Arms of Ebensee, Austria

Ebensee

Arms of Ebensee, Austria

Granted 1929; in use since 1919

Blazon: Or chapé azure, water in base of the second and argent, issuant therefrom a mount, surmounted by a pine tree proper issuant from a base vert; in dexter chief, three baskets in pile reversed of the third, in sinister chief a pickaxe of the field; overall on a fess gules two dexter arms clasping hands in fess proper, vested of the field and sable

Oh. Oh no. This is definitely twentieth-century; you can tell from the multiplicity of complex charges that are specifically concerned with industry, as well as the fairly literal symbolism. This is kind of the heraldic definition of Doing Too Much. I know it’s been in use for over a hundred years, but this is just … not visually appealing at all. I’m sort of reluctant to explain all of the symbols, just because they’re so obvious, but I might as well. The pine tree stands for the local forests, the mount and the water stand for a nearby lake and mountain, the baskets and hammer refer to the salt mining industry, and the clasped hands represent the solidarity of the local workers, who absolutely deserve to be represented by something a little nicer than this.

Arms of Ebenfurth, Austria

Ebenfurth

Arms of Ebenfurth, Austria

In use since at least 1932, possibly since 1417

Blazon: Argent on a triple mount in base vert a stone tower proper, roofed gules, masoned sable, portcullis or, ported of the second a fess of the third, and charged with an escutcheon of the second a lion rampant or

Even the official town website doesn’t include anything about why these arms are the way they are. The escutcheon on the tower feels like it should belong to a specific family or region, but I can’t find any evidence of who it could be, and “gules a lion rampant or” is general enough that it might not refer to anyone or anything in particular. The tower bears a superficial resemblance to Ebenfurth Castle; it seems plausible that it’s a representation of that building. I’m very interested, but also puzzled, by the Austrian fess on the tower doors; I have no idea where that comes from!

Arms of Ebenau, Austria

Ebenau

Granted 1962

Blazon: Per pale gules a cross paté throughout argent and of the last a palet couped, terminating in chief with a bendlet sinister couped, and in base with a bendlet couped, crossed in the middle by three bars also couped, all gules.

The sinister half of these arms was tricky to blazon, but it also is a great opportunity to talk about house marks (Hausmarken). They hail primarily from Germanic and Scandanavian cultures. House marks do have some things in common with heraldry – they were intended to be unique and often (though not necessarily) represented families or municipalities. However, colors were irrelevant to house marks, and they weren’t granted by anyone’s authority; you could just make up your own as long as it was visually distinct. (There’s absolutely a class component here; coats of arms, which belonged almost exclusively to the upper classes, were/are considered more prestigious than the house marks of the lower classes.) Most house marks were made up of straight lines, the better to be scratched into a wide variety of surfaces. In many ways, they were similar to the merchant’s marks that presaged today’s brand logos, although house marks were more personal than commercial. The house mark in Ebenau’s arms belonged to the Steinhauser family, who founded a nearby bronze factory; the mining and armory industries were central to the local economy. The cross in the dexter half honors the local patron saint, St. Florian.

Arms of Eben im Pongau, Austria

Eben im Pongau

Granted 1968

Blazon: Argent a chevron wavy in chief two lozenges quarterly gules, all counterchanged per pale

I can’t quite tell if this is actually significantly better than most armory from the modern era, or if I’m really just a sucker for counterchanging, but either way, I find these arms very visually satisfying. There’s a bit of history there, too – the colors, counterchanging, and “faceted” lozenges come from Admont Abbey, which had possession of the town in the Middle Ages. The two halves of the chevron each represent one of the rivers that makes up the local watershed – the Salzach and the Enns.

Arms of Eben am Achensee, Austria

Eben am Achensee

Granted 1972

Blazon: Sable two points dexter and sinister azure, a Kandele argent

The black-on-blue evidently represents the mountains surrounding the valley town and its lake. I have no idea what a Kandele translates to in English. It’s apparently a symbol of the local saint, Notburga – which explains why it’s featured, but not what on earth it is. It seems like Notburga is mostly associated with agricultural products and the sickle, neither of which quite fit with this charge. If anyone has any information on what this could be, I’d welcome it!

Arms of Ebelsberg, Austria

Ebelsberg

Granted 1938; roughly similar versions in use since 1554

Blazon: Per fess argent a demi-wolf rampant issuant from the partition line and holding in the forepaws a fish of the field and azure a triple mount in base or.

This is tricky. In different depictions of the town’s arms, the tinctures and the chief charge are different. In both an 1809 and 1932 version, the wolf is a boar sable, and the triple mount in base is also sable. However, the oldest version of the arms (a seal dated 1554) shows a wolf. It seems like in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the boar was used instead as a canting element (Eber), but it doesn’t seem to have been official. The mountain (Berg) is also canting.

Arms of Ebbs, Austria

Ebbs

Granted 1972

Blazon: Argent a chevron gules, in base a horse’s head couped sable

The chevron is apparently drawn from the medieval arms of the Lords of Ebbs, though I could not find an example of their arms. The horse head is both a formerly canting element – the Roman name of the town translates roughly to “horse river” – and a reflection of the importance of horse breeding in Ebbs. Haflingers are a popular breed in the region, and the Fohlenhof has been an established stud since 1947.