Matkovski: Land Arms

Macedonian arms appear for the first time in the “Illyrian Rolls of Arms” which came into being at the end of the XVIth century. The ”Illyric Rolls of Arms” is a book with collections of arms. These collections represent the main source of Balkan Heraldry.

The appearance of a Macedonian Arms is connected with Petar Ohmucevic from  the Republic of Dubrovnik,  Don Pedro was a Rich salior that offered his services to Spain. In 1588, he became the commander-in-chief of a Spanish squadron of 12 large ships. Finally, he attained the rank of an admiral. Don Pedro Ohmucevic’ family was not recognized as members of the nobility. Although an Admiral, he could not become a member of the most exclusive ranks of the nobility the Kalatrave, Alcantare, and St. Jacob of Compostelle. Petar Ohmucevic wanted to prove to that he himself was of noble origin. He tried hard to prove his noble origin,

Due to lack of such proof, he began to use various falsifications; and from the year 1580 on he began to work up fictitious genealogies and heraldies, trying to prove that he was a descendant from Hrelja Ohmucevic who in 1349  was given title of Ban, “Duca du Kastoria” fromTzar Dusan  ,

Petar Ohmucevic  began to collect and to create arms for his ancestors and relatives and with them, as was the custom at the time, he “proved” his nobility, Thus began The Illyric Heraldics. He put the invented and the collected arms together in a volume and announced that had been compiled as early as 1340 and had been found among the Holy books of St. Athos, in Macedonia.

So the first Illyric Rolls of arms was compiled between 1584 to 1594 to meet the needs of Admiral Petar Ohmucevic of the Republic of Dubrovnik. The arms was worked up using as a model of the then existing Rols of arms in Europe.

This  Roll of Arms, the prototype of all the others, is lost, or remains undiscovered in some library or archive of Italy or Spain. The oldest preserved Roll of Arms is the so called the »Korenik — Neorik« from the year of 1595, which is being kept at the University library of Zagreb under the catalogue number — P. 4084.

At first there were eleven domestic arms in the roll of arms of Korenic — Neoric, i.e. “Emblems of the Countries and the Holy Tribes,” and then 140 family arms of various dukes, district chiefs, princes, knights, lords and others. Among the domestic arms there is the one of Macedonia on page VI. Under the arms one can read the name of “Macedonia” and over it, “Tsimeri of the Macedonian Country” i.e. “The Arms of the Land of Macedonia. “ The emblem of the arms is a yellow, erect lion on a red field. On the head of the lion is a small crown. (Gules a Lion Rampant Or crowned Or) Above the shield there is a big royal crown.

In this Roll of arms, the Macedonian arms are met twice, that is, in the  “General South Slavic Arms” of the Union the great Czar Dusan took the title of “Imperator Illyrican” (Emperor of Illyria) when he ruled over the nine great provinces of Macedonia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, the Sea-side territories, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Raska with 140 vassals whose arms were included in the Roll of Arms.

The general arms were formed from the different domestic arms and the emblems of the separate arms were placed on, a general shield. On that general shied the arms of Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and others were placed.

Macedonian Arms are still found in many heraldic sources which are kept in archives and libraries abroad. We are going to mention only some of these as follows: In the Rolls of Arms of Palmic from- the end of the XVIth century; kept in the archives of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences; Mavro Orbini’s book — “Il regne de gli Slavi” from the year of 1601; In Althan’s Rolls of Arms, from the year 1614, kept at the University Library in Bologna; In the Roll of Arms from the year 1620, kept at the Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade; in Marko Skoroevic’s Rolls of Arms, from the year of 1636, -in Vienna; in Foynic’s Rolls of Arms from the Year of 1675; in the works of “Charles du Fresne sieur du Cagne,” from year of 1680; in Olovo’s Roll of Arms — from the year of 1689 in Bologna; in Berlin’s Roll of Arms from the end of XVIIth century; in the Stematography of Pavle Riter Vitezovic, from the year of 1701; in the Roll of arms of “Codex Kevesic” from the year of 1740; in Zefarovic’s Stematography from the year of 1741;on the seals and arms of the Patriarchate of the Metropolis in Karlovac, from the year of 1741, in Ivo Saraka’s Rolls of Arms from the year of 1746; in Ljudevit Gaj’s bequest from the year of 1842; in the Rila Mo­nastery from the year of 1844, in some copies of Pajsiev’s history from the middle of the XIXth century; on the Heraldic Table of Milan Simic from the year of 1851; on the Revolutionary Flag (emblem) of the Razlovec’s Rebellion; on the Revolutionary flags (emblems of the Illinden’s Uprising,1903 etc.)

Taken from the summary in English
of the book “Coats of Arms of Macedonia” By Aleksandar Matkovski published in Skopje 1990. The integral text of the English summary could be obatained here