Arms of Crotone, Italy


Granted 1996

Blazon: Per fess I azure six molets of eight points in fess 3 and 3, or; II per pale of the last an anchor sable, stock gules and vert seven sheaves of wheat of the second bound of the fourth

Despite the fact that these arms were granted relatively recently, I cannot find the original grant or any justification for the charges. The six stars are interesting, but I have no idea what they would stand for. I’d speculate the anchor refers to the shipping industry, and the wheat is probably a reference to the province’s nickname as “the granary of Calabria.”

Arms of Talheim, Germany


In use since at least 2010; possibly since 1971

Blazon: Per fess argent a leopard passant azure armed and langued gules, maned of the field and of the second, a plough of the first

I feel pretty safe saying that the leopard* is drawn from the arms of the noble family of Schenk von Stauffenberg, given that the town belonged to a branch of the family (Schenk von Andeck) from probably the late thirteenth century until they sold it to the von Stettens in 1433. Presumably the plough is a nod to the agricultural nature of the region, although I don’t know this for certain.

*Yes, that is in fact a leopard. I had to check the blazon. The hair around its face (I’m calling it a mane because I don’t know what else to say) makes me think it was potentially at one point intended to be a lion, but I’m afraid I don’t know for sure. Whatever it is, it’s going in my personal hall of fame of terrible heraldic art.

Arms of Ralph Daubeney


(c. 1214 – before 1292)

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Gules five fusils conjoined in fess argent

The Daubeney family would be much easier to research if they could settle on one way of spelling their surname, but that’s an occupational hazard of genealogical research in the Middle Ages. The Ralph featured here is likely the nephew who inherited the lands of Philip d’Aubigny, who went on crusade and died in Jerusalem in 1236. This means there is a beautiful contemporary example of the de Aubeney arms in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Philip was, at that time, the head of the family, so when he died, the undifferenced arms passed to Ralph as well.

(And yes – I found all of those spellings and more. Standardization of orthography is a great gift that we should all be thankful for, at least when trying to figure out who lived when.)

Happy Koningsdag!


“Koningsdag” translates to “King’s Day,” and marks the birthday of the current King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander. The celebration has its roots in the 1880s, when the government began celebrating the monarch’s birthday as a way of promoting national unity. (Amusingly, the first holiday was actually the Prinsessedag on August 31st, 1885; no one liked William III enough to celebrate his birthday.) 

Many attributes of the arms of the Netherlands are directly derived from those of the House of Nassau, since William I, the first king of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was of that house. The lion rampant, the field billette, and the tinctures are all directly derived from Nassau. The crown is an interesting case. The House of Nassau split into two branches in 1255 between the elder brother, Walram II and Otto I. At the time, Walram added a crown to the lion in his arms as a form of differencing. However, William I was not descended from the senior Walram line, but the junior Ottonian. The crown in the Dutch arms, like the sword and arrows, is borrowed from the former arms of the Dutch Republic.

The arms of the Dutch Republic (or a lion crowned gules armed and langued, holding in the dexter paw a sword and in the sinister seven arrows azure) came into use in 1584. The tinctures were swapped around near 1665 to be gules a lion crowned or armed and langued, holding in the dexter paw a sword and in the sinister seven arrows argent. The tinctures were from Holland, the most important of the provinces. The sword represented defense of liberty, the crown their newly-won sovereignty, and there was supposed to be one arrow per included province. This changed quite a bit, depending on how many provinces were members at any given time; although it eventually settled on 7 in 1606, the seal wasn’t officially updated until 1795. A shame they took so long, because the other thing that happened in 1795 was the Batavian Revolution, which established the Batavian Republic.

The only reason I can honestly say that the Batavian Revolution didn’t completely butcher the Dutch arms is because… the Batavian Republic didn’t actually use arms. They had an allegorical image of a “maiden of freedom,” which was apparently a resurrection of some of the nationalist symbology of the 16th-century Dutch Revolt. It did involve a lion, since that was now a well-established regional symbol, and a lot of Roman imagery, and a pole with a “cap of liberty.” It was mercifully short-lived. In a rare case of the Napoleons making sensible and visually attractive heraldic decisions, when the Kingdom of Holland formed in 1806, they quartered the Dutch Republican lion with the Napoleonic eagle, but that only lasted through 1810, when the kingdom was abolished. In 1813, the French (finally) got kicked out, and William – then the sixth Prince of Orange of that name – was proclaimed William I, Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands. He quartered the Dutch Republican lion with his personal arms, with Nassau (sans crown) in an escutcheon of pretense.

