Sovereignty and Polish Rule

The Hungarian Claims

Kingdom and Republic

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Brief Introduction


Galicia usually is named together with Lodomeria. The kingdom of Galicia is named after the royal and orthodox archbishops seat Halicz (Galich) on the Dnestr some 100 km S.E. of Lviv. On this kingdom the Hungarian kings had a claim. The kingdom of Ruthenia is a successor of Galicia ruled by the local kings from the House of Rurik. On this part the Polish kings had a claim. The centre of power was in Lviv (Lvov, Lemberg), a Roman Catholic diocese after 1412.

The principality of Wladimir, (not to be confused with the principality of Wladimir Suzdal east of Moscow) is named after the orthodox seat of the city of Wladimir (Wladimir Volinskij) on about 110 km north of Lviv. In the twelfth century the kingdom itself was at the upper course of the Bug. Wladimir was corrupted to Lodomeria in latin. Lodomeria is a part of the Hungarian royal title since 1235.


The princes from the House of Rurik and the Polish Kings

In the early middle ages the territory around the upper course of the Dnjestr belonged initially to the Empire of Kiev. At the end of the 12th century it was a principality called after the capital Galich founded by prince Volodymyrko (1124-'53). Volodymyrko submitted himself to Byzantium to protect his country against the Hungarian attacks. Afterwards the relations between Galicia and Byzantium were always good.

The grandson of Voloymyrko, Volodymyr, died in 1199 without issue. He was succeeded by Roman of Wolhynia who united Wolhynia and Galicia and the ancestor of the Romanovic dynasty which would rule the united principalities with interruptions until 1323

After the death of Roman in 1205 a serious crisis of succession broke out because is two sons were oly three and five years of age. The galician bojars took


Rulers of Galich/Rus













Byzantine Suzerainty until 1245

Yaroslav Osmomysl




Wolhynian House

Roman Mstyslavych


The era of the Bojars

The sons of

Igor Sviatoslavic of Novgorod



Volodyslav Kormylcic  


Koloman Arpad


Mstyslav the Bold of Novgorod


Koloman Arpad


Wolhynian House

Daniel Romanovic


Tatar suzerainty 1245-1349

Kingdom 1254-1349

Leo Danylovic 


George I


Leo II    




House of  Piast

Boleslaw (George II)


Dmytro Dedko


Polish Suzerainty 1349-1772


House of Piast

Wladislaw of Opole


Polish 1386-1772

Habsburg Monarchy 1772-1918

the opportunity to chase away the ruling family and choose princes which they could handle. In 1214 Hungary and Poland interfered in a common action and appointed Koloman, a son of the Hungarian king Andreas as a prince. He had to give way to Mstislav of Novgorod in 1219 but could return after his death in 1228.

In the Clipearius Teutonicorum the arms of Koloman are described, be it from his first or from his second rule (-1237). The quote reads:


Pileus in niveo clipeo rubet estque Rutheni

Regis, gens cuius procul est a littore Reni


which can be translated with: “A hat (or pilum = spear) shines red in the white shield of the king of the Russians whose people lives so far from the borders of the Rhine.” [1]

This coat of arms disappeared with Koloman.

In the mean time the oldest son of Roaman, Daniel, was married with the daughter of Mstislav and had started together with his father in law to restore the Galician-Wolhynian empire. In 1237 he succeeded to chase away Koloman and to retake the throne. The Hungarian kings have never abandoned their claims on both principalities and have called themselves always “GALICIE LODOMERIE REX” (the latin names for Galcia and Wolhynia).

Like the other Russian principalities Daniel had to recognize the suzerainty of the Tatar empire of the Golden Horde, founded in 1241 in spite of that there were no tatar watchers in his country. In 1245 he was summoned to Sarai at the lower course of the Wolga where he was confirmed as the prince of the Galician-Wolhynian principalities.

