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Coat of arms of the Ottoman Empire
ArmigerSultan Abdul Hamid II
Order(s)Medals of five of the Ottoman decorations
Other elementsCornupia, anchor and scale
UseOttoman dynasty

Every sultan of the Ottoman Empire had his own monogram, called the tughra, which served as a royal symbol. A coat of arms in the European heraldic sense was created in the late 19th century. Hampton Court requested from the Ottoman Empire a coat of arms to be included in their collection. As the coat of arms had not been previously used in the Ottoman Empire, it was designed following this request of Mahmud II, and the final design was adopted by Sultan Abdul Hamid II on 17 April 1882.[1]


At the heart of the design is a shield adorned with a turban, which serves as the "crown" of the Ottoman monarch. Above the shield, a sun symbolizes the grandeur of the nation, upon which the sultan's tughra and chosen motto are inscribed. To the left, a red book and a green book represent the Islamic and modern laws of the empire. Atop these books, a scale stands as a symbol of justice. The blooming flowers near it also represent justice in Islamic symbolism. Encircling the shield are an assortment of weapons, balancing ancient armaments with modern weaponry. A red flag representing the secular institutions of the state stands alongside the green Standard of the Caliph. Beyond the coat, the Ottoman Orders of Merit are displayed.[1][2]

At the top, golden light rays radiate from the sun with the tughra seal of the sultan inscribed in golden letters on a green disk background. The tughra reads in Arabic, "Mahmud Khan son of Abdulhamid, forever victorious", written out as: محمود خان بن عبد الحميد مظفر دائماً (Mahmūd Ḫān bin Abdulhamīd muẓaffar dāʾimā). The inscription in the large green crescent reads in Arabic: "Relying on Divine success, the king of the Sublime Ottoman State", written out as: المستند بالتوفيقات الربانية ملك الدولة العلية العثمانية (al-Mustanidu bi't-Tawfiqāti'r-Rabbānīyah Malik ad-Dawlatu'l-Alīyati'l-Uthmāniyah).[3]

Hanging beneath the lower flourish are the medals of five Ottoman military decorations. In the main image, from left to right they are: the Order of Charity, the Order of the Medjidie, the Order of the Crescent, the Order of Osmanieh, and the Order of Distinction. Other than the number of medals, the arrangement and type of medals featured were never standardised.

In keeping with the Islamic proscription against depicting animate beings, no animals such as supporters are included in the design.


The symbols in the coat of arms represent the following:[1][2]

Different designs

There are several different versions of the 1882 coat of arms:

Pre-1882 coats of arms

See also


  1. ^ a b c Deringil, Selim (January 2014). The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1909 (in English and Turkish) (1st ed.). Istanbul: I.B. Tauris & Co. ltd. pp. 39–41. ISBN 978-605-09-1814-4.
  2. ^ a b Edhem, Eldem (2016). "The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts THE CHANGING DESIGN AND RHETORIC OF OTTOMAN DECORATIONS, 1850–1920" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Ottoman Archive: Ottoman Coat of Arms". Archived from the original on 2022-05-29. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  4. ^ I.A.Tyroff, Wappenbuch der regierenden Monarchen Europas (Nürnberg 1846)