A sword is a bladed weapon intended for slashing or thrusting, longer than a knife or dagger, consisting of a long blade attached to a hilt. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographic region under consideration; the blade can be curved. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip on the blade, tend to be straighter. Many swords are designed for both slashing; the sword developed in the Bronze Age, evolving from the dagger. The Iron Age sword remained short and without a crossguard; the spatha, as it developed in the Late Roman army, became the predecessor of the European sword of the Middle Ages, at first adopted as the Migration Period sword, only in the High Middle Ages, developed into the classical arming sword with crossguard. The word sword continues the Old English, sweord; the use of a sword is known as swordsmanship or, in a modern context, as fencing. In the Early Modern period, western sword design diverged into two forms, the thrusting swords and the sabers.
The thrusting swords such as the rapier and the smallsword were designed to impale their targets and inflict deep stab wounds. Their long and straight yet light and well balanced design made them maneuverable and deadly in a duel but ineffective when used in a slashing or chopping motion. A well aimed lunge and thrust could end a fight in seconds with just the sword's point, leading to the development of a fighting style which resembles modern fencing; the saber and similar blades such as the cutlass were built more and were more used in warfare. Built for slashing and chopping at multiple enemies from horseback, the saber's long curved blade and forward weight balance gave it a deadly character all its own on the battlefield. Most sabers had sharp points and double-edged blades, making them capable of piercing soldier after soldier in a cavalry charge. Sabers continued to see battlefield use until the early 20th century; the US Navy kept tens of thousands of sturdy cutlasses in their armory well into World War II and many were issued to marines in the Pacific as jungle machetes.
Non-European weapons called "sword" include single-edged weapons such as the Middle Eastern scimitar, the Chinese dao and the related Japanese katana. The Chinese jìan is an example of a non-European double-edged sword, like the European models derived from the double-edged Iron Age sword; the first weapons that can be described as "swords" date to around 3300 BC. They have been found in Arslantepe, are made from arsenical bronze, are about 60 cm long; some of them are inlaid with silver. The sword developed from the dagger. A knife is unlike a dagger in that a knife has only one cutting surface, while a dagger has two cutting surfaces; when the construction of longer blades became possible, from the late 3rd millennium BC in the Middle East, first in arsenic copper in tin-bronze. Blades longer than 60 cm were rare and not practical until the late Bronze Age because the Young's modulus of bronze is low, longer blades would bend easily; the development of the sword out of the dagger was gradual.
These are the "type A" swords of the Aegean Bronze Age. One of the most important, longest-lasting, types swords of the European Bronze Age was the Naue II type known as Griffzungenschwert; this type first appears in c. the 13th century BC in Northern Italy, survives well into the Iron Age, with a life-span of about seven centuries. During its lifetime, metallurgy changed from bronze to iron, but not its basic design. Naue II swords were exported from Europe to the Aegean, as far afield as Ugarit, beginning about 1200 BC, i.e. just a few decades before the final collapse of the palace cultures in the Bronze Age collapse. Naue II swords could be as long as 85 cm. Robert Drews linked the Naue Type II Swords, which spread from Southern Europe into the Mediterranean, with the Bronze Age collapse. Naue II swords, along with Nordic full-hilted swords, were made with functionality and aesthetics in mind; the hilts of these swords were beautifully crafted and contained false rivets in order to make the sword more visually appealing.
