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A coat of arms, more properly called an armorial achievement, armorial bearings or often just arms for short, in European tradition, is a design belonging to a particular person (or group of people) and used by them in a wide variety of ways. Historically, they were used by knights to identify them apart from enemy soldiers. In Continental Europe, commoners were able to adopt burgher arms. Unlike seals and emblems, coats of arms have a formal description that is expressed as a blazon. In the 21st century, coats of arms are still in use by a variety of institutions and individuals (for example several have guidelines on how their coats of arms may be used and protect their use).
The art of designing, displaying, describing and recording arms is called heraldry. The use of coats of arms by countries, states, provinces, towns and villages is called civic heraldry.
In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland an individual, rather than a family, had a coat of arms. In those traditions coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to son; wives and daughters could also bear arms modified to indicate their relation to the current holder of the arms. Undifferenced arms are used only by one person at any given time. Other descendants of the original bearer could bear the ancestral arms only with some difference: usually a color change or the addition of a distinguishing charge. One such charge is the label, which in British usage (outside the Royal Family) is now always the mark of an heir apparent.
Because of their importance in identification, particularly in seals on legal documents, the use of arms was strictly regulated; few countries continue in this today. This has been carried out by heralds and the study of coats of arms is therefore called "heraldry". Some other traditions (e.g., Polish heraldry) are less restrictive — allowing, for example, all members of a dynastic house or family to use the same arms, although one or more elements may be reserved to the head of the house.
In time, the use of coat of arms spread from military entities to educational institutes, and other establishments. According to a design institute article, "The modern logo and corporate livery have evolved from the battle standard and military uniform of medieval times".
In his book, The Visual Culture of Violence in the Late Middle Ages, Valentin Groebner argues that the images composed on coats of arms are in many cases designed to convey a feeling of power and strength, often in military terms. The author Helen Stuart argues that some coat of arms were a form of corporate logo. Museums on medieval coat of arms also point out that as emblems they may be viewed as a pre-cursors to the corporate logos of modern society, used for group identity formation.
The American Great Seal is often said to be the coat of arms of the United States. The blazon ("Paleways of 13 pieces, argent and gules; a chief, azure") is intentionally improper to preserve the symbolic number 13.
Most American states generally have seals, which fill the role of a coat of arms. However, the state of Vermont (founded as the independent Vermont Republic) follows the American convention of assigning use of a seal for authenticating official state documents and also has its own separate coat of arms.
Many American social and especially organizations, use coats of arms in their symbolism. These arms vary widely in their level of adherence to European heraldic tradition. Organizations formed outside the United States with U.S. membership also may have a coat of arms. Roman Catholic dioceses and cathedrals have a coat of arms.
Note that not all personal or corporate insignia are heraldic, though they may share many features. For example, flags are used to identify ships (where they are called ensigns), embassies and such, and they use the same colors and designs found in heraldry, but they are not usually considered to be heraldic. A country may have both a national flag and a national coat of arms, and the two may not look alike at all. For example, the flag of Scotland (St Andrew's Cross) has a white saltire on a blue field, but the royal arms of Scotland has a red lion within a double tressure on a gold (or) field.
The Vatican has its own coat of arms. As the Papacy is not hereditary, its occupants display their personal arms combined with those of their office.
Some Popes came from armigerous (noble) families; others adopted coats of arms during their career in the church. The latter typically allude to their ideal of life, or to specific Pontifical programmes. A well known and widely displayed example in recent times was Pope John Paul II's coat of arms. His selection of a large letter M (for Mary) on his coat of arms was intended to express the message of his strong Marian devotion.
Roman Catholic Dioceses also are assigned a coat of arms. A Basilica, or papal church also gets a coat of arms, which is usually displayed on the building. These may be used in countries which otherwise do not use heraldic devices.
In Scotland, the Lord Lyon King of Arms has criminal jurisdiction to enforce the laws of arms. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales the use of arms is a matter of civil law and regulated from the of Arms.
In reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms, Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal, declared on 16 June 1673 that the powers of the Earl Marshal were "to order, judge, and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility, honour, and chivalry; to make laws, ordinances, and statutes for the good government of the Officers of Arms; to nominate Officers to fill vacancies in the of Arms; to punish and correct Officers of Arms for misbehaviour in the execution of their places". It was further declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted and no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms without the consent of the Earl Marshal.
