Liberté, Egalité, Sororité

2004, Entente Cordiale, Commemorative Crown
One of the beneifts of social media that I appreciate is the ease with which I can keep in touch with news and stories from France. I have a particular interest in Le Berry in the Région Centre and so will often browse to the local edition of newspapers.  Recently a story caught my attention in Le Berry Republicain.  A statue had been found in a clearing in an estate in the Sologne. It used to belong to a factory in Vierzon but had been moved when new owners took over in the 1960s. The statue was referred to as La Française and it made me think of my favourite French symbol - Marianne.  Although the French flag is the only official symbol for France, Marianne embodies the values of the nation.  She has two sides to her character - the angry warrior on the Arc de Triomphe or the sower, scattering potential, as depicted on French coinage and stamps.
The newspaper article refers to the Roman goddess, Cérès - symbol of motherhood and agricultural abundance, and the link with Marianne as sower is obvious.
In Britain, Brittania has also come to symbolise the country although I have not seen her portrayed in the duality of the warrior-sower.
In 2004, the Royal Mint struck a £5 coin - a crown - to mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France. I have one of the coins and much admire the artistic device of bringing together Marianne and Brittania.
Marianne wears her bonnet phrygien, itself a symbol of freedom from slavery - Liberty. She carries her sower's pouch ready to scatter a fistful of seeds. For her part, Brittania strikes the warrior pose.
Although the two are linked, there is a clear separation between them - Liberty.
Together in the round, neither takes prominence - Equality.
A feminine circle, a sisterhood - Sorority.

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