the realm

The Territory

The Ruler

The State

Religious Authority

Administrative authority

Armed Authority

The People


Back to France




What is now France made up the bulk of the region known to the Romans as Gaul. Roman writers noted the presence of three main ethno-linguistic groups in the area: the Gauls, the Aquitani, and the Belgae. The Gauls, the largest and best attested group, were Celtic people speaking what is known as the Gaulish language.

Over the course of the 1st millennium BC the Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians established colonies on the Mediterranean coast and the offshore islands. The Roman Republic annexed southern Gaul as the province of Gallia Narbonensis in the late 2nd century BC, and Roman forces under Julius Caesar conquered the rest of Gaul in the Gallic Wars of 58–51 BC. Afterwards a Gallo-Roman culture emerged and Gaul was increasingly integrated into the Roman Empire.

In the later stages of the Roman Empire, Gaul was subject to barbarian raids and migration, most importantly by the Germanic Franks. The Frankish king Clovis I united most of Gaul under his rule in the late 5th century, setting the stage for Frankish dominance in the region for hundreds of years. Frankish power reached its fullest extent under Charlemagne. The medieval Kingdom of France emerged from the western part of Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire, known as West Francia, and achieved increasing prominence under the rule of the House of Capet, founded by Hugh Capet in 987.

A succession crisis following the death of the last direct Capetian monarch in 1328 led to the series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years' War between the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet. The war formally began in 1337 following Philip VI's attempt to seize the Duchy of Aquitaine from its hereditary holder, Edward III of England, the Plantagenet claimant to the French throne. Despite early Plantagenet victories, including the capture and ransom of John II of France, fortunes turned in favor of the Valois later in the war. Among the notable figures of the war was Joan of Arc, a French peasant girl who led French forces against the English, establishing herself as a national heroine. The war ended with a Valois victory in 1453.

Victory in the Hundred Years' War had the effect of strengthening French nationalism and vastly increasing the power and reach of the French monarchy. During the period known as the Ancien Régime, France transformed into a centralized absolute monarchy. During the next centuries, France experienced the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. At the height of the French Wars of Religion, France became embroiled in another succession crisis, as the last Valois king, Henry III, fought against rival factions the House of Bourbon and the House of Guise. Henry, King of Navarre, scion of the Bourbon family, would be victorious in the conflict and establish the French Bourbon dynasty. A burgeoning worldwide colonial empire was established in the 16th century. French political power reached a zenith under the rule of Louis XIV, "The Sun King", builder of Versailles Palace.

In the late 18th century the monarchy and associated institutions were overthrown in the French Revolution. The country was governed for a period as a Republic, until the French Empire was declared by Napoleon Bonaparte. Following Napoleon's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, France went through several further regime changes, being ruled as a monarchy, then briefly as a Second Republic, and then as a Second Empire, until a more lasting French Third Republic was established in 1870.

France was one of the Triple Entente powers in World War I, fighting alongside the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Japan, the United States and smaller allies against Germany and the Central Powers.

France was one of the Allied Powers in World War II, but was conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940. The Third Republic was dismantled, and most of the country was controlled directly by Germany while the south was controlled until 1942 by the collaborationist Vichy government. Living conditions were harsh as Germany drained away food and manpower, and many Jews were killed. Charles de Gaulle led the Free France movement that one-by-one took over the colonial empire, and coordinated the wartime Resistance. Following liberation in summer 1944, a Fourth Republic was established. France slowly recovered economically, and enjoyed a baby boom that reversed its very low fertility rate. Long wars in Indochina and Algeria drained French resources and ended in political defeat. In the wake of the Algerian Crisis of 1958, Charles de Gaulle set up the French Fifth Republic. Into the 1960s decolonization saw most of the French colonial empire become independent, while smaller parts were incorporated into the French state as overseas departments and collectivities. Since World War II France has been a permanent member in the UN Security Council and NATO. It played a central role in the unification process after 1945 that led to the European Union. Despite slow economic growth in recent years and issues with Muslim minorities, it remains a strong economic, cultural, military and political factor in the 21st century.[1]




The Realm, the Ruler and the State


In Rome the social organization was symbolized by three allegories: the ruler symbolized by the supreme god (Jupiter), the sun symbolizing the realm, by a man crowned with a halo or pointed crown, and the state symbolized by a woman with a crescent in her headdress. This is illustrated by the relief called ‘Sol Invictus’.


Photo H.d.V 2005

The Sol Invictus relief

Museo Nazionale Romano. Rome




After Constantine the Great these allegories were translated in christian terms, the supreme god replaced by Christ and the sun an moon by a man and a woman. 


Sun, Moon, Christogram


Tomb of Saint-Andoche

Basilique St-Andoche, Saulieu


Saint Andoche was a Greek priest who evangelized the area with his companions deacon Thyrse and  merchant Felix. They suffered martyrdom in 177. Three churches succeeded each other on their relics: in 306, 747 and 1119. The latter was built in the 12th century under the influence of Cluniac architecture. The choir was burnt by the English during the Hundred Years War. The chapels built on the flanks of the nave are from the 15th century. The sculptured portal is from the 19th century.


Chilperic I († um 480)  was King of the Burgundians. He was a brother of King Gundeloch and consequently a son of King Gundahar.

Chilperich I. is designated as king in 457, that is to say during the lifetime of his brother. By the death of Gundeloch around 473, he became the sole owner of the power. He also took over his office of Magister militum Galliarum,, while Gundioch's son Gundobad assumed the title of  Magister militum praesentialis, an imperial commander. It is unclear to what extent Gundioch's sons Chilperich II, Godomar I, Gundobad and Godegisel were already in power at this time. Recent research assumes that both Godomar and Chilperich II died 476/77 and only Godegisel and Gundobad shared the rule after the death of Chilperich I.

Chilperich at first continued the struggle against the Visigoths, but stopped when his nephew Gundobad fell into disgrace with the Roman Emperor Julius Nepos. Chilperich's decline led to negotiations, during which Julius Nepos dissolved the Treaty of Feder, recognizing not only the independence of the Burgundians, but also the possession of the province of Vienneis (the Rhône Valley).


Van Chilperich I is bekend dat hij een Romeins vazal was en dus schatplichtig aan Valentinianus III (425-455). De christogrammen die op de tombe zijn aangebracht komen met de positie van een  hoge christelijk bevelhebber overeen. Op de tombe komt ook een omcirkelde staande bijl voor die uitgelegd kan worden als een schild van Romeinse hulptroepen (auxiliarii). But also of a lictor, a Roman civil servant who was a bodyguard to magistrates who held imperium. Lictors were used since the Roman Kingdom, and according to Roman historian Livy, the custom may have originated earlier, in the Etruscan civilization.


