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Austria: Coat of Arms

Österreich: Bundeswappen

Last modified: 2014-04-11 by rob raeside
Keywords: eagle (black) | shackle | chain | sickle and hammer | crown: mural (yellow) | bindenschild |
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by Željko Heimer by Peter Diem

On the left, the detail of the coat of arms, modified from the CorelDraw 7 Clipart CD - the image there follows very closely the image printed in source Bundesgesetz vom 28. März 1984 über das Wappen und andere Hoheitszeichen der Republik Österreich (Wappengesetz), Bundesgesetzblatt für die Republik Österreich, 72. Stück, 25 April 1984.
Željko Heimer, 20 February 2001

On the right, the Austrian arms as used in practice since 1945.  The triad of hammer, sickle and mural crown is distinctive.  The broken iron chains have a bluish metallic hue.
Peter Diem, 16 August 2002


See also:


Translation into English of the official blazoning of the Arms

In May 2004, Dr. Peter Diem has asked for help in translating the official blazoning (heraldic description) of the Austrian arms into English. Only the resulting blazonings suggested are shown here.

German text (from Art. 8a of the Austrian Constitution, inserted by BGBl. 350/1981):
Das Wappen der Republik Österreich (Bundeswappen) besteht aus einem freischwebenden, einköpfigen, schwarzen, golden gewaffneten und rot bezungten Adler, dessen Brust mit einem roten, von einem silbernen Querbalken durchzogenen Schild belegt ist. Der Adler trägt auf seinem Haupt eine goldene Mauerkrone mit drei sichtbaren Zinnen. Die beiden Fänge umschließt eine gesprengte Eisenkette. Er trägt im rechten Fang eine goldene Sichel mit einwärts gekehrter Schneide, im linken Fang einen goldenen Hammer.

Official translator:
The coat of arms of the Republic of Austria (the Federal coat of arms) consists of a freely hovering single-headed eagle Sable, armed Or and langued Gules, on whose breast a shield Gules, party per fess Argent, is placed. The eagle wears a mural crown Or with three visible merlons on its head. Both talons are ringed by a broken iron chain. In the dexter talon the eagle holds a sickle Or with the blade turned inward, in the sinister talon a hammer Or.

Peter Diem (7 May 2004):
The Arms of the Republic of Austria (Federal Arms) are: a free-standing (or unshielded), single-headed eagle Sable, armed Or and langued Gules, on its breast an escutcheon Gules, parted per fess Argent. The eagle bears on its head a mural crown Or with three visible merlons. The eagle's talons are chained with a broken iron chain. In the dexter talon the eagle holds a sickle Or with its blade turned inward, in the sinister talon a hammer Or.

Santiago Dotor (7 May 2004):
Gules a fess Argent, the escutcheon on an eagle displayed Sable armed Or langued Gules crowned with a mural triple-turreted crown Or talons chained with a broken iron chain proper the dexter and sinister talons holding a sickle and a hammer all Or.

Joe McMillan (7 May 2004):
Gules a fess Argent, the escutcheon on the breast of an eagle displayed Sable, armed Or, langued Gules, crowned with a mural crown with three visible merlons, holding in his dexter talon a sickle with the blade turned inward and in his sinister a hammer, all Gold, both talons ringed by broken iron chains proper.

Mike Oettle (7 May 2004):
Arms: Gules, a fess argent. Supporter: An eagle displayed sable, langued gules, murally crowned or, armed and legged or, holding in its dexter a claw a sickle, blade inwards, and in its sinister claw a hammer, both or. Both legs are shackled argent, but the chains are broken.

Željko Heimer (7 May 2004):
Gules a fess Argent, the escutcheon on the breast of an eagle displayed Sable, armed and beaked Or, langued Gules, crowned with a mural crown with three visible merlons, holding in his dexter talon a sickle with the blade turned inward and in his sinister a hammer, all Gold, both talons ringed by broken iron chains proper.

Željko Heimer (8 May 2004):
An eagle displayed Sable, armed and beaked Or, langued Gules, crowned with a mural crown with three visible merlons, holding in his dexter talon a sickle with the blade turned inward and in his sinister a hammer, all Gold, both talons ringed by broken iron chains proper, and an escutcheon Gules a fess Argent.

Peter Diem (30 May 2004):
The Arms of the Republic of Austria (Federal Arms) are: a one-headed stand-alone eagle displayed Sable, on its breast an escutcheon Gules a fess Argent, armed and beagled Or, langued Gules, wearing a mural crown with three visible merlons, in its dexter talon a sickle with the blade turned inward, in the sinister a hammer, all Or, the talons shackled with a broken iron chain.


Evolution of the Austrian Arms

The Austrian arms were adopted in the 13th Parliament session of May 8, 1919. The (official) drawing of the arms was by Ernst Krahl and showed the eagle in a more "closed" or rounded position, with all attribute details (sickle and hammer) contained within the circle of feathers. The Constitution of 1934 (published June 19, 1935, drawing by Karl E. Krahl) used an eagle similar to the current, without the crown, sickle, and hammer attributes; however, the eagle was double-headed, with each head being surrounded by a golden nimbus. The current drawing (Karl E. Krahl, 1945) was adopted on May 1, 1945 [note that this was *before* the capitulation of the occupying "Third Reich"!]. The symbol as such is very popular in Austria, although in the past (e.g., in the late 1960s) a few attempts were made been by right-wing parties to eliminate the "communist" elements of hammer and sickle as well as (or, in fact, mainly) the broken chains. None of these attempts, however, caused more than a discussion in the papers.
Helmut P. Einfalt, 6 July 2002

Source: [gaf96]

Whilst the eagle may have derived from the the Habsburgs, it wasn't a Habsburg eagle. The Habsburg eagle had two heads, an imperial crown, and a sword and orb in its talons.
Paul Adams
, 28 July 1995

The heraldic advisors to the first chancellor, Dr. Renner, in 1919, have indeed, for reasons of continuity, transformed the double headed monarchial eagle into a one-headed republican one with the common man's, not regal, symbols.
Peter Diem, 16 August 2002

The crown on the Austrian eagle's head is a civic crown - it looks like battlements, and stands for the burghers of Austria, as the hammer and sickle in its talons stand for artisans and farmers. These arms, which were adopted in 1919, also include a shield on the eagle's breast bearing the arms of the House of Babenberg. The broken shackles were added to the Austrian eagle's legs in 1945, and refer specifically to the liberation from the Nazis.
Paul Adams, 28 July 1995


 
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