National and historical symbols of Hungary

In this section you can find the crests of almost 2400 settlements of Hungary with notes. Find the starting letter of the settlement in the list and click if you want to see it.

The Coat-of-Arms of theTown of Abaújszántó [¤]
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(The County of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén)

Shield erect, the base curved to a point. In the field azure the figure of King St Stephen or, holding the sceptre and the orb, flanked on both sides by a vine stock with leaves and bunches of grapes thereon, all argent. Across the top a tournament helmet affronty, proper, barred or and lined purpure; and for the crest on a wreath argent and azure a man's arm habited gules, holding a scimitar argent. Mantling: gules and or on both sides. Under the shield on a scroll the motto ABAÚJSZÁNTÓ is borne.

During the design of Abaújszántó's coat-of-arms the settlement's natural and historical features were both being considered according to the following:

In Northeast Hungary the valleys of the rivers Sajó and Bodrog, as well as the surrounding hills and mountains are extremely suitable for viticulture. This labour intensive branch of agriculture (in technical terminology vine monoculture) had a profound influence on the development of the region: a number of market towns were to emerge, the population of which, due to their profitable occupation, were soon to rise into the middle class. Since the vineyards counted as free estates, nobiliary ownership was also typical; yet the population remained homogeneous, with an increased need for culture and education. This is proved by the number of local youths attending universities and by the importance of religious life.

Abaújszántó was one of these rapidly growing market towns. A characteristic feature of the high level of its civic life was that the town council began to use a seal for the authorisation of documents relatively early. The first known seal was made in 1505. The seal itself has not been preserved; only the prints are known today.

The seal and its charge played a very important role in an age when literacy was scarce; their primary function was the identification of the settlement. Since coats-of-arms have the same role, it is obvious that the seal charge, if otherwise suitable, can be the only basis for their design.

It is to be noted here that market towns, with rare exceptions, did not have a coat-of-arms that had been bestowed on them. The seal charge in itself cannot be considered as a coat-of-arms, and a special procedure is needed in order that it is transformed into one, since heraldic blazonry and other depictions have their own strict rules to be observed by all designers.

The first step in this procedure is to determine what motives the seal displays. In the lack of an authentic contemporary description, this is not always a simple task. Moreover, most seals were made by painters and engravers unfamiliar with heraldic conventions.

According to Abaújszántó's monographer, the old seal of the market town bears a king's figure flanked by a vine stock on both sides. This description is undoubtedly clear, thus it is a serious mistake to allow for any other interpretation.

The concept outlined above can be proved by historical and heraldic evidence on the basis of our own research, for it was typical of market towns in Northeast Hungary that, only with a few exceptions, their seals used for identification readily displayed the figure of the patron saint of their church. Since this practice followed European heraldic traditions, it cannot be excluded either that this type of seal charge had been imported to the region by German and Walloon settlers who had been invited by Hungarian kings with the aim of introducing viticulture. (Such population can be traced down in history not only at Szántó but elsewhere too.) The patron saint of Abaújszántó's mediaeval church was St Stephen, the king who had converted the Magyars to Christianity, founded the medieval Hungarian state and joined it to Europe.

Abaújszántó's recently published monography as well as our own research also attest to the above facts. Apart from old documents kept in the Diocese of Eger, the same conclusion is to be found in the essential work by the distinguished eccleciastical historian Sándor Bálint.

All this evidence clearly supports the fact that Abaújszántó's old seal bears the figure of King St Stephen. Anyone who comes to other conclusions is completely ignorant of heraldry and unsuitable to accomplish any task related to this field.

From historical and administrative points of view, today's settlement cannot be identified with the old one, since in 1943 it was united with the formerly independent settlement of Cekeháza. A primary requirement of heraldic authenticity is that this fact should appear in the new settlement's coat-of-arms.

Cekeháza as an independent settlement also had its own seal in the 18th century. In the course of our research the seal print was successfully identified. Interestingly enough, the charge displays a full achievement including a shield, helmet, crest and mantling. The shield charge, also appearing for the crest, shows a man's arm holding a scimitar. This charge obviously refers to the settlement's nobiliary dwellers who gave their lives for their homeland during the centuries of fights against the Turks and the Hapsburgs. It is righteous as well as historically and heraldically justifiable to refer to this fact in today's coat-of-arms.

Abaújszántó's present coat-of-arms is a true symbol of the settlement; at the same time it is historically authentic and follows European heraldic traditions.