Sun, Moon and Christogram in the Merovingian Era


Sarcophage said “of St. Chalan”






On the back of the lid  there are a sun consisting of a disk surrounded by 24 pointed rays within a ring. Next to it is a christogram and on the right, whic is broken off it is supposed there was a disk symbolizing a moon. This configuration symbolizes the state and should be compared with the symbols as on the Sarcophage of St. Andoche


Sun, Moon, the Crucifix

The most ancient examples of the crucifix, that is to say the representation of the crucified Christ are from the 8th century. An early example is in the Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome and shows Christ crucified between a sun and a crescent.

This arrangement became common in western europe for many centuries, the sun and the crescent becoming more and more detailed in the course of time, up to the point in which Sol and Luna were riding in a cart drawn by horses and oxen.


Crucifixion in the chapel of Quiricus and Julitta in the Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome. 741-752 AD


Christ crucified between two discs, one yellow (faded) and one with a white crescent.


Ivory plaque with Sol, Luna and Christ

Pericopes of Emperor Henry II, 1007.  BSB Clm4452   [3]


Christ crucified between the chariot of Sol drawn by four horses and a the cart of Luna, drawn by four oxen.

Christ, Sol and Luna

Gospel cover, Limoges, 1180-’90.  Paris, Louvre


Christ crucified between Luna, a female with a crescent on her head, an Sol, a man with rays of the sun on his head, both surrounded by clouds of the sky.


For centuries European society was defined in terms of the universe and Christianity, the ruler always represented as the crucified Christ. This configuration implied that the worldly rulers of the West  were subordinated to Christ in the Kingdom of Christ. In fact, here the former Roman Emperor was replaced by Christ after the division of the Empire by Theodosius in 395.

At the beginning of the 14th century a configuration appeared in France, apparently inspired by the Christ, Sol and Luna configuration, the sun and the crescent remaining the same but the figure of Christ replaced by the coat of arms of the King of France.


Photo H.d.V. 2017

Coat of arms of Charles IV, the Fair (1322-’28)

Folding Table of Lüneburg . Coll. Museum Lüneburg.


Arms:: Azure, strewn with fleurs de lis Or.

Crest: On a helmet lambrequined Gules, a crescent Or, bunches of peacock-feathers on its points, enclosing a sun Or, radiant Gules.


This is a very common and ancient arrangement of symbols going back to Hellenistic times. It combines the symbols of the realm (the sun), the state (the crescent) and the ruler, usually his imago but here his coat of arms. The peacock feathers are the badge of rank of a (roman) prefect. In this arrangement the supreme ruler (in France) is defined as the King of France instead of Christ. This arrangement was soon abandoned, the crest being replaced by a fleur de lys, the peacock-feathers by a crown.


Later kings let their coat of arms being supported by the symbols of the evangelists and in the end by angels, heavenly messengers.


The Realm


1 The Roman Era



Roman Gaul refers to Gaul under provincial rule in the Roman Empire from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.

The Roman Republic began its takeover of Celtic Gaul in 121 BC, when it conquered and annexed the southern reaches of the area. Julius Caesar significantly advanced the task by defeating the Celtic tribes in the Gallic Wars of 58-51 BC. In 22 BC, imperial administration of Gaul was reorganized, establishing the provinces of Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Belgica and Gallia Lugdunensis. Parts of eastern Gaul were incorporated into the provinces Raetia (15 BC) and Germwania Superior (AD 83).

During Late Antiquity, Gaulish and Roman culture amalgamated into a hybrid Gallo-Roman culture. The Gaulish language was marginalized and eventually extinct, being replaced by regional forms of Late Latin which in the medieval period developed into the group of Gallo-Romance languages (including French and Occitan). Roman control over the provinces deteriorated in the 4th and 5th centuries, and was eventually lost to the kingdoms of the Franks, Visigoths and Burgundians. The last vestiges of any Roman control over parts of Gaul were effaced with the defeat of Syagrius at the Battle of Soissons (AD 486).


The realm was symbolized by a sun. As a part of the Roman Empire this sun was also used in Gaul and later in the Frankish Empire and France. Therefore we may see a sun in France, often in a religious context in churches and cathedrals, continuing the Roman symbol of the realm of the Universal Christian Empire.

In the 14th century the ancient symbol of the realm was replaced by the royal arms making France the empire of the royal family. After the Revolution at the end of the 18th century, the symbol of the realm (France) became the fasces symbolizing the Res Publica. This symbol was replaced by just the initials of the French Republic, RF and, for a short time, the initials of the French State: EF.


Consular Diptych of Areobindus, 506AD

Ivory, 39´13 cm Musée de Cluny. Inv. nr. Cl. 13135


On his scarf (trabea triumphalis) a sun as used in Rome and Constantinople until the 7th century AD


Sun on the tomb of St. Andoche, Saulieu (Côte d’Or, Bourgogne)


On this tomb which has been severely damaged in 1902 and restored recently, are also christograms, a square cross, a shield charged with an axe and an empty disc.  )


On this tomb which has been severely damaged in 1902 and restored recently, are also christograms, a square cross, a shield charged with an axe and an empty disc. 

Aquitania II, all of south-west Gaul, was ceded by treaty in 418 by the western roman emperor, Honorius to the Visigoths (officially in exchange for Galla Placidia, his sister and daughter of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II, kept as an hostage since the sack of Rome in 410).

In about 500 Poitiers became the capital  of the Aquitania II of the Visigoths of Alaric II who relocated his Capital from Toulouse to Poitiers to better be able to defend himslf against the attacks of the Franks of Clovis (sack of Bordeaux in 497), who were also federates of the Romans. Nevertheless Alaric  was defeated by Clovis in 507 at the battle of Vouillé.


2. Early Medieval France


This period encompasses the early post roman era of the south and the early pagan and christian merovingian period until about the ascendance of the Capetian House.



Église Notre Dame l’Ancienne.

6th-7th cent.


A sun, inspired by the roman example as shown above, can be found in Poitiers as a part of some churches. These examples date from the late Visigothic empire in France or the early merovingian era. In the examples given here they are combined wit a six-pointed star which should be interpreted as the symbol of the ruler.

Also, the suns are sometimes surrounded by little balls or discs. These may have been the symbols of the provinces or the subdivisions of the realm.


Photo H.d.V. 2015

Monumental stones with rosette decoration

Limestone. Poitiers (F) Church of Notre-Dame l‘Ancienne

6th-7th cent.

