Camargue Cross (Cross of the Cowherds)

The Camargue Cross is the emblem of the church of Saints Maries-des-la-mer* in Camargue, in the South of France. This unusual cross is composed of three emblems, an anchor, a cross, and a heart, traditional emblems of the three cardinal virtues of hope, faith, and charity, respectively.

The unusual shape of the upper cross is representative of the trident-shaped tool used by the Gardians, the ubiquitous bull-herders (cowboys) who make up a large part of Camargue’s cultural legacy. The anchor does double duty, symbolizing the fishermen of the region.

*Literally, “Marys of the Sea.” The local tradition is a holdover from twelfth century legends of the voyages of the three Marys of the New Testament- Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary, sister of Lazarus, and Mary Magdalen.

Related Symbols:

Anchor Fish

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marie-therese Whiting November 7, 2017 at 8:14 pm

I had never seen this before and have brought a number of them home as gifts for people who appreciate France.

Francoise Holmgaard May 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

The correct spelling is Saintes Maries de la mer not Saints (e between the t and s because it is about several Maries/feminin and “de” not “des” because it is 1 sea (singular)

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