The use of Heraldry by Goverment and Civil Authorities
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Why is it that the national arms of many European republics do not have crests? I am specifically referring to the Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland, Finland, Austria, Germany, Iceland, and Slovakia. In many cases – at least in the case of the Czech Republic and Ireland – they were designed by noted and accomplished heraldists, so the notion that this is simply an error in blazonry seems unlikely. And, in many or most cases, municipal arms in these same nations do have crests.
- Michael F. McCartney
- IHS Member
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- Location: Fremont, California
Lack of crests is not an error, it is a conscious decision based on local historical traditions. The only necessary item is the shield; everything else is just (hopefully attractive and meaningful) options. Most places, crests are commonly included in personal and family arms, but even there only the shield is really necessary.
Correct. That's why I said "the notion that this is simply an error in blazonry seems unlikely."Lack of crests is not an error
Yes, clearly.it is a conscious decision based on local historical traditions
Anyway, if anyone who is knowledgeable on this topic could elucidate on the reason all European republics (who use arms) do not use crests on their national achievements - but do consistently use them on municipal achievements* - I would be curious and appreciative!
* One thing I notice, in perusing the REKOS database, that Czech municipal arms granted by the Chamber of Deputies after independence from Austria all consistently use crests - even, in fact, those blazoned by Jiří Louda himself. So - what was my initial thought that this may have something to do with a perspective on the nature of crests that might exist in Germanic heraldic tradition and would make them inappropriate for republican use -seems unsupported by reality.
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