Baptistère de Poitiers, Musée lapidaire


Photo H.d.V. 2015

Sun-rosette surrounded by stars

Baptistery of St. John, Poitiers, southern façade, 6th-7th cent

Baptistère de Poitiers, Musée lapidaire


Photo H.d.V. 2015

Sun-rosette surrounded by stars

Baptistery of St. John, Poitiers, northern façade, 6th-7th cent

Baptistère de Poitiers, Musée lapidaire


Baptistère de Poitiers, Musée lapidaire


3. Medieval France


In the 12th century when the cultural centre had shifted from the south to the north, these suns developed there into the large rosette windows of the French gothic Cathedrals.

Between 1135 and 1144 Suger, councillor of the kings Louis  VI and Louis VII and abbot of the St. Denis from 1122 until 1155, wanted to renew the carolongian church to expose the relics of St. Denis in a new choir. He decided to reconstruct the whole church in a new style introduced when Sens cathedral was built of a large height and wide windows making it possible for much light to enter. A new element was also large circular windows in the west, north- and south- fronts. These became the shape  of the ancient sun-sculptures which had also been on the fronts of churches and which followed in fact the design of the Roman sun of a twelve- or sixteen-petalled  rosette. In the case of the St. Denis window the window has the shape of a wheel with 12 spokes, the open spaces filled up with glass and additional rings.

In the following centuries these windows became ever more complicated and filled with stained glass depicting biblical scenes.


Rosete of St. Denis Cathedral, middle of the 12th cent


The rosettes, are usually pierced above the central portal of the western façade or above that of the transepts. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, they retain the appearance of those of the preceding century, that is to say, they are simply cut from counter-lobes. In the first years of the present period, they acquire grandeur and boldness by the addition of columns which receive arched or trefoiled arches, and which are arranged within the circumference like the radii of a wheel . These columns have capitals and bases, like those used in other parts of the building.


Rosette of Paris Cathedral, 1250 ca


Sometimes, as at Notre-Dame de Paris, the roses present several concentric series of clovers, four-leaves, and rosettes, coming to attach themselves to the columns, and thus dividing them into several tiers.

Roses du XIIIe siècle.

Roses of the 13th century

In general, the thirteenth century does not present us with these large roses cut to infinity, such as are encountered in the following two centuries; They retain, on the contrary, the simplicity which we have pointed out in the windows, and their harmonious proportions. One can appreciate the effect which these roses produce internally with their brilliant stained-glass windows, by those which we can admire in our great churches.


As these rosettes are derived from the sun-devices of Rome they suggest that France, displaying these rosettes, was still thought to belong to the (Christian) Roman Empire or, as it was called in 1157 by Rainald von Dassel, Imperial Chancellor of Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Empire (Sacrum Imperium).


4 The Kingdom of France


An emblem symbolizing France itself (and not the greater whole) was created in the 14th century by differentiating the royal arms with the fleurs de lis. In that time two additional versions were created: the first by adding a crest which symbolized the king as a warrior, the second by adding a crown which symbolized the administrative authority of the king. The uncrowned and uncrested arms with the fleurs de lis remained there to develop into the symbol of the french nation, these arms just called ‘of France’.

The creation of a symbol specific for France was the follow up of the abandoning of the eagle as a badge of rank of the king of France at the end of the 12th century. Adopting the fleur the lys the King of France left the Imperial feudal system of badges of rank of which the eagle was the highest ranking. At the decay of the Imperial authority in the beginning of the 13th century many other rulers also abandoned the eagle, claiming political authonomy.

These arms were changed at the end of the fourteenth century into Azure, three fleurs de lis Or, 2&1 to symbolize, it is said, the Holy Trinity. Æ France Modern

After the founding of the Order of St. Michael in the fifteenth century the crowned  arms with the three fleurs de lis was surrounded with the Collar of that Order, making the arms the royal arms, symbolizing the person of the ruler. This made it possible to develop the crowned arms into the arms of the Kingdom of France. These arms existed until the abolition of the kingdom in 1792 and for a short time between 1815 and 1830 when the kingdom was restored.


Lead bulla, 1328

obverse and reverse


On this bulla of Charles IV the Fair,  are the arms of France: [Azure] strwn with feleurs de lys [Or].

At the same time there were the royal arms crowned and the royal arms crested with a sun and a crescent, both of the same fleurs de lys.


In the fifteenth and sixteenth century the crested arms disappeared gradually. They disappeared completely after Henry II had died by accident in tournament in 1559 and and that kind of chivalry was abolished.

Demi guénar of Charles VI  (1380-1422)


Uncrowned arms of three fleurs de lys (after 1376)


In the mean time there was created another means to make a difference between the arms of France and the royal arms. This was by surrounding the cowned arms by the collar of Order of St. Michel, founded by King Louis XI in 1469.

From then on the crowned arms with the fleurs de lys can be considered to be the arms of the Kingdom of France.

Golden ecu of Louis XII (1498-1514)


The crowned arms of the Kingdom.


For the crowns and regalia see Royal Portraits (1&2)

Écu of Henri IV, 1589


The arms of the kingdom with closed crown.

A closed crown was introduced by Francis I in 1515.


By Louis XV the arms of France were surrounded by a crown of laurel (corona militaris)


Écu of Louis XV 1774


Crowned arms within a crown of laurel (corona militaris)


Louis XVI




Écu of Louis XVI, 1790


Crowned arms within a corona militaris. as before.




On 4 August 1789, the Constituent Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (“Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen”), a statement of democratic principles grounded in the philosophical and political ideas of Enlightenment thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). The document proclaimed the Assembly’s commitment to replace the ancien régime with a system based on equal opportunity, freedom of speech, popular sovereignty and representative government.

Drafting a formal constitution proved much more of a challenge for the National Constituent Assembly, which had the added burden of functioning as a legislature during harsh economic times. For months, its members wrestled with fundamental questions about the shape and expanse of France’s new political landscape. For instance, who would be responsible for electing delegates? Would the clergy owe allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church or the French government? Perhaps most importantly, how much authority would the king, his public image further weakened after a failed attempt to flee in June 1791, retain? Adopted on 3 September 1791, France’s first written constitution echoed the more moderate voices in the Assembly, establishing a constitutional monarchy in which the king enjoyed royal veto power and the ability to appoint ministers. This compromise did not sit well with influential radicals like Maximilien de Robespierre (1758-1794), Camille Desmoulins (1760-1794) and Georges Danton (1759-1794), who began drumming up popular support for a more republican form of government and the trial of Louis XVI.


Soon after the adoption of the constitution a new emblem came to symbolize the French Nation (or: The French Realm). This was now a republic instead of a kingdom and therefore a republican symbol was adopted consisting of a fasces or bundle of rods with its axe of a roman lictor, the symbol of the rights of the Roman citizen, surrounding a rod cresed with a cap of liberty or phrygian cap.

