The heraldic lily is the favorite emblem of France
The Middle Ages gave rise to an extremely interesting science, which is now experiencing its second birth - heraldry. The helmet covered the head of the knight, the outlines of the body were distorted with armor. But it was necessary to somehow identify each other. And heraldic figures came to the rescue, which the knight put on his shield and armor. The figures were very different. Simple - stripes, rectangles, circles, gradually were supplemented with stylized images of objects, animals, birds, trees, flowers. The place of honor among them was taken by the heraldic lily.
As a rule, at first the plant appeared on the emblems of well-born families. More flowers were included in the ceremonial portraits, stained glass windows, images of the most revered saints - the natives of this land.Such, for example, is a rose in England. The perennial confrontation of Lancaster and York received in history the name of the war of the Scarlet and White Rose, according to the images on their coat of arms.In Japan, the 16-petal chrysanthemum is the imperial seal and at the same time - the state emblem. And on the lands of Wales in a variety of daffodils grow. No wonder white daffodil has become a symbol of Wales. Thistle is the emblem of Scotland. According to legend, during a Viking raid, one of the invaders ran into a thorny plant and cried out, revealing the location of the detachment. The raid was successfully repulsed. France has its own symbol - lily.
Lily in history
Probably there is no other flower that would have such a contradictory interpretation in the traditions of different cultures. In the Ancient East, in Egypt and Mesopotamia, the lily, due to its appearance and specific aroma, personified sensual love. The ancient Greeks believed that the lily came from Hera's milk, dripping on the ground when the goddess tried to feed the newborn Heracles. In a stylized form, the lily looks somewhat similar to the tip of a spear, so it was considered, rather, the flower of a warrior, personified fearlessness. The Romans also considered the lily a symbol of military courage, success and, moreover, royal grandeur. The same interpretation is found in Byzantium: there the lily sign was a symbol of kinship with the house of Basileus. But over time, the value of this flower became diametrically opposite.He began to personify purity, innocence and innocence. Christ in the Gospel of Matthew mentions field lilies, which the Lord adorns, although they do not labor. This was perceived by medieval theology as complete obedience to God's will, and in the Middle Ages, lily became one of the most beloved flowers.
According to legend, when Chlodwick, the legendary king of the Franks, was baptized, the angel handed him a silver flower.So heraldic lily appeared on the coat of arms of the kings of France. Since then, with various changes, a stylized image of a lily decorated the coat of arms of all the dynasties of the French kings, starting with the Merovingians: Carolingians, Capetians, Valois, Bourbons. The Great French Revolution of 1789 destroyed the dynasty. But for a short time, after restoration, the heraldic lily again took its place on the emblem of the country. The image of this flower is still present in the official emblems of 53 French departments (regions) of the 101, although at present France does not have a single state emblem. Far away cities, such as Florence, New Orleans, Turku and Detroit, can also boast the presence of this royal emblem on their official coat of arms.True, some historians now assume that the heraldic lily is not even a lily at all, but an iris, or, more incredibly, an inverted bee. But such interpretations are more likely to be fantastic.