A five-petal rose is a mark of not only the town of Český Krumlov and the Rožmberk rulers (which translates to “Lords from the Rose Mountain”). It is actually a symbol found all over South Bohemia, albeit in many different colour combinations.
There are five colour combinations in total, and local legend explains this in the following way: A nobleman called Vítek split his property between his five sons, each of which was also assigned their own coat of arms. All of the coats of arms had the five-petal rose on them. The oldest son, Jindřich, received a golden rose in a blue field and the lands of Hradec and Telč. Vilém was given a silver rose in a red field, with the lands of Landštejn and Třeboň. Smil was given a blue rose in a golden field and the lands of Stráž and Bystřice. Vok kept his father’s coat of arms, a red rose in a white field, and became the ruler of Rožmberk and Český Krumlov. Finally, the unmarried Sezima had to make do with a black rose and the tiny land of Ústí.
Some proof actually backs this legend from historical documentation, and it was apparently a reminder to the different sons never to split their land up further. After this, they adhered to the principle of primogeniture, which means that the oldest son gets everything and other sons are subservient. This allowed them to become the most powerful family in Bohemia and, in 1501, a law was passed declaring them as “first in the country after the king.”
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