Arms of Ferrara, Italy


Granted 1938

Blazon: Tierced per pall I per fess sable and argent; II per fess azure a bend embattled counter-embattled between six molets in bend 3 and 3 or and argent a shrimp palewise gules, on a chief of the first a label of four points of the fourth interspersed with three fleurs-de-lis of the second; III or a flounder palewise proper

These arms look pretty wild, but the principle behind them is fairly straightforward. They’re just a combination of the arms of the three largest cities: Ferrara in chief, Cento to the dexter, and Comacchio to the sinister. Just a couple of blazon notes: generally speaking, embattled counter-embattled would have the protrusions on one side line up with the indentations on the other, and the number of points on the molets is not specified in the original blazon, which is why I have omitted it here. Also, please enjoy the hieroglyphic shrimp and baffled-looking flounder on this depiction of the arms.

Arms of Bieringen, Germany


In use since at least 1972

Blazon: Azure a bend wavy argent between a molet of six points or and a fleur-de-lis in bend of the second slipped and leaved proper

Sadly, I don’t have much information on these arms. Technically, the figure in base is only referred to as a lily, but the depiction here (as well as on the town’s official web page) is remarkable; fleurs-de-lis do not, to my eye, bear much resemblance to actual lilies. Evidently the artist disagrees.

Arms of Gweirydd ap Rhys Goch

Rhys Goch

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

“Lord of Tal Ebolion, in Angelsey. Arg. on a bend sa. three lions’ heads cabossed of the first.”

There isn’t any record of someone named Gweyrydd ab Rhys Goch until – surprise, surprise – the late eighteenth century. He also tends to pop up only in relation to lists of the fifteen tribes, so that’s obviously problematic. Another red flag: most of the sites that include his name and arms would like you to please pay for a Complete Record of Your Own Family History! (I have longstanding beef with these sites, which I will not go into right now. There’s an argument to be made that they are doing basically the same thing as the bards and genealogists of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries – give us money, and we’ll explain how your family is super noble and ancient and respectable! Which is fine, I guess, but don’t confuse vanity with truth.) I think I have to chalk this one up as another post hoc genealogical invention.

Arms of Teramo, Italy


Granted 1938

Blazon: Gules a bend between two crosses botony argent

I am a little ticked off that there seems to be so little background on such beautiful and visually appealing arms. I did find some versions that have the bend emblazoned with the Latinized version of the name, “Teramum,” but that’s not mentioned in the 1938 decree, so I’m fairly confident in leaving it off. The decree, however, didn’t seem to feel the need to explain where the design came from. It seems like in the 1920s, the province was using per bend argent, thereon “Teramo” sable, or and gules, two crosses couped counterchanged, so the current design is probably at least partly adapted from that.

Arms of Eure, France


Designed around 1950

Blazon: Per fess gules two lions passant guardant in pale or and azure semé de lis or a bend gobony argent and gules

I’m… starting to think Robert Louis just kind of gave up with some of the Normandy departments. This is literally just the Normandy arms stuck together with an older version of the arms of Évreux, the main city. The counts of Évreux were a cadet branch of the Capetians from 1200 through 1584 – hence the arms, which are France ancien with the bend (presumably) for difference. The arms of the actual city and county of Évreux were updated in the 16th century, but I guess we’re going for an antique feel here. (The title was resurrected and granted to the house of La Tour d’Auvergne from 1605 through 1792, but by then, the arms were well-established. It currently belongs to Michel d’Orléans.)

Arms of Cynric Efell

Cynric Efell

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

Blazon: Gules on a bend argent a lion passant sable

Okay, this one’s interesting – I don’t have a lot of solid evidence, or even not-very-solid evidence, that someone with this name existed. It’s possible that the Burkes have just mangled the Welsh beyond all recognition, but it’s equally possible this was just made up. The only places I’ve found this guy cited are as the ancestor of specific families, which is… suspicious. He was apparently a son of Madog ab Maredadd (some sources try to weasel out of this by saying he was illegitimate) and one of a pair of twins, as well as the ruler of Eglwysegle (interesting spot in the former kingdom of Powys; not its own principality). This is a little more whole-cloth than the Burkes tend to be, but I suppose with the amount of almost-historical could-be-facts lately, they had to balance it out.

Arms of Mössingen, Germany


Granted 1952

Blazon: Sable a bend sinister wavy between in chief three escutcheons argent, the first charged with as many antlers fesswise in pale of the field, the second per quarterly of the second and the first, and the third charged with an eagle displayed of the field, and in base a fountain of the second

I really like this one! It’s maybe a little heavy on the representative elements (not everything has to stand for something), but the triple shields in the dexter chief are a nice touch. They symbolize a local mountain, the Dreifürstenstein, which touches the borders of Württemberg , Hohenzollern, and Fürstenberg – i.e. the three territories whose arms are shown here. I think it’s a clever and visually succinct way to convey that. Aside from that, the bend sinister represents the Steinlach river, which flows through the town, and the fountain stands for the local sulfur springs.

Arms of Kiebingen, Germany


Probably in use since 1987

Blazon: Gules on a bend argent a passion cross of the first

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to speculate that the passion cross may be derived from the town’s long history with the local Pauline monastery. It was founded as an hermitage in 1342, converted to a monastery in 1358, and seems to have been a significant influence on local politics until its dissolution in 1786. The building was demolished in the 19th century, but the site is still marked by – yep, you guessed it, a cross.

Arms of Creuse, France


In use since at least 2006

Blazon: Azure semé de lis or, on a bend gules three lioncels rampant argent

Again, I’m unsure of the official status of these arms, but they are a reincarnation of the arms of the county/province of La Marche. The boundaries of the former county and the current department are nearly identical, so it’s understandable the two would end up conflated. La Marche kept ending up in the hands of the French crown and/or the Bourbons, so I’m guessing that’s where both the fleurs-de-lis and the bend gules come from; compare the arms of the Dukes of Bourbon. The lioncels were probably added for difference.

Arms of Lazio, Italy


Granted 1984

Blazon: On an octagon vert charged with another argent, thereon another gules, a saltire party of five; in the center point per pale gules and azure an eagle displayed with wings inverted and crowned argent (Rome); in the dexter chief azure a lion rampant or holding a dagger azure, in chief two branches of oak and laurel ensigned by a circlet, in base two cornucopias conjoined in base, all proper (Frosinone); in the sinister chief, azure on a bend vert fimbriated or between in chief a tower on a mount in base proper and in base an anchor, three ears of wheat of the last (Latina); in the dexter base, gules between two bendlets or the letters SPQS, between each three annulets intertwined, all sable (Rieti); in the sinister base, per fess azure a lion passant guardant or on a base proper and gules a cross argent (Viterbo)

This is…. I don’t… okay. Okay, fine. I don’t have a good explanation for the octagon, or the arrangement of the arms in saltire, but okay. The eighties were a weird time, I guess. The thing is, the actual component coats are all pretty reasonable on their own, and it’s not uncommon for regional arms to incorporate the arms of their component cities/provinces/regions. (I plan on delving further into the individual provincial arms once we get to those provinces.) The arrangement here is just… something else. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it before.