Arms of Côte-d’Or, France


Designed before 1965

Blazon: Or a chief per pale azure semé de lis of the first within a bordure gobony argent and gules and bendy of six of the first and second and a bordure of the fourth

These are another unofficial Robert Louis creation, but they do look good. These are almost identical to the arms of Saône-et-Loire, with the same chief of Touraine and Burgundy. You’re probably noticing a pattern here: the chief pays homage to former centers of regional power, and the main part of the shield refers to the name of the region (two palets wavy for the rivers of Saône and Loire, and or for… well, the “Gold Coast.”)


Fiesta Nacional de España

There are actually two important Spanish holidays on this date; the Fiesta Nacional, chosen to commemorate Christopher Columbus’ landing in the Americas, and the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar. The former might be more official, but the latter is apparently more popular culturally – understandable in a majority-Catholic country. She is the patron saint of the Civil Guard, and also of the region of Aragon, which provides a nice segue into discussing the Spanish national arms!


Blazon: Per quarterly, I gules a castle triple-towered or windowed argent (Castile), II argent a lion rampant purpre crowned or (León), III or four palets gules (Aragon), IV gules a chain in saltire, cross, and orle or, charged with a center point vert (Navarre); enté en point argent a pomegranate slipped, leaved, and seeded proper (Granada); overall in the fess point an escutcheon azure three fleurs-de-lis or within a bordure gules (Bourbon-Anjou)

Supporters: Two columns argent, capitals and bases or, standing on five waves azure and the first, the dexter surmounted by an imperial crown and the sinister the Spanish royal crown proper, and entwined with a ribbon gules charged with “Plus ultra” of the second

The current depiction of the arms was formally granted in 1981, but the individual elements are all very old. The first two quarters of Spain are the best counterargument I’ve ever seen against the idea that canting arms are somehow ‘lesser.’ (Canting arms are arms that are essentially puns on the name of the family, country, etc. – think mountains for Bergs, eels for Ellis, etc.) There’s a weird idea in some heraldic texts that canting arms are less “noble” than non-canting arms. But Spain features three coats of canting arms, beginning with the somewhat obvious Castile and León. 

Castile and León were two of the more powerful states in medieval Spain. They went back and forth between unified and not for a few centuries until they were formally unified under Ferdinand III in 1230. The lion and castle show up in a lot of Spanish arms, usually as quarters or smaller sections, although often the lion will be rendered gules instead of purpre. (Gules is a much more common and easily-rendered tincture in heraldry than purpre.)


The third quarter, the widely-used Bars of Aragon (not bars in the heraldic sense), joined the arms along with the Crown of Aragon when Isabel I of Castile – the several-times-great-granddaughter of Ferdinand III – married Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469. The pomegranate (the third canting element) was added shortly afterwards, perpetually enté en point, after the conquest of Granada was concluded in 1496 and it was added to the Spanish crown. 


It is with immense gratitude that I can skip over the two hundred years of Habsburg rule in Spain, because while their arms are mind-bendingly complicated, none of the several dozen coats with which the Spanish arms were combined stuck around. However, the kings of Spain used the title “King of Navarre” after the War of the League of Cambrai, and some of the variants of the Spanish arms (especially those used in Navarre) incorporated the chain figure, especially as an escutcheon. A smaller version of Navarre officially survived as an independent kingdom until they were incorporated into Spain in 1833, which is also when the Navarre arms start showing up as a full quarter in the Spanish royal arms.


The last of the current elements of the Spanish arms appear when Philip V inherited the Spanish throne in 1700. Philip was a Bourbon – specifically, of the cadet line of the dukes of Anjou. Because everyone in European royal circles was pretty inbred at this point, his arms as the King of Spain also included Austria, Burgundy, and Flanders, among others. However, he bore the arms of Anjou in an escutcheon, and that’s stuck around since then. My theory is that they’ve also stayed in the escutcheon due to the agreement laid out in the Peace of Utrecht that the French and Spanish crowns would never be unified. Because of that, the Spanish monarchs could only “pretend” to the French throne, and never have any territorial claim.


Finally, while the unique supporters aren’t quite canting, I think they’re worth a mention. They are, specifically, the Pillars of Hercules, which flank the Strait of Gibraltar, i.e. Spain’s gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. The motto “Plus ultra,” or “Farther beyond,” is a reference to the legend that the pillars were carved with “Non plus ultra” to warn seafarers to stay on the side of the strait without (as many) storms and sea monsters and other such dangers. The removal of the negative is a nice nod to Spain’s history as a seafaring and exploratory nation.

Arms of Drösing, Austria


Granted 1983; probably in use for much longer

Blazon: Azure a tower argent triple-gated sable charged with an escutcheon per fess of the field and gules, issuant from the partition line a demi-lion rampant double-queued of the second

I have absolutely no idea where these arms come from, but they do seem to be fairly old. While there was definitely an official grant in 1983, there’s also a very old-looking seal depicting the exact same arms. It was apparently used by Ulrich Diemsch, judge of “Drezzing,” and the spelling of the name seems to indicate a mid-fourteenth century origin. There are records of an “Eberhard von Dresing” as a vassal of the Kuenringer family around the end of the thirteenth century, but if he (or his descendents) bore arms, I couldn’t find them.

Arms of Emilia-Romagna, Italy


Granted 1989

Blazon: Per bend vert and argent, a chief wavy of the second

Of course this is the result of multiple twentieth-century competitions, because obviously it is. I’ll admit to being deeply annoyed by these arms, less because they’re not visually appealing (they are), but more because I don’t really know what to do with them. They just don’t read as arms to me; they read like a logo, which seems to have been the point of the contest. It’s a very different aesthetic feeling. I’m not entirely satisfied with how I’ve chosen to describe this in the language of blazon, because it’s not the kind of thing that blazon was intended to describe. But it’s specifically described and enshrined in law as Emilia-Romagna’s coat of arms, so here we are.

Arms of Eckenweiler, Germany


In use since at least 2007

Blazon: Azure a house with stepped roof argent, windowed sable on a base vert, on a chief or an antler fesswise sable

I don’t have a ton of information on these arms, probably at least partly due to the fact that Eckenweiler seems to be more of a suburb than a city in its own right. I’m guessing the oddly-shaped house is a reference to a specific local building, which is incredibly common in municipal arms. It could well be the village church; it’s apparently been around since 1789, and, as the only Protestant-majority district in the city, that seems remarkable enough to feature. (This particular bit of land belonged to the Duchy of Württemberg when Duke Ulrich converted his lands to Protestantism, rather than to the Catholic Austria.)

Arms of Doubs, France


In use since at least 2007

Blazon: Per fess wavy azure biletté and issuant from the partition line a lion rampant crowned or, armed and langued gules and of the second a fess wavy of the third

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig up much background on these arms; I’m not even completely sure they’re official. The chief half is clearly Franche-Comté, since it’s in that administrative region. The fess wavy in the base half could be a representation of the Doubs river, but I’m not especially confident in that.

Arms of Villanueva de San Carlos, Spain

Villanueva de San Carlos

Granted 1773

Blazon: Per fess azure three fleurs-de-lis or within a bordure gules and argent a cross of Calatrava gules

The arms in the chief half of the shield are those of Anjou in honor of Charles III of Spain – presumably the titular “Carlos.” His father, Philip V, was previously Duke of Anjou before he ascended to the Spanish throne in 1700. These arms are sometimes cited as “Bourbon,” but they are specific to the Spanish Bourbons. Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or (without the bordure or any other additional charges) are the arms of the senior (French) branch of the House of Bourbon, which fell from power when Charles X abdicated in 1830.