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Flags and CoAs in Czechia

Last modified: 2002-06-28 by jarig bakker
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Arms as a source of municipal flags in Czechia

Many flags of Czech municipalities are less or more derivations from its Arms and these are in many cases (in fact) the arms of its Feudal Lords. In medieval Lands of Bohemian Crown there were only two possible noble titles: Lords/Páni (Liber Baro in Latin) and knights or yeomen /rytíri, vladykové - not to be confused with vladika in Montenegro - or zemani (Eques - Am I right? All the Czech terms for them were used). Only exemptions were different princes and dukes in Silesia, dukes of Opava (bastard branch of Premyslides Dynasty) and titles of Margrave (marquis, in Czech Markrabe) of Moravia and Count of Kladsko. These were for appointed for Sovereign and for members of the dynasty respective. The first (Imperial) Count in our Lands was Schlick in 15. Century. Before his ennoblement he was a bourgeois in Cheb. He became Chancellor of Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia and Hungary. His arms could be admired as Nejdek town flag (Karlovarský kraj), if hung vertically. Even after 1618 were the European system of titles installed. Many old families were made counts (Sternberg, Zierotin, Czernin, Kinski).

Some practical examples:

Lords (Counts) of Sternberg (Šternberk) - Their Arms (Azure an eight - pointed Star Or) we can see unchanged in Coat of Arms  of Benešov Town and differed in Symbols of Šternberk Town in Olomoucký kraj. The CoA of this town is canting - Azure a Mount Vert (Berg in German), surmounted by eight - pointed Star Or (Stern). The mount was added in 18th century.
That's also the reason for use of the green stripe in the flag.

Lords of Rosenberg (Rozmberk) - Argent a Rose Gules barbed Vert and buttoned or. This sign we can see on flags of Ceský Krumlov, Cernovice, Deštná (District Jindrichuv Hradec), Radnice (District Rokycany), Třeboń etc.

Lords of Hradec (and their ancestors Slavata of Chlum and Košumberk) bore Azure a Rose Or, (sometimes buttoned Gules , barbed Vert). This rose along with Sternberg star we can see in the flag (and in vertically divided Arms) of the Pocátky Town. Alll the composition is a "signature"  of landlords - Adam Wratislav of Sternberg and Anna Lucia Slavata of Chlum.

In North Moravia there are few flags and arms with the same strange composition -  a black lion with yellow tongue against red background. This lion used to be part of the Arms of rich Moravian family of the Counts of Zierotin (Zerotín). It was Gules a Lion rampant sable armed Or queued forchée. The lion is issuing from the triple Hill Argent in base. The family came from Bludov (see: the Bludov website - differed with silver letter B, held by the lion). Other examples - Branná, Roznov pod Radhoštem, Sobotín, Velké Losiny (last two only Coats of Arms).

The Lords of Dietrichstein came from Carinthia (Kärnten), but especially Cardinal Francis of Dietrichstein left many traces in our heraldry and vexillology. This Bishop of Olomouc could be called "Moravian Richelieu". He was Governor of Moravia during the Thirty Years war. He led all the country to Catholicism, defended it fighting and leading armies against many foreign invaders. The arms of his family were: Per bend Or and gules two vinedresser knives Argent with Handles Or. Almost unchanged (only with wooden handles) we can see it on the flag of town Nové Mesto na Morave, one knife and letter F  for Franciscus on the flag of town Budišov nad Budišovkou. (BTW - the colour shade chosen by Mr. Delgado Ortiz is probably correct, since in the grant of arms is described as greenish - yellow). His Arms with arms of his office/bishopric makes together the arms of Kromeríz town. Other beautiful example of Arms (no flag is known) of Zdár nad Sázavou town.

But if you can see silver "cones" /triangles against red background, it is not necessary trace of Cardinal Dietrichstein. For instance Osoblaha Arms was granted by Bishop Václav Králík of Burenice in 1415.

And other about arms only few words:
In Konice town flag canton there are four arrows of Lords of Švábenice.
"Zavinutá strela" of Bílovec and once of Kravare, these were Lords of Kravare.
Black wing in silver (Kurim, Lomnice) was once symbol of mighty Moravian nobility, Lords of Lomnice and their branches "of Krizanov", "of Tasov"and so on.
Lords of Kunštát arms are modern symbol of Vizovice.
Ales Krizan, 11 Sep 2001

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