Arms of Drasenhofen, Austria

Drasenhofen

Granted 2001?

Blazon: Per bend or azure an eagle displayed of the last and gules an eagle displayed and crowned argent

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information out there about these arms. The most useful thing I can do is point to the Fünfkirchen family, who were prominent in the area for several centuries – at least from the mid-fifteenth century through the end of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1804. They bore per pale, per fess argent and azure, and or. This might be the source of the tinctures in the dexter half of the shield, but I have absolutely nothing to back that up.

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Liechtenstein National Day

Today marks the 79th Liechtenstein National Day since the holiday was established in 1940. The date reflects both the feast of the Assumption of Mary and (almost) the birthday of Franz Josef II, who was the prince in 1940. (After he died in 1989, they just decided to keep the same day going forward.) The national arms of Liechtenstein are, unsurprisingly, the same as the arms of the House of Liechtenstein, and they have been unchanged since the union of the regions of Vaduz and Schellenberg in 1719. The arms consist of six separate coats (four quarters, a point in point, and an escutcheon). So, let’s go section by section on this. Buckle in, folks; this is gonna be a long one.

(Also, fair warning – this is going to deal very heavily with the family history, and not so much with the national history. That’s where the arms come from, and that’s kind of why I’m here.)

Liechtenstein

The first quarter is fairly easy: the duchy of Lower Silesia, or an eagle displayed sable armed and langued gules, crowned of the field, charged with a cross couped issuant from a crescent argent. Occasionally, the cross will be paté and/or the crescent will terminate in trefoils (treflée); these ornamentations are more common on Czech versions of the arms. (If you’re familiar with the Czech Republic, you may notice that the Lower Silesian eagle appears on its arms as well.) It seems likely that the Silesian coat of arms ended up with the Liechtensteins by way of Elizabeth Lucretia, Duchess of Cieszyn, who inherited the duchy from her brother Friedrich Wilhelm (of course it’s a Friedrich Wilhelm) while she was married to Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Technically, he probably would only have been entitled to use this quarter until 1653, when the duchy reverted back to the Habsburgs, but no one seems to have cared too much. I guess you could also make an argument that the acquisition of additional Silesian territory made the bearing of the quarter more or less accurate.

The second quarter is… tricky. It’s supposed to be the arms of the Kuenringer family (barry or and sable), as Johann VI Kuenringer died without issue in 1594, and Ferdinand II granted their arms to the Liechtensteins in 1620. However, adding the ducal coronet (sometimes blazoned as a chaplet of rue) makes these look a hell of a lot like the arms of Saxony instead. As far as I can tell, the Liechtensteins never had much to do with Saxony. I did find a source that said there are minor differences in the blazon that distinguish Saxony from Kuenringer – Saxony is barry of ten or and sable, a ducal coronet embowed vert, while Kuenringer is barry of eight or and sable, a ducal coronet vert. I’m a bit skeptical of this, since I can find lots and lots of depictions of Kuenringer without the coronet, and none with it (that aren’t affiliated with Liechtenstein.) It’s not an impossible explanation, but it has the slight ring of trying to cover a mistake. However, if it is a mistake, it’s a mistake enshrined in law, so there’s not much to be done about it.

The third quarter is somewhat easier – per pale argent and gules, the arms of the Duchy of Troppau. We know exactly when the Liechtensteins took control of this territory – Emperor Matthias of Habsburg granted it to Karl I in 1614. Evidently, the Protestant inhabitants of the duchy were not thrilled with their new Catholic leader, but after the Battle of White Mountain, it became clear the Liechtensteins weren’t going anywhere. They continued to hold the land until it was incorporated into Czechoslovakia in 1918, and the royal family still holds the formal title “Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf.” (We’ll get to Jägerndorf in a minute.)

The fourth quarter (or a harpy sable, head and breast argent, armed and crowned of the field) looks like a tincture-swapped version of the Cirksena arms. The Cirksenas ruled the counties of Rietberg and East Frisia. The Liechtensteins got the title to Rietberg (and presumably the arms) as a result of Gundakar’s other marriage to Agnes, daughter of Enno III of East Frisia. (They didn’t get it until 1848, though, when the last of the Kaunitz family died out; the Kautnizes succeeded the Cirksenas in 1699.) Quick blazoning note – I do find it interesting that the same figure is a “harpy” in English blazon, and a Jungfrauenadler or “maiden eagle” in German blazon. Slightly different connotations there!

Next up: the point in point, holding the arms of Jägerndorf, which are azure a bugle stringed or. Jägerndorf was also granted to Karl I, this one by Ferdinand II in 1623. Karl consolidated the two territories into the Duchy of Troppau-Jägerndorf, and his family held the duchy until 1918.