Swords coming from northern Denmark and northern Germany contained three or more fake rivets in the hilt. Sword production in China is attested from the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty; the technology for bronze swords reached its high point during the Warring States period and Qin Dynasty. Amongst the Warring States period swords, some unique technologies were used, such as casting high tin edges over softer, lower tin cores, or the application of diamond shaped patterns on the blade. Unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze, hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze, which bends if stressed too far. Although iron swords were made alongside bronze, it was not until the early Han period that iron replaced bronze. In the Indian subcontinent, earliest available Bronze age swords of copper were discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization sites in the northwestern regions of South Asia. Swords have been recovered in
A shield is a piece of personal armour held in the hand or mounted on the wrist or forearm. Shields are used to intercept specific attacks, whether from close-ranged weaponry or projectiles such as arrows, by means of active blocks, as well as to provide passive protection by closing one or more lines of engagement during combat. Shields vary in size and shape, ranging from large panels that protect the user's whole body to small models that were intended for hand-to-hand-combat use. Shields vary a great deal in thickness. Shields vary in shape, ranging in roundness to angularity, proportional length and width and edge pattern. In prehistory and during the era of the earliest civilisations, shields were made of wood, animal hide, woven reeds or wicker. In classical antiquity, the Barbarian Invasions and the Middle Ages, they were constructed of poplar tree, lime or another split-resistant timber, covered in some instances with a material such as leather or rawhide and reinforced with a metal boss, rim or banding.
They were carried by foot soldiers and cavalry. Depending on time and place, shields could be round, square, triangular, bilabial or scalloped. Sometimes they took on the form of kites or flatirons, or had rounded tops on a rectangular base with an eye-hole, to look through when used with combat; the shield was held by straps that went over or around the user's arm. Shields were decorated with a painted pattern or an animal representation to show their army or clan; these designs developed into systematized heraldic devices during the High Middle Ages for purposes of battlefield identification. After the introduction of gunpowder and firearms to the battlefield, shields continued to be used by certain groups. In the 18th century, for example, Scottish Highland fighters liked to wield small shields known as targes, as late as the 19th century, some non-industrialized peoples employed them when waging war. In the 20th and 21st century, shields have been used by military and police units that specialize in anti-terrorist actions, hostage rescue, riot control and siege-breaking.
The modern term refers to a device, held in the hand or attached to the arm, as opposed to an armored suit or a bullet-proof vest. Shields are sometimes mounted on vehicle-mounted weapons to protect the operator; the oldest form of shield was a protection device designed to block attacks by hand weapons, such as swords and maces, or ranged weapons like sling-stones and arrows. Shields have varied in construction over time and place. Sometimes shields were made of metal. Many surviving examples of metal shields are felt to be ceremonial rather than practical, for example the Yetholm-type shields of the Bronze Age, or the Iron Age Battersea shield. Size and weight varied greatly. Armored warriors relying on speed and surprise would carry light shields that were either small or thin. Heavy troops might be equipped with robust shields. Many had a strap called a guige that allowed them to be slung over the user's back when not in use or on horseback. During the 14th–13th century BC, the Sards or Shardana, working as mercenaries for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II, utilized either large or small round shields against the Hittites.
The Mycenaean Greeks used two types of shields: the "figure-of-eight" shield and a rectangular "tower" shield. These shields were made from a wicker frame and reinforced with leather. Covering the body from head to foot, the figure-of-eight and tower shield offered most of the warrior's body a good deal of protection in head-to-head combat; the Ancient Greek hoplites used a round, bowl-shaped wooden shield, reinforced with bronze and called an aspis. Another name for this type of shield is a hoplon; the hoplon shield inspired the name for hoplite soldiers. The hoplon was the longest-lasting and most famous and influential of all of the ancient Greek shields; the Spartans used the aspis to create the Greek phalanx formation. Their shields offered protection not only for their comrades to their left. Examples of Germanic wooden shields circa 350 BC – 500 AD survive from weapons sacrifices in Danish bogs; the armored Roman legionaries carried large shields that could provide far more protection, but made swift movement a little more difficult.
