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Medieval Albania

Modern Albania

Armed Forces





Present Albania comprises the largest part of the Roman provinces of Epirus Nova and -Vetus and the late Byzantine theme Dyrrhachion, so called after the city of the same name, present Dürres. Later between the river Drin and lake Ohrid there existed the autonomous principality of Albanon within the Byzantine Empire (from 1190 until 1204) and the Despotate of Epirus (from ca. 1205 until  1255).  

The region was alotted to Venice after the fourth crusade in 1204 but they could only impose their rule in and around Corfu and Durazzo. Durazzo was captured in 1215 by Theodore Angelus, the despot of Epirus. The Angeli succeeded in keeping the city together with Valona, Corfu, Kanina and Berat after the conquest of the countryside by the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II. In 1257 Durazzo was given as a dowry to Helena Angelos when she married Manfred Hohenstaufen, son of Emperor Frederick II.

After the fall of the Hohenstaufen Durazzo came to the House of Anjou and which kept it for the next hundred years. 

Ottoman supremacy in the west Balkan region began in 1385 with the Battle of Savra. On the conquered part of Albania, stretching between Mat River in the north and Çameria in the south, the Ottomans established the Sançak of Albania (also known as Arvanid Sançak) of which Gjirokastra became the capital in 1419.

By the 15th century, the Ottomans ruled most of the Balkan Peninsula. Their advance in Albania was interrupted in the 15th century, when George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, who had served as an  Ottoman military officer, renounced Ottoman service, allied with some Albanian chiefs forming the League of Lezhë and fought off successfully Turkish rule from 1443 until his death in 1468.

The Ottomans returned in 1479. As the centuries passed, however, their rulers lost the capacity to command the loyalty of local pashas, which threatened stability in the region. In the 19th century they struggled to shore up central authority, introducing reforms aimed at harnessing unruly pashas and checking the spread of nationalist ideas. Albania would be a part of the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century.




North-Epirus/ Epirus Nova


Princes of Albania




Gjin Progoni

Dhimitër Progoni

Grigor Kamona








The rulers of  the principality of Albanon bearing the title of archon (prince), bore an eagle which was a badge of rank in the Roman and Byzantine tradition. Such an eagle was carved  in the Catholic Church of St Mary in Nderfandina, the centre of the principality.


Carving of an eagle, Nderfandina [1]

From the principality of Albanon 12th-13th cent.


The arms of the rulers of the city of Durazzo/Dürres, also bearing the royal title of Albanon are well known. Venice had its lion in 1204, in that time still the badge of rank of a duke, called doge in Venetian.

It is possible that the Angeli bore a golden eagle on a red field, matching the rank of despot,  but this is only proved at the end of the 13th century.

We are better documented about the arms of Manfred Hohenstaufen and of the arms of the Anjou rulers.


Kings of Albania, Dukes of  Durazzo.

Manfred Hohenstaufen




Chronica Majora B.L. Ms Roy. 14.C.VII fol. 165: Nobles pay Homage to Manfred, 1254 (5:460) - bottom left margin: erect shield (or, a double eagle sable and over all a fess argent): Scutum principis Memfredus - Mortuo Conrado filio Fretherici imperatoris suscitur Memfredus filius eiusdem Fretherici naturalis in ecclesiæ Romanæ persecutionem. [2]


Æ For the arms of Manfred see  Sicily


Kings of Albania


Charles I Anjou



Arms: Azure strewn with fleurs de lis Or, a label of three Gules


Æ For the Arms of Charles I and his son Charles II see  Sicily-Naples


Charles II Anjou



Arms:  Per pale, the first Argent, a cross potent between five square crosslets Or; the second Azure, strewn witt fleurs de lis Or.


Charles II surrendered his rights to Albania to his son Philip II in 1294. Philip II reigned as "Lord of the Kingdom of Albania".


Lords of the Kingdom of Albania


Philip of Anjou-Tarente



Teca Aurea of Thamar Angelos Komnenos

French, end of 13th cent.

Museo Archeologico Nazionale Cividale del Friuli.


In 1294 Charles II enfeoffed his son Philip of Tarente with Durazzo. Philip married the same year with Thamar Komnenos, the daughter of Nikephoros, despot of Epirus. On this occasion Thamar gave her husband a fibula in the shape of an aspen leaf decorated lozengy of her own arms and the arms of her husband viz. Gules a two-headed eagle Or and Azure, strewn with fleurs de lis Or, a bend Argent and a  lambel of three Gules. Philip was succeeded after his death by his brother John of Gravina. He bore, being the youngest son of Charles II, the arms of Anjou charged with a white saltire





Dukes of Durazzo


John of Anjou-Gravina (son of Charles II of Naples)

Prince of Morea 1318-1333

Duke of Durazzo and Lord of the Kingdom of Albania 1333-† 1335

1 ∞ 1318 Mathilda d’Avesnes princess of Morea † in prison 1331

2 ∞ 1321 Agnes de Perigord



A sepulchre for his daughter Margaret, is in  the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Naples. It was commisioned in 1412 by king Ladislas, son of Margaret, and made by the sculptor Baboccio da Piperno.

It shows the arms of Anjou-Gravina: Azure, semée with fleurs-de-lys Or, a lambel of three Gules and a bordure compony Argent and Gules.

On the shield is a crown of five fleurs-de-lys and four pearls.


Charles of Durazzo



Son of John,


Likely the arms with the saltire were also borne by Charles, the eldest son of John.





Louis of Taranto

in right of his wife 1365-†1362


On a relief in the Church of St.John Vladimir near Elbasan (ca. 40 km S.E. of Tirana) the arms of Louis of Taranto, 2nd husband of Queen Joanna of Naples are carved. They are:

Arms: Parted per pale of  Constantinople-Courtenay and Anjou Tarente.

On the shield is a helmet with a lion sejant crowned and plumed with ostrich feathers. [3]


Because the tablet is inscribed  “ετουτα τα σιμαδηα αυθεντου μεγα... ... Καρλα θοπηα”, i.e. “These signs of a great lord ... Carla Thopea”  it is usually supposed that the arms are his. The arms however are of his suzerein Louis Anjou of Taranto when married with Joanna (1346-’62).


Charles III




The brother of Louis who succeeded him however bore: France with a bordure compony Argent and Gules. Gelre documents it on his fol 67v with the legend “htoge va Durays”.


Princes of Albania



Charles Topia

 1st reign 1368-1382


No contemporary picture available


Karl (Charles) Thopia (1358-1388) son of Andrea I Thopia and bastard of king Robert of Sicily, was one of the powerful feudal princes and warlords, who ruled Albania from the middle of the 14th century until the Ottoman conquest. To the Roman Curia, Karl maintained usually good relations, therefore that could do. In 1376 a vacant place became an ore diocese in Durrës, again with a Latin Bishop to be occupied. Karl married Serbian Voisava Balšić, ca 1370. The pair had four children. He was buried in the monastry of St.John which he had build in Elbasan.


Draska Balša


Seal of Drasko Balša, 24.04.1385


Seal of red wax on paper charter. Shield tilted to the right, with wolf’s-head. On the shield a closed helmet. Mottled background. The legend is illegible. You can see the letters маи  ка  д  [4]


A coin of Balša III (†1421) shows a crest of a wolf’s-head.


