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Freising County (Oberbayern District, Bavaria, Germany)

Landkreis Freising

Last modified: 2004-12-29 by
Keywords: landkreis freising | freising county | coat of arms (bavaria) | coat of arms (chief: lozengy) | coat of arms: per pale (moor's head) | coat of arms: per pale (rose) |
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[Freising County (Oberbayern District, Bavaria, Germany)] 5:2
by Stefan Schwoon
Flag adopted 14th August 1979, coat-of-arms adopted 21st August 1955

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White-red-yellow, vertically hanging variety, also described on the county website. Since the colours are identical to the neighbouring Erding County, the flag must be used with the arms. Arms from Stadler 1964-1971.

Stefan Schwoon, 10 February 2001

Freising county had no flag before the 1972 municipal reform.

Stefan Schwoon, 9 July 2001

Adopted 14.08.1979, according to Dirk Schönberger's Administrative Divisions of the World website. From Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website:

The arms were granted on August 21, 1955 and confirmed on July 15, 1976.

Literature: Stadler 1964-1971.

Santiago Dotor, 15 November 2001

It is worth noting that the animal on the arms of the city of Freising is not a boar as stated on the International Civic Arms website, but rather a bear. Its connection to St. Corbinian, as I learned it while a child living in Freising in the 1960s, is that while the saint was on his way to set up his mission to the Bavarians, a wild bear killed the donkey carrying Corbinian's belongings. So he compelled the bear to carry the load instead, suitably impressing the people of Freising upon his arrival there. The arms therefore show a bear carrying a pack on its back, with the Bavarian lozenges in chief.

Joseph McMillan, 27 January 2004

Discussion on the Moor's Head

The moor's head in the coat-of-arms represents St Corbinianus, the patron saint of the Diocese of Freising; the bishopric of Freising was integrated into Bavaria in 1803. The bishopric had wide-spread possessions in Bavaria as well as in modern-day Austria, Italy and Slovenia where the moor's head has entered local heraldry; by chance I found this website (in Slovenian and German) which traces some of its occurrences.

Stefan Schwoon, 21 September 2001

Actually rather odd, since Corbinian was not in fact a Moor. I do not remember the explanation of how he came to be depicted as one.

Joseph McMillan, 21 September 2001

There seem to be many legends and theories how the Blackmoor got to represent Freising, and I believe that many are mentioned on the website pointed out by Stefan Schwoon, which deals with an exhibition made in Skofja Loka (Slovenia) that was one of the cities ruled by Freising bishops, as some other cities in that position inherited the Blackmoor in their coats-of-arms. I am far from remembering it clearly, but I think that it is not Corbinianus represented but one of his servants.

Željko Heimer, 21 September 2001

Actually we do not know, we can only speculate; and there are many speculations on that topic, for sure! The first seal depicting a crowned head dates from 1286: it shows the whole person of the bishop of Freising, Emicho, and in a small escutcheon at the bottom of the seal, a crowned head. This is the first pictorial evidence of the bishopric coat-of-arms; however, there is no indication, that this crowned head shows a moor. Also later seals include a crowned head, but not a moor.

The first image definitely showing a moor is an illumination from 1316 in the so-called Prädialbuch. So sometime between 1286 and 1316 the crowned head became a crowned moor's head. Since then the crowned moor's head is considered the arms of the bishop of Freising and of his territory, the Hochstift. The Hochstift contained widespread territories in Bavaria (e.g. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Wörth), but also in Slovenia (Skofja Loka) and South Tyrol (Innichen). Many of the cities and municipalities formerly belonging to the Hochstift contain the moor's head in their coat-of-arms. See for instance my pages about the Wörth arms and its historical sources.

The attempts for an interpretation include:

  1. One of the three Magi (one of them is shown as a moor);
  2. St. Mauritius (his name is derived from Latin maurus, moor);
  3. St. Zeno (frequently shown as a moor);
  4. St. Sigismund (mixed up with St. Mauritius);
  5. St. Corbinian, the first bishop of Freising, pictures of whom (e.g. on coins) might have become darker over the time and so ended up resembling a moor;
  6. several other explanations.
The more important thing in the early times of this coat-of-arms seems to be the crown, and not what the head signified. The crown should probably show, that the territory of the bishop of Freising was autonomous, only subject to the Emperor, and not to the Bavarian duke.

Another explanation for the moor might be that bishop Emicho had thick lips and therefore perhaps was nicknamed moor. Some other possible explanations are proposed by Ziegler. In the end, we do not know, though.


Marcus Schmöger, 7 October 2001