The lion is a common charge in heraldry. It traditionally symbolises courage, royalty, strength and valour, because it has been regarded as the "king of beasts". Lion refers to a Judeo-Christian symbolism; the Lion of Judah stands in the coat of arms of Jerusalem. Similar looking lion can be found e.g. in the coat of arms of the Swedish royal House of Bjelbo, from there in turn derived into the coat of arms of Finland belonging to Sweden, many others examples for similar historical reasons. The animal designs in the heraldry of the high medieval period are a continuation of the animal style of the Viking Age derived from the style of Scythian art as it developed from c. the 7th century BC. Symmetrically paired animals in particular find continuation from Migration Period art via Insular art to Romanesque art and heraldry; the animals of the "barbarian" predecessors of heraldic designs are to have been used as clan symbols. Adopted in Germanic tradition around the 5th century, they were re-interpreted in a Christian context in the western kingdoms of Gaul and Italy in the 6th and 7th centuries.
The characteristic of the lion as royal animal in particular is due the influence of the Physiologus, an early Christian book about animal symbolism written in Greek in the 2nd century and translated into Latin in about AD 400. It was a predecessor of the medieval bestiaries; the lion as a heraldic charge is present from the earliest development of heraldry in the 12th century. One of the earliest known examples of armory as it subsequently came to be practiced can be seen on the tomb of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, who died in 1151. An enamel commissioned by Geoffrey's widow between 1155 and 1160, depicts him carrying a blue shield decorated six golden lions rampant and wearing a blue helmet adorned with another lion. A chronicle dated to c. 1175 states that Geoffrey was given a shield of this description when he was knighted by his father-in-law, Henry I, in 1128. Earlier heraldic writers attributed the lions of England to William the Conqueror, but the earliest evidence of the association of lions with the English crown is a seal bearing two lions passant, used by the future King John during the lifetime of his father, Henry II, who died in 1189.
Since Henry was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, it seems reasonable to suppose that the adoption of lions as an heraldic emblem by Henry or his sons might have been inspired by Geoffrey's shield. John's elder brother, Richard the Lionheart, who succeeded his father on the throne, is believed to have been the first to have borne the arms of three lions passant-guardant, still the arms of England, having earlier used two lions rampant combatant, which arms may have belonged to his father. Richard is credited with having originated the English crest of a lion statant. Apart from the lions of the Plantagenet coat of arms, 12th-century examples of lions used as heraldic charges include the Staufen and Wittelsbach coats of arms, both deriving from Henry the Lion, the royal coat of arms of Scotland, attributed to William the Lion, the coat of arms of Denmark, first used by Canute VI, the coat of arms of Flanders, first used by Philip I, the coat of arms of León, an example of canting arms attributed to Alfonso VII, the coat of arms of Bohemia, first granted to Vladislaus II.
Coats of arms of the 13th century include those of the House of Sverre, the Ludovingians, the kingdom of Ruthenia, the House of Habsburg, the kingdom of Bulgaria and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Unlike the eagle, comparatively rare in heraldry because it was reserved as an imperial symbol, the lion became a symbol of chivalry and was not restricted to royal coats of arms; the Zürich armorial has a number of coats of arms with lions, most of them of ministeriales of the House of Habsburg. The lion in the coat of arms of Bohemia is depicted with two tails. According to Ménestrier, this is due to a jest made by Emperor Frederick, who granted Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia a coat of arms with a lion coué, that is, with its tail between its legs. Vladislaus' men refused to follow this emblem, calling it an ape, so that Frederick agreed to improve the arms by giving the lion not just one but two erect tails; as many attitudes now exist in heraldry as the heraldist's imagination can conjure, as a result of the ever-increasing need for differentiation, but few of these were known to medieval heralds.
