Emblems of Britain
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EMBLEMS OF BRITAIN
Each country in Britain has its symbols:
The national flag of England, known as St. George's Cross, has been England's national flag since the 13th century. Originally the flag was used by the maritime state the Republic of Genoa. The English monarch paid a tribute to the Doge of Genoa from 1190 onwards, so that English ships could fly the flag as a means of protection when entering the Mediterranean. A red cross acted as a symbol for many Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. It became associated with Saint George, along with countries and cities, which claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner.Since 1606 the St George's Cross has formed part of the design of the Union Flag, a Pan-British flag designed by King James I.
The Flag of Scotland,also known as Saint Andrew's Cross or the Saltire, is the national flag of Scotland. As the national flag it is the Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, which is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly in order to demonstrate both their loyalty and Scottish nationality. It is also, where possible, flown from Scottish Government buildings every day from 8am until sunset, with certain exceptions. According to legend, the Christian apostle and martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, was crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras, (Patrae), in Achaea. Use of the familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, first appears in the Kingdom of Scotland in 1180 during the reign of William I. This image was again depicted on seals used during the late 13th century; including on one particular example used by the Guardians of Scotland, dated 1286.Wales
The Flag of Wales (Welsh: Baner Cymru or Y Ddraig Goch, meaning "The Red Dragon") consists of a red dragon passant on a green and white field. As with many heraldic charges, the exact representation of the dragon is not standardised and many renderings exist.
The flag incorporates the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, King of Gwynedd, along with the Tudor colours of green and white. It was used by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 after which it was carried in state to St Paul's Cathedral. The red dragon was then included in the Tudor royal arms to signify their Welsh descent. It was officially recognised as the Welsh national flag in 1959.
Wales and Bhutan are the only countries to have a dragon as a major design element on their flag, though the Chinese flag also featured a dragon during the Qing Dynasty, and a dragon appears on the badge of the George Cross on the flag of Malta.
There is no official National flag of Northern Ireland following the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 or any unofficial flag universally supported in Northern Ireland. The use of various flags in Northern Ireland is contentious. See Northern Ireland flags issue for more information.
England - St. George and the Rose The national flower of England is the rose. The flower has been adopted as England’s emblem since the time of the Wars of the Roses - civil wars (1455-1485) between the royal house of Lancaster (whose emblem was a red rose) and the royal house of York (whose emblem was a white rose).
Scotland - St. Andrew - the Thistle and Scottish Bluebell
The national flower of Scotland is the thistle, a prickly-leaved purple flower which was first used in the 15th century as a symbol of defence. The Scottish Bluebell is also seen as the flower of Scotland.
Wales - St. David and the Daffodil The national flower of Wales is the daffodil , which is traditionally worn on St. David’s Day. The vegetable called leek is also considered to be a traditional emblem of Wales.
There are many explanations of how the leek came to be adopted as the national emblem of Wales. One is that St David advised the Welsh, on the eve of battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps to distinguish friend from foe. As Shakespeare records in Henry V, the Welsh archers wore leeks at the battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Northern Ireland - St. Patrick and the Shamrock
The national flower of Northern Ireland is the shamrock,a three-leaved plant similar to clover. An Irish tale tells of how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.
The Lion is a national animal of England. Lion was the nickname of England's medieval warrior rulers with a reputation for bravery, such as Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart. Lions are frequently depicted in English heraldry, either as a device on shields themselves, or as supporters. They also appear in sculpture, and sites of national importance, such as Trafalgar Square. The lion is used as a symbol of English sporting teams, such as the England national football team.
The unicorn is a legendary animal from European folklore that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard and cloven hooves. First mentioned by the ancient Greeks, it became the most important imaginary animal of the Middle Ages and Renaissance when it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin. In the encyclopedias its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. Until the 19th century, belief in unicorns was widespread among historians, alchemists, writers, poets, naturalists, physicians, and theologians.