Article 20 of the Constitution declares that the small State Emblem of Ukraine is the sign of the Princely State of Volodymyr the Great - a gold trident.

What is the meaning of what history trident? The term "trident" came by the will of the historian Karamzin. In his monumental work - "The History of the Russian State", published during 1816 - 1828 years, the sign on the coins of the princes of Kiev Rus', he said, "like a trident." And this in fact introduced confusion.

In the 1860-1862 there was in Europe a dispute, known as "two-year scientific debate" about the content and meaning of the mysterious trident. Leading scientists of the continent have not been able to unravel its secrets. Over the past 100 years, more than 50 scientists - Russian, Ukrainian and others - tried to guess the origin and meaning of the trident. Their thoughts are quite divergent. There are more than two hypotheses regarding the interpretation of the Trident: Trident - is the tip of the scepter of the Byzantine or the Scythian king; crown, a dove of the Holy Spirit, banner, anchor, bow Norman, Norman helmet, Norman ax, the end of the Norman spears, etc.

The oldest archaeological finds of mark, similar to a trident, date back to Tripoli culture IV - III thousand BC. Traces of it one can see also in the culture of the Greeks, from which came the Greek culture in the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon (aka Neptune), Pluto. Trident there was a sign of power. Subsequently trident spread under the influence of Greek culture to other cultures and this way went to the Kingdom of the Bosporus (Crimea, Taman Tmutarakan).

As a result of direct relations with Kiev kingdom of Bosporus and the influence of Greek culture the trident spread to Kiev Rus. Trident remained on gold and silver coins of Prince Vladimir, became hereditary heraldic sign for his descendants and the symbol of the power of Kiev Rus. Image trident have stamps on the bricks of the Tithe Church in Kiev (986 - 996 years.), The Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir-Volyn (1160), on the rocks and bricks of other states, on the weapon, rings, crockery.

For several centuries, the trident was disseminated throughout all the principalities of Kiev Rus. Subsequently underwent changes (bidentate), but all the time it kept the initial Vladimirov base. Separate dynastic generations of Ukrainian lands used trident as his dynastic flag until the XV century.

Trident, or rather the Holy Cross anchor symbolism present in the coat of arms of Vladimir Olgerdovich, who reigned in Kiev 1363 - 1394 years. His sons - Andrew and Olelko - also enjoyed the anchor ring. Image cross-anchor was applied also on the coin Galich, minted in Lviv. In the same XIV c. crosses anchor or simply anchor at different times (until the end of the last century) decorated with the coats of arms of cities such as Vinnitsa, Pryłuki, Berdyansk, Horodnia, Zinkiv, Nikolaev, Odessa.

In the coats of arms of Hetman of the Zaporozhian B.Khmel'nicky and Mazepa main heraldic symbol was the trident anchor cross. It was included also in the coat of arms of famous Kiev Metropolitan Petro Mohyla, zaporozets P.Umanetz, Lubensky Colonel M.Illyashenko.

In the annals of Hadiach Colonel Gregory Hrabianka the appearence Cossacks own coat of arms associated with the Polish king Stefan Batory. "And the years of 1576 - says the chronicler - having seen how well Cossacks fighting with Tatars, sent them the hetman, sent a banner, horsetail and mace, seal stamp, knights samopaly and caps askew all wearing." And in the first known military stamp in 1592 we see the image of the Cossack with a musket - a symbolic image of the whole glorious Zaporozhye troops and military power. Cossack stamp was rounded, small first, however, and later larger and in the middle was a coat of arms - a Cossack with a musket. Zaporozhye Cossack coat of arms represented to the outside world as an external attribute, as a sign of privileged status, as a means of confirming the Cossack liberties.

Cossack state Zaporozhian Host took the name of Zaporozhye, the system of government, the military organization and the national symbols, including a flag. Spring of 1648 a Cossack with musket was taken in the military stamp of the newly formed state of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Since then, a knight of the Zaporozhian Cossack always represent Ukraine until the decline Hetmanship.

Given that the new state Zaporozhian Host started to use the old coat of arms Zaporozhye, Zaporozhye was forced to make certain amendments in its image, in order to prevent the existence of the same in the various arms of government entities. Zaporozhye added to the old Cossack coat of arms image of spear, which was supposed to symbolize the border placement of the state. Around the stamp was an inscription: "Stamp of Glorious troops Zaporizhzhya nizovoe."

In the military stamps Briukhovetsky Ivan and Mikhail Khanenko next to the usual figure of Cossack one can see an image of a spear, pointing to a crucial role of Zaporozhye in the election of the hetman between applicants for the hetman's mace. Completely different symbols shown in the military stamp of Sukhovienko Peter, received the hetman's mace with the support of the Crimean Khan Adil Giray. There was on the stamp unusual for the Cossacks image - bow with two arrows. Cossacks did not support the new coat of arms. For example, Doroshenkovsky Cossacks threatened to "smash suhovievy bow and arrow" with their "age-old muskets," hinting at the way an integral part of the State Emblem of Zaporizhia Army - musket.

After the cancellation of Hetmanship in 1764 "Cossack" was replaced by the Malorossian Collegium arms again: on a gold background - black double-headed eagle and the arms of the five ancient kingdoms (Kiev, Starodubsky, Seversky, Chernigov, Perejaslavskogo). The author of the coat of arms was a Malorossian governor-general Pyotr Rumyantsev.

Trident was constantly used in everyday life of Ukrainian, in particular, the people of Carpathian villages had a tradition to paint it on the walls or gates during a religious Epiphany - January 19. So in the sign of the cross and trident Christian and pagan symbols were merged. The value of the trident in Ukrainian population threefold: it is a symbol of state power, that is, the national emblem; mark national and religious symbol. Therefore, it was used alone and in combination: on the coins, at home.

In the early twentieth century. as a result of the Ukrainian national revolution and the formation of the Central Council there was a revival of the ancient historical traditions. As the national emblem gold trident on a blue background, was approved in February 1918 by the Small Council UNR in Korosten and approved by the Central Council of 22 March 1918, Trident was featured on the state seal, bills UNR as coat of arms preserved during Hetmanat Skoropadskii (1918) and on the Directory (1918 - 1920). After the proclamation of the Act of reunion 22 January 1919 trident became the national emblem of united Ukrainian republics - UNR and ZUNR. For some time, the trident was a symbol in RUGA (Red Ukrainian Galician Army). Later, in the 20 - 40th ot the twentieth century the image of the trident was used by various political organizations in Western Ukraine, Bukovina. In particular, the golden trident entered as part of the state coat of arms of Carpatho-Ukraine, approved March 15, 1939 by the Sejm.

February 19, 1992 after heated discussions Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Small coat of arms of Ukraine - the trident, symbol of the princely state of Vladimir the Great. And the Constitution of Ukraine, adopted by the fifth session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, June 28, 1996, consolidated the trident as the small coat of Ukraine.

Constitution of Ukraine stipulates except for a small coat of arms, existance of the great. The Great State Emblem of Ukraine, - the 20th article says- is based on the Small State Emblem of Ukraine and the Coat of Arms of the Zaporozhian (Cossack with a musket).

Hopefully, at last in the twentieth year of independence the law "On the Great State Emblem of Ukraine" will be adopted and according to the Constitution would be a part of Zaporizhia Army Emblem - Cossack with a musket as a symbol of our will and irresistibility.

V.V. Cuksa, Asst. the Department of History