The scutum had an oval shape, but the curved tops and sides were cut to produce the familiar rectangular shape most seen in the early Imperial legions. Famously, the Romans used their shields to create a tortoise-like formation called a testudo in which entire groups of soldiers would be enclosed in an armoured box to provide protection against missiles. Many ancient shield designs featured incuts of another; this was done to accommodate the shaft of a spear, thus facilitating tactics requiring the soldiers to stand close together forming a wall of shields. Typical in the early European Middle Ages were round shields with light, non-splitting wood like linden, alder or poplar reinforced with leather cover on one or both sides and metal rims, encircling a metal s
The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, or the Seimas, is the unicameral parliament of Lithuania. The Seimas constitutes the legislative branch of government in Lithuania, enacting laws and amendments to the Constitution, passing the budget, confirming the Prime Minister and the Government and controlling their activities, its 141 members are elected for a four-year term, with 71 elected in individual constituencies, 70 elected in a nationwide vote based on open list proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5%, a multi-party union at least 7%, of the national vote to qualify for the proportional representation seats. Following the elections in 2016, the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union is the largest party in the Seimas, forming a ruling coalition with the Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania; the Seimas traces its origins to the Seimas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as the Seimas of inter-war Lithuania.
The first Seimas after the restoration of independence of Lithuania convened in 1992. The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania exercises legislative power in Lithuania; the powers of the Seimas are defined by the laws of Lithuania. The primary function of the Seimas is to consider and issue laws and amendments to the Constitution; the Seimas approves the state budget proposed by the Government, supervises its implementation, sets state taxation. In foreign relations, the Seimas ratifies international treaties. Decisions of the Seimas are taken in open simple majority votes. In some cases prescribed by law, a secret ballot is held, for example in expressing no-confidence in the government. Constitutional laws are adopted by the Seimas in a majority vote and can be changed only by a 3/5 majority vote; the list of constitutional laws needs to be approved in a 3/5 majority vote. Changes to the Constitution itself need to be approved in two votes separated by no less than three months, by a 2/3 majority.
Changes to international borders of Lithuania need to be approved by 4/5 of the members of the Seimas. The Seimas rejects the candidate for the Prime Minister nominated by the President; the Seimas must give its assent to the newly formed Government and its programme before the Government can start their work. The Government remains accountable to the Seimas for its activities. If the Seimas expresses no-confidence in the Prime Minister or the Government as a whole, the Government must resign and can ask the president to call an early election. Members of Seimas have legal immunity and cannot be arrested or detained without the consent of the vote of Seimas; the Seimas appoints and dismisses justices and presidents of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, proposed by the President. In its legislative capacity, the Seimas sets the basis for a judiciary institution advising and, to some extent, binding the President in appointing, promoting or dismissing other judges.
The Seimas establishes and disestablishes ministries of the Government, establishes state awards, can declare martial law and emergencies, start mobilization and introduce direct local rule on municipalities. The Seimas has 141 members, elected to a four-year term in parallel voting, with 71 members elected in single-seat constituencies and 70 members elected by proportional representation. Ordinary elections to the Seimas take place on the second Sunday of October, with the voting open for all citizens of Lithuania who are at least 18 years old. Parliament members in the 71 single-seat constituencies are elected in a majority vote, with a run-off held within 15 days, if necessary; the remaining 70 seats are allocated to the participating political parties using the largest remainder method. Parties need to receive at least 5% of the votes to be eligible for a seat. Candidates take the seats allocated to their parties based on the preference lists submitted before the election and adjusted by preference votes given by the voters.
Seven elections of the Seimas have been held in Lithuania since independence in 1990. Democratic Labor Party of Lithuania won the absolute majority of seats in the first election in 1992, the only time it has been achieved in independent Lithuania as of 2015; the party suffered electoral setback in 1996, but remained a major electoral force in the election of 2000, allowing it to form the government in 2001. The two parties merged under the banner of Social Democratic Party of Lithuania and formed the government after the elections of 2004 and 2012, participated in the government as a junior partner after the elections of 2016. Sąjūdis, which had led Lithuania into independence, finished distant second in 1992. It's right wing formed the Homeland Union, a conservative party which won the election in 1996, gaining 70 seats and governing with the Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party; the two parties merged in 2008 under the banner of Homeland Union, winning the election in the same year with 45 seats.
