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Double Headed Eagle

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Imperial coins from Austria and Russia both prominently feature an eagle on the reverse. This is hardly unusual since the eagle was a very common symbol in European and many earlier cultures. I do find it a little odd that the Austrian and Russian birds are sol closely identical. The spread wings, two heads, and claws holding the implements of power. Does someone know the origins of those two particular birds?

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From Wikipedia,

 

The double headed eagle is a common symbol in heraldry and vexillology. Several Eastern European nations use this symbol today, having adopted this symbol from the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire. In Byzantine heraldry, the heads represent the dual sovereignty of the Emperor (secular and religious) and/or dominance of the Roman Emperors over both East and West. The Russian tsars adopted the symbol both to position themselves as successors to the Byzantine state and to likewise symbolize their dominion over the west (Europe) and the east (Asia).

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The double headed eagle is also found in coat of arms of Hanseatic Cities, e.g. in the COA of Bolsward, in The Netherlands:

 

WapenBolsward.gif

 

and in the flag

 

Bolsward.gif

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So with the Hapsburgs it was likely double headed because of Austria and Hungary? Or did they use the double eagle even before the empire was officially dual?

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The double headed eagle is also found in coat of arms of Hanseatic Cities, e.g. in the COA of Bolsward, in The Netherlands:

The imperial double eagle in a city's CoA usually symbolizes its status as a free (de: reichsunmittelbar, nl: rijksvrij) city, I think. That primarily applied to Hanse cities, but also to a few others. In terms of Hanseatic League cities, there are also Lübeck http://www.luebeck.de/stadt_politik/geschi...appenschild.jpg or Cologne (Large CoA http://www.langfrank.de/koeln/img/koelnwappen_neu_gross.jpg) that have the double eagle ...

 

Christian

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So with the Hapsburgs it was likely double headed because of Austria and Hungary?  Or did they use the double eagle even before the empire was officially dual?

The double eagle usually means duality, and in the case of the Holy Roman Empire (which ended exactly 200 years ago, in August 1806) that may have referred to the dual status of German King and Roman Emperor, or maybe to East and West. In any case, the eagle as a symbol of the Emperor was first one-headed and then, since the early 15c, two-headed.

 

So the symbol is much older than the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The Austrian emperors just continued to use the double eagle after the end of the HRE. And by the way, both Albania and Serbia use a double eagle in their CoA/flags as well ...

 

Christian

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The double eagle usually means duality, and in the case of the Holy Roman Empire (which ended exactly 200 years ago, in August 1806) that may have referred to the dual status of German King and Roman Emperor, or maybe to East and West. In any case, the eagle as a symbol of the Emperor was first one-headed and then, since the early 15c, two-headed.

 

So the symbol is much older than the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The Austrian emperors just continued to use the double eagle after the end of the HRE. And by the way, both Albania and Serbia use a double eagle in their CoA/flags as well ...

 

Christian

 

Ahh, it was an HRE thing. Were pretty much all the HRE Habsburgs?

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As from the 15c, basically yes. Keep in mind though that, especially in the later years of the Holy Roman Empire (late 17c and 18c), the Emperor did not have that much influence or central power. It was the control over its "home" territory that made the House of Habsburg influential in those years ...

 

Christian

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I am a fan of that particular multi-cultural symbol.

 

21jrr6o.jpg

21jrslu.jpg

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In a course on symbols and traditions of Imperial Russia that I took at University some years ago, the Russian double-headed eagle was explained as a definite adoption from its Byzantine heritage. What is more, the Russian version has 3 crowns (one on each eagle's head and a larger one crowning the other two). Not only did this correlate with the Trinity so prominant in Eastern Orthodoxy, but also the 3 crowns represented the succession of Holy Empire: Rome - Byzantium - and then finally Kiev.

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I want the 1000 year old coin, that is shown on that coin....lol. :ninja: Isn't the double headed eagle used in egyptian and asian symbolism as well?

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The double headed eagle is known since 2300 BC (Babylonia)

 

The later use of the double headed eagle in Europe (used since 1180 BC):

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppeladler

 

Also see the double headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternionenadler

 

5 Mark coin, Luebeck, 1904, German Empire:

http://www.demo-portal.de/div/coins/german...pp_av_klein.jpg

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The later use of the double headed eagle in Europe (used since 1180 BC):

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppeladler

 

Thanks Jeggy, for this link!!

 

I received a coin today which was said to be a German 2 pfennig. However, I could not find it in the Germany section of my Krause. Since the double headed, crowned eagle looked like the russin one, I examined that part of the catalog too, but no luck either.

 

Then I wanted to post a picture in this thread (which I do anyway) in hope that anyone here would recognize it:

 

915786.jpg

 

I then clicked the above link and immediately saw the coa fo Austria, where the eagle has that same coa as the one on my coin: it's an Austrian 2 Heller :ninja:

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Seems that in you must go in a trip in Austria next holiday... :ninja:

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As mentioned the double-headed eagle dates back to the Byzantine era. Serbia is one of a few nations that use it. The double headed eagle dates back to the height of the Serbian Empire (1346-1355). Here's a link for Wilkipedia showing Serbia's imperial flag and coat of arms.

Flag: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Serbian_Empire_Flag.svg

Arms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:COASerbDushan.PNG

 

The eagle in the imperial arms are shown both on top of the crown and on the breast-plate design in the link provided. Below is an example of the eagle used on a coin from the Kingdom of Serbia.

 

 

Serbia 20 Para 1917

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