Ottoman Rule



Ottoman Albania was a part of the eyâlet Rumeli and divided into the sançaks of Delvina, Avlonya, Elbasan and Ohri. In the 16th century the flag of the Beyler-beyi of Rumeli was a  red split flag with a yellow crescent between four roundels. [5]


Charles Topia

2nd reign 1385-1388


George Topia



George (Gjergj) Thopia (died 1392) was Lord of Dyrrhachium from 1387 to 1392. He was the son of Karlo Thopia and Vojisava Balšić. George married Teodora Branković of the Serbian Branković family.

George surrendered Dyrrhachium to the Republic of Venice in 1392. Later that year, he died without issue. His sister, Elena, gained most of his holdings. A smaller portion was left to his younger sister, Vojisava.


Venetian Albania



The territory around Durazzo and Scutari (alias Epirus Nova) which remained Venetian after the Ottoman conquests of the 14th century was called Albania (after the former principality of Albanon). After the french conquest of Venice it became a Habsburg possession until 1918.  Its arms were:

Arms: Gules, a three-towered castle Argent, opened Sable on a base Vert.


The legend in serbian reads in latin translation:


Albæ Arces veteri tribuerunt nomina Regno:

Castriotes Regni post renovarat opes,

Exiguo sed Rex & Regnum perstitit ævo:

Albus nempe subit cuncta pericla color

White towers gave the name to the old kingdom

of Castriota after regaining its wealth,

but the king and kingdom lasted a little time

The white color resists to all dangers  [6]


These arms were in the 18th century larger arms of the Republic of Venice.


The counterpart of these arms are the arms of Epirus (Epirus Vetus) in the same armorial, representing:  Argent, a dog saliant Gules.


Princes in Albania



Prince of Gjirokastër (1386–1416)

Gjon Zenebishi (1386–1416)


Princes of Dukagjini (1387–1444)

Pal I Dukagjini and Leka I Dukagjini (1387–1393)

Tanush Dukagjini (1393–1438)

Pal II Dukagjini (1438–1444)


Princes of Kastrioti (1389–1444)

Gjon Kastrioti (1389–1417)

Gjergj Kastrioti (1443–1444)


Princes of Albania


Andrea Topia



George Kastriota - Skanderbeg




George Kastriota (Skanderbeg or Iskender Bey = Prince Alexander) was born in 1405 to the noble Kastrioti family, in Sinë a village in Dibra. Sultan Murad II took him hostage in 1423 and he fought for the Ottoman Empire during the next twenty years. He was appointed governor of the Sançak of Dibra by the Ottomans in 1440. In 1443, he deserted during the Battle of Niš and became the ruler of Krujë (the former capital of the principality of Alabanon). In 1444, he organized local leaders into the League of Lezhë, a federation aimed at uniting their forces against the Ottomans. Skanderbeg’s first victory at the Battle of Torvioll in the same year marked the beginning of more than 20 years of war. Skanderbeg’s forces achieved more than 20 victories in the field and withstood three sieges of his capital, Krujë.

In 1451 he recognized de jure the suzerainty of the Kingdom of Naples by the Treaty of Gaeta, to ensure a protective alliance, although he remained an independent ruler de facto. In 1460–1461, he participated in Italy’s civil wars in support of Ferdinand I of Naples. In 1463, he became the chief commander of the crusading forces of Pope Pius II, but the Pope died while the armies were still gathering. Left alone to fight the Ottomans, Skanderbeg did so until he died in January 1468.

On the seal of George Castriotis was a two-headed eagle and a six pointed star. By his biographer Marius Barletius this eagle was described in 1537 as being black on a red field. [7] On this  remark the colors of the present albanian eagle were based. 


Eagle of George Kastriota by Ducange, 1680


The arms of the Kastriota family however were:

Arms: Or, a two-headed eagle Sable crowned Or, and a pile reversed Azure, a six-pointed star Or, in chief.

They are documented by an Illyrian armorial and several rolls of arms now in Italy. [8]


Kastriota Arms, 1595

From the Korenić-Neorić Armorial, n° 46.  [9]


Kastriota arms, 1605 [10]

Kastriota arms, 1715 [11]


Lekë Dukagjini 




As documented by the Korenić-Neorić Armorial (1595),  n° 27.


The arms of Modern Albania


The arms of Albania, their backgrounds and developments are exhaustively treated by Ottfried Neubecker in his article “Die Geschichte des Wappens von Albanien” in: Archivum Heraldicum, 1976, pp. 2-7 and 1977, pp. 2-8.

Neubecker starts with a treaty about the arms of George Kastriota.

I give a translation of this article below:


Part I

When in 1912 the question became ugent what should be done with the remaining part of the Adriatic coast of the Ottoman Empire, the since the 15th century suppressed idea of an Albanian state revived. At the same time the question of how its Emblem of State should look like rose up. Going back to the great era of Skanderbeg seemed self evident. This posed the problem to find the right emblem and colors.

The answer was found in the biography of Skanderbeg by M. Barletius who wrote: “nam rubea vexilla nigris et bicipitus distincta aquilis (id gentis insigne erat) gerebat Scanderbegus” (as Scanderbeg bore a red banner with a black two-headed eagle). [12] The remark that this should have been the arms of the Kastriota family has been disputed by Ludwig von Thallóscy, the editor of the Acta Albaniæ, in his Promemoria of the end of December 1913 about the new arms of the Principality of Albania. [13]  Ivan Kastriota, the father of Skanderbeg would not have had the right to bear the Byzantine two-headed eagle, which is demonstrated by fact that he only sealed with a signet ring. [14]

On the seal of Ivan Kastriota was a head directed to the left within a circle; it is as a wafer print on a passport issued by Ivan Kastriota and his sons to the merchants travelling from Dubrovnik (Ragusa) through his territory Schufadaja (near Alessio) to Prizren. George Kastriota now and then sealed with a signet ring. On it was a naked Leda and the Swan. [15] The prints known date from 1459, that is to say nine years after the oldest known occurence of the seal with a two-headed eagle. This means that the use of a signet ring does not say anything about the posessor having another seal, probably with the Byzantine two-headed eagle.

The seal with the two-headed eagle of Skanderbeg occurs, according to Thallóczy, two times: once from a print in the Haus- Hof- und Staatsarchiv. [16] The other should have been in the k.k. Hofbibliothek but could not be found. [17]

Signet of Georg Kastriota named Scanderbeg, 7 June 1450


Figure: Two-headed eagle and six-pointed star in chief. L.: GEORGIVS CASTRIO.... SCENDARBICO


The stamp of this seal has disappeared. Hundred fifty years ago however a stamp has occurred  which was acquired by the famous Orient traveller Carsten Nieubuhr (1733-1815) in Turkey. It should have come to Denmark the fatherland of Niebuhr. Freiherr Bernhard von Koehne reports that it is now in the Royal Museum of Art in Kopenhagen. [18]   The seal is oval and shows the two-headed eagle below a floral crown, and has an orb with three burning candles on his breast. The fox-like animal creeping below the tail of the eagle could not even be determined by Freiherr von Koehne, all the same an expert in east-european heraldry. We think a link with the marten of the arms of Slavonia, going back to the image on the kuna (= marten) on coins from the Balkans. [19] The legend reads (completed by Von Koehne): AΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ . ΕΛΕω . Θ(εο)ΥΟΑΥΤ(οχρατωρ).  ΡωΜ(εων) . ΟΜΕΓ(ας) . ΑΥΘ(οχρατωρ) . ΤΟΥΡ(χων) . ΑΛΒ(ανις) . ΣΕΡΒΙ(ας) . ΒΟΥΛΓΑΡΙ(αα) . ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ (Alexander by Gods Grace and his own right ruler of the Romans, Grand ruler by his own right of the Turks, King of Albania, Serbia and Bulgaria.)