Other parties that have gained at least 10 seats in any election to the Seimas are Centre Union of Lithuania, New Union, Liberal Union of Lithuania, Labour Party and Justice, Liberal and Centre Union (part of the ruling coalition between 2008 and 2012 merged
Columns of Gediminas
The Columns of Gediminas or Pillars of Gediminas are one of the earliest symbols of Lithuania and one of its historical coats of arms. They were used in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a rulers' personal insignia, a state symbol, as a part of heraldic signs of leading aristocracy. During the period between World War I and World War II they were used by the Lithuanian Republic as a minor state symbol, e. g. on Litas coins and military equipment. The symbol appears in the following form: Horizontal line at bottom, vertical lines extend up at both ends; the Square at the middle of the horizontal line is about half as tall as the vertical lines. Another vertical line rises from the top center of the square, giving an overall appearance, close to a trident; this form is the one seen in modern times drawn on walls and fences as protest against the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. It is notable that the ancient pre-Christian symbols of Lithuania did not follow the same strict rules of heraldry as their western counterparts.
Thus this symbol was used in Or and argent on the field gules, was depicted in various shapes on flags and shields. The Columns of Gediminas appears in the emblem of the Lithuanian land force, air force, Military Police and National Defence Volunteer Forces; the name "Columns of Gediminas" was given in the 19th century by historian Teodor Narbutt, who supposed that the symbol was Gediminas' insignia. The more exact name of the symbol is the Pillars of Gediminids, since there is no direct evidence of its connection with Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas. According to the historical and archaeological evidence, the Columns were used by Grand Duke of Lithuania and Duke of Trakai Kęstutis, they appear on the Lithuanian coins issued by him. The symbol was used by Vytautas as his personal insignia since 1397 and appeared on his seal and coins. According to the accounts of Jan Długosz, it was derived from a symbol or brand used to mark horses and other property; the Columns were adopted by descendants of Kęstutis as their family symbol, equivalent to a coat of arms.
Another user of the Columns of Gediminas was Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund Kęstutaitis. At first the Columns signified the family of Kęstutis, in contrast to the Vytis, used by Algirdas' descendants. On, as a symbol of a ruling dynasty, it was adopted by Jagiellons and the two symbols became state symbols of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the Columns of Gediminas are displayed on the left sleeve of Jogaila in one of his best-known portraits, painted by Jan Matejko, although Jogaila's personal insignia was a double cross. The Columns of Gediminas remained in use over the following centuries. After the annexation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union the symbol was banned. During the Singing Revolution in the late 80s, it became an important part of the icon of Sąjūdis, the reform movement; the Columns of Gediminas are featured on the Lithuanian Presidential award Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, installed in 1928. The official logo of the EuroBasket 2011, that took place in Lithuania, is composed of the Columns overlaid on a basketball board.
Coat of arms of Lithuania Polish heraldry Gediminas' Tower House of Gediminas Tamga Valstybė. Iliustruota Lietuvos enciklopedija "Gediminas' Columns". Encyclopedia Lituanica II: 293.. Ed. Simas Sužiedėlis. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius. LCC 74-114275
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I reigned as Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. He was the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland, he has become best known as a political conservative whose reign was marked by geographical expansion, repression of dissent, economic stagnation, poor administrative policies, a corrupt bureaucracy, frequent wars that culminated in Russia's defeat in the Crimean War of 1853–56. Nicholas had a happy marriage, his biographer Nicholas V. Riasanovsky says that Nicholas displayed determination, singleness of purpose, an iron will, along with a powerful sense of duty and a dedication to hard work, he saw himself as a soldier—a junior officer consumed by spit and polish. A handsome man, he was nervous and aggressive. Trained as an engineer, he was a stickler for minute detail. In his public persona, says Riasanovsky, "Nicholas I came to represent autocracy personified: infinitely majestic and powerful, hard as stone, relentless as fate." He was the younger brother of his predecessor, Alexander I.