One distinction made, although it may be of limited importance, is the distinction of lions in the walking positions as leopards. The following table summarizes the principal attitudes of heraldic lions: Other terms are used to describe the lion's position in further detail; each coat of arms has a right and left side - with respect to the person carrying the shield - so the left side of the shield as drawn on the page is called the dexter side. The lion's head is seen in agreement with the overall position, facing dexter unless otherwise stated. If a lion's whole body is turned to face right, he is to sinister or contourné. If his whole body faces the viewer, he is affronté. If his head only faces the viewer he is guardant or gardant, if he looks back over his shoulder he is
The leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western Asia, on the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, are declining in large parts of the global range. In Hong Kong, Kuwait, Libya and most in Morocco, leopard populations have been extirpated. Contemporary records suggest. Leopards are hunted illegally, their body parts are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration. Compared to other wild cats, the leopard has short legs and a long body with a large skull, its fur is marked with rosettes. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but has a smaller, lighter physique, its rosettes are smaller, more densely packed and without central spots. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers; the leopard is distinguished by its well-camouflaged fur, opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet and its ability to adapt to a variety of habitats ranging from rainforest to steppe, including arid and montane areas.
It can run at speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour. The earliest known leopard fossils excavated in Europe are estimated 600,000 years old, dating to the late Early Pleistocene. Leopard fossils were found in Japan; the common name'leopard' is derived from the Old English word'leuparz' used in the poem The Song of Roland written in the late 8th century. It is thought to be a Greek compound of λέων'leōn' meaning lion and πάρδος'pardos'; the word'panther' is derived from the Latin word'panther' and the ancient Greek πάνθηρ'pánthēr'. The phonetically similar sounding Sanskrit word पाण्डर'pând-ara' means'pale yellow, white'; the specific name pardus is derived from the Greek πάρδαλος'pardalos' meaning'spotted'. The leopard's skin colour varies between individuals from pale yellowish to dark golden with dark spots grouped in rosettes, its belly is whitish and its ringed tail shorter than its body. Its pupils are round. Leopards living in arid regions are pale cream, yellowish to ochraceous and rufous in colour.
Spots fade toward lower parts of the legs. Rosettes are circular in East African leopard populations, tend to be squarish in Southern African and larger in Asian leopard populations; the fur tends to be grayish in colder climates, dark golden in rain forest habitats. The pattern of the rosettes is unique in each individual, its fur is soft and thick, notably softer on the belly than on the back. It tends to grow longer in colder climates; the guard hairs protecting the basal hairs are short, 3–4 mm in face and head, increase in length toward the flanks and the belly to about 25–30 mm. Juveniles have woolly fur, appear dark due to the densely arranged spots, its white-tipped tail is about 60–100 cm long, white underneath and with spots that form incomplete bands toward the tail's end. The leopard's rosettes differ from those of the jaguar, which are darker and with smaller spots inside; the cheetah has small round spots without any rosettes. The leopard is sexually dimorphic, males are heavier than females.
It is muscular, with short limbs and a broad head. Males stand 60 -- 70 cm at the shoulder; the head-and-body length is between 90 and 190 cm. While males weigh 37–90 kg, females weigh 28–60 kg; these measurements vary geographically. Leopards are larger in areas where they are at the top of the food chain, without competitive restriction from larger predators such as the lion and tiger. Alfred Edward Pease accounted to have seen leopards in North Africa nearly as large as Barbary lions. In 1913, an Algerian newspaper reported of a leopard killed that measured about 275 cm. To compare, male lions measure 266–311 cm from head to end of tail; the maximum weight of a leopard is about 96 kg, recorded in Southern Africa. It was matched by an Indian leopard killed in Himachal Pradesh in 2016. Melanistic leopards are called black panthers. Melanism in leopards is inherited as a recessive trait to the spotted form. Interbreeding in melanistic leopards produces a smaller litter size than is produced by normal pairings.
The black panther is common in the equatorial rainforest of the Malay Peninsula and the tropical rainforest on the slopes of some African mountains such as Mount Kenya. Between January 1996 and March 2009, Indochinese leopards were photographed at 16 sites in the Malay Peninsula in a sampling effort of more than 1,000 camera trap nights. Of the 445 photographs of melanistic leopards, 410 were taken in study sites south of the Kra Isthmus, where the non-melanistic morph was never photographed; these data indicate the near fixation of the dark allele in the region. The expected time for the fixation of this recessive allele due to genetic drift alone ranged from about 1,100 years to about 100,000 years. Pseudomelanist leopards have been reported. In India, nine pale and white leopards were reported between 1905 and 1967. Leopards exhibiting erythrism were recorded between 1990 and 2015 in South Africa's Madikwe Game Reserve and in Mpumalanga; the cause of this morph known as'strawberry' leopard or'pink panther', is not well understood.