Nevertheless Daniel conducted a policy against the Tatars. Within that framework he fortified his cities in a western fashion. At the same time he founded the new cities of Lviv and Chelm. In the donjon near the last city a large stone was build into on which a large crowned two-headed eagle was carved. About this eagle the Ipatievski chronicle writes:

“On a mile from the city is a donjon of brick on which is a carved eagle; and the height of the eagle is 10 yards with the heads and with its supports 12 yards (1 yard/ell = here about 62 cm.) The chronicle also mentions that a byzantine architect named Audios had built Chelm cathedral. For that reason it is quite possible that he has also built the donjon and is responsible for the two-headed eagle. [2]        


In this quote we are informed for the first time that a Galician prince makes use of a heraldic emblem. In this case it is an emblem which was used by very high-ranking Byzantine officials in particular by Byzantien despots, officials occupying an almost sovereign position but still subordinated to Byzantium. Sometimes the were related by marriage to the emperor. The two-headed eagle of Chelm can  be explained by the traditionally good relations of the House of Romanovic with Byzantium to which they were subordinated in any case.

The relations with the Hohenstaufen had also always been good. Roman had even fallen in a battle when he ran to help Roman king Philip of Swabia against Leszek the White who belonged to the Guelph-papal party. Also the Hohenstaufen were the natural allies against the Hungarians who traditionally belonged to the papal party. At the moment of the appearance of the two-headed eagle in Galicia the emperors Frederick II and John III Vatatzes conducted joined politics to restore the union of the Roman Empire. These were directed against the Latin Empire and its patron the Pope of Rome.


The Chelm-donjon in the 19th century


* The ruin of a square donjon is in Bielavino on 2 km from Chelm; it is a wall of three stories, the rest has fallen into the river. Nevertheless the wall has still a height of 22 m.. The measure of 10 yards (= 6 m.) given by the chronicle, has to be connected with the carved eagle. It was a beautiful piece of Byzantine carvings indeed a giant eagle of six metres high on a tower of 24 metres.

All te same the tradition of the two-headed eagle in Galicia remained alive. The Polish historian B. Paprocki described all the coats of arms of the Polish state and the Russian provinces in 1584. [3] He wrote: “Peremysl province, belonging to the duchy of Russia, uses a crowned two-headed eagle” and he gives a representation:

Arms of Peremysl by B. Paprocki.


In his ìnternational politics Daniel took a turn when, after the death of the last Babenberg in Austria in 1246 he presented himself as the rival of Przemysl Ottokar as a candidate for the succession in the duchy. For that reason he made an alliance with the Pope and Hungary against the Bohemian king and his ally Frederick II. In spite of this his policy did not succeed because Hungary quit on the decisive moment.


After the death of Frederick II in 1250 and during the reign of the Roman King William of Holland Pope Innocent IV (1243-’54) sent a nuncio to Daniel who crowned him in Dorohychyn a king of the “Rus”. This would have been the moment for the adoption of a coat of arms of the model of the coats of arms of the western princes with which he had had so much to do in the preceding years. No document however is known proving that that was indeed the case. Its lasts until the reign of  his grandson George I (1301-’15) before a coat of arms of a Galician prince appeared. It is on his equestrian seal and it is a lion apparently the coat of arms of the House of Wolhynia.


Seal of George I, 1315


Equestrian seal: Arms: Lion.  Legend:   S . DOMINI . GEORGI . DUCIS . LADIMERIE. [4]


After George I his successors in Galicia have also used a coat of arms with a lion. In 1323 Galicia came to Boleslav of Masovia who was a descendant of Pereiaslava a daughter of Daniel. He reigned as George II until he was poisoned in 1340 by dissatisfied bojars. In his time a flag is documented for the kingdom by the Libro de Conoscimiento:


I left the kingdom of Polonia and went to the kingdom of Leon which the Germans call Lumbrec (Lemberg) in which there are five great cities. They call the first Leon, another China, another Vasadino, another Tinez. It must be known that this kingdom of Leon (Galicia) borders on the province of Rumenia, and with the kingdom of Suava. The king has a green flag with a red cross as is here shown. [5]


Flag of Galicia, 14th century


After a period in which the country was reigned by a man of uncertain origin, Dmytro Dedko, it was annexated by Polish-Ungarian treaty of 1349 by Casimir the Great of Poland (1333-’70). Under his reign the eastern part of the kingdom was lost to Lithuania. Casimir was succeeded by Louis the Great of Hungary who made it a voivodate governed by Wladislav of Opole.