Stamp of the seal of Scanderbeg brought to surface about 1800 in Turkey





Principality of Albania / Kryetarët e Shqipërisë



The question of the arms of state of Albania came into being by a private letter of the Ekrem Bey Vlora dated Berlin W 9 Grand Hôtel Bellevue und Tiergartenhôtel, 1 December 1913 adressed to Dr.L.v. Thallóczy. Thalóczy was questioned as the ‘great expert in this matter’. The questions of Ekrem Bey Vlora do not assume a great knowledge of Albanese heraldic problems but give already indications of later decisions which can only be explained from his remarks.

When he refers to Barletius he unfoundedly says that the two-headed eagle of Skanderbeg had two white heads. He mentions an eagle as an emblem of  Pyrrhus (from Epirus) and that the Epirotic coins represented a single-headed eagle with thunderbolts in its claws.

In the by this letter and by a request of the presidium of Ismael Bey Kemals (provisional) governement in Valona caused Promemoria of Dr. L. v. Thallóczy about the new arms of the principality of Albania, the author doesn’t not even refer to the second point of the letter of Ekrem Bey Vlora. The last namely asks about a motto of one of the ancient ruling houses (Skanderbeg, Balša, Topia, Arianitu, Musakia, Dukaghni). That he meant a motto can be concluded from the question posed if such a motto probably existed in Albanese language.

Nor about the thunderbolts mentioned Thallóczy says a thing but on the contrary he answers the question “What shall we use of  it?” with the to the point notice “that today a red-and-black flag with an uncrowned eagle is used for arms”. [20]  

The conventional design of the arms by the well-known heraldic painter Ernst Krahl, added by the author of the promemoria to this note,  represents a black two-headed eagle with a silver star between its heads on a red field. Because Thallóczy had noted that the star on the seal of Skanderbeg was six-pointed he stayed at that and only thought its colour should not be comprised in the flag, which, if white-black and red would represent ‘a variant of the German colours’. For a crown on the shield he proposed a crown of a duke corresponding with the rank of a prince, but let it be painted as a crown with five hoops and a purple cap as used by many sovereign Dukes.


First design for a coat of arms of the Principality of Albania, December 1913

By Ernst Krahl


Another design is of the personal arms of the Prince. This was made on the probably oral request of Ekrem Bey Vlora. On it the shield is below a crowned canopy. The two-headed eagle would show the arms of the House of Wied: bendy sinister of 17 pieces Or and Gules, a peacock seen in profile.


First design for a coat of arms for the Prince of Albania, December 1913

By Ernst Krahl


The designs were presented to Prince William of Wied. His Lord Chamberlain Freiherr von Marchus wrote in Neuwied on 3 January 1914 that the future prince agreed. [21]  He added: ‘His Illustrious agrees with the designs but would like to express his wishes, in sofar not being contrary to the heraldic principles, that in the arms of the Prince of Albania the peacock on the escutcheon will be represented not seen in profile but seen from before as a  ‘peacock in his pride’, also in the escutcheon there have to be not five but only four red bends sinister’. [22]

Head of the Section von Thallóczy was informed about this by his minister on 21 January 1914 and requested to send copies of the improved designs to Valona (to the Albanese government) Tirana (to Essad bey) and Skutari (to the Commander of the international occupation). These three copies were handed over to the Austrian Consul General Petrovic in Valona who send a coded telegram from Durazzo on 11 February reading: “My Albanese colleague Mufid Bey, to whom I showed the arms, declared that the cross on the crown would hurt the Muslims, that is to say two-thirds of the population. I agree with the opinion of Mufid Bey and consider the question as important and urgent. I will retain the arms for the time being and wait for orders.” He was answered immediately by coded telegram on 12 Februiary 1914 reading: “According to private informations the Prince of Wied  is intending to replace the cross by a star”. The Consul General was requested at the same time to send back the three ‘Copies of the Arms’.

This decision taken by the Prince of Wied was realized by the Berlin heraldist Emil Doepler the Younger. [23] The thunderbolts, apparently originating from the Epirotic coins, were restored on this occasion. In the arms of state - probably imitating the example of Montenegro - the two-headed eagle stands free in the field below a mantle (so not under a canopy). [24] Instead of the conventional ducal crown came a newly invented Albanese Princely crown, crested with with the silver Albanese star of Skanderbeg on a demi-globe. The star is five-pointed like in the Turkish flag and the new commercial flag  of Albania. Above the eagle the star is not repeated - it is in the jewel of the Order of the Black Eagle and in the flag of state not having a crown. [25]


Silver Medal of the Order of the Black Eagle, 1914



The motto of Wiet ‘FIDELITATE ET VERITATE’ (True and Truth) in on a ribbon on an unusual place on the upper part of the mantle.

The arms were communicated to the people in the first place by an essay called  “Das Staatswappen Albaniens” of Eberhard Freiherrn von Wechmar in the illustrated review “Die Woche”, 1914 Nr. 10, pp. 387 ff.. [26]. There it is written about the princely crown:

“In the crown however the able heraldist could present something completely new. By it a  marked difference from all other crowns usual until now should be expressed. And indeed: the new created Albanian crown is unique. As namely almost all princely crowns have red caps, this beautiful jewel on the arms of Albania is lined with white cloth. The hoops of the crown are also a novelty. They rise from  a golden diadem decorated with turquoises and  showing a rim of  ermine  below. Upwards the hoops make a cupola and bear on the place of the usual cross “the white star of Skanderbeg”, an Albanian national hero who liberated his fatherland from the turkish yoke. Because a cross on the crown of Albania was judged to be unsuitable because of the many muslim subjects, the star is a really brilliant solution of the tricky problem.  

Doepler himself related about the form of the crown in the session of the Herold of 17 February 1914: “The crown is derived from a national Albanian headdress, consisting of a high white cap with vertical parts and a wider horizontal ornamented brim.”


Albanian Eagle March - September 1914

By Emil Doepler


Albanian Eagle September 1914

By Emil Doepler


William of Wied



Achievement of  the Prince of Albania by Emil Doepler, February 1914


Stamp with the lesser arms.

On a letter, 02.09.1914



Royal Cypher of William of Wied



For the rest the description of the arms should be:

A black two-headed eagle with golden beak and claws and red tongue, with four pointed thunderbolts in his claws, on his breast a shield with a peacock in his pride on a red field within a black and red bordure compony, all under a purple mantle, lined ermine and with golden fringes, falling from the Albanian princely crown. A blue ribbon with the motto of Wied FIDELITATE ET VERITATE in golden lettering. [27]

Doeplers descriptions - and also the description copied from it by other authors - leave  blank if the red field of the lesser arms has the shape of a shield or not. In this field the two-headed eagle has a golden tongue and above its heads hovers the Albanian crown lined white. On his breast are the same arms of Wied as in the larger arms of state.

The once ever well informed  Dr. Stephan Kekule von Stradonitz could, because he had participated to the Session of the Herold, soon publish the knowledge gathered. He reported it in “Das Wappen, die Flagge und die neue Krone von Albanien” in the evening edition of the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger of 24 February 1914.

