Last modified: 2002-01-18 by istvan molnar
Keywords: romania | coat of arms | francophonie |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
by Antonio Martins
Flag adopted 1989 December 27, coat of arms adopted 1992 September 24
The following is copied from the Romanian government's page about the Romanian coat of arms:
Romania's coat of arms has as a central element the golden eagle with cross. Traditionally, this eagle appears in the arms of the Arges county, the town of Pitesti and the town of Curtea de Arges. It stands for the "nest of the Basarabs," the nucleus around which Wallachia, was organised, the province that determined the historical fate of the whole Romania. The eagle, being the symbol of Latinity and a heraldic bird of the first order, symbolises courage, determination, the soaring toward great heights, power, grandeur. It is to be found also in Transylvania's coat of arms. The shield on which it is placed is azure, symbolising the sky. The eagle holds in its talons the insignia of sovereignty: a sceptre and a saber, the latter reminding of Moldavia's ruler, Stephen the Great (1456-1504), also called "Christ's athlete" whereas the sceptre reminds of Michael the Brave (1593-1601), the first unifier of the Romanian Countries. On the bird's chest there is a quartered escutcheon with the symbols of the historical Romanian provinces (Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, Banat and Crisana) as well as two dolphins reminding of the country's Black Sea Coast. In the first quarter there is again Wallachia's coat of arms on azure: an eagle or holding in its beak a golden Orthodox cross, accompanied by a golden sun on the right and a golden new moon on the left. In the second quarter there is Moldavia's traditional coat of arms, gules: an auroch head sable with a mullet of or between its horns, a cinquefoil rose on the dexter and a waning crescent on the sinister, both argent. The third quarter features the traditional coat of arms of Banat and Oltenia, gules: over waves, a golden bridge with two arched openings (symbolising Roman emperor Trajan's bridge over the Danube), wherefrom comes a golden lion holding a broadsword in its right forepaw. The fourth quarter shows the coat of arms of Transylvania with Maramures and Crisana: a shield parted by a narrow fesse, gules; in the chief, on azure, there is an eagle sable with golden beak coming out of the fesse, accompanied by a golden sun on the dexter and a crescent argent on the sinister; on the base, on or, there are seven crenellated towers, placed four and three. Also represented are the lands adjacent to the Black Sea, on azure: two dolphins affronts, head down.Zeljko Heimer, 3 February 1997
From 1866/67 until 1948 the civil ensign of Romania was the simple tricolour, without any emblem. Around 1900 three districts (Braila,
Galati and Giurgiu) flown civil ensigns with their respective coat of arms on the yellow field; I don't know until which date this use survived. The flag with the State coat of arms on the yellow stripe was, from 1867 until 1947 the naval ensign. Until 1881 it was also used as princely standard and from 1881 to c.1900 as royal standard. In c.1900 the first royal standard of peculiar design was adopted, to be changed in 1922. In between 1867-1947 the coat of arms of Romania changed many times, so did the naval ensign. Most of the changes were concerning minor details, but at least four different versions of it are relevant (1867-1872, 1872-1897, 1897-1922, 1922-1947).
Mario Fabretto, 15 April 1997
From the Romanian flag page at: http://domino.kappa.ro/guvern/ehome.nsf/All/Drapelul
Dov Gutterman, 01 January 1999
The national flag of Romania is a tricolour: red, yellow and blue. It has not undergone many or major changes in the course of history. Only the distribution of the colours (in point of proportion and position) changed to a certain extent, being made equal after the Revolution of 1848 when, under the spur of the French revolutionary spirit, many states in Europe adopted as their national flag the dimensionally standardised three-colour banner.
Sigillography attests that at certain historical stages, the Romanian flag had the three colours arranged horizontally with the red in the upper part, the yellow in the middle and the blue in the lower part. Also, the proportion of the colours was not the same as it is now (33 per cent for each colour).
Basically, however, the three colours so dear to the Romanians are to be found in banners dating back to the time of Michael the Brave and even Stephen the Great. Moreover, recent research indicates that they existed even on the Dacian standard presented on Trajan's Column in Rome. This standard was of a special form: a bright metal wolf's head hanging from which were long coloured bands of cloth.
As the wind blew, the standard gave a whiz that scared the enemy and encouraged those who carried it in battle. In critical moments, hiding the standard so that it should not be taken by the enemy was a custom common with several peoples, including therefore the Dacians, the Daco-Romans and the Romanians. Such a hidden standard was the one belonging to Tudor Vladimirescu, the leader of the 1821 revolution. When the revolution was stifled, Tudor's chieftains decided to bury the standard in a courtyard.
Only 60 years later, in 1882, was the standard found, reconditioned and brought to Bucharest, the capital of the country, being deposited, in the framework of a special ceremony, at the Army House (today the Central Military Museum).
The 1821 revolution Tudor Vladimirescu helped the country get rid of the Phanariot rulers imposed by the Ottoman Empire in Wallachia and Moldavia in the early 18th century (the Phanariot rulers came from the Phanar district of Constantinopole and were aliens imposed on the country by the Sultan as mere administrators).
The flag, the standard, the banner are profound symbols, connected to history, to the resistance of the people and the secret of their survival.
The Romanian tricolour (the colours red, yellow and blue are to be found also in Romania's coat of arms) resisted, as a symbol, even after the advent of communism in this country, when the entire heraldry of the USSR's satellites was reduced to a caricature. In the course of time, poems and hymns were dedicated to the Romanian tricolour; one of these, Three Colours, on music by Ciprian Porumbescu, has been very mobilising and is one of the most liked by the Romanians.
The flag of Romania has the colours placed vertically as follows: blue (hoist), yellow (in the middle) and red (fly). The width of each colour band is one-third of the length. The blue is cobalt, the yellow-chrome and the red-vermillion.
I have a friend who is in Romania. He said that the yellow and red seem to have been standardized; however, there is a great variance in
the shade of blue. He has seen anything from a blue as light as that used in the flags of Israel and South Africa to as dark as that of the United States flag.
Calvin Paige Herring, 01 January 1999
When the Aero-show took place in 1993 in Paris the flag manufacturer wanted to know about the new flag of Romania. I had just received the message that the Romanian parliament had decided to show the COA in the flag. So I informed the manufacturer. He handed that design to another manufacturer, and he produced that flag. And in Paris all the Romanian flags had the COA in it. A week later I was informed that the parliamentary decision was deleted (for several reasons, one was the costs). But it was too late. The flags flew, and soon I received the information from several vexillologists that Romania had a new flag.
Ralf Stelter, 27 June 1999