About the arms of Wladislaw we are quite good informed in spite of that it is uncertain how long he ruled over Galicia. His seal of 1378 shows him seated and armed with a sword between the arms of Opole and Galicia.

Seal if Wladislaw of Opole, 1378.


Seal: The duke seated, armed with a sword. Arms: D.: Eagle; S.: Lion. Legend: X LADICLAUS D’T GRACIA DUX OPULIENSIS VELUNENSIS ET TERRE RUSSIE DOMIN. Date: 1378. [6]


Seal of Wladislaw of Opole, 1385


Seal: Portrait. Arms: Eagle, Lion, Horn. L.: LADISLAUS DUX OPOLIENSIS DOMINUS RUSSIE ET WELUNIENSIS. Date: 1385. [7]


On these seals the arms of Opole are: Azure, an eagle Or. [8]

The arms with the lion are of the Dominus Russie (the Lord of Russia).


The Russian territory may have been annexated by king Casimir the Great but it has been very difficult to subjugate the Ruthenes, the more because the king of Hunary was active in the region, referring to the claims dating from the time of Koloman. In 1366 a new campaign was necessary and the successor of Casimir, the son of his sister Elisabeth, Louis of Anjou, had to capture the region all again. After his death in 1382 the region was lost again but it was recaptured by Sigismund of Luxemburg, married with the heiress of Louis in Hungary, his daughter Mary. Sigismund in this way defended the rights of his sister in law Hedwig who had become a queen of Poland in 1384. After Poland and Lithuania had been united in a personal union by the marriage of Hedwig and Jagiello (Wladislaw), Grand duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia was recaptured from Sigismund in 1387. Nevertheless Sigismund maintained his claim on the region and this was continued by most of his successors in Hungary. 


By King Wladislaw II of Poland (1386-1434) the voivodate was abolished. The arms of the territory or merely the arms of his claim on the territory is on his seal dated 1388. It is: Azure, a lion rampant Or against a precipice Argent. [9]


Arms of the Heir of Russia (Ruthenia)

On the seal of King Wladislaw, 1388


Arms: Lion rampant and precipice. The corresponding legend reads: ... HES RUSS. (Heir of Russia)


During his reign the arms of three territories of Russia were represented in the Bergshammer Armorial. [10]  They are the arms of Halics (Galicia), Ruthenia and Lemberg. [11]


Arms of Galich in the

Armorial of Bergshammer (fol. 58r°)

Arms of Galich by B. Paprocki (1584)

The eagle crowned

Arms of Lemberg territory in the

Armorial of Bergshammer (fol. 57v°) [12]

Arms of ‘Woiewodswo Ruskie’ by B. Paprocki (1584)

The lion crowned

The arms of ‘lanborch’ (Lemberg) in the

Armorial of Bergshammer (fol. 146v°)


The arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Monarchy

From the time of king Sigismund I (1505-’48)


The arms are composed of the arms of Poland, Lithuania, Russia, East Prussia and West Prussia


The arms of Russia

on the seal of Stephan Bathory (1576-‘86)

The arms of Russia

on the seal of Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski (1764-‘95)


On later versions of the arms of Ruthenia the precipice seems to have disappeared as can be seen on the seals of the Polish kings until the liquidation of the kingdom (1795). [13]


Galicia and Lodomeria. The Hungarian Claims

By the Habsburg kings of Hungary Albrecht and Ladislas Posthumus the claim was not put forward. For king Vladislas I who was a king of Poland as Władysław III (1434-’44) it was of course not very necessary to claim the territory for Hungary. This changed when under king Matthias I Corvinus Hunyadi (1458-'90) both kingdoms remained separated. His claim was represented by a coat of arms of two crowns on a blue field. 


