Most Ukrainians content themselves with simple information that coat of arms of Ukraine is a golden trident over the blue background. There are those who have managed to discern the hidden word «freedom» in it. But in fact, everything is not so simple. Have you ever wondered what does the Ukrainian crest mean? Where did it come from? Have you ever heard about the Great national crest?
At present, there are over three dozen theories and hypotheses to explain the origination and semantics of this ancient sign. All concepts can be divided into three categories:
Objective concept. These hypotheses are characterized by representing specific attributes of living and non-living objects. According to this concept, the trident is identified with signs of state power (the top of the scepter or the crown), with emblems of church themes (three-armed candelabrum or labarum), with items of human activity (an anchor, bow and arrow, Norman helmet, an ax) or with the semiabstract images of birds (falcon Rarog – a bird from the sun, which like a sunbeam falls to the ground, Norman crow or dove of the Holy Spirit).
Graphic concept. Among the authors of graphic hypotheses two groups are distinguished: one sees a monogram in Trident, and the other – a geometric ornament. “Monogram” vision indicates that trident depicts words or expressions, for example “Volodymyr” (name of Kievan Rus’ ruler) or “volya” (freedom), twisted in the form of a pattern. Representatives of the «ornamental» direction associate this symbol with a pattern, built on the integration and rhythmical rotation of the geometric shapes symbolizing living and lifeless objects.
Philosophical concept. One of productive philosophical hypotheses is the idea of the Trinity of God-the-Father, God-Son and Holy Spirit. Some researchers also see it as a symbolic image of Fire, Water and Life, others – the unity of Wisdom, Knowledge and Love. According to pagan beliefs, the trident is a reflection of Triglav: on the right – Dazhbog (the male principle), on the left – Makosh (the female principle), in the middle – Perun (birth and death).
Despite the infinity of idea, no one in the scientific community has yet been able to pin down the ancientness of the symbol, and it is highly unlikely that someone will ever be able to do it.
Large coat of arms of Ukraine
The famously golden trident on a blue shield fringed with a gold – it is the small crest or coat of arms of Ukraine. There is also the Great Emblem of Ukraine, though it exists only in the form of a project, which has not yet been approved at the official level.
Its main part is a small crest, which occupies the central part of the composition. Zaporozhian Cossack with a musket “stands” to the right of the trident, and to the left – there is a golden lion rampant. The upper part of the emblem represents a crown, and its lower part – gold ears of wheat, a branch of the guelder rose and a ribbon in national blue-and-yellow colors.
Each of these elements has its own significance, related to the history of Ukrainian lands:
- The Golden Lion is a symbol of the Galicia-Volyn principality.
- A Cossack with a gun on his shoulder is the blazon of the Zaporozhye Army.
- The crown symbolizes the princely power of Kievan Rus.
- Guelder rose and ears of wheat are the national floral symbols of Ukraine; they signify the wealth and generosity of Ukrainian land.
Ukrainian trident is depicted on the emblem of Italian Army. Army units were allowed to add symbols of the territories, where the Medal for Bravery was received to their coat of arms. During the Second World War, the Italian Eighth Army was sent to the Soviet Union on the territory of Ukraine. Although it was practically destroyed there, some soldiers returned home. A new army was formed, and it was allowed to add the Ukrainian trident to their coat-of-arms.
The largest trident in Ukraine is located in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. It was laid out of white stone on the hillside in 1992. The year 1992 and the word «freedom» were inlaid under the Trident. The author of this work was a former soldier Anastasius Kozak, by this act he decided to honor his comrades-in-arms. The former soldier had to work hard: the coat of arms is big enough; it took two trucks of stone, which he carried by hand in two bags (and at that time he was already 70 years old). Around the trident, spruce and cedars are planted, and the foundation is equipped with ditches to prevent the displacing of stones. Today the local schoolchildren take care of this cultural property site.