Arms of Dölsach, Austria

Dolsach

Granted 1970

Blazon: Azure a Corinthian capital argent

The capital (decorative top part of a column) was adopted in honor of the Roman city of Aguntum. Part of the ruins of the city lie within Dölsach, and the town hosts some of the archaeological finds in a museum. It was a thriving trade town until it fell victim to first the Huns, and then a succession of Western European tribes, including the Ostrogoths. What remained of the city was rediscovered in 1882.

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!

Spain

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 Calabria, Italy

Calabria

Granted 1992

Blazon: Per saltire or and argent; in chief a larch pine eradicated vert, in dexter a cross paté pommettée of eight, in sinister a cross potent sable, in base a Doric capital azure

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that every one of these charges has a specific symbolic and/or historical meaning. The pine tree is both a common species in the region (Pinus nigra laricio, if you’re curious) and a symbol of the region’s natural beauty. The capital is, unsurprisingly, a reference to the area’s legacy as part of Magna Graecia. The dexter cross is representative of the time the region spent as part of the Byzantine Empire, and the sinister cross represents Bohemond I of Antioch and those who accompanied him on the First Crusade. (Bohemond was the son of the count of Apulia and Calabria before he headed off to the Holy Land and founded his own principality.)

The dexter cross seems to be described variously as a Greek cross (no), pommé (sort of?), and a Byzantine cross (maybe, if there was any kind of consensus as to what that means). I don’t think any of those accurately describe what’s depicted here, so I did my best to describe it with the terms I’m familiar with. (In case you can’t tell, I borrowed some of the language from the traditional description of a cross of Toulouse.) The sinister cross is almost definitely supposed to be a cross potent, due to the reference to Jerusalem, but it seems to be drawn more like a very weird cross crosslet.

Arms of Villamayor de Calatrava, Spain

Villamayor de Calatrava

Granted 1984; possibly in use since 1576

Blazon: Or a stone column* proper on a base vert, in chief a cross of Calatrava gules

Obviously, these are partly canting arms, but I’m more intrigued by the stone column. One of the sources I found implies that these arms are significantly older and, moreover, that there was actually a column in the town square in the 16th and 17th centuries. It seems the column was demolished sometime before 1639, but I have no idea why. It also seems that the original use of these arms dates back to around the same time, and putting a local landmark on municipal arms is an extremely common practice.

*I know, but I’m trying very hard to be mature about it, and the… distinctive shape seems to be unique to this particular depiction

Arms of Puebla del Príncipe, Spain

Puebla del Principe

Granted 1986

Blazon: Per pale vert a castle triple-towered or windowed azure and argent a cross of Santiago gules, pointé in base azure from a base proper a column argent

The Order of Santiago took possession of the region around the town in 1186, ultimately using it as a military basis during the Reconquista. They were formally granted ownership in 1243; this is likely the source of the cross of Santiago. I can only speculate that the column is a reference to the many local ruins from Roman times.

Arms of Lezuza, Spain

Lezuza

In use since at least 1991

Blazon: Gules a castle triple-towered or windowed azure between the pillars of Hercules argent, capitals and bases of the second, intertwined with two banners of the third, charged with the mottos on the dexter “Non Plus” and on the sinister “Ultra”* of the second, in base a stone road leading to the castle door in perspective of the fourth, thereupon six crows close in fess sable, in chief two heads couped and nimbed proper, all within a bordure of the fourth charged with the motto “Colonia Libisosanorum”** of the fifth

*Nothing further beyond

**Libisosa, an ancient city in the region. Ptolemy and various others refer to it in their writings.