Sunday, April 15, 2007

Concilio Et Labore

The Coat of Arms of the City of Manchester

Blazon: Gules, three bendlets enhanced Or; a chief argent, thereon on waves of the sea a ship under sail proper. On a wreath of colours, a terrestrial globe semée of bees volant, all proper. On the dexter side a heraldic antelope argent, attired, and chain reflexed over the back Or, and on the sinister side a lion guardant Or, murally crowned Gules; each charged on the shoulder with a rose of the last.

Motto: Concilio Et Labore

Like all heraldic coat of arms, almost every component of the Manchester Coat of Arms has a symbolic meaning. At the centre of the shield (in a shape known as '13th-century', which Manchester chose for reasons unknown), the three diagonal stripes represent the three rivers of Manchester: The Medlock, The Irwell and The Irk.

The ship at the top of the shield represents the trading relationships of Manchester, and above the shield the terrestrial globe covered in bees also has significance. The bee in heraldic terms represents efficient industry, and to this day the bee is often used as a shorthand emblem of Manchester and can be see on many street bollards around the city centre.

The heraldic antelope with its gold chain represents the engineering industries. The lion's crown is a castle, a reference to the ancient Roman fort of Castlefield: the first known civilised settlement of Manchester. The red roses they each wear on their shoulders are references to Lancashire, a symbol that is still used widely today to represent the county Manchester historically belongs to.

The motto can be loosely translated as 'Wisdom and Effort' although some prefer to read it as meaning something along the lines of 'Think about the consequences of your work before beginning it'.

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