Today, the term "coat of arms" is frequently applied in two different ways. In some uses, it may indicate a full achievement of arms or heraldic achievement, which includes a variety of elements — usually a crest sitting atop a helmet, itself sitting on a shield; other common elements include supporters holding up the shield and a motto (beneath in England, above in Scotland). Some people wrongly use "coat of arms" or "arms" to refer to the escutcheon (i.e., the shield itself), or to one of several designs that may be combined in one shield. (Note that the crest is one specific part of a heraldic achievement and that "crest of arms" is a misnomer.) The "coat of arms" frequently are adorned with a device - a motto, emblem, or other mark used to distinguish the bearer from others. If a motto is a part of the achievement, it sometimes has some punning allusion to the owner's name. A device differs from a badge or cognizance primarily because it is a personal distinction, and not a badge borne by members of the same house successively.
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of devising, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound *harja-waldaz, "army commander". The word, in its most general sense, encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms. To most, though, heraldry is the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms and badges. Historically, it has been variously described as "the shorthand of history" and "the floral border in the garden of history."The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmets. Eventually a formal system of rules developed into ever more complex forms of heraldry.
The system of blazoning arms that is used in English-speaking countries today was developed by the officers of arms in the Middle Ages. This includes a stylized description of the escutcheon (shield), the crest, and, if present, supporters, mottoes, and other insignia. Certain rules apply, such as the Rule of tincture, and a thorough understanding of these rules is a key to the art of heraldry. The rules and terminology do differ from country to country, indeed several national styles had developed by the end of the Middle Ages, but there are some aspects that carry over internationally.
Though heraldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still very much in use. Many cities and towns in Europe and around the world still make use of arms. Personal heraldry, both legally protected and lawfully assumed, has continued to be used around the world. Heraldic societies exist to promote education and understanding about the subject.
Moldova en-us-Moldova.ogg /mɒlˈdoʊvə/ (help·info), officially the Republic of Moldova (Republica Moldova) is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east and south.
In antiquity, the territory of the present day country was part of Dacia, then fell under the influence of the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, most of the present territory of Moldova was part of the Principality of Moldavia. In 1812, the eastern part of this principality was annexed by the Russian Empire and became known as Bessarabia. Between 1856 and 1878, two southern counties were returned to Moldavia, which in 1859 united with Wallachia to form modern Romania.
Upon the dissolution of the Russian Empire in 1917, an autonomous, then independent Moldavian Democratic Republic was formed, which joined Greater Romania in 1918. In 1940, Bessarabia was occupied by the Soviet Union, and was split between the Ukrainian SSR and the newly created Moldavian SSR. After changing hands in 1941 and 1944 during World War II, the territory of the modern country was subsumed by the Soviet Union until its independence on August 27, 1991. Moldova was admitted to the United Nations in March 1992. In September 1990, a breakaway government was formed in Transnistria, the strip of Moldova on the east bank of the river Dniester. After a brief war in 1992, it became de facto independent, although no UN member has recognized its independence.
The country is a parliamentary democracy with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. Moldova is a member state of the United Nations, Council of Europe, WTO, OSCE, GUAM, CIS, BSEC and other international organizations. Moldova currently aspires to join the European Union, and has implemented the first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).
The biggest part of the nation lies between two rivers, the Dniester and the Prut. The western border of Moldova is formed by the Prut river, which joins the Danube before flowing into the Black Sea. Moldova has access to the Danube for only about 480 m (1,600 ft), and Giurgiuleşti is the only Moldovan port on the Danube. In the east, the Dniester is the main river, flowing through the country from north to south, receiving the waters of Răut, Bâc, Ichel, Botna. Ialpug flows into one of the Danube limans, while Cogâlnic into the Black Sea chain of limans.
The country is landlocked, even though it is very close to the Black Sea. While most of the country is hilly, elevations never exceed 430 m (1,400 ft) — the highest point being the Bălăneşti Hill. Moldova's hills are part of the Moldavian Plateau, which geologically originate from the Carpathian Mountains. Its subdivisions in Moldova include Dniester Hills (Northern Moldavian Hills and Dniester-Rāut Ridge), Moldavian Plain (Middle Prut Valley and Bălţi Steppe), and Central Moldavian Plateau (Ciuluc-Soloneţ Hills, Corneşti Hills (Codri Massive) - Codri, meaning "forests" -, Lower Dniester Hills, Lower Prut Valley, and Tigheci Hills). In the south, the country has a small flatland, the Bugeac Plain. The territory of Moldova east of the river Dniester is split between parts of the Podolian Plateau, and parts of the Eurasian Steppe.