Felis pardus was the scientific na
A crest is a component of a heraldic display, consisting of the device borne on top of the helm. Originating in the decorative sculptures worn by knights in tournaments and, to a lesser extent, crests became pictorial after the 16th century. A normal heraldic achievement consists of the shield, above, set the helm, on which sits the crest, its base encircled by a circlet of twisted cloth known as a torse; the use of the crest and torse independently from the rest of the achievement, a practice which became common in the era of paper heraldry, has led the term "crest" to be but erroneously used to refer to the arms displayed on the shield, or to the achievement as a whole. The word "crest" derives from the Latin crista, meaning "tuft" or "plume" related to crinis, "hair". Crests had existed in various forms since ancient times: Roman officers wore fans of feathers or horsehair, which were placed longitudinally or transversely depending on the wearer's rank, Viking helmets were adorned with wings and animal heads.
They first appeared in a heraldic context in the form of the metal fans worn by knights in the 12th and 13th centuries. These were decorative, but may have served a practical purpose by lessening or deflecting the blows of opponents' weapons; these fans were of one colour evolving to repeat all or part of the arms displayed on the shield. The fan crest was developed by cutting out the figure displayed on it, to form a metal outline; these were made of cloth, leather or paper over a wooden or wire framework, were in the form of an animal. These were worn only in tournaments, not battle: not only did they add to the considerable weight of the helm, they could have been used by opponents as a handle to pull the wearer's head down. Laces, straps, or rivets were used to affix the crest to the helm, with the join being covered by a circlet of twisted cloth known as a torse or wreath, or by a coronet in the case of high-ranking nobles. Torses did not come into regular use in Britain until the 15th century, are still uncommon on the Continent, where crests are depicted as continuing into the mantling.
Crests were sometimes mounted on a furred cap known as a chapeau, as in the royal crest of England. By the 16th century the age of tournaments had ended, physical crests disappeared, their illustrated equivalents began to be treated as two-dimensional pictures. Many crests from this period are physically impossible to bear on a helm, e.g. the crest granted to Sir Francis Drake in 1581, which consisted of a disembodied hand issuing from clouds and leading a ship around the globe. In the same period, different helms began to be used for different ranks: sovereigns' and knights' helms faced forwards, whereas those of peers and gentlemen faced to the right. In the medieval period crests would always have faced the same way as the helm, but as a result of these rules, the directions of the crest and the helm might be at variance: a knight whose crest was a lion statant, would have the lion depicted as looking over the side of the helm, rather than towards the viewer. Torses suffered artistically, being treated not as silken circlets, but as horizontal bars.
Heraldry in general underwent something of a renaissance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many of the illogicalities of previous centuries were discarded. Crests are now not granted unless they could be used on a physical helm, the rules about directions of helms are no longer rigidly observed; the use of crests was once restricted to those of'tournament rank', i.e. knights and above, but in modern times nearly all personal arms include crests. They are not used by women and clergymen, as they did not participate in war or tournaments and thus would not have helms on which to wear them; some heraldists are of the opinion that crests, as personal devices, are not suited for use by corporate bodies, but this is not observed. In continental Europe Germany, crests have a far greater significance than in Britain, it is common for one person to display multiple crests with his arms; this practice did not exist in Britain until the modern era, arms with more than one crest are still rare.