Finally, the escutcheon per pale or and gules are the actual arms of the Liechtenstein family themselves, minus all their possessions and the rest of their titles. As far as I can tell, these go back at least to Karl I, the first Prince of Liechtenstein, and probably back further into the family’s baronial history. I can’t prove their antiquity beyond 1614, but honestly, four centuries is still really old.

If you have noticed that the arms do not actually feature Vaduz and Schellenberg, you would be correct! The County of Vaduz bore gules a gonfanon argent, and the Lordship of Schellenberg bore barry of four sable and or. Both of these coats became obsolete upon the creation of the state of Liechtenstein. This is not especially surprising, given that the creation was highly politically motivated – no one was going to waste time on creating brand new arms when the newly elevated princes already had a perfectly good and prestigious-looking coat.

Arms of the First French Empire

First French Empire

In use 1804 – 1814

Blazon: Azure an eagle displayed, wings inverted, reguardant and holding in its claws a lightning bolt or

This is the second-last variation on French national arms before we start on geographical arms, because how do you not talk about Napoleon? As a scion of a Tuscan noble family, he did actually have family arms (gules two bendlets between as many molets of five points or) which he was entitled to bear as a private citizen, but, well, Napoleon. To be fair, though, instituting a new national coat of arms after such a drastic regime change is pretty standard in European history. The selection of the eagle, especially holding the thunderbolt, was intended to invoke the ancient Roman empire and the god Jupiter. It’s probably also worth mentioning the bees on the mantle supporting the arms; they were intended as a reference to the ancient monarchs of France, as golden bees were found in the tomb of Childeric I, who founded the Merovingian dynasty in 457.

Arms of Mössingen, Germany

Mossingen

Granted 1952

Blazon: Sable a bend wavy between in chief three escutcheons in pile argent, charged with 1 three antlers fesswise in pale, 2 two quarters, and 3 an eagle displayed of the field; in base a fountain of the second

The bend wavy represents the river Steinlach, while the fountain represents the local sulfur springs. The tinctures, as well as the second of the escutcheons in the dexter chief, refer to the house of Hohenzollern, which ruled the city until the early 15th century, when it was mortgaged to the house of Württemberg. The two houses continued fighting over the territory until 1441, when Württemberg finally won out. (Their arms are displayed on the first escutcheon in the dexter chief.) The final escutcheon shows the arms of Fürstenberg, and the arrangement of the three escutcheons represents the nearby mountain Dreifürstenstein, which borders the three territories of Hohenzollern, Württemberg, and Fürstenberg. There are also some representations of the arms that only show three escutcheons, without the details depicted here, which, though incomplete, would have been considerably easier to blazon.

 

Arms of Anne of Bohemia

Anne of Bohemia
Queen of England 1382-1394 (1366-1394)

From p104 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per quarterly I and IV per quarterly i and iv azure three fleurs-de-lis or (France), ii and iii gules three lions passant guardant or armed and langued azure (England); II and III per quarterly i and iv or a double-headed eagle displayed sable armed and langued gules (Holy Roman Empire), ii and iii gules a lion rampant argent*

*Ferne describes this last coat as “the coate belonging to her family and house,” which does seem to be accurate. However, these arms seem to have originated with Anne’s grandfather, John the Blind, who quartered them with the more customary arms of Luxembourg (barry argent and azure a lion rampant double-queued gules armed, langued, and crowned or). He may have chosen to invert the tinctures of the ancient arms of the Dukes of Limburg, his ancestral line.

Torquatus points out, correctly, that this arrangement of the arms implies that Anne was an heiress, which she was not. Paradius (Ferne’s mouthpiece character) concedes the point, admitting that this arrangement is rare, but goes on to argue that this is a legitimate configuration of arms, since it is essentially the customary impalement of the arms of a married couple counterchanged by fess.This claim is dubious at best.

Arms of the House of Petrucci

Petrucci

In use since 1413? (possibly earlier)

Blazon: Bendy dancetty or and azure, on a chief of the first an eagle displayed sable

The Petruccis ruled Siena from 1487 until 1529. The name is allegedly derived from the small stature of the founder of the house, Pietro d’Altomonte, who was called by the diminutive Petruccio. The eagle in the arms may be derived from the Marescotti coat of arms, as Pietro married Giulia Marescotti.

Arms of the House of Montefeltro

Montefeltro

In use since 1444?

Blazon: Bendy of six azure and or, on a chief of the last a double-headed eagle displayed sable, armed and crowned of the second

Around 1140, the family came into possession of a castle on the hill Mons Feretrius (Hill of Jupiter Feretrius), from which the family name is derived. It seems likely that they began using the eagle in their arms (sometimes on a chief, as seen here, and sometimes on one of the bends) when they were appointed Dukes of Urbino in 1444.