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Slovakian Coat of Arms

Last modified: 2001-05-18 by jarig bakker
Keywords: slovakia | lorraine cross |
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[Slovakian Coat of Arms] by Jarig Bakker, 12 May 2001

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The Slovakian Coat of Arms

The Slovak CoA and the dexter half of the Hungarian CoA are remarkably similar. Only differences:  Slovak CoA is a white cross of Lorraine on a blue mount composed of three hills, on a red background. The Hungarian CoA is a white cross of Lorraine with a crown at the base on a green hill composed of three hills on a red background. Where did the Crest originate?  Slovakia or Hungary?

There is no doubt about the use of the arms with the Lorraine cross by Arpad and further dynasties ruling the Hungarian territories. But there is archaelogical evidence that this symbol was used in the area inhabited by Slav (later Slovak) population before the Hungarians conquered the Carpatian Basin. This old Christian symbol was brought to Great Moravia by the Byzantine priests Constantine (Cyrill) and Method. This doesn't refute the theory that the pope donated the cross to king Stephen but shows that Slovaks have certain rights to consider this cross as theirs. In Hungarian history this cross is first noticed on the shield of king Bela III. in 1189 and it is a frequent symbol in Slovak municipal heraldry. Ludovit Stur (1815 - 1856) took the Hungarian royal coat af arms and used it with an appropriate change of colours as a Slovak national symbol. The main fact why Slovaks used Hungarian coat of arms was that they simply felt a historical bond with the Hungarian state - the coat of arms belonged to them as well as to Hungarians or for example Serbians who lived within the boundaries of Hungarian kingdom. They only painted it with the colours they liked more because they represented the pan-Slav or Austro-Slav idea.

The present-day form of the Slovak state coat of arms was enacted on 1st March 1990 in the constitutional law of Slovak National Council and was confirmed by the law from 18th February 1993. It's author is the painter Ladislav Cisarik, jr. The official interpretation is that the Lorraine cross symbolizes three important saints - St. Benedict, St. Constantine and St. Method. Three hills are taken from the arms of Hungarian kings, where it was green and was interpreted as three mountains Tatra, Matra and Fatra. Since 1920 this coat of arms was depicted on the small Czechoslovak state coat of arm on the chest of Czech lion rampant to express respect and importance of Slovakia in the newly formed multi-national state. In 1960 the Slovak coat of arms in the arms of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was changed with an inappropriate, newly created emblem - golden fire in front of the silhouette of Mt. Krivan.
Jan Kravčík, 6 June 2000

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