The country's main cities are the capital Chişinău, in the center of the country, Tiraspol (in the eastern region of Transnistria), Bălţi (in the north) and Tighina (in the south-east).
Main article: Name of Moldova
The name of Moldova is derived from the name of the Moldova River; the valley of this river was a political center when the Principality of Moldavia was founded in 1359. The origin of the name of the river is still not completely clarified. There is an account (a legend) of prince Dragoş's naming the river after hunting an aurochs: After the chase, his exhausted hound Molda drowned in the river. The dog's name would have been given to the river, and extended to the Principality, according to Dimitrie Cantemir and Grigore Ureche.
Main article: History of Moldova
In Antiquity Moldova's territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes. Between the 1st and 7th centuries CE, the south was intermittently under the Roman, then Byzantine Empires. Due to its strategic location on a route between Asia and Europe, the territory of modern Moldova was invaded many times in late antiquity and early Middle Ages, including by Goths, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, and the Mongols. Tatar invasions continued after the establishment of the Principality of Moldavia in 1359, bounded by the Carpathian mountains in the west, Dniester river in the east, and Danube and Black Sea in the south. Its territory comprised the present-day territory of the Republic of Moldova, the eastern eight of the 41 counties of Romania, and the Chernivtsi oblast and Budjak region of Ukraine. Like the present-day republic, it is known to the locals as Moldova. In 1538, the principality became a tributary to the Ottoman Empire, but it retained internal and partial external autonomy.
A church fresco depicting Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia between 1457 and 1504, and the most prominent Moldavian historical personality
Moldavian Principality in 1483
Soroca was built on the site of the former Genovan fortress Olihonia (Alciona)
Territories of the medieval Principality of Moldavia are now split between Romania (western Moldavia with southern Bukovina) in blue, Moldova (core of Bessarabia) in green, and Ukraine (southern Bessarabia and Chernivtsi oblast) in red.
Căpriana is one of the oldest monasteries in Moldavia
In 1812, according to the Treaty of Bucharest between the Ottoman Empire (of which Moldavia was a vassal) and the Russian Empire, the former ceded the eastern half of the territory of the Principality of Moldavia, along Khotyn and old Bessarabia (modern Budjak), despite numerous protests by Moldavians. At first, the Russians used the name "'Oblast' of Moldavia and Bessarabia", allowing a large degree of autonomy, but later (in 1828) suspended the self-administration and called it Guberniya of Bessarabia, or simply Bessarabia, starting a process of Russification. The Tsarist policy in Bessarabia was in part aimed at ethnic assimilation of the Romanian element by forbidding after the 1860s education and religious mass in Romanian; the effect was an extremely low literacy rate (in 1897 approx. 18% for males, approx. 4% for females). The western part of Moldavia (which is not a part of present-day Moldova) remained an autonomous principality, and in 1859, united with Wallachia to form the Kingdom of Romania. The Treaty of Paris (1856) saw three counties of Bessarabia - Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail - returned to Moldavia, but the Treaty of Berlin (1878) saw the Kingdom of Romania returning them to the Russian Empire. Over the 19th century, the Russian authorities encouraged colonization of parts of the region by Ukrainians, Lipovans, Cossacks, Bulgarians, Germans, Gagauzes, and allowed the settlement of more Jews; the proportion of the Moldovan population decreased from around 86% in 1816 to around 52% in 1905.
