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Armenia: Coat of arms

Last modified: 2008-05-10 by ivan sache
Keywords: coat of arms: armenia | eagle (yellow) | lion (yellow) | noah's ark | ararat |
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Coat of arms of Armenia - Images by Luc Baronian, 29 April 2005; from left to right:
- Black and white representation
- As displayed in front of the Armenian Parliament
- As shown on the websites of the Armenian government, the Armenian Parliament and the Armenian Embassy in Washington

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Origin and meaning of the coat of arms of Armenia

The coat of arms of the Third Republic of Armenia was reestablished with slight modifications in 1991 from the original coat of arms of the First Republic of Armenia that restored the Armenian State after nearly 600 years of foreign domination of Armenia in 1918.

A shield is held by a lion and an eagle, both symbols of historic Armenian royalty that goes back to the first Armenian Kingdom of Ararat (Urartu) in the latter half of the second millennium BC.
The center of the shield includes the Biblical establishment of Armenia after the Great Flood and Noah's Ark resting on top of Mount Ararat, the sacred symbol of Armenia and the Armenian nation.
Subsequently, the center portion representing Noah's Ark and Mount Ararat is joined by the insignias of the four Armenian dynasties that followed the Aramian House of Ararat in the VIth century BC:
- The bottom left portion represents the Artaxiad Royal House, the insignia is particularly famously represented in the Armenian silver and gold coins of the Armenian emperor Tigranes the Great of the Artaxiad Dynasty in the early half of the Ist century BC.
- The upper right portion represents the Armenian Royal House of the Arsacids, among whose most famed representatives was Tiridates III who, with the support of Catholicos St. Gregory the Illuminator, made Armenia the first Christian nation in 301 AD.
- The upper left portion represents the Royal House of the Bagratids, under whose gifted leadership in the Middle Ages, Armenian culture blossomed, represented with the grandeur of towns such as Ani - the Town of 1001 Churches - as it was called by its contemporaries in praise of the town. The Town of Ani was called "the Jewel of the East", and became one of the most important cultural, social and commercial centers of its time. The town was sacked and looted with the coming of the Turco-Mongol invasions from Central Asia led by the nomadic chieftain Alp-Arslan in the XIth century.
- The bottom right portion represents the Rubenid Royal House of Cilician Armenia. Cilician Armenia or Little Armenia as it was known to Western historians was to the west of historic Greater Armenia on the beautiful shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Cilician Armenia under the gifted dynasties of the Rubenids and Hetumids, with prominent representatives such as Leon the Magnificent and Hetum I became a major commercial and cultural center with its beautiful towns such as the capital of Sis and renowned town-ports such as Ayas. The bustling port-town of Ayas had in the XIIth and XIIIth centuries Armenian, French, Greek, Jewish, Venetian, Genoan and Pisan boroughs that were populated by merchants and craftsmen doing business with people from all over the world, from all walks of life. The town-port was obliterated and destroyed in the XVth century by the Ottoman Turks.
A vertically pointed sword breaks the chains of foreign oppression and the shield symbolically represents the guardianship of the Armenian State.
The symbol of wheat in the lower part of the coat of arms represents the sacredness of the soil while the olive branches represent the aspiration principles of the Armenian people to goodwill and peace.

Gevork Nazaryan, 22 March 2001

Other representations of the coat of arms of Armenia

The Constitution of Armenia does not specify the colors of the coat of arms, hence there are many colour variants.
On the coat of arms displayed in front of the national Parliament, the eagle and lion are clearly gold, the quarters blue and red with golden emblems, the central piece is silver on orange, the outlines of the central piece and quarters are silver.
On the coat of arms shown on several official websites, the only difference with the Parliament's version is that all emblems are in silver.

Luc Baronian, 29 April 2005