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Germania (personification)

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Germania (personification)

Painting by Paulskirche, above where the Frankfurt Parliament assembled from 1848 to 1849.

Germania is the personification of the German nation or the Germans as a whole, most commonly associated with the Romantic Era and the Revolutions of 1848, though the figure was later used by Imperial Germany.

Description

Germania is usually shown as a robust woman with long, flowing, reddish-blonde hair and wearing armour. She often wields the "Reichsschwert" (imperial sword), and possesses a mediaeval-style shield that sometimes bears the image of a black eagle on a gold field. Additionally, she is sometimes shown as carrying or wearing the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

In post-1918 images, the banner she holds is the black-red-gold flag of modern Germany, but in depictions from 1871-1918 it is the black-white-red flag of the German Empire.

Meanings of some symbols

Attribute Significance
Broken chains Being freed
Breastplate with eagle Symbol of the German empire - strength
Crown of oak leaves Heroism
Sword Symbol of power
Hemp branch around the sword Willingness to make peace
Black, red and gold tricolour Flag of the liberal-nationalists in 1848; banned by dukes of the German states
Rays of the rising sun Beginning of a new era

Gallery

See also

References

  • Lionel Gossman. “Making of a Romantic Icon: The Religious Context of Friedrich Overbeck’s ‘Italia und Germania.’” American Philosophical Society, 2007. ISBN 0-87169-975-3.
  • Germania Briefmarken (German)
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