In contrast to Continental practice, where a crest is never detached from its helm, a Briton with more than one crest may choose to display only one crested helm, have the other crests floating in space. Though adopted through marriage to an heiress, examples exist of secondary crests being granted as augmentations: after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, Robert Ross was granted, in addition to his original crest, the crest of an arm holding the US flag with a broken flagstaff. After the 16th century, it became common for armigers to detach the crest and wreath from the helm, use them in the manner of a badge, displayed on crockery, carriage doors, etc; this led to the erroneous use of the term "crest" to mean "arms", which has become widespread in recent years. Unlike a badge, which can be used by any amount of relatives and retainers, a crest is personal to the armiger, its use by others is considered usurpation. In Scotland, however, a member of a clan or house is entitled to use a "crest-badge", which consists of th
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, state, organization or corporation; the Roll of Arms is a collection of many coats of arms, since the early Modern Age centuries it has been a source of information for public showing and tracing the membership of a noble family, therefore its genealogy across time. The ancient Greek hoplites used individual insignia on their shields; the ancient Romans used similar insignia on their shields. Heraldic designs came into general use among western nobility in the 12th century. Systematic, heritable heraldry had developed by the beginning of the 13th century. Who had a right to use arms, by law or social convention, varied to some degree between countries. Early heraldic designs were personal. Arms become hereditary by the end of the 12th century, in England by King Richard I during the Third Crusade.
Burgher arms are used in Northern Italy in the second half of the 13th century, in the Holy Roman Empire by the mid 14th century. In the late medieval period, use of arms spread to the clergy, to towns as civic identifiers, to royally chartered organizations such as universities and trading companies; the arts of vexillology and heraldry are related. The term coat of arms itself in origin refers to the surcoat with heraldic designs worn by combattants in the knightly tournament, in Old French cote a armer; the sense is transferred to the heraldic design itself in the mid-14th century. Despite no widespread regulation, heraldry has remained consistent across Europe, where tradition alone has governed the design and use of arms; some nations, like England and Scotland, still maintain the same heraldic authorities which have traditionally granted and regulated arms for centuries and continue to do so in the present day. In England, for example, the granting of arms has been controlled by the College of Arms.
Unlike seals and other general emblems, heraldic "achievements" have a formal description called a blazon, which uses vocabulary that allows for consistency in heraldic depictions. In the present day, coats of arms are still in use by a variety of institutions and individuals: for example, many European cities and universities have guidelines on how their coats of arms may be used, protect their use as trademarks. Many societies exist that aid in the design and registration of personal arms. Heraldry has been compared to modern corporate logos; the French system of heraldry influenced the British and Western European systems. Much of the terminology and classifications are taken from it. However, with the fall of the French monarchy there is not a Fons Honorum to enforce heraldic law; the French Republics that followed have either affirmed pre-existing titles and honors or vigorously opposed noble privilege. Coats of arms are considered an intellectual property of municipal body. Assumed arms are considered valid unless they can be proved in court to copy that of an earlier holder.
In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland, an individual, rather than a family, had a coat of arms. In those traditions coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to son. Undifferenced arms are used only by one person at any given time. Other descendants of the original bearer could bear the ancestral arms only with some difference: a colour change or the addition of a distinguishing charge. One such charge is the label, which in British usage is now always the mark of an heir apparent or an heir presumptive; because of their importance in identification in seals on legal documents, the use of arms was regulated. This has been carried out by heralds and the study of coats of arms is therefore called "heraldry". In time, the use of arms spread from military entities to educational institutes, other establishments. In Scotland, the Lord Lyon King of Arms has criminal jurisdiction to control the use of arms. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales the use of arms is a matter of civil law and regulated by the College of Arms and the High Court of Chivalry.
In reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms in England, Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal, declared on 16 June 1673 that the powers of the Earl Marshal were "to order and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility and chivalry. It was further declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted and no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms without the consent of the Earl Marshal. In Ireland the usage and granting of coats of arms was regulated by the Ulster King of Arms from the office's creation in 1552. After Irish independence in 1922 the office was still working out of Dublin Castle; the last Ulster King of Arm
The Czech Republic known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with a temperate continental climate and oceanic climate, it is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava and Pilsen; the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe. It is a developed country with an advanced, high income export-oriented social market economy based in services and innovation; the UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic is a welfare state with a "continental" European social model, a universal health care system, tuition-free university education and is ranked 14th in the Human Capital Index, it ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance.
The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Beside Bohemia itself, the King of Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, holding a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. In the Hussite Wars of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary.
The Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Catholicism, adopted a policy of gradual Germanization; this contributed to the anti-Habsburg sentiment. A long history of resentment of the Catholic Church followed and still continues. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the German Confederation 1815-1866 as part of Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became the Slovak Republic.
Most of the three millions of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia; the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii"; the current English name comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which comes from the Czech word Čech. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain.
The etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning "member of the people. The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the east, Czech Silesia in the northeast. Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas; when the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country. After Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the Czech part lac
In heraldic achievements, the helmet or helm is situated above the shield and bears the torse and crest. The style of helmet displayed varies according to rank and social status, these styles developed over time, in step with the development of actual military helmets. In some traditions German and Nordic heraldry, two or three helmets may be used in a single achievement of arms, each representing a fief to which the bearer has a right. For this reason, the helmets and crests in German and Nordic arms are considered to be essential to the coat of arms and are never separated from it. Open-visored or barred helmets are reserved to the highest ranks of nobility, while lesser nobility and burghers assume closed helms. While these classifications remained constant, the specific forms of all these helmets varied and evolved over time. In ecclesiastical heraldry and other clergy use a mitre or other rank-appropriate ecclesiastical hat in place of a helmet; the evolution of heraldic helmet shaped followed the evolution of helmet design jousting helmets, from the 14th to 16th centuries.
The armorials of the second half of the 13th century do not include helmets. Helmets are shown as integral part of coats of in the first half of the 14th century; these helmets are still without movable visor. Heraldic helmets become diversified with the development of dedicated jousting armour during the 15th and 16th century; the development is halted with the abandonment of jousting as a courtly practice, in the early years of the 17th century. From that period, the various types of heraldic helmet are purely driven by convention, no longer tied to improvements or fashions in armoury; the practice of indicating rank through the display of barred or open-face helmets appears around 1615. As jousting with lances was supplanted by tourneying with maces, the object being to knock the opponent's crest off his helmet, the enclosed helmet gave way to helmets with enlarged visual openings with only a few bars to protect the face; these barred helmets were restricted by the imperial chancellery in Vienna to the nobility and certain doctors of law or theology, while the jousting helm was adopted by anyone.
The direction a helmet faces and the number of bars on the grille have been ascribed special significance in manuals, but this is not a period practice. A king's helmet, a golden helmet shown affronté with the visor raised, crowned with a royal crown, became adopted by the kings of Prussia; the helmet was not granted in an achievement of arms, but was assumed by appropriate rank as a matter of "inherent right", so a helmet with torse and mantling would not be misplaced above a shield which had no crest to place above it. When multiple crests need to be depicted, the convention in English heraldry is to draw the crests above a single helmet, each being separated from it, while in German heraldry, where multiple crests appear after the 16th century, each crest is always treated as inseparable from its own helmet and turned in agreement with the helmet. In continental Europe, multiple helmets were turned inward, with the center helm turned affrontê, while in Scandinavian heraldry the helmets were turned outward.
Heraldic combinations were driven to extremes in the 18th century, e.g. the arms of the last margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach consist of a shield with 21 quarterings topped with a record thirteen helmets and crests. The usage of heraldic helmets in Britain is; the norms of Russian heraldry regarding helmets diverge from the Western European tradition. Alongside the traditional Western open helmet, as well as the closed helmet sometimes granted by the state, "ethnic" helmets were in use, not found anywhere else. From the 19th century onwards, ancient Russian families began to use the yerikhonka, the "cap of Jericho", a medieval conical Slavic helmet similar to the Middle Eastern shishak; these followed their own colour system, not corresponding with the use of tinctures for Western helmets: non-titled nobles would use a steel yerikhonka with silver details and counts steel with golden details, knyaz families silver with golden details. The House of Romanov itself used a unique yerikhonka called the "helmet of Alexander Nevsky", based on the royal helmet of Michael I.