World War I brought in a rise in political and cultural (ethnic) awareness among the locals, as 300,000 Bessarabians were drafted into the Russian Army formed in 1917; within bigger units several "Moldavian Soldiers' Committees" were formed. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, a Bessarabian parliament, Sfatul Ţării, which was elected in October-November 1917 and opened on December 3 [O.S. November 21] 1917, proclaimed the Moldavian Democratic Republic (December 15 [O.S. December 2] 1917) within a federal Russian state, and formed its government (December 21 [O.S. December 8] 1917). Bessarabia proclaimed independence from Russia (February 6 [O.S. January 24] 1918), and, on April 9 [O.S. March 27] 1918, in presence of the Romanian army that entered the region to counter a Bolshevik coup attempt in early January, Sfatul Ţării decided with 86 votes for, 3 against and 36 abstaining, to unite with the Kingdom of Romania, conditional upon the fulfilment of the agrarian reform, local autonomy, and respect for universal human rights. The conditions were dropped after Bukovina and Transylvania also joined the Kingdom of Romania. This union was recognized by the Principal Allied Powers in the Treaty of Paris (1920). The newly Communist Russia, however, did not recognize the Romanian rule over Bessarabia. Furthermore, the Soviet Union, considered the region to be Soviet territory under Romanian occupation.
After the failure of the Tatarbunary Uprising in 1924, the neighboring region of Transnistria, part of the Ukrainian SSR at the time, was formed into the Moldavian ASSR. In August 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret additional protocol were signed, by which Nazi Germany recognized Bessarabia as being within the Soviet sphere of influence, which led the latter to actively revive its claim to the region. Although USSR and Romania subscribed to the principle of non-violent resolution of territorial disputes in the Kellogg-Briand Treaty of 1928 and the Treaty of London of July 1933, on June 28, 1940, after issuing an ultimatum to Romania, the Soviet Union, with the moral support of the Nazi Germany, occupied Bessarabia and northern part of Bukovina, establishing the Moldavian SSR, comprising about 70% of Bessarabia, and 50% of the now-disbanded Moldavian ASSR.
This event led to a major political shift in Romania, which denounced its alliance with France and Britain, and drew the country closer to Nazi Germany and eventually the establishment of pro-Fascist regimes. By participating in the 1941 Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania seized the lost territories of Bessarabia, and northern Bukovina, but its military regime also continued the war further into Soviet territory. In occupied Transnistria, Romanian forces, working with the Germans, deported or exterminated ca. 300,000 Jews, including 147,000 from Bessarabia and Bukovina (of the latter, approximately 90,000 perished). The Soviet Army re-captured the region in February-August 1944, and re-established the Moldavian SSR. Around 150,000 Moldovan soldiers perished during WWII, including ca. 50,000 in the Romanian Army (including POWs), and ca. 100,000 in the Soviet Army.
During the Stalinist period (1940-1941, 1944-1953), deportations of locals to the northern Urals, to Siberia, and northern Kazakhstan occurred regularly, with the largest ones on 12–13 June 1941, and 5-6 July 1949, accounting from MSSR alone for 18,392 and 35,796 deportees respectively. Other forms of Soviet persecution of the population included 32,433 political arrests, followed by Gulag or (in 8,360 cases) execution, collectivization, destruction of private economy, and infrastructure (mostly during the 1941 retreat). In 1946, as a result of a severe drought combined with excessive delivery quota obligations and requisitions imposed by the Soviet government, the southwestern part of the USSR suffered from widespread famine. In 1946-1947, at least 216,000 deaths and about 350,000 cases of dystrophy were accounted by historians in the Moldavian SSR alone. Similar events occurred in 1930s in the Moldavian ASSR. In 1944-53, there were several anti-Soviet resistance groups in Moldova; however the NKVD and later MGB managed to eventually arrest, execute or deport their members.
The postwar period saw a wide scale migration of ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and other ethnic groups into the new Soviet republic, especially into urbanized areas, partly to compensate the demographic loss caused by the emigration of 1940 and 1944. The Soviet government conducted a campaign to promote a Moldovan ethnic identity, different from that of the Romanians, based on a theory developed during the existence of the Moldavian ASSR (1924-1940). Official Soviet policy asserted that the language spoken by Moldovans was distinct from the Romanian language (see Moldovenism). To distinguish the two, during the Soviet period, Moldovan was written in the Cyrillic alphabet, in contrast with Romanian, which since 1860 was written in the Latin alphabet. Not all things under the Soviets were however negative, and after the death of Stalin political persecutions changed in character from mass to individual. Moreover, in the 1970s and 1980s, the Moldavian SSR received substantial allocations from the budget of the USSR to develop industrial and scientific facilities as well as housing. In 1971, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a decision "About the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev" (modern Chişinău), that allotted more than one billion Soviet rubles from the USSR budget for building projects; subsequent decisions also directed substantial funding and brought qualified specialists from other parts of the USSR to develop Moldova's industry. But all independent organizations were severely reprimanded, the National Patriotic Front leaders being sentenced in 1972 to long prison terms.