Arms of Galicia

As on the seal of Matthias, 1475 [14]

Arms of Galicia 1486

As in the margin of the statue of Matthias in Bautzen



When exactly Matthias has renewed his claim is uncertain but a coat pf arms for Galicia appears on his seal cut at the occasion of his marriage with a Neapoltan princess in 1475. On this seal are their arms in alliance surrounded by other arms of the territories of the Hungarian monarchy amongst which are the arms with two crowns which can be considered to be the arms of Galicia. Not long afterwards also a version of these arms is represented with three crowns. [15] There is no explanation for the change but probably the arms are meant to be of Galicia and Lodomeria, the thrid crown being for Lodomeria.

After the death of Matthias Hungary was ruled by Jagellon Kings until 1526 and the claim on Galicia seems to have been withdrawn. This changed when Louis II was succeeded by Ferdinand I of Habsburg. On his seal, used from 1531 until 1549 there is the coat of arms with two crowns again. Also, a coat of arms for Lodomeria occurs for the first time here. It is [Azure] of two fesses compony [Argent and Gules]. [16]

The arms with the two crowns were also on the seal of John Zapolyai, rival king of Hungary.[17]


Å Arms of Galicia.

In  the margin of a manuscript from the 2nd. half 15th cent now in Prague.

  Arms of Galicia and Lodomeria

on the seal of King Ferdinand I.


Seal of John Zapolyai, 1537.

The arms with the two crowns second in rank.


In the sixties of the seventeenth century Poland was treated from three sides. In 1660 Prussia became independent, in 1667 Poland lost Smolensk and Seversk to Russia and in 1672 Podolia to the Ottoman Empire. Probably in connection with this the then king of Hungary can have renewed his claims on Galicia and Lodomeria. On the seal of king Leopold I (1655-1705), dated 1673 the arms of both kinghdoms are represented. On the arms of Galicia are three crowns (two and one) and the arms of Lodomeria are the same as the arms on the seal of Ferdinand I. [18]


Seal of King Leopold I of Habsburg, 1673

The arms of Galicia and Lodomeria in base.


After the death of Leopold the Emperor Charles VI refrained from his claims on Polish territory because of the Spanish War of Succession. Only by Maria Theresia they were renewed in 1741. From 1769 the empres also bore the corresponding arms.[19]


The Kingdom and the Republic

At the annexation by Austria of Galicia, Lodomeria, Zator and Auschwitz in 1772 these territories were united into the Kingdom of Galaicia and Lodomeria. At the same time a coat of arms was adopted which was on jetons as early as 1773. It is parted per pale of the Galician crowns and the Lodomerian fesses and enté en point of the eagle of Auschwitz. In the centre are the crowned arms of Austria. The Austrian griffins serve for supporters.


Jeton for Galicia-Lodomeria with its arms, 1773

Seal of the Captain of Galicia-Lodomeria, 1775 [20]


Achievement of Galicia-Lodomeria


A new achievement was adopted on 27 January 1782. It is quarterly of the arms of the four territories of Galicia, Lodomeria, Auschwitz and Zator.

Seal of Galicia-Lodomeria, 1834. [21]


Achievement of Galicia-Lodomeria [22]


In 1795, at the last division of Poland, the former Sandomir area and part of Masovia were annexed by Austria and added to the Kingdom as Western Galicia. In 1804 the Austrian claims were internationally recognized and the imperial title was edited again. A new coat of arms for the kingdom was determined in the same year on 5 November in the decision on the new imperial coat of arms. It became the central shield of the seventh grand quarter. The relevant passage in the decision reads:



"Der Mittelschild ist durch einen rothen Strich quer getheilt, auf dem eine schwarze Dohle im blauen Felde sitzt, im untern Theile erscheinen drey güldene Königs-Kronen, oben zwey, unten eine, im blauen Felde wegen des Königreichs Galizien (Halicz). Er ist mit der Königlich-Galizischen, geschlossenen Bügel-Krone bedeckt." [23]


That is:

Arms: Azure, a fess Gules, in chief a raven passant Sable and in base three crowns 2:1 Or.


