Posted by: nancycurteman | August 17, 2015

Fleur de Lis: Legend and History

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thThe Fleur de Lis is one of the most recognized symbols across the world. Early on France embraced the symbol as its own. Over the years the Fleur de Lis has adorned French architecture, paintings, royal crowns and even flags. The history of this beautiful symbol has its roots shrouded in obscure facts and legends.

The Fleur de Lis has been used as an ornament or an emblem by almost all civilisations of the old and new worlds. The oldest examples of Fleur-de-Lis have been found on Assyrian bas-reliefs from the 3rd millenium BC. It appeared on coins and seals from the 10th c.

One legend states that the French or Franks, before entering Gaul itself, lived for a long time around the river Leie in Flanders. Yellow irises grew in abundance along this river and still do. Some historians theorize that the modern Fleur de Lis is patterned after these iris and the name, Lis, was adapted from the river’s name, Leie.

Another legend tells that an angel presented Clovis, the fifth century Merovingian king of the Franks, with a golden lily as a symbol of his purification upon his conversion to Christianity and that the golden lilies on an azure background were miraculously substituted for the crescents on Clovis’ shield.

In the twelfth century, history records that King Louis VII became the first French King to use the Fleur-de-Lis on his shield.th-1

France adopted the Fleur de Lis for its coat of arms when all other sovereigns of Europe chose animals for their symbol.

Joan of Arc carried a Fleur de Lis on her white banner when she led French troops to victory over the English in support of Charles VII, in his quest for the French throne.

Traditionally, the Fleur de Lis has been used to represent French Royalty, and it is said to signify perfection, light, and life. The Roman Catholic Church considered the lily as the special emblem of the Virgin Mary. Due to its three petals, the Fleur de Lis has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity.

Legend or fact, the Fleur de Lis is a treasured symbol of France.

More French History:

The Arénes de Lutèce: A Roman Amphitheatre in the Middle of Paris
The Mysterious Link Between Paris and an Ancient Fishing Village
Where is Sare?

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