Riddles of the coats of arms of Russian cities
That Neptune makes on the arms of the Great Ustyug? Like a Peacock was the emblem of Serpukhov? "Russia is a riddle wrapped or wrapped in a mystery, inside an Enigma. When you look at Russian arms, you know that Churchill was right.
Neptune in the conditions of the Russian North.
In Russian state symbols form a complex past. We still do not know "where there went" double-headed eagle, why as a "heraldic patron" was elected precisely St. George the Victorious, not Andrew the First Called or Nicholas Ugodnik, veneration in Russia which was much wider. But even more complicated genealogy of the coats of arms of Russian cities, the logic of symbolism that is sometimes simply impossible to comprehend.
From the point of view of the heraldic science, emblem was intended to represent the main idea is symbolized by his formula, his DNA. But when you look, say, the emblem of the Great Ustyug (Neptune holding two jugs with flowing water), then decrypt heraldic code of this story you will hardly be able. Official coat of arms with the Roman sea god of the city received in 1780. In fact, Neptune migrated from the "signs armorial" Count Munnich, published in 1730 and was designed, according to its creators thought, to symbolize the favorable geographical position of Great Ustyug. Interestingly, the image is reinforced by the legend: that the earth down a dispenser-hero to drain the water of the two rivers, Yga and Sukhona into one - the Northern Dvina. Is a high probability that this legend was created in the same XVIII century, to somehow explain the phenomenon of Neptune in the Russian North.
Bestiary of Ivan the Terrible.
In the Russian city heraldry came rather late - when Peter I. Prior to this role was performed emblems print decorated with emblems. In 1570-ies appeared print Ivan IV, 24 logos - 12 on each side - principalities, lands, cities that make up the Muscovy. Interestingly, the lion's share of characters is the images of animals, birds and fish. The other part - Weapon: bows, swords, sabers. Scientists argue that most of the posters did not contain any identification code places the land they symbolized, and was the fruit of the imagination of the court painters. Guided by the same or as "geniuses places" as popular Psalter and then in Russia, "physiology". Thus Nizhny Novgorod came to symbolize the deer, Pskov - leopard (or lynx), Kazan - Basilisk (dragon), Tver - bear, Rostov - bird, Yaroslavl - fish, Astrakhan - dog Vyatka land - onions, etc.
Then hardly anyone really thought about the deep symbolism of cities. Main symbolic load on the seal of Ivan IV bore located in the center of the two-headed eagle with Saint George - on the one hand, and the Unicorn (personal emblem of Ivan the Terrible) - on the other. All the same circle, the periphery, played the role of a sovereign print extras, whose task is not so much the correct identification of the place, how to show the power of the king.
This does not mean that the areas represented by the press, was not their ancestral, authentic, characters. Were, and some of these characters goes back centuries. However, in the coordinate system of Ivan the Terrible of course they could not find his place. Thus, the Terrible himself invented printing Veliky Novgorod, which was the basis of his future "bear" coat of arms, ignoring the existence for centuries Novgorod authentic characters on stamps (Christ Pantocrator, Andrew the First rider, lion). The main reason was the fact that the local authenticity contradicts the policy of centralization of the Moscow kingdom.
The first Russian brandbook.
A century later, in 1672 was born the "Big State book" or "Czarskiy titulyarnik" which showed to a new heraldic version of the Russian lands. In the book we see the past 33 emblem. Logos of some lands that were present at the press Terrible radically evolved.
So, Rostov the Great changed the bird on deer, Yaroslavl - fish for bear, armed with axe and Ryazan replaced the horse Hiking Prince. But it is unlikely that these changes were preceded by the kind of serious study of the topic: most likely, based on the rebranding was all too free creativity of painters, not the original character of these lands. The "Titulary" formed the basis of future heraldic experiments that finally led to the loss of the primary symbolic codes of ancient Russian territories.
"We want a peacock!".
Peter I decided to organize Russian brandbook and put in the back of this coat of arms by all the rules of European heraldry. It is interesting that the decision were military targets. To facilitate the supply of food army was placed in the cities and provinces of Russia. Shelves give the names of cities and places of residence, and in the regimental colors were to be placed the coats of arms of these territories.
In 1722 the king established a special Geroldmejstersky office tasked with writing coats of arms, including urban areas. On the role of creative director was invited Francis Earl Santee. The Italian set to work with frantic enthusiasm: first, he "brought to mind" the emblem of "Titulary" Alexei Mikhailovich, and, secondly, created several dozen coats of arms for Russian cities "from scratch". Before the beginning of the creative process Santi sent to local city officials questionnaires in which they had to talk about the key features of their cities. It should be noted that the local Office of the attitude to "technical specification" Italian without proper enthusiasm: Answers officials were very concise and empty. True, there were cities that are treated with the utmost seriousness to the job. For example, officials have reported Serpukhov that their city is famous for the peacocks that live in one of the local monasteries. Soon overseas bird took its place of honor on the emblem of the city.
In spite of the inertness of the city offices Santi still managed to draw a roster of 97 coats of arms (the other question is how authentic are these characters?). He probably could have done more, but already in 1727, Catherine I, who ruled after the death of Peter, sent to Siberia graph with the prosecution in the conspiracy.
Next heraldic boom in Russia was in the reign of Catherine II. This was due to the reform of local government in 1775. Over a decade has created several hundred coats of arms of Russian cities. Many of them, if not most, had absolutely contrived, being a product of fiction provincial city officials and poor knowledge of the history of cities heralds. Thus, the light appeared arms of cities of Great Luke (three onions), Sumy (three bags), etc.
At this point you have and the birth of many of the "heraldic" myths local officials involved in the creative process and begin to compose legends about the origin of coats of arms. For example, dignitaries Kolomna told the story that their city was built in 1147 by a representative of the ancient patrician Roman family Kolonn, so the city is so called as it is depicted on the emblem of the pillar.
But then all went to Yaroslavl, who argued that the coat of arms in the shape of a bear with the ax was invented by the greatest prince Yaroslav, "for the reason that he was marching in Rostov on the Strait of Kotorosli the Volga, found the bear, and with the help of the people of his retinue killed him."
In the XIX century the authorities tried to somehow organize heraldic fever, because - in a burst of creativity - in some cities appeared already approved several coats of arms. I had to give up too much.
After the revolution, the city waiting for a new boom heraldry stamp of creativity, but the "stigma territories" by Soviet artists were good except for the signification circles of hell, rather than for cities, villages living people. After the collapse of the Soviet Union began heraldic Renaissance, which was expressed in the mass return to the cities, "Catherine branding."
What do we have?
Several centuries of experiments in heraldry Russian cities came to nothing. Thus, the ancient Russian city with a long tradition, with a light hand of the central government got empty meaningless symbols and plunged into depression. Coat of arms, designed to unite citizens in a single community, reflect the essence of the character of the city, and has remained in my dreams. It must be admitted that all the centuries of work in the field of heraldry Russian cities was done on the knee. All true symbols of ancient lands were ignored even when creating a print Ivan IV.
In subsequent sovereigns situation only worsened signs are moving farther away from the signified, ancestral characters have lost all hope of being discovered courtiers King of Arms. Rock was present and that the key role in the creation of coats of arms played by foreigners.
Symbol of the city plays a vital role in establishing a strong connection between the city and citizen. City emblem is a binder between the individual citizen and the urban community, and the stronger and more substantial character, the relationship between man and the city stronger.