Nicholas inherited his brother's throne despite the failed Decembrist revolt against him and went on to become the most reactionary of all Russian leaders. Nicholas I was instrumental in helping to create an independent Greek state, was successful against Russia's neighbouring southern rivals as he seized the last territories in the Caucasus held by Persia by ending the Russo-Persian War. By now, Russia had gained what is now Dagestan, Georgia and Armenia from Persia, had therefore at last gained the clear upper hand in the Caucasus, both geopolitically as well as territorially, he ended the Russo-Turkish War as well. On, however, he led Russia into the Crimean War, with disastrous results. Historians emphasize that his micromanagement of the armies hindered his generals, as did his misguided strategy. Fuller notes that historians have concluded that "the reign of Nicholas I was a catastrophic failure in both domestic and foreign policy." On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its geographical zenith, spanning over 20 million square kilometers, but had a desperate need for reform.
Nicholas was born at Gatchina Palace in Gatchina to Grand Duke Paul, Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia. Five months after his birth, his grandmother, Catherine the Great and his parents became emperor and empress of Russia, he was a younger brother of Emperor Alexander I of Russia, who succeeded to the throne in 1801, of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia. Riasanovsky says he was, "the most handsome man in Europe, but a charmer who enjoyed feminine company and was at his best with the ladies."On 13 July 1817, Nicholas married Princess Charlotte of Prussia, who thereafter went by the name Alexandra Feodorovna when she converted to Orthodoxy. Charlotte's parents were Frederick William III of Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Nicholas and Charlotte were third cousins, as they were both great-great-grandchildren of Frederick William I of Prussia. With two older brothers, it seemed unlikely Nicholas would become Tsar. However, as Alexander and Constantine both failed to produce sons, Nicholas remained to rule one day.
In 1825, when Alexander I died of typhus, Nicholas was caught between swearing allegiance to Constantine and accepting the throne for himself. The interregnum lasted until Constantine, in Warsaw at that time, confirmed his refusal. Additionally, on 25 December, Nicholas issued the manifesto proclaiming his accession to the throne; that manifesto retroactively named 1 December, the date of Alexander I's death, as the beginning of his reign. During this confusion, a plot was hatched by some members of the military to overthrow Nicholas and to seize power; this led to the Decembrist Revolt on 26 December 1825, an uprising Nicholas was successful in suppressing. Nicholas lacked his brother's spiritual and intellectual breadth. Nicholas I began his reign on 14 December 1825; this particular Monday dawned cold, with temperatures of −8 degrees Celsius. This was regarded by the Russian people as a bad omen for the coming reign; the accession of Nicholas I was marred by a demonstration of 3000 young Imperial Army officers and other liberal-minded citizens.
This demonstration was an attempt to force the government to accept a constitution and a representative form of government. Nicholas ordered the army out to smash the demonstration; the "uprising" was put down and became known as the Decembrist Revolt. Having experienced the trauma of the Decembrist Revolt on the first day of his reign, Nicholas I was determined to restrain Russian society; the Third Section of the Imperial Chancellery ran a huge network of spies and informers with the help of Gendarmes. The government exercised censorship and other forms of control over education and all manifestations of public life, he appointed Alexander Benckendorff to head this Chancellery. Benckendorff employed 16 staff in his office, he began intercepting mail at a high rate. Soon, because of Benckendorff, the saying that it was impossible to sneeze in one's house before it is report
Algirdas was a ruler of medieval Lithuania. He ruled the Lithuanians and Ruthenians from 1345 to 1377. With the help of his brother Kęstutis he created an empire stretching from the present Baltic states to the Black Sea and to within fifty miles of Moscow. Algirdas was one of the seven sons of Grand Prince Gediminas. Before his death in 1341, Gediminas divided his domain, leaving his youngest son Jaunutis in possession of the capital, Vilnius. With the aid of his brother, Kęstutis, Algirdas drove out the incompetent Jaunutis and declared himself Grand Prince in 1345, he devoted the next thirty-two years to the development and expansion of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Two factors are thought to have contributed to this result: the political sagacity of Algirdas and the devotion of Kęstutis; the division of their dominions is illustrated by the fact that Algirdas appears exclusively in East Slavic sources, while Western chronicles describe Kęstutis. Lithuania was surrounded by enemies; the Teutonic Order in the northwest and the Golden Horde in the southwest sought Lithuanian territory, while Poland to the west and Muscovy to the east were hostile competitors.