It is a pity that he repeats with many words what is said in other publications, mentions however other emblems ‘into which we cannot go further’. Accordingly Prof. Doepler has also designed a lesser and smaller arms and also a seal which he could present to the session of the Herold.

That the two-headed eagle with the escutchen has been used effectually is proved by the badges of the uniforms of Palace Guard. [28]

In the draft of the Constitution the question of arms was also incorporated. In the “Statut organique de l’Albanie” which was written by the International Commission of Control and presented to the Guaranteeing Powers on 10 April 1914 is said in Chapter II: The Sovereign: The Throne of the Albanian principality is hereditary in the family of Prince William of Wied. (Art. 7, section 1) and: He has the right to represent his portrait or arms on coins, medals and marks, and also on all pieces or objects representing the authority of the government. (art. 18). [29]

The Draft of the Constitution in german does not make it a matter of the person of the prince but introduces it in the General Provisions § 1 “Albanien ist ein erbliches unabhängiges und verfassungsmässiges Fürstentum - Das Wappen Albaniens ist ein schwarzer, doppelköpfiger Adler im roten Felde. Die Landesfaben sind schwarz -rot.”



Part 1 General Provisions

Section 1. Albania is a hereditary independent and constitutional Principality.

The arms of Albania are a black, two-headed eagle on a red field. The national colors are black and red.]


In the mean time Prince William had arrived in the projected capital Durazzo. The invincible  power struggles in the interior to which the surrounding powers participated, forced him to leave the country, “retaining his rights”, on 5 September. These troubles however did not harm the popularity of the Eagle of Skanderbeg.





Part II


It may not be the place here to decribe the troubles in detail which have forced Prince William I, the Mbret of Albania to leave his country after almost half a year of controversial rule. [30] But so much can be said that Albaina had to defend itself not only against his neighbours, particularly against the Greek who tried to annex Epirus or Southern Albania, but also had to cope with the rivalries between the local tribes.

Prince William took refuge already on 23 May 1914 on an Italian man of war, and in spite of his resuming his rule, his authority was so weakened that his palace was besieged on 3 September 1914. When he had been abandoned by Austria which was on war after 1 August 1914, he again left his capital Durz (Durazzo/Dürres) and went on board of the italian ship Misurata never to return. The International Control Commission which still existed in theory, was lamed by the circumstance that its members participated on different sides of the warring parties. [31] The neighbours of Albania, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro passed the borders; Italy occupied Valona (Albanian: Vlorë) on 28.12.1914.

The counterpart of the Prince, Essad Pasha from the House of Toptani, was appointed provisional head of the state by the senat but was deposed from this office in Februau 1916 by the Austrian army which had entered the country end of 1915. Albania was from then on under martial law, exercized for the main part by the Austrians on the one hand and by Italian troops on the other hand. The newly created Interallied Commission of Control, consisting of members of the Entente was not supported by the French troops advanced from Macedonia, which proclaimed an Albanian Republic in Koritze (Korcë) which existed from 10.10.1917 until 10.12.1918.

The two-headed eagle remained, as the philatelists know, the undisputed emblem of authority.  It was adopted in the colors red and black on the flag when the state was restored again and again after the first constitution of 20 January 1920. [32]

The cease-fire of November 1918 did not guarantee Albania its peace. Only the abolishment of the treaty between Italy and Greece of 29 July 1919 which had recognized the claims of Greece on Southern Albania, restored the low sunken esteem of Italy in Albania. This power then could set itself up as the promotor of the Albanian interests on the peace negotiations. This resulted in the admission of Albania to the League of nations on 17 December 1920. From the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris it gained that its borders of 1913 would be guaranteed, Italy being the executor of the restoration.



Albanian Eagle 30.08-31.12.1922

In the head of Fletorja Zyrtare

Albanian Eagle 07.01.1923-1929

In the head of Fletorja Zyrtare


Republic / Republika Shqiptare



At least with support of Yugoslavia Ahmed Zog (*08.10.1895), from the House of the hereditary Governors of Mati was pushed forward. He could proclaim the “Triumph of Legality” and proclaimed the republic on 21 January 1924. He himself became its first president.

Article 5 of the Constitution about the flag was completed by law of 12.07.1926.[33]  This reads:


Emblem of Albania 

By law of 12.07.1926


1.The arms of state is a two-headed black eagle on a black background, which bears on his breast the helmet of Skanderbeg of gold, surrounded by arms and banners.

2.The banner of the army is red with the two-headed black eagle in the middle.

3.The standart of the president resembles the banner of the army, with the difference that above the eagle is the helmet of Skanderbeg of gold (like in the arms of state) surrounded by a halo

4. The flag of the navy resembles the banner of the army of Art. 2, and the flag of the commercial fleet is red-black-red. [34]


Kingdom / Mbretnija Shqiptare,

01.09.1928 - 02.01.1946


After the republic had become a hereditary kingdom on 1 Septemeber 1928 Ahmed Zogu (Amet Zogu) called himself Zogu I, King of the Albanians and changed his cypher AZ in a Z intertwined with a I below the crown of Albania, serving the helmet of Skanderbeg as such.[35]

The future arms of a West-European model was created in August 1929. It was adopted by Law-decree Nr. 178 about the arms and flag of state on 8 August 1929. [36] This reads:


On proposal of the cabinet concerning the necessity to give the country a coat of arms for the kingdom as well as a flag for the state, the army and the commercial fleet, we decree following:


Arms of State

Art. 1. - For the State a coat of arms is approved of the adopted model and of these description:

Art. 2 - The coat of armsis composed of:

a. a cape, with a crown on top

b. a schield with a two-headed eagle in the middle.

Art. 3. The cape will be of dark-red silk cloth; it will be of two symmetrical folds tied up on the sides with golden cords. On the border of the cape is a rowof golden leaves, on the inner side it is lined with ermine on which there are golden inserts .

In the middle the cape has an elevation and on it is the crown of Skanderbeg of lead and gold.

Art. 4. The shield in the middle of the cape bears the two-headed Albanian eagle (wings consisting of nine feathers each, elevated) on a red and golden background.

Art. 5 - The shape of the arms with all its details  described in the Art. 3 and 4, is shown in the drawing added.


Use of Arms and Flag

Art.18. - The offices of state are obliged to apply the arms of state on official documents, on boards, on stamps and all other official objects.

The arms are applied

a) on boards in full color

b) on stamps, documents and other things in black hatching or in relief and in small size.


Other provisions of implementation

Art. 21. - The arms and flags in use now may not be used from the moment of the coming into force of this law.

Art. 22. - This law-decree comes into force three months after the publication  in the bulletin of acts

Art. 23. - The cabinet will be charged with the implementation of this law-decree.


The Prime minister and substitute minister of the Interior

signed K. Kotta

Minister of Education and substitute minister of Finance

signed A. Dibra

Minister of Economic Affairs

signed Musa Juka

Minister of Justice

signed H. Delvina

Minister of Public Works

signed S. Vuciterna


King of the Albanians

On Proposal of the Ministerial Presidium Nr. 1271/I of 5.8.1929, after He has heard and approved the decisions of the Cabinet of 3.8.29


The adoption and implementation of the Law-Decree about the Arms and Flag of State.