In the new political conditions created after 1985 by the glasnost policy introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1986, to support perestroika (restructuring), a Democratic Movement of Moldova (Romanian: Mişcarea Democratică din Moldova) was formed, which in 1989 became known as the Popular Front of Moldova (FPM; Romanian: Frontul Popular din Moldova), whose ideology was based on romantic nationalism. Along with several other Soviet republics, from 1988 onwards, Moldova started to move towards independence. On August 27, 1989, the FPM organized a mass demonstration in Chişinău, that became known as the Great National Assembly (Romanian: Marea Adunare Naţională), which pressured the authorities of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to adopt a language law on August 31, 1989 that proclaimed the Moldovan language written in the Latin script to be the state language of the MSSR. Its identity with the Romanian language was also established.
The first democratic elections for the local parliament were held in February and March 1990. Mircea Snegur was elected as Speaker of the Parliament, and Mircea Druc as Prime Minister. On June 23, 1990, the Parliament adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the "Soviet Socialist Republic Moldova", which, among other things, stipulated the supremacy of Moldovan laws over those of the Soviet Union. After the failure of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, on August 27, 1991, Moldova declared its independence. On December 21 of the same year Moldova, along with most of the former Soviet republics, signed the constitutive act that formed the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Declaring itself a neutral state, it did not join the military branch of the CIS. Three months later, on March 2, 1992, the country gained formal recognition as an independent state at the United Nations. In 1994, Moldova became a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program and also a member of the Council of Europe on June 29, 1995.
Moldova is known for its wines. For many years viticulture and winemaking in Moldova were the general occupation of the population. Evidence of this is present in historical memorials and documents, folklore, and the Moldovan spoken language.
The country has a well established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of 147,000 hectares (360,000 acres), of which 102,500 ha (253,000 acres) are used for commercial production. Most of the country's wine production is made for export. Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that have been passed down through the generations.
Located geographically at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic and other cultures, Moldova has enriched its own culture adopting and maintaining some of the traditions of its neighbors and of other influence sources.
The country's cultural heritage was marked by numerous churches and monasteries build by the Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great in the 15th century, by the works of the later renaissance Metropolitans Varlaam and Dosoftei, and those of scholars such as Grigore Ureche, Miron Costin, Nicolae Milescu, Dimitrie Cantemir, Ion Neculce. In the 19th century, Moldavians from the territories of the medieval Principality of Moldavia, then split between Austria, Russia, and an Ottoman-vassal Moldavia (after 1859, Romania), made the largest contribution to the formation of the modern Romanian culture. Among these were many Bessarabians, such as Alexandru Donici, Alexandru Hâjdeu, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, Constantin Stamati, Constantin Stamati-Ciurea, Costache Negruzzi, Alecu Russo, Constantin Stere.
Mihai Eminescu, a late Romantic poet, and Ion Creangă, a writer, are the most influential Romanian language artists, considered national writers both in Romania and Moldova.
Ethnic Moldovans, 78.3% of the population, are Romanian-speakers and share the Romanian culture. Their culture has been also influenced (through Eastern Orthodoxy) by the Byzantine culture.
The country has also important minority ethnic communities. Gagauz, 4.4% of the population, are the only Christian Turkic people. Greeks, Armenians, Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, although not numerous, were present since as early as 17th century, and had left cultural marks. The 19th century saw the arrival of many more Ukrainians and Jews from Podolia and Galicia, as well as new communities, such as Lipovans, Bulgarians and Germans.
In the second part of the 20th century, Moldova saw a massive Soviet immigration, which brought with it many elements of the Soviet culture. The country has now important Russian (6%) and Ukrainain (8.4%) populations. 50% of ethnic Ukrainians, 27% of Gagauzians, 35% of Bulgarians, and 54% of smaller ethnic groups speak Russian as first language. In total, there are 541,000 people (or 16% of the population) in Moldova who use Russian as first language, including 130,000 ethnic Moldovans. By contrast, only 47,000 ethnic minorities use Romanian as first language.
Moldovan culture has certain influences from historic minority ethnic communities, and in turn has certain influences on the culture of the groups that emigrated, such as Bessarabian Germans and Bessarabian Jews.