The Tryzub appears on the coat of arms of Ukraine. What is its historic significance to the diaspora?

I am aware this is the symbol of the sea god Poseidon of Greek mythology, for this reason I wonder if this symbolic meaning is shared or if there may also be any significances with Slavic paganism.


The oldest antecedent on Wikipedia is Sviatoslav's. It doesn't much resemble a trident.

Sviatoslav's coat of arms

Vladimir the Great added the middle element, according to the list of historical coats of arms:

Vladimir's coat of arms

About the present coat of arms:

The trident was not thought of as a national symbol until 1917, when one of the most prominent Ukrainian historians, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, proposed to adopt it as a national symbol

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    The last quote is the key point about the historical significance of the symbol to Ukraine. – vpekar Aug 18 '18 at 5:51

This diagram shows the development of the Rurikid's coat of arms. Some suggest the Tryzub depicts a descending bird of prey. Looking at all of these symbols together does give the impression of this.

Any symbol that predates Christianity probably is pagan. Whether it's Slavic or Nordic gets messy, though. It's suggested that the trident has Christian symbolism in reference to the trinity. This would make sense to me because Vladimir of Kiev christianized the Rus. It was him who added the middle part, making it a trident.

The adoption of the symbol in 1917 is certainly a reference to this Rurikid dynasty of Kiev. The origins of the Ukranian people actually began with the breakup of that principality, though. This is when regional differences in language began and Kiev struggled with Russian princes to the north and east (1).

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(1) Vernadsky, George. Kievan Russia. Yale University Press, 1948 p. 215

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    The impression I get from the three upper rows is more of them representing crowns (specially the second and third rows) than birds. – SJuan76 Aug 18 '18 at 9:07

It indeed comes from medieval Kiev. Here is a coin of Vladimir with the Tryzub:

The original meaning of this symbol is disputed. Some think that this is a trident (weapon) and others that this is a predatory bird falling on its prey. The meaning for Ukraine is clear: they trace their historical roots to Kievan Rus, so they adapted the coat of arm from the early princes of Kievan Rus.

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