Asian noble families non-Slavic origin who were integrated in the Empire were allowed an ethnic helmet a misyurka, similar to the yerikhonka in shape but rounder and with an obtuse tip. In the modern Russian Federation, the Russian Heraldic Council allows both Western and ethnic helmets, but only in their simplest forms, stripped of any details that may be perceived as symbols of nobility. For Western helmets, this means using commoner kettle hats as opposed to them more aristocratic open and close helmets, while sheloms are to be used without nasal bars, cheekpieces or neck guards, which were sometimes found on older "ethnic" helmets. On the other hand, a commoner helmet may be complemented with a mail coif below. All colours except for steel are forb
Bulgaria the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north and North Macedonia to the west and Turkey to the south, the Black Sea to the east; the capital and largest city is Sofia. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country. One of the earliest societies in the lands of modern-day Bulgaria was the Neolithic Karanovo culture, which dates back to 6,500 BC. In the 6th to 3rd century BC the region was a battleground for Thracians, Persians and ancient Macedonians; the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire lost some of these territories to an invading Bulgar horde in the late 7th century. The Bulgars founded the First Bulgarian Empire in AD 681, which dominated most of the Balkans and influenced Slavic cultures by developing the Cyrillic script; this state lasted until the early 11th century, when Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered and dismantled it. A successful Bulgarian revolt in 1185 established a Second Bulgarian Empire, which reached its apex under Ivan Asen II.
After numerous exhausting wars and feudal strife, the Second Bulgarian Empire disintegrated in 1396 and its territories fell under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 resulted in the formation of the current Third Bulgarian State. Many ethnic Bulgarian populations were left outside its borders, which led to several conflicts with its neighbours and an alliance with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 Bulgaria became part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc; the ruling Communist Party gave up its monopoly on power after the revolutions of 1989 and allowed multi-party elections. Bulgaria transitioned into a democracy and a market-based economy. Since adopting a democratic constitution in 1991, the sovereign state has been a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political and economic centralisation; the population of seven million lives in Sofia and the capital cities of the 27 provinces, the country has suffered significant demographic decline since the late 1980s.
Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe. Its market economy is part of the European Single Market and relies on services, followed by industry—especially machine building and mining—and agriculture. Widespread corruption is a major socioeconomic issue; the name Bulgaria is derived from a tribe of Turkic origin that founded the country. Their name is not understood and difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD, but it is derived from the Proto-Turkic word bulģha and its derivative bulgak; the meaning may be further extended to "rebel", "incite" or "produce a state of disorder", i.e. the "disturbers". Ethnic groups in Inner Asia with phonologically similar names were described in similar terms: during the 4th century, the Buluoji, a component of the "Five Barbarian" groups in Ancient China, were portrayed as both a "mixed race" and "troublemakers". Neanderthal remains dating to around 150,000 years ago, or the Middle Paleolithic, are some of the earliest traces of human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria.
The Karanovo culture arose circa 6,500 BC and was one of several Neolithic societies in the region that thrived on agriculture. The Copper Age Varna culture is credited with inventing gold metallurgy; the associated Varna Necropolis treasure contains the oldest golden jewellery in the world with an approximate age of over 6,000 years. The treasure has been valuable for understanding social hierarchy and stratification in the earliest European societies; the Thracians, one of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians, appeared on the Balkan Peninsula some time before the 12th century BC. The Thracians excelled in metallurgy and gave the Greeks the Orphean and Dionysian cults, but remained tribal and stateless; the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered most of present-day Bulgaria in the 6th century BC and retained control over the region until 479 BC. The invasion became a catalyst for Thracian unity, the bulk of their tribes united under king Teres to form the Odrysian kingdom in the 470s BC.
It was weakened and vassalized by Philip II of Macedon in 341 BC, attacked by Celts in the 3rd century, became a province of the Roman Empire in AD 45. By the end of the 1st century AD, Roman governance was established over the entire Balkan Peninsula and Christianity began spreading in the region around the 4th century; the Gothic Bible—the first Germanic language book—was created by Gothic bishop Ulfilas in what is today northern Bulgaria around 381. The region came under Byzantine control after the fall of Rome in 476; the Byzantines were engaged in prolonged warfare against Persia and could not defend their Balkan territories from barbarian incursions. This enabled the Slavs to enter the Balkan Peninsula as marauders through an area between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains known as Moesia; the interior of the peninsula became a country of the South Slavs, who lived under a democracy. The Slavs assimilated the Hellenized and Gothicized Thracians in the rural areas. Not l