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Despotovac (Municipality, Serbia)


Last modified: 2013-11-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: despotovac | eagle: double-headed (white) | ring (white) | stefan lazarevic |
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[Flag of Despotovac]

Flag of Despotovac - Image by Željko Heimer, 29 August 2004

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Flag of Despotovac

The flag of Despotovac is quartered red and blue and bears in the middle a white fimbriated red disk containing a white double-headed eagle. It was designed by the Serbian Heraldry Society.

Željko Heimer, 29 August 2004

The roundel on the flag of Despotovac is charged with the coat of arms of the medieval Serbian Kingdom, later Empire and eventually Despotate:
Gules an eagle double-headed displayed argent.
In circular form, it was used as an ornament on royal robes, buildings built by the rulers etc. and that is the reason why it appears on the flag in the same form. The white fimbriation was also used in the Middle Ages to make the roundel more distinctive if necessary, otherwise it is not the part of the original blazon. The field is quartered red and blue; together with white from the roundel, these make the colours of the modern flag of Serbia, but red and blue are also the colours of the oldest described flag of Serbia from XIIIth century, which also may have provided the inspiration for this flag's design.

Source: D. Samardžić. Vojne zastave Srba do 1918. Beograd: Vojni muzej, 1983

Tomislav Todorović, 25 March 2006

Coat of arms of Despotovac

[Coat of arms of Despotovac]

Coat of arms of Despotovac - Image by Dragomir Acović, 29 August 2004

The Despot after whom Despotovac was named is Stefan Lazarević (reigned 1389-1427). This is evident from the coat of arms of the municipality.

The dexter supporter is obviously the Despot himself: a crowned man in Byzantine-style royal robe, with a golden aureole around the head - despot Stefan is canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church and celebrated on 1st August (19th July Old Style). He is also holding the model of a church building in his dexter hand - the church of the Manasija monastery, situated off Despotovac, which he founded and where he is buried.

The shield is charged on the chief with the coat of arms attributed to Despot Stefan by most of the so-called "Illyrian armorials", a series of apocryphal armorials created from XVth to XIXth centuries. This coat of arms is blazoned as:
Argent on a pale between two fleurs-de-lis gules a cross of the field.
Many of the "Illyrian" blazons are completely fictional, but the above one is only partly such, as some of Despot Stefan's seals contain a similar coat of arms, which is charged with a bend between two fleurs-de-lis. In the Armorial of Fojnica, one of the "Illyrian armorials", Despot Stefan's coat of arms is blazoned as:
Argent two pallets between two fleurs-de-lis gules,
which is a bit more similar to the coat of arms on the seals. The tinctures of the authentic medieval Serbian coats of arms are nowadays reconstructed after the "Illyrian" blazons, so the real coat of arms of Despot Stefan may have been:
Argent a bend between two fleurs-de-lis gules.
This has much similarity with the coat of arms of medieval Kingdom of Bosnia (also used by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1996) and, just like that one, it was possibly derived from the coat of arms of the Angevin Kings of Hungary, to denote the Despot as the vassal of King Zsigmond (Sigismund) of Hungary, who probably granted him the coat of arms in 1402 or 1403.

Before Despot Stefan was granted the above coat of arms, he had used the old coat of arms of medieval Serbia:
Gules an eagle double-headed displayed argent.
In circular form, this was put in the centre of the flag of Despotovac. Despot Stefan has inherited this coat of arms from his father, prince Lazar Hrebeljanović (reigned 1372-1389) and it seems that he kept using it even after 1403, together with the one granted by the king of Hungary and perhaps even more than that one. The tinctures of the later Despot's coat of arms may have been derived either from those of the earlier one or from those of the coat of arms of Hungary (or both). Despot Djuradj Branković (reigned 1427-1456), Despot Stefan's nephew and successor, has also used these coats of arms but eventually replaced them with some different blazons and his successors seem not to have been using them at all. By the time when the first of the "Illyrian armorials" were created, correct blazons were largely forgotten; that is why these armorials contain only different incorrect versions of the blazon.

The Despot Stefan's coat of arms from the "Illyrian armorials" was attributed to his father as well, as the coat of arms of the "Hrebeljanović family". It can be seen, together with their pre-1403 coat of arms, on the Srpska Politika website.

Source: D. Spasić, A. Dušan Palavestra and D. Mrdjenović. Rodoslovne tablice i grbovi srpskih dinastija i vlastele. Beograd: Bata, 1992.

Tomislav Todorović, 25 March 2006