Copper seal of the administration of Fréjus District, 1790

Arch Mun. – Cl. R. Hacquard


Image: Civil rights fasces with axe and cap of liberty



Première République



L'héraldique étant alors perçue comme un art aristocratique, la République ne se dota pas de nouvelles armoiries à l'issue de la Révolution: par conséquent de nombreux héraldistes parmi les plus éminents considèrent que les seules armoiries de France légitimes restent celles du temps des rois. C'est la raison pour laquelle le sceau, le symbole national et l'emblème sont aujourd'hui les seuls symboles graphiques officiels utilisés par la République (avec les drapeaux et cocardes, bien entendu). Par exemple, la passeport français-européen porte l'emblème de la République française. Le dessin de l'emblème est très proche de celui du symbole national: un faisceau de licteur sur deux branches, d'olivier et de chêne, en sautoir, portant une plaque sur laquelle on trouve les lettres « RF » entrelacées


Republican device, 1793-‘94

Musée Carnavalet, Paris

2 sous-coin, 1792


Image: Fasces, its staff crested with a cap of liberty

Garland: Branches of oak  (corona quernea)     



On the obverse is the bust of Louis XVI within the legend LOUIS XVI ROI DES FRANCAIS A. 1792


Photo HdV 03.1980

Army banner, Italian Campaign, 1796-‘97

Musée de Armée, Les Invalides, Paris.


Emblem: A fasces, tied with red and white ribbons, with an axe and a phrygian cap

Garland: A crown of laurel.

Legend: LIBERTÉ ÉGALITÉ VIGILANCE.  (discipline subordination)

La devise " Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité " est née lors de la Révolution française. Sous la IIIe République, elle s’impose comme un "principe" de la République. Elle est inscrite dans la Constitution de 1958 et fait aujourd'hui partie de notre patrimoine national.


Les révolutionnaires ont abondamment utilisé les symboles et les devises pour propager leurs idées et faire partager les nouveaux idéaux. Symbole de la Liberté retrouvée et du civisme, le bonnet phrygien, appelé aussi bonnet de la liberté ou bonnet rouge, symbole des esclaves brisant leurs liens et devenant ainsi citoyens, est ici  associé à la devise. Les révolutionnaires ont recourt à une iconographie symbolique pour tous ceux, notammnent dans les campagnes, qui ne savent ni lire ni écrire. Il s'agit d'illustrer la réconciliation des trois ordres, la liberté ou la fidélité à la nation. Ce dernier thème se mua, au fil du temps et des circonstances, en un appel à la défense des frontières ; d'ailleurs le coq, oiseau du dieu Mars, fréquemment représenté sur un canon à la fin de 1791 et 1792 comme symbole de courage et de vigilance, fut remplacé, de 1793 à 1795, par un lion menaçant. De même, la réunion des trois ordres disparait peu à peu au profit de la glorificationde la Convention ou du cérémonial républicain. 

La mise en place de nouveaux symboles implique évidemment la disparition des références passées. Aucun signe rappelant la royauté et la féodalité ne devaient subsister. Le 6 messidor an II (24 juin 1794), le Comité de salut public exigea une meilleure exécution de ses ordres : que

"tous les signes de la féodalité soient enlevés de manière qu'il ne paroisse pas seulement qu'ils aient jamais existé ; il faut que l'empreinte et la nuance de la pierre n'en puissent rappeler la mémoire; ... il faut, enfin, partout où cela sera possible, que les attributs de la liberté soient substitués aux signes de l'esclavage...". 

  On détruisit donc toutes les fleurs de lys et les armoiries. Sur proposition d'un citoyen, l'administration du district de Montreuil assimila même les croix de fer des cimetières aux grilles et autres objets des églises mis à la disposition de la Nation ; elle décida "de s'emparer de ces croix inutiles pour en faire des piques et des baïonnettes pour le service de la Patrie".

  Le citoyen ne devait plus, dans sa vie quotidienne, rencontrer le moindre rappel du passé. On a voulu tisser autour de lui un autre univers. Un peuple neuf pour un nouveau monde, tel était le rêve de régénération des révolutionnaires. Mais il s'agissait d'une régénération imposée et peut-être est-ce là le paradoxe de la Révolution qui rendit d'abord à l'individu ses droits et sa pleine liberté pour lui demander ensuite d'intégrer docilement une collectivité façonnée par l'autorité.


Council of the 500



The Council of Five Hundred was one of the two Assemblies of the Directory. Composed of 500 deputies as the name suggests, the Council was elected by popular vote in two rounds, in accordance with the Constitution of the Year III. The Council had the initiative of the bills submitted to the Council of Elders. His deputies drew up the list in which the Council of Elders had to choose the Directors. After the elections of the Year V, the Thermidorian majority disappeared. The Assembly was overthrown and dissolved by Bonaparte's Coup d'Etat on 18 Brumaire Year 8 (9 November 1799). Our medal was distributed to each member of the Council of Five Hundred for the session of the Year 5 opened on the 1st Prairial (20 May 1797). This copy is attributed to F. Rivaud on which we did not find information.


The Convention separated on 25 October 1795 to give birth to the Directory after having voted the Constitution of Year III on 22 August 1795. On 2 March  the Italian campaign begins, Bonaparte wins the victories of Montenotte, Mondovi and Lodi in March and April 1796. He beats at the Pont d'Arcole on 17 November then in Rivoli on 14 January 1797, the Austrians who surrender on 2 February. By the treaty of Tolentino,17 February, the pope yields Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin to France. The Treaty of Campoformio, on 9 July, puts an end to the war and ratifies the creation of the Italian and Cisalpine Republics. On 25 March1796, the execution of Charette allows the success of the Pacification War. On 10 May  Babeuf is arrested, he will be executed on 26 May 1797. Bonaparte is sent to Egypt where he wins the victory of the Pyramids which opens the doors of Cairo on 21 July 1798. The French fleet is sunk by Admiral Nelson to Aboukir on 1 August.  Napoleon goes back to Saint-Jean d'Acre and returns to Egypt where he wins the land victory of Aboukir on 21 July before returning to France in September. He leaves Kléber as commander-in-chief.


Jeton of the Council of the 500

An V = 1796-‘97


Emblem: A lyre, charged with a fasces per pale, crested with a cap of liberty and surrounded with a garland of laurel and oak, in base two cornucopia.


On the reverse : A plumb line charged with a table of law with the inscription: CONSTITUTION DE L’AN TROIS, surrounded by a serpent biting its tail.



Jeton for the year VI (1797-’98)



Jeton for the year VII (1798-’99)



Seal of the city of Mazingarbe, 1798


Fasces with phrygian cap and crown of laurel and oak

Emblem of the Republic during the Consulat (1799-1804)


Empire Français



In 1805 the emblem of the ruler became the Roman eagle, badge of rank of a Roman consul.  At the same time the emblem of France, being a consulate became the roman eagle, standing on a thunderbolt, emblem of the (Roman) armed forces.


