Arms of Alcázar del Rey, Spain

Alcazar del Rey

Granted 2001

Blazon: Per pale azure a castle triple-towered or windowed gules and of the second, a crescent decrescent argent and a lion rampant of the second

The representation of the lion and the crescent moon don’t seem consistent; some depictions, as here, have the lion almost within the curve of the moon, and in others, it looks more like the lion is supporting the moon with its front paws. The dexter half of the shield is apparently a canting element, since alcázar is Spanish for a fortified castle. The sinister half replicates the arms of Huete, to which the town previously belonged. Allegedly, the lion represents the victory of the Christians over the Muslims (represented by the crescent) in the Reconquista, but I don’t have a good source for that theory.

Arms of Vienne, France

Vienne

Designed before 1965

Blazon: Gules a pale wavy argent surmounted by five castles triple-towered in saltire or

Yep, another Robert Louis! Which also makes me think these arms probably aren’t official. Unlike many other of Louis’ designs, this one does violate the law of tincture by placing one of the castles or on the pale argent; this could have been avoided by counterchanging, or making the center castle a different color. I don’t have a good idea of what the castles are supposed to represent, so I don’t know if there’s a reason for not doing that. It’s possible, maybe even probable, that the pale wavy is supposed to stand for the river Vienne which gives the department its name.

Arms of Alcantud, Spain

Alcantud

Granted 2003

Blazon: Gules on a bend sinister wavy argent between in chief a bridge of two arches and in base a castle triple-towered or two bendlets sinister wavy azure

It seems likely the bridge is a representation of a specific bridge in the area, but I can’t find any proof of this (or images of local bridges). It does sound like there are ancient Roman baths in the area, so that could be the source of the bendlets, but again, this is only speculation.

Arms of Lot-et-Garonne, France

Lot-et-Garonne

Granted 2003

Blazon: Per quarterly I gules in the dexter an eagle rising, wings addorsed and inverted, bearing in the talons a banner argent with the motto “Agen” sable, in the sinister a castle triple-towered, each tower flying a pennon or (Agen); II gules four towers conjoined at the base in cross by a cross paté argent, on a chief azure three fleurs-de-lis or (Marmande); III azure a sun in splendor or (Nérac); IV azure over water in base a bridge of five arches supporting three towers argent (Villeneuve-sur-Lot)

The four quarters each correspond to an important city in the region. I’ll probably cover each city in more detail when the time comes, but for now, four brief overviews: I don’t have a good explanation for the quarter of Agen, but it seems the eagle and castle were used since the mid-thirteenth century, when the city was granted a fair amount of self-rule and privileges. Marmande is a fortified town originally built by Richard I of England; the towers represent the four gates of the city, and the chief of France was granted by Charles VI in 1414. I’m not sure why Nérac has a sun, but Villeneuve-sur-Lot has used the depiction of its local bridge since 1547.

Arms of Joseph Antonio Manso de Velasco

Joseph Antonio Manso de Velasco

Count of Superunda (1688 – 1767)

(Submitted on Tumblr with the message “Merry Christmas!”)

Oh, this is spectacular! I don’t know how well this will go, but I’ll give it a shot! The sinister half of the arms are definitely those of the house of Velasco – I’m going to ignore this weird, weird interpretation of a “bordure of Castile and Leon” – but I couldn’t find anything on the dexter ones. (Admittedly, I haven’t had the time to dig quite as deep.) Given that they’re on the dexter, I suspect they were granted due to something he achieved in his lifetime (possibly the title Count of Superunda, of which he was the first bearer).

Blazon: Per pale, I per fess i per quarterly 1 gules a lion rampant or, 2 azure three towers or, 3 azure a crescent decrescent argent, 4 argent a tree eradicated proper surmounted by a hound (?) courant proper; ii per quarterly 1 and 4 sable a Paschal lamb passant argent, 2 and 3 azure two towers or*; II chequy of fifteen or and vair within a bordure gules charged with four castles azure and as many lions rampant combatant or, alternating (Velasco)

*I cannot quite make out the charge between them; could be a sun in splendor?

 

Arms of Alarcón, Spain

Alarcon

Granted 1991

Blazon: Gules a castle double-towered or windowed azure, in dexter chief a crescent and sinister chief a molet of eight points argent

Presumably, the castle in the arms is a reference to the castle of Alarcón. It was already an impressive fortification when the forces of Alfonso VIII captured it in 1184. By the 1700s, it was pretty run down, but it managed to survive, and was declared a site of cultural interest in 1992. There’s a legend about the sister of an ancient lord and a suitor she rejected; he schemed to murder her and her brother, but when he arrived at the castle in disguise, he was discovered and killed. The servants mixed his blood into the mortar for some repairs they were doing on the castle, which is allegedly why there are black and red spots in the mortar.

Arms of El Acebrón, Spain

El Acebron

Granted 2010

Blazon: Per quarterly, I or a holly branch proper fructed gules; II gules issuant from three bars wavy in base argent a castle proper between two serpents’ heads or respectant issuant from the sides of the shield; III vert on a bridge over water barry wavy in base argent and azure, two towers of the second, the dexter flying a flag of the last a saltire gules and the sinister supporting a ladder of the same; IV argent a cross of Santiago gules; overall in the fess point an escutcheon argent seven crowns 2, 2, 2, and 1 proper

The first quarter is evidently canting, acebo meaning “holly” in Spanish. The second and third quarters are apparently connected to the first lord of the town, Gaspar Ramírez de Vargas. I’m not entirely clear on whether they’re his family arms, or connected to him in some other way. (It’s unclear whether the snakes are related to The Mystery of the Snake Cauldrons, but probably not.) The seven crowns in the escutcheon are a reference to a mythical medieval battle that ostensibly took place at the nearby castle of Sicuendes, where seven counts were killed.