The Dutch arms took on their present form in 1815. Since the new United Kingdom of the Netherlands included territory that hadn’t been a part of the Dutch Republic, the former red-and-gold lion was no longer appropriate. Instead, William took the crown, sword, and arrows and added them to the lion of Nassau, resulting in the same arms the country uses today.

Arms of Maeloc Crwm


From Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1844)

“Lord of Llechwedd-Isaff and Creuddyn, in Carnarvon. Ar. on a chev. sa. three angels or.”

I cannot find any mention of the name “Maeloc Crwm” outside of the context of the “noble tribes” or the arms depicted above, so I’m even more skeptical than usual that this is a real person. Apparently Sir Thomas Chaloner, a politician and poet in the mid-sixteenth century, claimed descent from a “Maeloc Crwm.” It doesn’t appear Chaloner used arms resembling these, but many modern “genealogy” sites are happy to cite these as the Chaloner arms. (Someday, I should write up a full rant about those sites, but long story short – if they are based off last name only and want you to pay for any products with “your” coat of arms, they are very unlikely to be credible.)

Arms of Barchín del Hoyo, Spain

Barchin del Hoyo

Granted 1998

Blazon: Per pale gules a reel argent and of the last, a clay pot of the first

The exact word in the blazon for the dexter charge is rollo; I think it’s probably intended to be a spool, or the axle of a reel. My first assumption upon seeing the figure was a column, but that’s not borne out by the blazon. The clay pot may be intended to represent artifacts found in some of the local archaeological sites (dating to both the Iron Age and the Roman era), but sadly, I don’t have any further information.

Arms of Eckartsau, Austria


Granted 1980

Blazon: Per bend sinister sable a lion rampant argent and gules a pale of the second

Unfortunately, I don’t have any information at all on these arms. It’s possible the pale is an adaptation of the Bishopric of Regensburg’s arms (gules a bend argent), but I’m really stretching on that. (The only reason I’m speculating on that is because evidently the original lords of Eckartsau, who lived in the local castle, were vassals of the bishopric.)

Arms of Cosenza, Italy


Granted 1938

Blazon: Argent a cross potent sable

Once again, the cross potent sable is used here as an homage to Bohemond I of Antioch, one of the most prominent participants in the First Crusade. He founded the Principality of Antioch in 1098; it survived as an actual principality until 1268, although Bohemond’s heirs continued to use the title until 1457. Bohemond was born in Cosenza, so it makes sense to me that this province would use the undifferentiated and unquartered symbol. I should note, though, that the cross potent does not appear either in the arms of Bohemond’s house, de Hauteville, or the attributed arms of Antioch, which may or may not have ever been used.

Arms of Sulzau, Germany


In use since before 1973, possibly since the late 1800s

Blazon: Argent a vase holding five roses gules, slipped, leaved and seeded proper

I don’t have an exact date for this coat, but it must’ve been in use when it was incorporated in 1973, since Starzach specifically drew the roses in its coat of arms from Sulzau. I’m guessing at the 1800s date based on some documentation of the nearby Sulzau Castle, which at one point was the seat of the lords of Sulzau. Sadly, I can’t find any additional information on possible local nobles, but it is at least possible that they bore the above arms.

Arms of Alan de la Zouche

de la Zouche

(1267 – 1314)

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Gules bezanté

The de la Zouche arms are also sometimes described and depicted as gules ten bezants in pile or 4, 3, 2, 1, including on the Baron’s Letter. This is likely just a fairly typical variation before the practice and language of heraldry became more standardized.

De la Zouche himself inherited his father’s lands in 1289, close to the beginning of his military career. He served for quite some time in France and Scotland (including a moderately disgraceful episode in 1296, when his standard bearer was captured near Bordeaux). He shows up in several early rolls of arms, including the Caerlaverock Poem, which I really should cover someday. He was made a baron in 1299, but as he died fifteen years later with no male heirs, the barony quickly went into abeyance.