Russian two-headed eagle

Russian two-headed eagle

Russian Golden two-headed eagle with scepter and orb in its claws was approved November 30, 1993

The first interpretation of the symbolism of the coat of arms, Russian two-headed eagle with the image of a rider on its chest, became available to the public with the publication in Moscow Slavonic Bible in 1663. “With the three crowns the eastern eagle shines depicting faith, hope and love of God. From North to South, from East to West the eagle stretches it wings covering all”. Thus, the double-headed eagle is interpreted as a symbol of the indivisibility of European and Asian Russia, and three crowns symbolize the three kingdoms – Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia.

Russian two-headed eagle

Russian coat of arms with a double-headed eagle on the seal of Ivan III, 1497

Russian two-headed eagle

Coat of arms on the Great Seal. Tsar Ivan IV Vasilyevich, 1577-1578

In 1472, the Russian two-headed eagle appeared on the state seal of Ivan III, along with the image of St. George slaying a dragon. The Tsar began to certify the documents with a new content – horseman with a spear on the chest of a two-headed eagle. Contemporaries had no doubt that the rider – not St. George the Victorious, but the reigning sovereign. On this interpretation of the image says important detail on stamps and coins of Ivan the Terrible, usually a horseman without a halo, but with the crown.

Russian two-headed eagle

Coat of Arms with Central State Seal (with a cross). Tsar Fedor Ivanovich I, 1589

The first ruler of the Romanov dynasty – Mikhail Fedorovich – was elected by Zemsky Sobor in 1613. The two-headed eagle on his seal of 1625 got a third crown. Subsequently, the item, which appeared for the first time in the time of the False Dmitry, becomes an integral part of the coat of arms in the reign of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.

Coat of arms of the Great Seal of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, 1667 (drawing from Tsar's titulyarnik)

Coat of arms of the Great Seal of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, 1667 (drawing from Tsar’s titulyarnik)

The reign of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich is interesting for heraldry not only because in his reign time was published the Slavonic Bible, but also it was during his time the towers of Moscow Kremlin were crowned with double-headed eagles. For the first time by the royal decree of 1667 “On the Tsar title and the State Seal” the status of eagle was legally installed. Decree – the first piece of legislation, which recognized the shape and determined the value of the State Emblem of Russia.

Russian two-headed eagle

Peter I coat of arms

Heraldic innovations continued reformer tsar Peter I. In his time the double-headed eagle blackened, rider became known as Saint George. And since 1710, the eagle adorned the imperial crown, long before Russia became the empire. Through this action Tsar Peter demonstrated to the world the full independence and sovereignty of Russia.

Russian two-headed eagle

Emblem of Russia under Paul I (with the Maltese cross). August 1799

Having become the Grand Master of the Order of Malta Emperor Paul I ordered to reflect his new position in the coat of arms. From now on board with the image of a rider on top, was placed a Maltese cross. Paul conceived the large-scale conversion of state symbols, resulting in the first time was developed a “full coat of the Russian Empire”, which reflected the symbolism of all the Russian lands. Manifesto, describing the arms, possessed all the attributes of European heraldry, had already been signed, but in connection with the death of St. Paul in 1801 was not published.

Russian two-headed eagle

Middle of the XIX century Russian coat of arms

The young emperor Alexander I abolished the innovations of his father, and after the victory over Napoleon introduced his own innovations, putting in the paws of Eagle arrows and laurel wreath, as signs of glory and triumph. But the ideas of failed manifesto became the foundation for the creation of a large national coat of arms in the future.

Coat of arms of Nicholas I

Coat of arms of Nicholas I. 1st quarter of the XIX century

Coat of arms of the times of Catherine I, 1730 - 1760

Coat of arms of the times of Catherine I, 1730 – 1760

Nicholas I formally approved the two types of state emblem. The emblem of the first type of double-headed eagle with spread wings under one crown held in the clutches the scepter and orb. The coat of arms of the second type – on the raised up wings of an eagle under three crowns are placed 6 coats of kingdoms within the empire – Kazan, Astrakhan, Poland, Siberia, Chersonesos and Georgia.

Russian two-headed eagle, 1882-1917

Large coat of arms of the Russian Empire, 1882-1917

In 1856 it was time to implement the ideas of Paul I. Alexander II approved a set, developed in accordance with heraldic rules and consisting of large, medium and small emblems. With minor modifications, as amended in 1882 by Alexander III, Russian two-headed eagle existed until 1917.

Russian two-headed eagle, 1883-1917

Small coat of arms of the Russian Empire, 1883-1917

Russian two-headed eagle

Clock Double head eagle. bronze. Image from website

Golden two-headed eagle with scepter and orb in its claws was approved November 30, 1993. Crown – Three Crowns of Peter the Great. Shield – rectangular with rounded bottom corners and a pointed tip red heraldic shield. Other elements – horseman spearing a dragon