Design of the French Roman Eagle by Denon:  Eagle and thunderbolt crowned by an angel. In base the cypher of Napoleon Bonaparte


1805 I 26 ( = XIII pluviose 6) Loi relative au sceau de l’Etat


Art. 1er. Le sceau de l’Etat portera pour type d’un coté, l’effigie de l’empereur assis sur son trône, revêtu des ornemens imperiaux, la couronne sur la tête, tenant le sceptre et la main de justice; de l’autre coté l’aigle imperial couronné, reposant sur un foudre, suivant le modèle joint à la présente loi.

2. Le sceau de toutes les autorités portera pour type l’aigle imperial, tel qu’il formera un des cotés du grand sceau de l’Etat; et pour légende, le titre de autorité publique pour laquelle il sera employé.

De 1805 à 1814 - Timbre humide de la mairie.

(Arch. comm. id., 28 oct. 1806.)


Fig.: Imperial Eagle.









100 Jours







Monarchie de Juillet



Emblem of the Monarchy of July

On a 2 centimes coin , 1847


Arms of the Monarchy of July

Palais de Justice, Poitiers


Arms: Azure, Tables of Law inscribed CHARTE DE 1830, and the first articles of the charte

Mantle: Fringed Or, tied with ribbons, lined with fur and royally crowned, posed on a Main de Justice and a sceptre in saltire.

Garland: Of branches of oak


Flag of the National Guard of the Monarchy of July [4]


A golden shield inscribed LIBERTÉ ORDRE PUBLIC, crested with a rooster and surrounded with a garland of olive


Deuxième Republique



Photo H.d.V. 01.2006

Provisional Emblem of the 2nd Republic

Musée Historique, Haguenau (Bas-Rhin).


On a blue background the inscription »CONSTITUTION 1848« in golden lettering, surrounded by a ribbon in the national colours blue, white and red the LIBERTE EGALITE FRATERNITE, also in golden lettering.

Medal, 1848


Emblem: Fasces with axe inside between level (equality), crossed swords (fraternity) and phrygian cap (liberty), in chief the letter RF (République Française)



When Lamartine rejected the red flag on 25 february 1848 behind him a flag is above the entrance of the town hall of Paris. This is depicted as a blue-white and red  flag with an emblem in the mddle consisting of a fasces between the letters RF, all within a garland.

On another version of this scene the flag is blue, red en white with a like emblem all in gold. This flag was in vigor from the end of february until 5 march 1848

Both versions of Felix Philippoteaux


During the Second Republic the cypher “RF” and a five-pointed star  was introduced to symbolize the French Republic. As there was no legislature about the form this cypher should have, nor about the way it should be displayed, it is treated with great liberty. Sometimes it is surrounded by a crown of leaves and sometimes it is placed on a shield in the national colours.

Signboard of a civil servant of the Second Republic

Coll. Musée Carnavalet, Paris


Signboard of the Second Republic, date and origin unknown


Signboard of the Second Republic still in use




Deuxième Empire



By the Second Empire the crowned consular eagle of the First Empire was restored.


Design of the seal of the Secosn Empire

By Oudiné

1852 XII 9 = 2

Décret imperial relatif au sceau de l’empire et aux sceaux, timbres et cachets des grands corps de l’etat, des ministères des cours et tribunaux et des administrations et autorités publiques.


Napoleon, par la grace de Dieu et la volonté nationale empereur des Français, a tous presents et à venir salut. Sur le rapport de notre garde des sceaux ministre secrétaire d’Etat au departement de la justice avons decrété et decretons ce qui suit:


Art. 1er Le sceau de l’empire portera pour type l’aigle imperiale couronnée, reposant sur la foudre suivant le modèle joint au présent decret.


2 Les sceaux, timbres, cachets des grands corps de l’Etat des ministe­res, de la grande chancellerie de la Légion d’Honneur, des cours et tribunaux, de toutes les administrations et autorités publiques, porteront pour type l’aigle imperiale, telle qu’elle est figuriée sur le sceau de l’Empire, et, pour legende le titre de l’administration ou de l’autorité publique pour laquelle ils seront employés.


3 Les types des sceaux, timbres et cachets seront gravés par les soins et sous l’inspection du graveur general des monnaies.


4 Les types seront ensuite deposés et resteront toujours dans les archives de notre garde des sceaux ministre secretaire d’Etat au departement de la justice.


5 Dans chaque branche d’administration l’autorité superieur fera executer pour l’administration centrale et pour les autorités qui lui sont subordonnés, des sceaux, timbres et cachets à leur usage. Pour mieux etablir l’uniformité de ces sceaux, timbres et cachets chaque autorité n’emploiera à leur fabrication que les mêmes artistes, et s’il est possible, qu’un seul artiste de son choix.


6 Notre garde des sceaux, ministre secretaire d’Etat au departement de la justice, ne delivrera d’empreintes prises sur les types déposés dans ses archives qu’aux artistes chargés par quelque autorité supe­rieure de l’execution de sceaux, timbres ou cachets.


7 Nos ministres sont chargés, etc.  


Examples of seals, 1852 XII 09

Armée du Mexique 2e Brigade de la 1re division

Le General Commandant


In special cases however, the crown was omitted:


Identity medal of a Senator, the crown omitted


On coins the crown was omitted


Gouvernement de la Défense Nationale


Peuple Français emblem, 1870-’72 [5]


Since the 4th of September 1870 a coat of arms or an emblem of France have not been the subject of any legislature or decree in spite of the fact that many designs were proposed by several services wanting to revive republican heraldry. Today the only official national symbol is the flag.

Nevertheless many non-official emblems are in use.


Troisième Republique



Design for an emblem of the French Republic, 1890

Sorbonne University by Charles Joseph Lameire (1832-1910)

Coll. Musée d’Orsay.


Arms: Azure, a fasces per pale, the axe surpassing the upper rim of the shield, between the initials R and F, Or.

Crest: A phrygian cap

Order: Of the Legion d’Honneur

Motto: Liberte egalite fraternite in golden lettering on  a white ribbon


Important projects for the Republican Regime were realized by Charles Lameire in 1884 (Hôtel de Ville) and 1890 (Sorbonne).[6]


Old signboard, probably from the first years of the 3rd Republic


Emblem of the Third Republic in a German armorial, 1895


Les Emblèmes et les Drapeaux de la France. Le Coq Gaulois, par Arthur Maury, 6, boulevard Montmartre. Paris, in-8" raisin, 385 pages, 350 gravures. 27 planches hors texte dout 11 en couleur. 5 francs, franco.

