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 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 Nehren, Germany

Nehren

Granted 1909

Blazon: Gules a chevron argent

It looks like the town of Nehren adopted the arms of the von Nehrens, a noble family who ruled in the area from at least 1305 through 1441. The arms allegedly originated with a Lescher family, but I can’t find any solid evidence for that. (I’ve found plenty of records of Leschers, but none with an associated blazon or depiction of arms.) Nehren’s website does feature a lovely depiction of their arms in begonias; one of the advantages of simpler arms.

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 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 Veneto, Italy

Veneto

Arms of Veneto, Italy

Granted 1975

Blazon: Azure the sea proper in base surmounted by a rocky mountain also in base, thereon a winged lion passant and nimbed, the dexter forepaw resting on an open book all proper emblazoned with PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEUS sable

The Lion of St. Mark has been a symbol of Venice and the surrounding area going back to at least 1261, possibly earlier. The legend goes that St. Mark was shipwrecked in the Venetian lagoons when an angel in the form of a winged lion appeared and proclaimed “Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum.” (Peace to you, Mark, my evangelist. Your body will rest here.) Later authorities claimed the lion was a symbol of majesty, the book stood for wisdom, and the halo for piety, but this sounds very much like the sort of post hoc rationalization that was common in later centuries.

Arms of Mössingen, Germany

Mössingen

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.