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Three Lions

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Red Don
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Joined: 19 Oct 2008

Don't worry, not football:)  I was just wondering how long the Lion Rampant for Scotland and the three heraldic lions for England have been is use and why, as the lion is not native to Britain or indeed Europe.

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Re: Three Lions

The English coat of arms (three gold "lions passants" in field of red) has its origin in the coat of arms of Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, (1113-1151) six small gold "lions rampants" in field of blue. The exact origins of this choice are unclear.
His second son, Henry (1133-1189), became the first Plantagent king of England as Henry II and chose as his coat of arms two gold "lions passants" in field of unknown color. Again, the exact meaning of this is unknown, but it may hint to the fact that Henry was both a king and a duke (of Normandy).
The next king, Richard the Lionhearted (1157-1199), Henry's second son, originally used a very simple coat of arm consisting in a single lion rampant on field of unknown color. But later in life (the first depiction is in his second Great Seal) he changed it to three "lions passants" in field of red which has become THE coat of arm of the kings of England.  Again this may hint to the fact that Richard was both a king and a duke of two separate duchies (Normandy and Aquitaine).
The Scottish coat of Arm, a single red "lion rampant" in field of yellow surrounded by a red royal tressure, was first used by King William I of Scotland (1143-1214). Again, the meaning is today lost in history but it should be noted that William's English nickname ("The Lion") came from his personal coat of arm and not the other way around.  During his lifetime he was known as Garbh ("The Rough"), probably given the fact that he appeared to be the opposite of his frail, pious and gentle brother and predecessor, Malcom IV.


"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-

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Re: Three Lions

all that is very post-1066

The Wyvern
The dragon of wessex over the cross of st george.

This two legged dragon is the earliest known symbol of England and pre-dates the Cross of St George by well over 500 years. It appeared on the battle flags of the Kings of Wessex.. It is the flag under which King Alfred the Great halted the Viking advance into England at the Battle of Edington. It is the flag under which the mighty King Athelstan defeated the combined scotish, welsh, irish and danish armies at the battle of Brananburgh. and it is the flag under which king harold II, last true king of the english, finally brought the viking age to an end when he destroyed the norweigian army at the battle of stamford bridge in 1066.



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