Frisian Eagle

The Heraldry of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg
Ryan Shuflin
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Frisian Eagle

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 03 Mar 2013, 22:58

Is the Frisian Eagle a real thing?

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Chris Green
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Re: Frisian Eagle

Postby Chris Green » 04 Mar 2013, 06:11

If you are asking whether a particular sort of eagle is/was native to Frisia (Friesland - the coastal region running from northern Netherlands through NW Germany to the borders of Denmark), I think the answer is probably negative. The most likely eagle-like bird of the coastal areas bordering on the North Sea would be the Osprey (Pandion Haliaetus), but this has a white head and breast.

The heraldic Frisian eagle is usually considered to be the dimidiated (usually but not exclusively dexter) half of the double-headed eagle. The double-headed eagle (Reichsadler) was used by the Holy Roman Emperors and Frisia was part of the HRE. As the Reichsadler was used by several cities of the HRE I imagine that no eyebrows would have been raised by Frisia dimidiating the Reichsadler with the local CoA.

I wait with interest to see the canonical answer from our esteemed secretary Ton de Witte.
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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Frisian Eagle

Postby Arthur Radburn » 04 Mar 2013, 08:39

Chris Green wrote:The heraldic Frisian eagle is usually considered to be the dimidiated (usually but not exclusively dexter) half of the double-headed eagle. The double-headed eagle (Reichsadler) was used by the Holy Roman Emperors and Frisia was part of the HRE. As the Reichsadler was used by several cities of the HRE I imagine that no eyebrows would have been raised by Frisia dimidiating the Reichsadler with the local CoA.

Many Frisian personal coats of arms also bear the Frisian eagle. Reputedly it derives from the practice of HRE officials using the imperial eagle as a badge of office in addition to their personal arms. They later merged the badge with their own arms on a single shield.
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Arthur Radburn
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Chas Charles-Dunne
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Re: Frisian Eagle

Postby Chas Charles-Dunne » 04 Mar 2013, 09:39

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Ton de Witte
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Re: Frisian Eagle

Postby Ton de Witte » 04 Mar 2013, 09:53

Canonical I don't know but what I know about the subject is that the eagle is 99% of the times like the one depicted in the wiki article. There is one thing about it that changes from arms to arms and that is the colour of the beak and claws. There is a school that states that they should be sable and an other (smaller) one that gives them as gules.
The reason given that the half eagle has gotten into the arms of Frisian families is that because there was no local lord (count, duke) of Friesland and as such the inhabitants were direct subjects to the holy roman emperor and to express this they used half the eagle.
Nowadays it has such a heraldic status that it is simply blasoned as "de Friese adelaar" (the Frisian eagle) no colours, postion etc. are needed.
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Chris Green
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Re: Frisian Eagle

Postby Chris Green » 04 Mar 2013, 10:59

Thus I think we can be sure that the heraldic Frisian eagle was not intended to depict a real eagle from the coasts of Frisia.
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