Emblem of the Third Republic in a German armorial, 1905


At the beginning of the twentieth century some activity was displayed on the matter of the national symbols at the occasion of the visit of King Alphonso XIII of Spain in 1905. The heraldic emblems of this monarch were many and of great age. To equal these, some new french emblems were created which, however were not officially adopted.


On occasion of the visit of King Alfonso of Spain, the following provisional emblem was adopted in 1905: a fasces in blue, in front of which a golden oak branch crosses with a similar olive branch; both embraced by a ribbon with the legend: »LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ«. Under the shield appears the Order of the Legion d’ Honneur (see above figure a) ._- National colors: blue, white, red in vertical stripes ._- The two-sided state seal of the republic (see figure b) is determined by decree of 25th of September 1870. On one side it shows the figure of Liberty with a bundle of lictors, sitting, leaning on a rudder. Inscription »RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE, DÉMOCRATIQUE UNE ET INDIVISIBLE«. The other side the inscription: »AU NOM DU PEUPLE FRANÇAIS«, surrounded by a wreath of laurel and oak leaves and the inscription: »LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ«.


Visit of King Alphonso XIII in Paris, 1905


On both sides of the stairs an emblem of a fasces, branches and a motto. In the middle the common emblem of the Fasces charged wth the RF cypher and supported by (five) national flags



In 1913 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs adopted for diplomatic and consular posts abroad an emblem inspired by a model depicted on sword-guards and buttons of diplomatic uniforms.


The drawing represents a group of lictors surmounted by an axe and charged with a shield on which are engraved the initials RF (République Française), branches of oak and olive tree surround the pattern. The oak symbolizes justice, the olive tree peace


Emblème retenu en 1913 par le Ministère des Affaires étrangères


An emblem used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 29 July 1912 was:


Emblem: A fasces. its axe inside, charged with a branch of oak and a branch of olive in saltire and a phrygian shield, its ends ending in griffin’s heads and within a rim riveted, the cypher RF.

It was designed by Jules-Clément Chaplain, sculptor. The branch of oak symbolizes Justice, the branch of olive Peace.

The new French diplomatic emblem

Designed by Chaplain.


L’ Illustration of 22 March 1913 reported:



A rather interesting reform has just been carried out at the Quai d'Orsay: these are the escutcheons of our diplomatic posts.

Until now, the heads of diplomatic and consular posts were not guided by any precise rules; They chose a model at their convenience, and the individual fantasy varied the exterior coat of arms of our legations and consulates; The result was sometimes happy, sometimes questionable.


An official and uniform type has just been chosen for the badges which serve as a national badge for our posts abroad. This type was executed according to the model depicted on the sword-guards and the buttons of diplomatic uniform: the drawing had been composed, some ten years ago, by the master engraver Chaplain, Institute. The eminent artist, in the absence of a provision for national emblems outside the decree of 25 September 1870, which regulated only the type and legend of the seal of the State, deprived of the decorative and heraldic resources available to a monarchy, had adopted A sober and tasteful symbol, depicting the French political system.

The composition of Chaplain represents a group of lictors surmounted by an ax and covered with a shield, on which are engraved the initials R. P .; A crown of foliage surrounds the pattern.

The execution of the escutcheons was entrusted to the house Devambez, and the dice have just been engraved. From now on, the official emblem of the Government of the Republic will be uniformly fixed on the pediment of all our diplomatic and consular buildings.



Another composition – which could already be seen on the steps of the residence of Alfonso XIII during his official visit to France in 1905 - was used in 1922 on the cardboard for the creation of a tapestry on "Les armes de France" It was to be installed at the Commissariat General of the Republic in Strasbourg. The German encyclopedias gave a color reproduction of it in 1928. [7] On 10 May 1929 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied by a note to the German Embassy, which wished to know the official coat of arms of the French Republic “that there exist,  in principle, no coat of arms or official emblems" but the 1935 edition of the Nouveau Petit Larousse illustré reproduces in black and white this composition as a symbol of the French Republic

In a German Armorial, 1933

In the  Nouveau Petit Larousse illustré, 1935


The new emblem of 1928/29 is:

Arms: Azure, a branch of Olive and a branch of Oak in Saltire charged with a fasces per paleand a ribbon with the motto Liberte egalite fraternite all Or.

Order: Collar and star of the Legion d’Honneur.

(Ruhl, 1928; Länderwappen, 1933 ca.) 


Project for the arms of France, interbellum (?)

These arms are apparently  inspired by the arms of Joseph Lamaire 1890


World War II


In World War II there were three parties in France:

1. the French State (État Français) which comprised south eastern France until it was occupied by Germany and lead a shadow existence forthwith. Its head of state was Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain.

2. Occupied France (Militärverwaltung in Frankreich) which comprised north western France. Its commander was a German general of which there have been three.

3. Free France (France Libre) which comprised the French colonies and departements  overseas not occupied by Germany and not ruled by the French State. The leader of the Free French was General Charles de Gaulle.


1 État Français



After the german invasion , president Albert Lebrun apponted marchal Philippe Pétain, then of the age of 83, to president of the Council before retiring to his family in Vizille (Izère). Not yet being demissionary Albert Lebrun did not exercise any power after July 1940.

The Pétain government signed the treaty of cease fire on 22 June 1940. The National Assembly reunited in Vichy and voted for the transmission of all constitutional power to Marchal Pétain. The next day, by two constitutional acts Philippe Pétain abolished art. 2 of the consitution of 25 February 1875 about the election of the president of the Republic and took the title of “Chef de l’État Français” (Leader of the French State), which he kept until 20 August 1944.

A Vichy constititional project of 30 January 1944 which, amongst others, provided for the maintenance of the title of President for the leader of the state, was never proclaimed. On 20 August 1944 Marchal Pétain was brought by the german army against his will to Belfort (Franche Comté) and later, on 8 September to Sigmaringen in Germany where he refused to exercise any service


In the symbolism of the state the personal emblem of Marschal Pétain was introduced. This consisted of a two-bladed  “Franciska”, its blades in the national colours and its handle of the marshal’s baton: blue, strewn with five-pointed golden stars  and with golden caps  charged with anotherfive-pointed star. The rim of the upper cap is inscribed PACE and on the lower with the name PETAIN. The emblem is on the middle breadth of the flag.


The seals of the state were changed by replacing “République Française” by “État Français”. [8]

De Franciska werd ook aangebracht op munten waarbij hij dan staat tussen twee V-vormig geplaatste korenaren. (Coudurier de Chassaige)


The motto of the French State was: travail famille patrie (Labor, Family, Homeland).