Tirana, 8.8.1929

signed Zog


Zog I



Arms of State of the kingdom of Albania in the time of King Zogu I, according to Law-Decree of 08.081929

(Colors: Eagle all black, eyes red, on red background. The Helm of Skanderbeg black with light-effects, lower seam and encircling band rosa with golden ornaments. Goat’s head all gold with red points along the attachment

Embellished (Royal-) arms

The arms surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Black Eagle [37]




Royal Cypher of Zog I



Personal Union with Italy


Viktor Emanuel III



Be it that Zogu I had come to power with support of Yugoslavia, he gravitated more and more towards Italy. This friendship became so great and oppressing in the end that he preferred to take refuge abroad on 8 April 1938, never to return. On 12 April 1939 the Albanese National Assembly handed over the royal crown of Albania to the House of Savoye. King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy then adopted the title “By God’s Grace and the Will of the People King of Italy and Albania, Emperor of Ethiopia (Për hirë të Zotit e vullnet të  kombit Mbreti i Italis dhe i Shqipnis, Perandor i Ethiopis) on 16 April 1939.

The joining of the two-headed eagle and the fasces was laid down in the Constitution of 3 June its Art. 3 reading:

“The Albanian Flag is red with the two-headed eagle in the middle with the fasces”

On 28 September 1939 the royal decree nr. 141 about arms and flag followed. [38]


Greater and Lesser arms of State and Seal of State.

We, VictorEmmanuel III, By Gods Grace and the Will of the People King of Italy and Albania, Emperor of Ethiopia,


Taking into account art 15 of the Constitution of the Kingdom

After hearing the Cabinet

On proposal of the Prime Minister and hearing the Minister of Inernal Affairs and Justice

Decreed and Decree

Art. 1. The Greater arms of State consists of a red shield with a black two-headed eagle crowned with the Helmet of Skanderbeg. Supporters: two adjoining fasces, their axes pointing outwards, bound with leather straps, connected above with the Savoye-knot and below with a blue ribbon three times  inscribed with the motto FERT. The mantle around the whole is purple, with golden fringes and tassels and crested with the royal crown.

Art. 2. - The lesser arms of state consists of a red shield with the two-headed black eagle crowned with the Helment of Scanderbeg; Supporters: two adjoining fasces, their axes pointing outwards, bound with leather straps, connected above with the Savoye-knot and below with a blue ribbon three times  inscribed with the motto FERT. The Royal crown of Savoye for decoration on the shield.

Art. 3. - The several  realizations of  these arms are represented on the plates added to this Decree, signed on our orders by the Prime Minister.

Art. 4. - The greater arms is used: on the Great Seal of State, at festivities and  for decoration of official buildings.

The offices of government use the lesser arms.

Art. 5. -  The great seal of state shows the greater arms in relief with the legend (Name of His Majesty the King and Emperor) per grazia di Dio er per volontà della Nazione Re d’Ital;ia e Albania, Imperatore d’Etiopia (By Gods Grace and the Will of the People King of Italy and Albania, Emperor of Ethiopia) written on the right half in albanian and on the left half in italian.

Art. 6. - The seals of the offices of the government show the lesser arms together with the name of the office for legend.

Art. 7. - All other decrees or contradicting regulations are abolished. The decree comes into force on the day of its publication in the bulletin of acts

The Prime Minister presents this Decree to the Upper Faschist Council of the Corporations to change it into law.

We order that the present decree  is published in the bulletin of acts and charge all whom it concerns to follow it respectively to care for its being followed.

Done in San Rossore 28 September 1939 - XVII

Victor Emanuel

signed. Sh. Verlaci                                                                                                signed M. Bushati

Signed Xh.Ypi


Greater Arms of State of the Kingdom of Albania during the personal union with Italy according to

Royal Decree of 28.09.1939 Art. 1


Colors to the extent that they are not given in the decree: The two-headed eagle completely black.  Feathers lightly marked; Helmet of Skanderbeg gold, lined dark red; fasces wood-colored, tied together with leather straps of a lighter shade; axes on handles of the same color as the fasces. Lion heads gold. Axes light grey with light effects; the Knot of Savoy of the same color as the straps and fasces but shaded. Inscriptions FERT light yellow. Royal crown of Savoye gold, with low lining of the same color as the mantle, orb gold. The precious stones on the diadem red, blue, red, blue, red and groups of pearls in between. The pearls in the middle of the leaves and between them of  their own color, both crosslets between the leaves white with red edges.

Lesser arms of state according to Decree of 28.09.1938 Art, 2


Albanian two-headed eagle, as on coins 1939



The resistance against the fasces must have been so strong that the Upper Faschist Corporative Commission in Tirana adopted in 1942 a design of the flag with the two-headed eagle with the Helmet of Scanderbeg. [39]

After the fall of Mussolini which was accompanied by the italian Prime Minister of Albania, a National Committee was created on 08.09.1943 which asked for German support (according to the Germans) which was granted. [40]

The Constitution adopted in the time of Ahmed Zogu on 01.12.1928 was for the largest part readopted on 20.10.1943 and consequently also the law about the Flag and Arms. [41]

The German satisfaction about the separation of Albania from Italy did not last long. On the 32nd Albanian day of the Flag on 28 November 1944 the Partisan Troops of the First Corps paraded with banners without faschist emblems. [42]


Standard of the Royal Lieutenant of Albania 1940-‘43


Adopted 30 July 1940 and abandoned 6 Sptember 1943 when Lieutenant General Pariani was deposed and arrested by the Germans.


Nation State




Republic / Republika Popullore e Shqipërisë



On 2 January 1946 the victorious partisans declared the monarchy abolished and they proclaimed  a republic on 11 January 1946. On 24 January 1946 the new government presented the draft of a new constitution to the founding assembly which was adopted on 14 March 1946 and which states in Art. 1: Albania is a People’s Republic. This time the model of the arms and the flag was already described so completely that a special law about the arms was superfluous. Contrary to the earlier custom to describe the emblems of authority at the beginning, they are now, in the  Russian way, at the end. The description of the arms  reads:

Art. 96 - The arms of state of the People’s Republic Albania is a field surrounded by two ears of wheat. The ears of wheat are connected below with a ribbon inscribed with the date 24 Mai 1944. In the middle between the points of the ears there is a red star with five points. In the middle of the field is a black eagle with two heads.


The two-headed eagle is now not longer interpreted as the badge of Skanderbeg  - who still remains the National Hero - but as a symbol of the love of the Albanian people of freedom and independence. [43] The date 24.5.1944 is the date of the first anti-faschist congress of the national liberation.


Republika Popullore Socialiste e Shqipërise



The advancement in the chosen direction gave the thrust to the public discussion about the new Constitution which was presented to the public in January 1976 in which Albania amongst other things would be proclaimed a Socialist People’s Republic.

On 28 December1976 the People’s Assembly, being according to Art. 66 of the new Constitution “The supreme Body of the Authority of the State, Bearer of the Sovereignity of the People and Only  Lawgiving Board”, has approved this  new Constitution. According to Art. 1 of it Albania is a Socialist People’s Republic. The arms were not changed but its description was improved: the two-headed eagle has now the most important place due to it in the description.[44]

The description of the arms freads:

Artikel 107- The arms of the Socialist People’s Republic Albania represents a black two-headed eagle, surrounded by two ears of wheat wind round at the lower ends by a red ribbon bearing the date 24 Mai 1944.

