Back to all blogs

A Brief History of the Double-Headed Eagle Symbol

The double-headed eagle is an ancient symbol with a rich and varied history. It has been adopted by many cultures throughout the centuries, each giving it a unique significance and meaning. Some of these cultures include the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, Russia and Serbia. Let's take a look at how this symbol has been used throughout history. 

double-headed eagle symbol adoption in Russia by the Czars and Putin

The Byzantine Empire was one of the first to adopt the double-headed eagle as its symbol in 1021 AD. The eagle signified power and strength, representing both emperors and God. Later, in 1204 AD, it became an official emblem of the Latin Empire which had replaced the Byzantine rule. After that period, it was used by various other empires such as Bulgaria, Armenia and Georgia until it eventually spread to Central Europe where it became a prominent symbol of heraldry in countries like Germany and Austria. 

Austria adopting the double-headed eagle as their national symbol

In 1453 AD, after Constantinople fell to Ottoman forces, the double-headed eagle quickly spread to Eastern Europe where it was adopted by Russia and Serbia as their national symbols. For Russia in particular, this symbol represented unity between East and West since its two heads faced both directions simultaneously. In Serbia, its use dates back to 1165 when Stefan Nemanja proclaimed himself Grand Prince of Rascia with his own coat of arms featuring a golden double-headed eagle on a blue background. This design then eventually became part of modern day Serbia's flag in 2006. 

The double-headed eagle is an ancient symbol with a long history dating back over 1000 years ago when it was first adopted by the Byzantine Empire as their emblem in 1021 AD. Since then, this powerful image has been used across many different cultures across Europe for various purposes such as representing power or unity between East and West for example. Today it remains an iconic symbol that can be seen on flags all over Europe from Serbia to Russia to Germany.

Golden Double-Headed eagle symbol adoption for Czar Clothing