The law of 10 July 1940 granted Marshal Pétain full powers to draft a constitution to be submitted to the approval of the nation and guaranteeing "the rights of Labor, Family and Homeland". This Constitution was never promulgated.

In the Revue des Deux Mondes of 15 September 1940, Marshal Pétain wrote this repudiation of the motto of the French Republic "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity":

"When our young people [...] come into life [...] we will tell them [...] that real freedom can only be exercised under the protection of a tutelary authority, which they must respect, to which they must obey [...]. We will then tell them that equality [should] be framed in a hierarchy, based on the diversity of functions and merits [...]. Finally, we will tell them that there can be no true fraternity except within these natural groups, which are the family, the city, the country. "

The motto "Work, Family, Fatherland" is sometimes attributed to Emmanuel Berl (1892-1976) [9] but it was well before 1940 that the Croix-de-Feu and the French Social Party (PSF) founded by Colonel de La Rocque (future resistant).

It has often been said that these three words typified the "national revolution" undertaken by this regime: one finds in any case the philosophy of Gustave Thibon (1902-2001) and the belief, widespread at the time in all undemocratic ideologies, that "the family, the city, the homeland" would not be cultural and historical constructions (thus likely to be debated and modified) but" natural groups "that is to say indisputable.” The parisian poet Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947) persimpled this motto in "Trouble, Famine, Patrol".


2 Militärverwaltung in Frankreich



The Military Administration in France

(Militärverwaltung in Frankreich / Occupation de la France par l'Allemagne) was an interim occupation authority established by Nazi Germany during World War II to administer the occupied zone in areas of northern and western France. This so-called zone occupée was renamed zone nord ("north zone") in November 1942, when the previously unoccupied zone in the south known as zone libre ("free zone") was also occupied and renamed zone sud ("south zone").

Its role in France was partly governed by the conditions set by the Second Armistice at Compiègne after the blitzkrieg success of the Wehrmacht leading to the Fall of France; at the time both French and Germans thought the occupation would be temporary and last only until Britain came to terms, which was believed to be imminent. For instance, France agreed that its soldiers would remain prisoners of war until the cessation of all hostilities.

Replacing the French Third Republic that had dissolved during France's defeat, was the "French State" (État français), with its sovereignty and authority limited to the free zone. As Paris was located in the occupied zone, its government was seated in the spa town of Vichy in Auvergne, and therefore it was more commonly known as Vichy France.

While the Vichy government was nominally in charge of all of France, the military administration in the occupied zone was a de facto Nazi dictatorship. Its rule was extended to the free zone when it was invaded by Germany and Italy during Case Anton on 11 November 1942 in response to operation Torch, the Allied landings in Vichy French North Africa on 8 November 1942. The Vichy government remained in existence, even though its authority was now severely curtailed.

The military administration in France ended with the Liberation of France after the Normandy and Provence landings. It formally existed from May 1940 to December 1944, though most of France had been lost by the end of summer 1944.


Like in any other territory occcupied by Germany, the German Eagle standing on a swastika surrounded by a garland of oak was also on proclamations and official papers in occupied France.


German Eagle

On a proclamation of 10 May1940


Civil emblem

as distributed by the Military Administration to the civil employees of the Wehrmacht within its occupied territory in France


3 Free France Overseas



Free France and its Free French Forces (France Libre and Forces Françaises Libres) were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces that continued to fight against the Axis powers as an Ally after the fall of France. It was set up in London in June 1940 and also organised and supported the Resistance in occupied France.

De Gaulle, a French government minister who rejected the armistice concluded by Marshal Philippe Pétain and who had escaped to Britain, exhorted the French to resist in his BBC broadcast "Appeal of 18 June" (Appel du 18 juin), which had a stirring effect on morale throughout France and its colonies, although initially relatively few French forces responded to de Gaulle's call.

On 27 October 1940, the Empire Defense Council (Conseil de défense de l'Empire) was constituted to organise the rule of the territories in central Africa, Asia and Oceania that had heeded the 18 June

Arms of the 2nd Armoured Cars Division Leclerc

call. It was replaced on 24 September 1941 by the French National Committee (Comité national français or CNF). On 13 July 1942, "Free France" was officially renamed Fighting France (France combattante), to mark that the struggle against the Axis was conducted both externally by the FFF and forces on 25 August 1944, ushering in the Provisional Government internally by the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). After the reconquest of North Africa, this was in turn formally merged with de Gaulle's rival general Henri Giraud's command in Algiers to form the French Committee of National Liberation (Comité français de Libération nationale or CFNL). Exile officially ended with the capture of Paris by the 2nd Armoured Free French Division and Resistancef the French Republic (Gouvernement provisoire de la République française or GPRF). It ruled France until the end of the war and afterwards to 1946, when the Fourth Republic was established, thus ending the series of interim regimes that had succeeded the Third Republic after its fall in 1940.




The emblem of Free France was a cross of Lorraine


At the proposal of vice-admiral Emile Muselier to de Gaulle on 1 July 1940 in the presence of Thierry d’Argenlieu, captain of a corvette Free France adopted a cross of Lorraine as its symbol to fight against the swastika. [10] Vice-admiral Emile Muselier was appointed commander of the navy and of the air force of the free french on 2 July 1940. In his general order n° 2  of 3 July 1940 he created for the united forces of de Gaulle a jack (blue with a red cross of Lorraine) and a roundel of a cross of Lorraine for the air force. Vice-admiral Muselier came from Lorraine and the arms of the 507th regiment armoured cars commanded by de Gaulle in 1937-’39, had a cross of Lorraine on it.


Jack of the Navy of Free France


The jack was changed after two or three months because it was too dark. The final model is blue at the mast and red at the fly. In the middle is a white lozenge charged with a red cross of Lorraine with straight arms. This jack is flown today on the buildings of the National Navy bearing the name of a building which has belonged to the Free French National Navy. Only the schooners Étoile and Belle Poule which were de sailing ships of the school of the FFNN still fly the original jack. [11]

Later the cross of Lorraine was adopted by all Free Frenchmen. It was on the badge of General de Gaulle and on the badge of Ordre de la Libération created in Brazzaville on 16 November 1940, on the Médaille de la Résistance and on the Médaille commémorative des services volontaires dans la France libre, created by decree of  4 April 1946. [12] The cross of Lorraine is also represented on monuments and on stamps issued during the terms of office of General de Gaulle.


Gouvernement provisoire de la République française



After the liberation of Paris in 1944 coins were issued by the Free French Forces bearing a new national emblem consisting of the name of France, instead of RF or République Française as the status of the country was uncertain. The word is surrounded by a crown of laurel (corona graminea), the symbol of military victory. The usual branch of oak of the corona quernea or civil crown is omitted.