Text: Dr. Ottfried Neubecker, 1977


Republika e Shqipërisë 



The communist regime collapsed in 1990, and the former communist Workers Party of Albania was defeated in the elections of March 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest.

A provisional constitution was adopted on 29 April 1991 The communists retained support and governmental control in the first round of elections but fell two months later during a general strike. A committee of “national salvation” took over but also collapsed in half a year. On 22 March 1992 the Communists lost the national elections from the Democratic Party The change from the Stalinist socialist state to a pluralist parliamentary system had many challenges. The Democratic Party had to implement the reforms it had promised, but they were either too slow or didn’t solve the problems, so the people were disappointed when their hopes for fast prosperity went unfulfilled.


In the emblem of state the star and the ribbon with the date were omitted on 7 April 1992. [45]


Emblem of 07.04.1992


In 1993 the Albanian eagle appears on a shield:


Arms of  22.05.1993


In 2002 the Helmet of Skanderbeg, facing to the dexter, was added in chief


Arms of 31.07.2002


Skanderbeg’s Helmet


Since 1925 the so-called Helmet of Skanderbeg is a heraldic element appearing and reappearing in Albanian heraldry.



Skanderbeg’s helmet is made of white metal, adorned with a gilded strip. It is crested with the head of a horned goat made of bronze, also gilded. The bottom part bears a copper strip iscribed with  initials separated by rosettes * IN * PE * RA * TO * RE * BT *, which mean: Jesus Nazarenus * Principi Emathie * Regi Albaniae * Terrori Osmanorum * Regi Epirotarum * Benedictat Te (Jesus Nazarene Blesses Thee [Skanderbeg], Prince of Mat, King of Albania, Terror of the Ottomans, King of Epirus). It is thought that the copper strip with the initials is the work of the descendants of Skanderbeg, as Skanderbeg never held any other title but “Lord of Albania” (Dominus Albaniae). (Turkish: Arnaut, Greek: Arbanas, Arbanensis, Italian: Albanian, Epirotarum, Albanensis, Albanian: Arber, Arben, Arberesh, Epirotas.)

The ram’s head may be a badge of rank meaning major domus and lieutenant of the king, an office Skanderbeg may have held as a governor of Dibra. [46] 

Another explanation is that the ram’s head refers to Alexander the Great nicknamed “Dhu l-Karnejn” (arab for: owner of the two horns) after his conquest of Egypt when he styled himself “Son of Ammon”. [47] This second explanation reflects the theory that the idea of Macedonian-Albanian and Epirot-Albanian continuity is strong not only among Albanians but also among other peoples of Europe. It agrees with the work of Marinus Barletius who writes: “When the people saw all those young and brave men around Skanderbeg, then it was not hard to believe that the armies of [Sultan] Murat were so defeated by the Albanians. Indeed, the times when the star of Macedonia shone brilliantly had returned, just as they seemed in those long forgotten times of Pyrrhus and Alexander.”

After the death of Skanderbeg the helmet was brought to Italy by his wife Donika Kastrioti and his son Gjoni (who married one of the last descendants of the Palaiologos family). Who inherited them after their death is unknown. By 1590 the helmet was owned by Count Eolfang of Sturnbeng. It eventually made its way into the Hapsburg royal collection. In 1806 the helmet was transferred to the Imperial Museum in Vienna and was placed in the Maximilian Hall (hall XXV, no. 71). Periodically Albanian kings have petitioned the Austrians for return of the helmet. Most recently King Zog unsuccessfully attempted to repatriate it in 1931. At the request of the pre-WWII Albanian government, a replica of the helmet was given to Albania and lies now in the National Museum of Tirana, Albania. The replica was manufactured by an Austrian master in 1937.

The original helmet still remains a possession of the Austrian state and is currently housed at the Neue Berg Collection of Arms and Armour in Vienna. [48]





Seal of the Government




The emblem of the Presidency


Tirana, July 11, 2014 / Independent Balkan News Agency

President of Albania, Bujar Nishani has announced today the new presidential logo and flag, in the framework of the symbols of the Institution of the President of the Republic and the medals and decorations of honor that are given by him.

Nishani approved the works of author Ylli Beqiri: Flag, Logo and “Mother Teresa” Medal.


The change of presidential symbols comes a few months after the government changed state symbols. Prime minister Edi Rama, who leads the left wing governing majority, turned the helmet of Scanderbeg to the sinister in the emblem of the Cabinet of 2013. The change of the symbols was accompanied with strong debates and accusations of violation of the law, especially in the case of the removal of the photo of the president from state institutions. /ibna/

logo presidenti

The emblem consists of the black two-headed eagle, taken from the insignia of Kastrioti family, accepting it as one of the most ancient symbols used by Albanian leaders, the golden helmet of Scanderbeg positioned en face (neither left, nor right), symbolizing impartiality and determination in the representation of national unity, and a golden crown of oak leaves representing long life, strength and dignity, once used by king Gent of Ilyrs and being a symbol of ancient time.


Presidential Flag

On the flag is the presidential emblem, the legend omitted, on a red cloth, the color of the national flag,.

flamuri presidencial shqiptar

Presidential Flag, 2014


Council of Ministers, Parliament



Council of Ministers, 2009

Cabinet of Albania, 2013




The emblem represents the façade of House of Parliament in Tirana with the inscription KUVENDI I REPUBLIKES SE SHQIPERISE  on the ledge.


Intelligence Service


Intelligence Service


A national intelligence service called Sigurimi was founded 20.03.1943. In 1991 it was renamed  Shërbimi Informativ Kombëtar, SHIK and 11.1999  in Shërbimi Informativ Shtetëror (SHISH).





Albanian Police

Albanian State Police

Albanian Police (current)


The Albanian State Police is the national police and law enforcement agency which operates throughout the Republic of Albania. The General Director is the highest administrative, technical, and operational authority in the State Police, which sits structurally in the Ministry of Interior.


 Armed Forces



Ministry of Defence (ancient)


Ministry of Defense (current)



Armed Forces (ancient)

Armed Forces (current)


General Staff




Batalioni i Ndërlidhjes të SHP të FA

Battalion Headquarters of Armed Forces Liaison

Batalioni i Shtabit të Përgjithshëm të FA

Batalion of the Armed Forces General Staff

Qendra e Radiozbulimit të SHP të FA

Radiozbulimit Center of Headquarters of Armed Forces

Mbrojtja Civile

Civil Protection

Shërbimi Informativ Ushtarak

Military Intelligence Service

Batalioni i Policisë Ushtarake

Spitali Ushtarak

Instituti i Gjeografisë Ushtrake

Instituti i Studimeve dhe Projektimeve të Mbrojtjes

Arkivi Qendror

Qendra Kulturore e FA

Shkolla e Trupës së Reparteve Autonome


Joint Forces Command


Joint Forces Command


The Albanian Joint Forces Command, consists in the branch of the Albanian Armed Forces charged with protecting the territorial integrity of Albania. The Command has under the proper structure the Rapid Reaction Brigade, the Special Operations Battalion (Albania), the Albanian Air Force, the Albanian Naval Defense Forces and the Area Support Brigade.





