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World Civic Heraldry Guide: coats of arms and flags of cities, regions, states

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Belfast (Northern Ireland), coat of arms

Belfast (Northern Ireland), coat of arms

The city's coat of arms shows a central shield, bearing a ship and a bell, flanked by a chained wolf (or wolfhound) on the left and a seahorse on the right. A smaller seahorse sits at the top. This crest dates back to 1613, when King James I granted Belfast town status. The seal was used by Belfast merchants throughout the seventeenth century on their signs and trade-coins. A large stained glass window in the City Hall displays the seal, where an explanation suggests that the seahorse and the ship refer to Belfast's significant maritime history. The wolf may be a tribute to the city's founder, Sir Arthur Chichester, and refer to his own coat of arms.

The city of Belfast has the Latin motto "Pro tanto quid retribuamus". This is taken from Psalm 116 Verse 12 in the Latin Vulgate Bible and is literally "For (Pro) the much (tanto) what (quid) we shall repay (retribuamus)" The verse has been translated in different bibles differently - for example as "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?". It is also translated as "In return for so much, what shall we give back?" The Queen's University Students' Union Rag Week publication PTQ derives its name from the first three words of the motto.


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