2 francs-piece issued by the Free French Forces, 1944

FRANCE  within a garland of laurel


Emblem of the provisional Government of the French Republic

as on the Carte d’identité d’Étranger


Quatrième République



The birth and development of the United Nations has reinforced the need to symbolize the French Republic by an emblem. Indeed, when the United Nations Assembly Hall was built in New York, each country had to be represented by a seal. On  3 June 1953, a commission met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to define the emblem of France to appear in the United Nations Assembly Hall in New York.

The commission adopted the project of the artist Robert Louis which reads as follows: "Azure with the bundle of lictors per pale, on two branches of oak and olive, passed in saltire, the whole of gold, bound by a ribbon of the same, loaded with the motto in black letters : Liberté-Egalité -Fraternité ".

Since then it is on  the shield reserved for France in the Assembly Hall in New York. [13]


The National symbol of the French Republic

(since 1953)


Arms: On an oval shield Azure, a branch of Olive and a branch of oak in saltire charged with a fasces per pale with a ribbon around inscribed « LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ ». in black letters, all Or.

Order: The grand collar of the Légion d’Honneur with star


N.B. In the same year  the collar of 1881 as illustrated, became obsolete because a new collar was made.


Cinquième Republique



Emblem on passports

RF-cypher surrounded by the name of the country


Emblem of France as on 10 F. coins, 1974-1985

Map of France charged with RF-cypher and star


On this coin France is defined as a territory.


2 €-coin, 1999-present


Tree and RF-cypher surrounded by the motto LIBERTÉ  ÉGALITÉ  FRATERNITÉ


The tree may be intended to be another symbol of the territory.

Voor de Vijfde Republiek gebruikt men het embleem van de Vierde Republiek.



L'emblème de la Présidence de la République française


Emblèmes en vigueur

La composition désigne une agence consulaire de France

La composition représentée ci-contre est, à l'origine, l'œuvre du sculpteur Jules-Clément Chaplain. Elle fut utilisée sous la IIIe République, par le ministère des affaires étrangères, à partir du 29 juillet 1912.



De diplomatieke vertegenwoordigingen in het buitenland zijn te herkennen aan een bronzen schild waarop fasces met gekruiste lauwertakken en een horizontaal gearceerd (blauw) schild uitlopend in twee naar elkaar toegewende leeuwenkoppen, met het monogram RF. Deze compositie komt al in 1931 voor (bij Coudurier).


L'héraldique étant alors perçue comme un art aristocratique, la République ne se dota pas de nouvelles armoiries à l'issue de la Révolution: par conséquent de nombreux héraldistes parmi les plus éminents considèrent que les seules armoiries de France légitimes restent celles du temps des rois. C'est la raison pour laquelle le sceau, le symbole national et l'emblème sont aujourd'hui les seuls symboles graphiques officiels utilisés par la République (avec les drapeaux et cocardes, bien entendu). Par exemple, la passeport français-européen porte l'emblème de la République française. Le dessin de l'emblème est très proche de celui du symbole national: un faisceau de licteur sur deux branches, d'olivier et de chêne, en sautoir, portant une plaque sur laquelle on trouve les lettres « RF » entrelacées.



Laws and decrees


Ordonnance [..] concernant les armoiries 1760


The ruler



The Ruler was symbolized in the first place by his imago, that is his portrait in full offcial dress of which a purple mantle was a part.

To his official dress belonged his regalia. In the Later Roman Empire these regalia existed of credentials exposed on a table of credence and a standard symbolizing the judicial power.

From early medieval times, probably from the time of the Empire of Byzantium, the regalia became a crown symbolizing administrative and armed rank, a sceptre, an orb and a sword. In fact these regalia symbolized in France, as in other parts of the former Roman Empire, the imperial mandate and later, when the central authority had dwindled down, the divine mandate, also symbolized by the formula: By the Grace of God which was a part of the royal title from a certain time. After the Renaissance the regalia, being the crown, the sword, the sceptre and the orb were exposed again on the table of credence. These regalia disappeared with the abolition of monarchy.  Æ Crowns and Regalia


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 © Hubert de Vries 2018-05-31




[1] After Wikipedia




[5] From: Claretie, Jules: Historie de la Revolution 1870-’71. Paris, 1872

[6] See: Musée d’Orsay Charles Lameire.

[7] That is to say in: Ruhl, Julius Moritz Die Wappen aller Souveränen Lander der Erde sowie diejenigen der deutschen Staaten, der preussischen Provinzen, der schweizer Kantone, österreichische Bundesländer, der englischen Dominions, ferner ehema­lige Reichswappen, Wappen deutscher Staaten und österreich-ungarischer Kronländer, endlich Herrscher- und Adelskronen. Verlag Moritz Ruhl, Leipzig, 1928. Tafel VI

[8] Der Herold, 1941 p. A21


[10] « Croix de Lorraine » [archive], La Seconde Guerre mondiale, « La Croix de Lorraine » [archive], Le général de Gaulle ne retiendra que le nom de Thierry d'Argenlieu dans ses Mémoires de guerre. Le texte exact (dans le tome I, L'Appel) de De Gaulle est : « Le 21 juillet [1940], j'obtins que plusieurs de nos aviateurs prissent part à un bombardement de la Ruhr et fis publier que les Français Libres avaient repris le combat. Entre-temps, tous nos éléments, suivant l'idée émise par d'Argenlieu, adoptèrent comme insigne la Croix de Lorraine. » (Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre – L'Appel (1940-1942), chap. « La France Libre », Plon, 1954 (repris par édit. Pocket (ISBN 978-2-266-09526-6), p. 99.)/ « Sous le signe de la Croix de Lorraine », article publié par France d'abord, journal brazzavillois dans le no 18 du mercredi 5 novembre 1941, p. 11-13, reproduisant, comme indiqué en en-tête, « des extraits d'une conférence faite dernièrement à Londres par l'amiral Muselier ». L'amiral explique, paragraphes 4 à 6 de l'article, p. 11 : « Dès le début, il m'a paru nécessaire de différencier de façon apparente, les bâtiments de guerre de la France Libre et ceux restés fidèles au Gouvernement du maréchal Pétain.

[11] Un de mes premiers ordres — du 2 juillet, si j'ai bonne mémoire — précisa que les bâtiments des Forces Navales Françaises Libres porteraient à la poupe les couleurs nationales françaises et à la proue un pavillon carré bleu, orné d'une Croix de Lorraine rouge. Et ce fut l'origine de l'insigne du Mouvement de la France Libre.

[12] « Émile Muselier » [archive], Ordre de la Libération

[13] Amongst others:  Schw. Arch. f. Her. 1953 pp. 56-57