Algirdas held his own acquiring influence and territory at the expense of Muscovy and the Golden Horde and extending the borders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Black Sea. His principal efforts were directed toward securing the Slavic lands which were part of the former Kievan Rus'. Although Algirdas engineered the election of his son Andrew as Prince of Pskov and a powerful minority of Novgorod Republic citizens supported him against Muscovy, his rule in both commercial centres was precarious. Algirdas occupied the important principalities of Bryansk in western Russia. Although his relationship with the grand dukes of Muscovy was friendly, he besieged Moscow in 1368 and 1370 during the Lithuanian–Muscovite War. An important feat by Algirdas was his victory over the Tatars in the Battle of Blue Waters at the Southern Bug in 1362, which resulted in the breakup of the Kipchaks and compelled the khan to establish his headquarters in the Crimea. According to modern historians, "For Gediminas and Algirdas, retention of paganism provided a useful diplomatic tool and weapon... that allowed them to use promises of conversion as a means of preserving their power and independence".
Hermann von Wartberge and Jan Długosz described Algirdas as a pagan until his death in 1377. Contemporary Byzantine accounts support the Western sources, his pagan beliefs were mentioned in 14th-century Byzantine historian Nicephorus Gregoras' accounts. After his death, Algirdas was burned on a ceremonial pyre with 18 horses and many of his possessions in a forest near Maišiagala in the Kukaveitis forest shrine located at 54°55′42″N 25°01′04″E, his alleged burial site has undergone archaeological research since 2009. Algirdas' descendants include the Trubetzkoy and Sanguszko families. Although Algirdas was said to have ordered the death of Anthony and Eustathius of Vilnius, who were glorified as martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church, the 16th-century Bychowiec Chronicle and 17th-century Hustynska Chronicle maintain that he converted to Orthodox Christianity some time before his marriage to Maria of Vitebsk in 1318. Several Orthodox churches were built in Vilnius during his reign, but assertions about his baptism are uncorroborated by contemporary sources.
Despite contemporary accounts and modern studies, some Russian historians claim that Algirdas was an Orthodox ruler. The Kiev Monastery of the Caves' commemorative book, underwritten by Algirdas' descendants, recorded his baptismal name as Demetrius during the 1460s. Following Wojciech Wijuk Kojałowicz and Macarius I, Volodymyr Antonovych writes that Algirdas took monastic vows several days before his death and was interred at the Cathedral of the Theotokos in Vilnius under the monastic name Alexius. Algirdas balanced himself between Muscovy and Poland, spoke Lithuanian and Ruthenian and followed the majority of his pagan and Orthodox subjects rather than to alienate them by promoting Roman Catholicism, his son Jogaila ascended the Polish throne, converted to Roman Catholicism and founded the dynasty which ruled Lithuania and Poland for nearly 200 years. Algirdas is widely honoured in Belarus as a unifier of all Belarusian lands within one state, a successful military commander and ruler of medieval Belarus.
A monument to him has been erected in Vitsebsk in 2014, as part of the celebration of the city's 1040th anniversary. Algirdas was Duke of Vitebsk for over 20 years before becoming Grand Duke of Lithuania. Gediminids House of Algirdas – Algirdas' family tree
The Pahonia is the historical coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a variation of, being used as a current coat of arms of Lithuania. It has been the official emblem of Belarusian Democratic Republic in 1918 and of the Republic of Belarus from 1991 to 1995. On May 14, 2007 Pahonia was declared cultural heritage of Belarus; the charging knight first emerged as a state emblem in the region in 1329 on the seal of duke Alexander Michailovich of Pskov. He was deputy of Gediminas of Lithuania to Pskov, a part of Grand Duchy of Lithuania at that time. At the same time duke Hlieb of Polacak used Pahonia on his seal as well; these facts illustrate that it is the most probable that Pahonia was in use as a state symbol of Lithuania at least in 1329. However, by Gustyn Chronicle duke Vytenis of Lithuania "began ruling on Lithuania and designed a coat of arms and a seal for himself and for Lithuania: armed knight riding on horse; the symbol of the charging knight on horseback passed down through the generations: from Algirdas to his son, Grand Duke Jogaila to Grand Duke Vytautas and to others.
