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Freising County (Germany)

Landkreis Freising, Bayern

Last modified: 2021-11-13 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: freising(county) | chief | lozengy(white-blue) | moor's head | rose(silver) |
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[Freising County banner (Germany)] 5:2 image by Stefan Schwoon, 10 Feb 2001
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Freising County

Freising County Banner

It is a white-red-yellow vertical tricolour. Since the colours are identical to the neighbouring Erding County, the flag must be used with the arms. Freising County had no flag before the 1972 municipal reform.
Source: county website
Stefan Schwoon, 10 Feb 2001 / 9 July 2001

Freising County Coat of Arms

Shield parted per pale; at dexter Or a sinister facing moor head Sable with coronet, collar earring and lips Gules; at sinister Gules a heraldic rose Argent; chief lozengy of Argent and Azure
The chief displays the arms of Bayern and is representing the former areas of Kranzberg and Moosburg in the county. The negro head is a false representation of St. Corbinianus, the patron saint of the diocese of Freising. St. Corbinianus was bishop of Munich in the 7th century. The picture is derived from pre-heraldic coins and it is unlikely that the bishop was a Negro. The Bishopric of Freising became part of Bayern in 1803. The negro head is also used by some other municipalities: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald and Ismaning. The rose is taken from the arms of the Counts of Moosburg, who used three roses. The city of Freising does not use the head, but a bear [incorrect, read below], which plays a role in the legend of St. Corbinianus.
Source: Stadler 1964, p.35
Santiago Dotor, 15 Nov 2001

It is worth noting that the animal on the arms of the city of Freising is not a boar as stated by Ralf Hartemink but rather a bear. Its connection to St. Corbinian, as I learned it while a child living in Freising in the 1960s, is that while the saint was on his way to set up his mission to the Bavarians, a wild bear killed the donkey carrying Corbinian's belongings. So he compelled the bear to carry the load instead, suitably impressing the people of Freising upon his arrival there. The arms therefore show a bear carrying a pack on its back, with the Bavarian lozenges in chief.
Joseph McMillan, 27 Jan 2004

The banner was approved on 14 August 1979. The arms were approved on 21 August 1955 and confirmed on 15 July 1976.
Dirk Schönberger, 15 Nov 2001

Discussion on the Moor Head

The moor head in the coat-of-arms represents St Corbinianus, the patron saint of the Diocese of Freising; the bishopric of Freising was integrated into Bavaria in 1803. The bishopric had wide-spread possessions in Bavaria as well as in modern-day Austria, Italy and Slovenia where the negro head has entered local heraldry.
Stefan Schwoon, 21 Sep 2001

Actually rather odd, since Corbinian was not in fact a negro. I do not remember the explanation of how he came to be depicted as one.
Joseph McMillan, 21 Sep 2001

There seem to be many legends and theories how the Blackmoor got to represent Freising, also shown on an exhibition made in Skofja Loka (Slovenia), that was one of the cities ruled by Freising Bishops, as some other cities in that position inherited the Blackmoor in their coats-of-arms. I am far from remembering it clearly, but I think that it is not Corbinianus represented but one of his servants.
Željko Heimer, 21 Sep 2001

Actually we do not know, we can only speculate; and there are many speculations on that topic, for sure! The first seal depicting a crowned head dates from 1286: it shows the whole person of the bishop of Freising, Emicho, and in a small escutcheon at the bottom of the seal, a crowned head. This is the first pictorial evidence of the bishopric coat-of-arms; however, there is no indication, that this crowned head shows a moor. Also later seals include a crowned head, but not a moor.
The first image definitely showing a moor is an illumination from 1316 in the so-called Prädialbuch. So sometime between 1286 and 1316 the crowned head became a crowned moor's head. Since then the crowned moor head is considered the arms of the Bishop of Freising and of his territory, the Hochstift. The Hochstift contained widespread territories in Bavaria (e.g. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Wörth), but also in Slovenia (Skofja Loka) and South Tyrol (Innichen). Many of the cities and municipalities formerly belonging to the Hochstift contain the moor head in their coat-of-arms. See for instance my pages about the Wörth arms and its historical sources.

The attempts for an interpretation include:
- One of the three Magi (one of them is shown as a moor);
- St. Mauritius (his name is derived from Latin maurus, moor);
- St. Zeno (frequently shown as a moor);
- St. Sigismund (mixed up with St. Mauritius);
- St. Corbinian, the first bishop of Freising, pictures of whom (e.g. on coins) might have become darker over the time and so ended up resembling a moor;
- several other explanations.

The more important thing in the early times of this coat-of-arms seems to be the crown, and not what the head signified. The crown should probably show, that the territory of the bishop of Freising was autonomous, only subject to the Emperor, and not to the Bavarian duke. Another explanation for the moor might be that bishop Emicho had thick lips and therefore perhaps was nicknamed moor. Some other possible explanations are proposed by Ziegler. In the end, we do not know, though.

1) Sources: Adolf Wilhelm Ziegler, Der Freisinger Mohr: Eine heimatgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum Freisinger Bischofswappen,
2) Franz X. Seitz & Val. Höfling, Munich 1976;
3) M.F. Schlamp, Der Mohrenkopf im Wapen der Bischöfe von Freising, Frigisinga 7, No. 9-19 (severalparts), 1930.
M. Schmöger, 7 Oct 2001

editorial note: the translation moor is referring to a warrior from Mauretania (German: Maure), but in the Freising county arms obviously a negro is meant, in German also called a Mohr)

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