State Coats of Arms

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

State Coats of Arms


of foreign countries, state emblems depicted on seals, coins, bank notes, forms, facades of government buildings, and other official objects; a component of the state flag.

The design of a state coat of arms and its description are established by a constitution or by special laws. Coats of arms of present-day states have almost no resemblance to feudal coats of arms; only in certain states with a monarchical form of rule (for example, Great Britain, Denmark, and Belgium) are the family coats of arms of the ruling dynasties still retained as the basis for the state coats of arms. The state coats of arms of many bourgeois republics include symbols that reflect the striving of the ruling classes to provide the external appearance of social justice for the existing regime—for example, the sickle and hammer in the state coat of arms of Austria. Sometimes the state coats of arms include old attributes of power along with new elements—for example, the US state coat of arms, along with its 13 stars symbolizing the 13 original states that formed the USA, depicts an eagle with an olive branch and arrows in its claws. A change in the political system of a state leads, as a rule, to essential alterations in the state coat of arms or the introduction of a completely new one—for example, the replacement of the coat of arms of the Russian Empire by the coat of arms of the Soviet state and the new coats of arms adopted by other socialist states.


Sokolov, V. A. Simvoly gosudarstvennogo suvereniteta. Saratov, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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