Arms of Aldea del Rey, Spain

Aldea del Rey

Granted 1968; in use since the 16th century

Blazon: Argent a cross of Calatrava gules between two keys in base pilewise sable

The arms of the town probably derive from its role as the residence of the clavero of the Order of Calatrava. This role was responsible for keeping the keys of the Order’s stronghold in the castle of Calatrava la Nueva.

There are a lot of things I really like about these arms, starting with the simple but striking design. Points for symmetry, sticking to the law of tincture, using a unique positioning of the keys, and minimal use of color. Extra points for having the charges tie into the area’s history; it’s much more subtle than canting arms, which (to me at least) makes it more interesting. And finally, extra bonus points for teaching me something neat about the structure of the Order of Calatrava.


Arms of Ilshofen, Germany


In use since 1594; granted 1954

Blazon: Argent on a base vert a representation of Justice blindfolded of the field, clad azure, robed gules, crined, shod, and bearing in the dexter hand a sword point in base and in the sinister hand a balance or

The first mention of the town dates to 1288. Around fifty years later, in 1330, it became a city with the right to build walls and establish a weekly market.

Oh man. This shit. Look, I understand wanting the personification of a particular virtue, or a saint or something, on your arms. But they take forEVer to blazon, since the clothes and the hair and the accessories all have to be specified, and how they’re holding the sword (there’s pretty much always a sword), and if they’re standing on something and and and. It’s perfectly acceptable armory; it just takes ages to describe properly.

All [princes] do ensign their Chapeau and helm with a Crown of flowers and crosses. And they are enabled by observation of Armory, to wear the like helm and Chapeau,
that the Duke or King doth wear.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p138

Arms of Breitenfeld am Tannenriegel, Austria

Breitenfeld am Tannenriegel

Granted 2006

Blazon: Per quarterly or and sable two pine trees issuant from a mount in base counterchanged

Since this community no longer exists as an independent entity (it merged with four other municipalities in 2015), I cannot find any information on these arms. Which is a pity, because that counterchanging is A+. I love when all the charges are counterchanged; it gives a nice sense of visual unity to the arms.

Arms of William FitzLel


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Sable crusilly three crescents argent

The name is also given elsewhere as Filiol; this individual may have had a daughter, Lady Sybil Filiol, who married Sir Giles de Fiennes.

So many of the Dering Roll arms are gorgeous, simple, and visually striking, and then there’s this. It’s not bad, per se, it’s just visually busy. Personally, I think a lot of the semé patterns work best on an uncharged field or ordinaries; putting more charges on top of them is just… a lot. The black-and-white helps mitigate that, though, and the crescents are a beautiful, classic charge. (I partly wonder if the cross/crescent combo is referring to the Crusades, but I think I just have Reconquista on the brain.)

Arms of Gerabronn, Germany


Granted 1902

Blazon: Per quarterly argent and sable, in the first and third a horse salient of the second

The arms are evidently derived from the black-and-white quarters of the Hohenzollerns, via the cadet branch of the family that ruled as Margraves of Brandenburg and Ansbach.

You know what, I don’t have anything to say about these. These are GREAT arms. Simple, clean charges, straightforward blazon, clear historical significance. The only way this could possibly be better is if there was some kind of weird ancient legend connected to the horse. If you know of a weird ancient legend about the horse, PLEASE TELL ME. Or if you know any weird ancient legends in general. I love weird ancient legends. Anyway, fantastic arms, 10/10, would absolutely paint on my shield before suffering an arrow wound and dying of sepsis weeks later.

Arms of Alcubillas, Spain


Granted 1967

Blazon: Per pale argent a cross of Santiago gules and of the last a castle triple-towered or, a crescent pendent of the first

Both the crescent and the cross of Santiago are likely due to the numerous times the town changed hands during the Reconquista. The first historical reference to the town, in 747, occurs on an Arabic map. Pope Lucius III subsequently granted the town to the Order of Santiago in 1181, but it was retaken by the Almohad Caliphate in 1191. It returned to the Order’s ownership in 1213. The castle may refer to a fortress that no longer exists.

There’s a part of me that really wants to read too much into the iconography of the castle being placed under the Islamic crescent rather than the Christian cross, and say that it’s a result of the town originally being under Islamic control, but a much larger part of me knows that’s probably bullshit. (But I want it to be true!)