-07-25
]

Ecclesiastical heraldry

The Church of Sweden ("Svenska kyrkan") is the national church ("folkkyrka") and, until 2000, was the state church ("statskyrka") of Sweden. [cite web
url= http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx?di=37017
title= Facts about the Church of Sweden
accessdate=2008-06-29
publisher= Svenskakyrkan.se
] The arms of the church have been found displayed on a 14th century heraldic flag discovered in Uppsala cathedral, and are blazoned: Or, upon a cross gules, a crown Or. ("En guld-sköld med ett rött kors och en gyllene krona.") [cite web
url= http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengt_Olof_Kälde
title= Bengt Olof Kälde
language= Swedish
accessdate=2008-06-29
date= 2007-03-24
work= Swedish Wikipedia
publisher=Wikimedia Foundation
] The red cross is said to represent "God's love", as well as blood and fire, and the gold field is said to represent "the everlasting light" as well as "God's honesty and power", and the crown is said to be a crown of victory ("segerkrona"), symbolising Jesus Christ, the worldly kings, and victory over death.cite web
url= http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svenska_kyrkan
title= Svenska kyrkan
language= Swedish
accessdate=2008-06-29
date= 2008-06-27
work= Swedish Wikipedia
publisher=Wikimedia Foundation
] The Church of Sweden also has many dioceses and parishes with their own coats of arms. According to tradition, the crosier is displayed in the arms of bishops in office but is removed when a bishop retires. [For an example of this, see [http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx?di=67716&ptid=0 the arms of Bishop Ragnar Persenius] .]

Private heraldry

Noble arms

Noble arms ("adliga vapen"), together with royal and municipal heraldry, are protected under Swedish law since 1970. In the 17th and 18th century, the nobility fought to ban burgher arms ("borgerliga vapen"). The result in 1767 was a compromise in that granted the nobility the exclusive right to barred or open helmets, coronets, and supporters, while "the Town law of 1730 stated that burgher arms are accepted since they are not forbidden." A coronet of eleven pearls is a distinctive feature of a baron's arms in Sweden, which also typically include two helmets, each wearing this coronet, and a third such coronet is placed above the shield, although some baronial arms feature three helmets or only one, and not every baron uses supporters. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 145
ISBN= 0713709405
]

The earliest known achievements of heraldry in Sweden were the noble arms of two brothers, Sigtrygg and Lars Bengtsson, of the Boberg family, dating to 1219. Other noble arms have been adopted into civic heraldry within their bearers' areas of influence, such as the adoption of the arms of Bo Jonsson (Grip) by Södermanland. [cite web
url= http://home.planet.nl/~artrako/Scandinavie/ZwAdel-EN.html
title= The Noble Grip Family
date=2003-12-19
accessdate=2008-07-27
]

Burgher arms

Throughout the Middle Ages, heraldry in Sweden was primarily the domain of the high nobility, but burgher arms came to Sweden in the 14th century by way of the Hansa trade.cite web
url= http://www.heraldik.se/english_3.html
title= The Swedish Way
work= www.heraldik.se
publisher= Swedish Heraldry Society
date=2005-06-02
accessdate=2008-07-02
] This may have been especially true in Stockholm, where there was a large German population. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 96
ISBN= 0713709405
] While burgher arms became popular among the merchants of the Middle Ages, by the 16th and 17th century their use was "common among the non-noble officers, judges and priests... while the merchants tended to give up the tradition of heraldic seals and replace them with owner’s marks." In contrast to noble arms, burgher arms are allowed only a shield with one tilting or closed helmet without a necklace or coronet. A wreath and crest must be placed on the helmet, and a motto or war cry can be used. Unlike noble arms, few burgher arms were handed down through the generations. [cite book
author= Volborth, Carl-Alexander von
date= 1981
title= Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles
publisher= Blandford Press
location= Poole, England
pages= p. 96
ISBN= 0713709405
]

Burgher arms are not required to be registered with the PRV, and so they are not protected under Swedish law (1970:498). According to the Swedish Heraldry Society, the most common way of obtaining recognition of burgher arms is by inclusion in the annually-published Scandinavian Roll of Arms ("Skandinavisk Vapenrulla"), which currently includes over 400 Swedish family coats of arms, along with arms from the other Scandinavian countries. Approximately 3000 burgher arms are known today in Sweden. Swedish law protects "arms of the nobility as well as civic bodies, while burgher arms are not [protected] , unless registered as a logotype."cite web
url= http://www.heraldik.se/english_2.html
title= Registration of Arms
work= www.heraldik.se
publisher= Swedish Heraldry Society
date=2005-06-02
accessdate=2008-07-01
]

Samples

Samples of military arms of Sweden



Samples of county arms of Sweden



Samples of municipal arms of Sweden



Samples of personal heraldry



Terminology

In English, achievements of arms are usually described in a kind of heraldic jargon known as "blazonry" or "blazon", a highly specialized language peppered with French terms. In Swedish, however, achievements of arms are described clearly in relatively plain language, using only Swedish terms and tending to avoid specialized jargon. Some obvious examples of this are the use of Swedish "Blå" for blue, as compared to "Azure", and "Grön" for green, as compared to "Vert" in Blazonry.

References

External links

* [http://www.ngw.nl/index.htm International Civic Heraldry] listing (in English)
* [http://databas.heraldik.se/DBListSlaktvapenGrid.php Burgher arms] in the Swedish heraldry database (in Swedish)
* [http://www.heraldik.se/english_3.html The Swedish Way] by the Swedish Heraldry Society (in English)
* [http://hem.fyristorg.com/monitorforlaget/index.html Skandinavisk Vapenrulla] (in Swedish)
* [http://www.heraldik.se/svk/ Svenskt Vapenregister] (in Swedish)
* [http://www.prv.se/In-English/ Swedish Patent and Registration Office] - bilingual web site (in English)


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