By the 14th century, the charging knight on horseback with a sword had begun to feature in an heraldic shield, first in Jogaila's's seal in 1386 or 1387, in the seal of Vytautas in 1401. As early as the 15th century, the heraldic charging knight on horseback became the coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and of its central part – the Duchy of Vilnius. 16th century documents refer to it using the Polish term Pogoń. At first, the charging knight might appear riding either right, but as of the first half of the 15th century, all depictions show him riding towards the left, with a sword in his raised hand and a shield in the left hand. In the 15th century, the colors of the seal became uniform; the livery colors became fixed: a white charging knight on a red field of the heraldic shield. The charging knight at this time bore a blue shield, set against the blue field appeared a double cross; the coat of arms featured the Grand Duke's headgear on the crest. At first the charging knight showed the figure of the ruler of the country, but with time it came to be understood and interpreted as that of a riding knight chasing an intruder out of his native country.
Such an understanding became popular in the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century. The explanation has a sound historical foundation. We know that at the Battle of Grunwald, where the united Polish-Lithuanian army crushed the army of the Teutonic Knights thirty Lithuanian and Ruthenian regiments out of a total of forty fought under banners flying the sign of the Pahonia. With minor stylistic changes, the Pahonia coat of arms remained the state symbol of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania until 1795, when the Russian Empire annexed and extinguished the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Third Partition of Poland; the Pahonia became incorporated into the imperial state emblem. After the first partition of Poland, Catherine the Great had given the Pahonia coat of arms to several towns in the newly acquired ethnic Belarusian and Latgallian territories, including Daugavpils, Sebezh, Nevel, Viciebsk, Velizh; the motive for this was. The Pahonia appeared on the state seal of the Belarusian Democratic Republic for a short period between 1918 and 1919.
West Belarus became part of interwar Poland, the Pahonia was used as the symbol of several provinces which had sizeable Belarusian minorities, namely the Polesie Voivodeship, the Wilno Voivodeship, the Nowogródek Voivodeship. It was used by West Belarusian separatist organizations. During Soviet times the emblem was forbidden and used only by Belarusian emigrant communities in the USA, elsewhere. During the Second World War the Belarusian Central Rada, a puppet Nazi régime in Belarus used the Pahonia symbol. In the late 1980s, during a new wave of Belarusian national rebirth, the Belarusian Popular Front adopted the Pahonia as its emblem, despite the fact that its public display constituted a criminal offense. In 1991, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Pahonia became the coat of arms of the independent Republic of Belarus; the official design of the 1991 coat of arms of Belarus was created by a team of artists led by Jauhien Kulik and Uladzimir Krukouski basing on various Medieval designs of the Pahonia as the coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
In 1995, following a controversial referendum, Alexander Lukashenko scrapped the Pahonia's status as the official coat of arms and replaced it with a modified Soviet emblem. Since the Pahonia has served as one of the symbols of the anti-Lukashenko opposition in Belarus. Lithuania joined the Eurozone by adopting the euro on 1 January 2015; the designs of the Lithuanian coins share a similar national side for all denominations, featuring the Vytis symbol and the name of the country, "Lietuva". The design was announced on 11 November 2004 following a public opinion poll conducted by the Bank of Lithuania. Pahonia has been the main element of emblems of all Voivodeships on the lands of modern Belarus in the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After annexation of Belarus to the Russian Empire, the Vitebsk and Vilno governorates inherited c