ï The history of the arms with the three crowns has been described above. About the raven in the upper half, there was referred to the work of B. Paprocki who ascribed a crowned raven to the city of Halicz. [24]


These arms were used for the kingdom until the end of the Habsburg Monarchy.


In the beginning of the 19th century Galicia became the centre of Ukrainian nationalism. In a manifesto of the Supreme Ruthenian Council of 2 May 1848 the arms with the lion of Leo I was adopted for arms of the “Reborn Ukrainian Nation”. On 13 November 1918 it became the arms of the West-Ukrainian People’s Republic (Zachidno-Ukrainska Narodnia Respubli­ka / Західноукраїн-ська Народна Республіка) proclaimed some days before.


Arms of the  West Ukrainian People’s Republic, 13.11.1918.


After the union of this republic with Ukraine on 22 January 1919 it was abolished. [25] It was replaced by a coat of arms of the lion and the precipice supported by the Ukrainian Tryzub.


The first union of Galicia and Ukraine was very short. In the summer of 1919 the country was captured by Poland and annexated. Because the annexation was not recognized by Ukraine it lasted until March 1923 until the matter was settled and Eastern Galicia was incorporated into Poland and Western Galicia into Ukraine. Until then the arms of the Western Ukrainina People’s Republic was on passports. Thereafter the Polishe eagle was used.



Arms of the West Ukrainian Republic on a diplomatic passport issued 27.07.1921


The ukrainian tryzub charged with the arms of Lemberg Territory


Upper half frontispiece West-Ukrainian Passport used 1922-‘23


After the occupation of Poland by Germany Galicia became the “Distrikt Lemberg” from 1939-’41.


Flag of the Distrikt Lemberg, 1939-‘41


Later it was a part of the “Generalgouvernement”. In this time the German eagle-and-swastika was displayed on stamps and official papers.


German stamp for the Generalgouvernement, 1943


By the Polish-Russian Treaty of Moscow of 16 August 1945 Galicia is a part of Ukraine, called Lviv Oblast. This oblast has the arms with the lion and precipice, crested with the arms of Ukraine.


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay.



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© Hubert de Vries 2014-03-20



[1] Ganz, P.: Geschichte der heraldischen Kunst in der Schweiz im 12. und 13. Jahrh. Frauenfeld 1899. Pp. 174-175. Vs. 7.

[2] Solovjev A.V.: Les emblemes heraldiques de Byzance et les Slaves. In: Sbornik Statej po Archeologii i Vizantinove­deniju. (Recueil d' etudes seminarium Kondakovianum Archeologie et histoire d'art. Etudes Byzantines). Praha, 1935 pp. 119-164.

[3] Paprocki, Bartosz: Herby rycerstwa polskiego zebrane i wydane roku 1584.

[4] From: N. Chubaty: Galicia and Volhynia; The Tatar Invasion. In: Kubijovic, Volodymyr, ed.: Ukraine. Concise Encyclopaedia. 1963, pp. 604-612.

[5] Libro del Conoscimiento de todos los reynos y tierras y señorios que son por el mundo, y de las señales y armas que han cada tierra y señorio.  Book of the knowledge of all the kingdoms, lands, and lordships that are in the world. The Hakluyt Society. Second Series N° XXIX. Issued for 1912.

