Coat of arms of Iceland

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Coat of arms of Iceland
Coat of arms of Iceland.svg
ArmigerRepublic of Iceland
Adopted1 July 1944
Coat of arms of the President of Iceland
Coat of arms of the President of Iceland.svg
ArmigerPresident of Iceland
Adopted1944

The coat of arms of Iceland displays a silver-edged, red cross on blue shield, alluding to the design of the flag of Iceland. It is the only national arms to feature four supporters: the four protectors of Iceland (landvættir) as described in Heimskringla, standing on a block of columnar basalt.[1] The bull (Griðungur) is the protector of northwestern Iceland, the eagle or griffin (Gammur) protects northeastern Iceland, the dragon (Dreki) protects the southeastern part, and the rock-giant (Bergrisi) is the protector of southwestern Iceland. Great respect was given to these creatures of Iceland, so much that there was a law during the time of the Vikings that no ship should bear grimacing symbols (most often dragonheads on the bow of the ship) when approaching Iceland. This was so the protectors would not be provoked unnecessarily.[2]

The landvættir also decorate the obverse (front) of the Icelandic króna coins, but animals of the ocean (fish, crabs, and dolphins) appear on the reverse (back). The Icelandic presidency uses a swallowtailed Icelandic flag with the coat of arms. The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police uses a white flag with the coat of arms, when the use of the State flag is not warranted, and some other state services do as well.

Official description

The government of Iceland describes the coat of arms as follows:[1]

Iceland's coat of arms is a silver cross in a sky-blue field, with a bright red cross inside the silver cross. The arms of the cross shall extend to the rim of the shield on all four sides. The width of the cross shall be 2/9 of the width of the shield, but the red cross half as wide, at 1/9 of the width of the shield. The upper sections shall be squares and the lower sections the same width as the upper sections, but 1/3 longer.

The shield bearers are the four guardian spirits of Iceland as described in Heimskringla [by Snorri Sturluson, 13th century]: A bull on the right side of the shield; a giant, on the left; a vulture on the right above the bull; and a dragon on the left, above the giant.

The shield rests on a plate of columnar basalt.

History

Iceland has historically had various distinct coats of arms:

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Icelandic Coat of Arms". Government of Iceland. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  2. ^ "Landvættir og álagablettir". www.ismennt.is. Retrieved 2019-03-13.