Royal Army (obsolete)

Army (current)


Army Arms


Army flag



Batalioni i Mbrojtjes nga Armët e DM

Defense Battalion of Arms DM

Shkolla e Trupës FT

Corps School, FT

Batalioni i Nderlidhjes së FT

Battalion's liaison FT





Brigada e Xhenjos

Brigade Xhenjos

Batalioni i Xhenjos

Battalion Xhenjos

Batalioni 2 Xhenier Ndërtues

2 engineering construction battalion

Albanian Commando Regiment




Regjimenti Komando

Commando Regiment

Batalioni Komando
Commando Battalion

Batalioni i Operacioneve Speciale
Special Operations Battalion




Brigada e Artilerisë Tokësore (Rez)Ground artillery Brigade (Rez)


Brigada e 1 e Këmbësorisë (Rez)

Infantry Brigade 1 (Rez)







Navy Anchor Emblem


Naval Brigades, Arms




Shkolla e Trupës së Forcave Detare

School of Marine Corps Forces

Shërbimi Hidrografik

Hydrographic service

Baza e Kantierit Detar (Pasha Liman)

Naval base site

 (Pasha Liman)

Batalioni Logjistik (FD)

Logistics Battalion (FD)

Distrikti Detar (Durrës) Naval District (Durres)

Distrikti 2 Detar (Vlore)

District 2 Marine (Vlore)

Batalioni i Stërvitjes Bazë

Basic Training Battalion

Brigada e Stërvitjes Bazë

Basic Training Brigade


Air Force


An attempt was made to form an Albanian Air Corps on the country's formation in 1914. but a real air force was not formed until 1946.


Air Force


Air Force Wings Emblem




Albanian Air Force Roundels


Although very much under Soviet influence the first proposed idea for an aircraft marking was the black two-headed eagle of Albania on a red disc, crested with a yellow outline star. There is, however, no record of this being used. The earliest evidence is of a red star on a black disc, with a red, black and red fin flash, the black area bearing a red star. This fin marking was first horizontal, later vertical. For a period in the late 1950s a red and black roundel was used, occasionally with a red star on the fin. From about 1960 the usual form of marking was a red and black roundel with a red star on the inner black area. This was used on the wings and fuselage, and eventually on the fin.

In 1993, after the fall of the communist regime, the red star marking was discontinued and a representation of the Albanian national flag considered again. A red, black and red roundel however is in current use.










Helicopter Regiment


Rapid Reaction Brigade





Batalioni i Këmbësorisë

Infantry Battalion

Batalioni i Tankeve

Tank Battalion

Batalioni i Artilerisë Kundër Ajrore

Anti-artillery battalion Air


Batalioni Logjistik (FT)

Logistics Battalion (FT)

Military Police



Military Police Emblem



Back to Main Page



© Hubert de Vries 2014-05-28



[1] Elsie, Robert (2003), Early Albania : a reader of historical texts, 11th-17th centuriesISBN 978-3-44704783-8OCLC 52911172

[2] The ‘Mortuo Conradio filio’ is referring to the gossip that Manfred had maintained that Conradin had died.

[3] Sturdza, Mihail Dumitru: Grandes Familles de Grece, d'Albanie et de Constantinople. Dictionnai­re Historique et Genealogique. Paris, 1983. Chez l'auteur. 7 Rue de la Neva, F-75008 Paris, pp. 432-433.

[4] Ивић, Алекса: Стари српски печати и грбови. Ноби Сад, 1920. 26: Повеља од хартије Испод текста непосредно на хартију ударен печат од црвеног воска. штит, десно нагнут, са глабом курjака. над штитом затворен шлем. Залеђе ишарано. Легенда нечитка. Виде се слова  маи  ка  д

[5] On a map of the Mediterrenian by Giorgio Sideri, 1565. http://cp12.nevsepic.com.ua/71/1352747712-1565--giorgio-sideri--le-bassin-mgditerrangen--parchemin--290x430-mm--paris-bibliothgyoque-nationale.jpg

[6] Picture from: Jefarovic, Christofor: Izobrajenie Uruji Illyriceskich Avtorom Pavlom Ritterom v dialekt latinskom izdanoje na ckrit i po ego urajdenio na slavsno serbski jezije. 1741.

[7] The black of the eagle remained uncertain. Ducange, Car. Du Fresne: Historia Byzantina.  dupl. comment. illustrata prior: familias ac stemmata Imperat. Constantinop. &c. Paris, 1680, p. 350, writes:  Castriotis vero Albanensibus & Neapolita­nis vulgo pro insignibus adsignant bicipitem aquilam cum alis expansis nigram in campo aureo. At Barletus campum rubeum statuit quo casu, aurea forte aquila fuerit.  But likely the black eagle is a misinterpretation of a corroded silver eagle..

[8] http://bibliotecaestense.beniculturali.it/info/img/stemmihtml/castriotascanderbeg%C2%B7kastriotich.html

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korenić-Neorić_Armorial

[10] 1605 Insegne di varii prencipi et case illustri d'Italia e altre provincie.

[11] 1715 Araldo nel quale si vedono delineate e colorite le armi de' potentati e sovrani d'Europa…

[12] Barletius, Marinus: “De vita, moribus ac rebus præcipue adversus Turcas gestis Georgii Castriotu etc....”. Argentorati 1537, Lib. II, p.34. The integral rext reads: “Incolae et reliqui Epirotici generis, mox abiecta Amurathis memoria, novum ducem et nota olim signa, aquilasque (nam rubea vexilla nogris et bicipitibus distincta aquilis (id gentis insigne erat) gerebat Scanderbegus) vel non invitati sequebantur.” In the margin is the note: “Vexilla et insignia Castriota gentis et familiæ”(Banner and emblem of the house and family Kastriota).

[13] Akten des Politischen Archivs des Ministeriums des Äusseren XII, Türkei. Kart.454, Liasse Türkei XXXXV/26h. The Östereichische Staatsarchiv, Abt. Haus, Hof- und Staatsrchiv is thanked from this place for its cooperation. Ludwig Freiherr von Thallóczy was once Chief of the Department of the Joint Ministry of Finance in Vienna, and at the same time Director of the Hofkammerarchiv; he counted as the Albanian expert in Vienna.

[14] von Thallóczy, Ludwig and Jiriček, Konstangtin: “Zwei Urkundenaus Nordalbanien”, in: Archiv für slawische Phililogie, herausgegebenvon V. Jagić, Bd. 21, Berlin 1899, reprinted in: Illyrish-Albanische Forshungen, zusammen gestellt von Ludwig von Thalóczy, I. Band, München und Leipzig 916, pp. 125-151, description p. 146

[15] Without any description mentioned by Fr. Miklosich (ed.): Monumenta Serbisca spectantia historiam Serbiæ Bosnæ Ragusii, Wien 1858. 580 pp, description p. 483 and described in  a written note of Dr. Johann Safařk in the estate in the Museum of Prague. Miklos mentions the seal but as being there with the words “Sigillum Origin. chartac. in c(aesareo) r(egio) archivio Viennæ.” The charters concerned - there are three of them - are, according to the statement of  the Haus- Hof- and Staatsarchiv of  9 June 1971, Zl. 6219/71 rendered in 1920 toYugoslavia.

[16] Thallóczy could give a photography of both prints in his Promemoria. One photography is still in the acts of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a copy of it served as the model for our fig. 1. The seal itself was in the named archievs in the files of the charters of Ragusa, 1450, June 7 and has certainly been lost.