[6] Gumowski, M.: Handbuch der Polnische Siegelkunde. Graz, 1966 nr. 113

[7] Pór, Antal: Pecséttani Apróságok. In: Turul. 1909 pp. 49-56

[8] The arms of  Wladislaw of Opole the Armorial du Heraut Gelre (Ms. 15652-56 K.B. Brussel) fol.54v. with the legend: "Her v rusen en va nopel". Arms: Azure an eagle Or. Crest: On a helmet lambrequined Azure and Or, an eagle Argent, billed and clawed Or.

[9] Gumowski, op cit. 1966, 2, n° 34.

[10] Raneke, Jan: Bergshammar Vapenboken - En Medeltidsheraldisk Studie. Lund, 1975.

[11] Raneke op.cit. fol. 58r°: Or, an eagle statant Sable;  n°s 623 & n° 2163 dlant va lanborch: Azure, a lion rampant Or against a precipice Argent; and n° 2166 lanborch: Azure, a lion Or.

[12] Also in Pin­ches & Wood: Armorial du Toison d'Or et de l'Europe (1435-1460). P. 149.

[13] Seals of 1492, 1502, 1546, 1574, 1580, 1592, 1675, 1716, 1764 en 1780)]. Gumowski, op.cit. 1966.

[14] Cuschin von Ebengreuth, A: Wappen des Königs Matthias von Ungarn. In: Der Deutsche.Herold 1889, pp. 55-57. That these are the arms of Galicia is all but sure. A possibility is that these are the arms for Bulgaria. In the seal of Ferdinand I of 1531 these arms correspond with the title Croacie, Lodomerie, Bulgarie, Sclavonie (etc.) the title for Galicia missing. At the same time however a coat of arms with three black lions is given for Bulgaria.

[15] These arms are in the margin of a manuscript of  the "Commentarius in Aristotelis de caelo et mundo" of  Thomas of Aquino formerly in the library of Matthias and now in Prague Ms. VIII H 73, fol. 2a.

[16] Fox-Davies, A.: The Art of Heraldry. fig. 1111, pp. 470-471. 

[17] On the seal of his predecessor Louis II showing the same configuration the second arms are charged with one single crown making the arms of Bosna. By Albrecht Dürer the arms with a single crown are called the arms of  ‘Burgund’ in 1515.

[18] The seal of Leopold I is represented by Döry, Ferencz: Magyarorszag Czimerenek Kialakulasa in: Turul, 1917 pp. 17-33, fig. 21. Alas the legend on the reverse is not given. On the obverse it reads: leopoldvs.d.g. el. rom. imp. s.a. ger. hvng. boh. rex. archid. avst. dvx. bvrg. styriae. comes. tyr; which does not explain anything in this case.

[19] Archivum Heraldicum, 1955, p. 36.

[20] Gumowski, op.cit. 1966. nr. 870.

[21] Gumowski, op.cit. 1966, nr. 868. Legend: Sigillum Collegii Ordin Reg Gallicie Lodom Duc Oswi Zator.

[22] Hefner, Otto Titan von:  Neues Wappenbuch des blühenden Adels im Königreiche Galizien. München, 1863

[23] Gall, F.: Osterreichische Wappenkunde. Wien, 1977, p. 70. A representation of the arms in Ströhl, H.: Osterreichisch-Ungarische Wappenrolle. Wien, 1900. Taf. VII. & p. 7.

[24] Paprocki, Bartosz: Herby rycerstwa polskie­go zebrane i wydane roku 1584. (reprint 1858), pp. 914-915: "The duchy of Ruthenia (terra Russiae) has a golden lion on a blue field, the territory Galicia a black crowned raven on a white field, the territory of Chelm also belonging to the duchy of Ruthenia - a white bear between three green trees. In the original edition the arms with the raven is called the arms of the city of Halicz. Early collections of the arms of the Polish provinces on woodcuts of 1506, 1521, 1564, 1567 and 1578. Rokosz, Mieczysław, red.: Orły Nasze. Kraków, 1996.

[25] Lysko, Z. op.cit. pp. 32-33.