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A historical excursus on the issue of the coat of arms and the true patrons of Kiev

  • 27.05.2016
  • 207
  • 11870

Heraldic traditions came to Slavic lands from Western Europe, whereas the word gerb found in several Slavic languages originates from the German erbe meaning “heritage”, “inheritance”. In the Middle Ages, when feudal relations were strengthening in Europe, it became necessary to single out feudal lords among their vassal environment. Moreover, in the times of tournaments and crusades, when a knight was covered with armour and had a closed visor on his helmet, it was totally unclear who he was and which nation and family he belonged to. Thus, insignias were absolutely necessary. One’s coat of arms was exactly an indicator of one’s name and title. Knights mostly drew their coats of arms on their shields, and that was the origin of the major heraldic tradition. Later on city coats of arms began to emerge.

Hence, there was surely no coat of arms in Kiev in the times of Kievan Rus, though Kievan princes did have their personal seals. In fact, every prince had such a seal to mark his property and sign his orders.

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