[17] Information of the Österreichsche Nationalbibliothek, Karalogabteiklung, of 15 Iktober 1972,Zl. 917/71. The reference of Thallóczy to the Hofbliothek may go backto Miklosich being an official of the Hofbliothek since 1844. To him the reference to the seal was owed in any case but nothing more.

[18] Koehne, Bernhard, v.: “Siegel des Albanerfürsten Georg Kastriota, genannt Scanderbeg” in his review  “Zeitschrift für Münz- Ziegel - und Wappenkunde”, 2 Band, Berlin, 1842, pp. 358-361. This essay does not seem to be known by the editors. According to the friendly statement of the National Museum of Copenhagen, Collection of Coins and Medals of 17 March 1975, the Royal Museum of Art has been abolished a hundfred years ago. The present whereabouts of the piece were not found. It is in any case not in the Cabinet of Antiqities of the ethnographic collection, nor in the 2nd division (Medieval Collection) of the National Museum.

[19] I may point here at the arms of Epirus, which, according to Ritter Vitezovic (1695),  shows a dog saliant. (note by Hubert de Vries).

[20] The insecure formulation agrees with the observation that the expert of a country has not to be an expert on its heraldry. The flag is not black and red but  red and the eagle is not only not crowned (how could he be crowned?) but two-headed and that part of the flag that is black.

[21] Otto Hermann Alfred Frhr. von Marchus, *12 August 1865, †27 January 1928.

[22] The arms of the Prince of Albania is represented in brackets as enclosure  8, which means that the Prince was given the enclosures of the Promemoria by  Dr.von Thallóczy. The frontal view of the  Peacock of Wied is preferred above the older form on request of the Prince of Wied (Note from Doepler, see note 11). At the same time the bendwise was abandoned . The description of the field of the arms of Wied proofs again how unreliable such descriptions of details are. In the design of E. Krahl the field has not five bends but no bends at all, it is nine times parted per bend sinister.  Such transpositions are no exception at all; the best known example is the official description of the simplyfied royal arms of Saxony of 29 December 1806. Cf. Arnold, Küthnann, Steinbilber: Grosser Deutscher Münzkatalog von 1800 bis heute, 4. Auflage, München, Juli 1974. P. 255.


[23] The inheritance of Emil Doepler has, apparently by neglect of the world after him, completely disappeared and cannot be consulted to give answers about details.That Doepler has contacted not only the Prince but also several Albanians residing in Berlin is mentioned by Doepler himself on the session of the society “Herold” in Berlin of 17 February 1914. There he presented: The greater arms of state, the lesser arms of state, five different flags and standarts and  explained the design of the new princely crown. Report about this not in the usual report of the session but  presented in Der Deutsche Herold. 45 March 1914 n° 3 p, 57.

[24] That the arms of Montenegro and Serbia were imitated is said by Doepler himself in the report of the session referred to before, where he remarks about the styling of the eagle that it was essential ‘that its form should differ from the Serbian and Montenegrine eagle. Therefore, say Doeler, the two heads of the eagle are joined high on the neck, also made necessary by the position of the wings in a sharp corner in relation to the body.

[25] Klietmann-Neubecker, Ordens-Lexicon, Lief. 2.

[26] Also Phot. Presse-Bureau, Leipzig in: “”Uber Land und Meer” Bd. 111, 1914, p. 634.

[27] The colors of the ribbon are derived from the report of Doepler in the session of the Herold  of 17 February 1914. His directions were also treated by the writer in his essay “Das Staatswappen und die Fahnen Albaniens”in:Herldische Mitteilungen, herausgegeben vom heraldischen Verein  “Zum Kleeblatt” in Hannover, 25. Jahrgang, 1914,pp34 ff. The illustration added (with Nr. 5) represents the larger arms of state with the legend “Das Staatswappen Albaniens” after a drawing from C(arl) Wenzel, which much resembles the representation in the illustrated Presse but is not correct in its details, in particular the crown.

[28] Wallisch, Friedrich: Der Adler des Skanderbeg. Albanische Briefe aus dem Frühjahr 1914. Wien und Leipzig 1914, p. 100.  One is dressed in Malisso fashion, the other in Epirotic national dress. On their white caps they wear their badges of  office, a black plaque of enamel with the eagle of Skanderbeg, with the bluepeacock of Wied on an escutcheon.

[29] Printed  in : Illyrisch-Albanische Forschungen. II. Band p. 174 ff. Original in french.

[30] More in Burke’s Royal Families of the World, Vol. 1, London 1977, pp. 3-6.

[31] Albania, France, Great Britain, Austria and Russia.

[32] Statute of Constitution of the Alanian Republic of 20.01.1920:

The Albanese people, free and independent, proud on its past and in full trust of its future, votes in the Constituent Assembly this Statute:

Chapter I. - The Constitution of the State.

Part I General Provisions

Art. 1. Albania is a parlamentary republic presidet by a President. The authority of the state  originates from the people.

Art. 2. The Albanian Republic is independent, indivisible, its territorial integrity is invulnerable and inalienable

Art. 3. The National flag is the two-headed eagle in black on a red field.

Art. 4. Albanian is the official language

[33]  Announcement  of the German Embassy  in Tirana to F.A. Brockhaus Verlag, Leipzig cited after the acts of the Department of Protocol of the German Ministry of the Exterior

[34] Selenica, Teki:Shqipria e Illustruar (l’Albanie Illustrée) - Albumi “Shqipris më 1927”(Album de l’Albanie en 1927, Tirana 1928)

[35] Already as a president Ahmed Zogu usurped the privilege of a monarch for himself by representing his portrait on coins, medals and stamps. He also let carve his initials as an emblem of state in the rocks of  Albanese Holy mount Tarabosh (Concerning the privilege of a monarch see note 18. about the initials AZ on Mount Tarabosh see announcement in Illustrierten Zeitung “Revue” Nr. 42, 17.10.1954. p. 17. The crown showed in the TV program Vergessene Könige, 11.04.1965

[36] Fletorja Zyrtarwe (Bulletin of Acts) Nr. 45 of 14.08.1929

[37] After http://www.royalark.net/Albania/albania.htm

[38] Fletorja Zyrtare Nr. 116 of 25.11.1939-XVIII, p. 2 (in albanian) and 5 ff. (in italian).

[39] Press release from Rome 12. 05. 1942. More in Flag Bulletin 5.

[40] Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of 26.09.1943 morning edition.

[41] Announcement in the Deutsche Uniformen -Zeitschrift, 1945, Nr. 1 Somewhat belated.

[42] Sphere, London of 23.12.1944

[43] N. Schmelew, Novaja Albanija. Verlag des ZK VLKSM “Molodaja Gvardija”, 1951 p. 33 ff. desciption 37.

[44] Text edition by 8 Nëntorinën publishers, Tirana 1977; also in the review Albanien heute, politische informative Zeitschrift, Tirana, Nr. 1 (25)/1977, p. 17.

[45] Hesmer, K.-H. 2 Flaggen und Wappen der Welt. Bertelsmann Lexicon-Verlag. Gütersloh, 1992  , p. 17).

[46] The ram’s head as such may be related to the ibex, qilin and unicorn. An ibex was also the badge of rank of the spanish alférez.

[47] According to a report by historian Sami Frasheri (†1904) in his Kamus-al-Alam cited by Shefqet Pllana (†1994),

[48] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_of_Skanderbeg


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