The 4th Congress of the Croatian Historians 2012, an international scientific conference, was held on 1st – 5th October 2012, organized by the Croatian National Committee for History Sciences (HNOPZ), the Society for the Croatian History and the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb. During the Congress the Auxiliary Historic Sciences Section was also held, lead by Prof. Dr. Mirjana Matijević Sokol.The HGZD president Željko Heimer held a lecture titled “Some characteristics of the contemporary Croatian municipal heraldry”.
His paper questions the actuality of research of the contemporary municipal heraldry in Croatia, as the largest of three areas of “living heraldry” (besides the church and so called dragon heraldry) in Croatia. Researching the coats of arms of counties, cities and municipalities in Croatia poses problem due to some legal limitations, availability of primary sources and such data which is important for the study but is not recorded or it is omitted in these sources. Besides the coats of arms adopted and approved following the legal procedure, there appear also coats of arms used unofficially or semi-officially. A kind of public registry of the arms of counties, cities and municipalities researched by the author is maintained and published within last 16 years, thus being the largest publicly available source on these arms (The Flags & Arms of the Modern Era). Some quarter of these arms is based on historical patterns (coat of arms or seal), while for the city arms this goes as high as half of them. The information that is as a rule not recorded in primary sources are names of designers of new arms or the adaptations of the historical ones. Based on data gathered for about half of the coats of arms, one author raises out for the majority of them, others only in smaller percentages, with only several of authors which designed several arms in the same county. Over forty designers are responsible for design of a single coat of arms, among them some notable artists, graphical designers and historians. Finally, the modern designs include numerous representation of patron saints, whether through iconographic depiction or depiction of his/her attributes. The most frequently appearing saint in these arms is St. Michael, followed by St. George, St. John the Baptist and St. Paul, while 45 different saints or saint groups appear in the arms. While some figures are included traditionally, the new designs include patron saints twice as frequently then the historical. The new municipal arms show the increase of the attributive depiction, while the city arms still more frequently show them iconographically.
Some of our other members also participated the Congress with other (non-heraldic) topics. The book of abstracts (in Croatian) is available as PDF in the collection of the Croatian Sicentific Bibliography.