Arms of Eferding, Austria


In use since at least 1900

Blazon: Argent a town gate and tower gules, counterchanged per pale

The gate and tower represents the town’s early status as a fortified city, dating back to 1167. Some depictions also have a “wild man” as a supporter, referencing an old legend where a tailor and his assistants built a terrifying horned and clawed monster out of straw in order to scare away robbers who had besieged the town.

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 Börstingen, Germany


In use since at least 1973

Blazon: Gules three arrows bendwise, points in chief argent

It sounds like Börstingen had its own noble family from probably the late thirteenth century through around 1413, though it’s not clear whether the lords of Börstingen had their own arms. The village then passed to the lords of Wehingen in 1522, then to Ehingen, and to the Rassler von Gamerschwangs in the late 1600s. The arms that I can find for these families don’t bear much resemblance to the village’s, though it could be worth mentioning that the town of Ehingen bears barry of six gules and argent. The visual similarities could point to a relationship between the two arms, or they could be purely coincidental.

Arms of Richard de Cornwall


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Argent on a fess sable three bezants

I’m about 90% sure that this doesn’t refer to Richard of Cornwall, son of King John, partly because the timeline doesn’t quite line up (he died in 1272, so that would put the Dering Roll on the very earliest edge of the estimated composition), but mostly because we have contemporary evidence that he bore argent a lion rampant gules crowned or within a bordure sable bezanté. I find it hard to imagine that the author of the Dering Roll would’ve fumbled the arms of a member of the royal family that badly. (They’re not the Burkes, after all.)

However, Richard did have an illegitimate son (also named Richard). He definitely wouldn’t have inherited his father’s arms, due to the illegitimacy, but… if he just so happened to be granted arms that had some visual overlap with his father’s, then what could anybody do about it? It’s also worth noting that Sir Richard’s daughter married into the Howard family, and her descendents became the Dukes of Norfolk.

Arms of Tarn-et-Garonne, France


In use since at least 2007 (through 2014?)

Blazon: Per quarterly I gules a lion rampant guardant or (Rouergue), II per quarterly i and iv azure a lion rampant argent, ii and iii gules a garb or banded azure (Gascony), III gules a cross of Toulouse or (Languedoc), IV gules a lion passant guardant or armed and langued azure (Aquitaine or Guyenne)

It seems that these arms were previously borne by the General Council of Tarn-et-Garonne as recently as 2010. The department was formed by taking some territory from each of the former provinces that appear in the arms, which I quite like. The “General Council” was renamed to the “Departmental Council” in 2014, which apparently came with a branding update. They don’t seem to actively use these arms anymore. If you’re wondering if Robert Louis proposed an alternative, he absolutely did! His version cut out Rouergue and Gascony in favor of placing the lion of Aquitaine in chief and the cross of Toulouse in base – on a field gules, of course.

Arms of Eunydd ap Gwenllian

14 - Efuydd ap Gwenllian

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

“Founder of the XIV. Noble Tribe. Quarterly, first and fourth, gu. a lion ramp. or; second and third, az. betw. three nags’ heads erased ar. a fesse or.”

Obviously, the illustration only shows the first quarter of the arms, for some unfathomable reason. (Pity; I kind of wanted to see the artist’s interpretation of three nags’ heads.) Assuming that he existed – which is always an assumption with the “Noble Tribes” – poor Eunydd’s genealogy is hopelessly mangled. One eighteenth-century source has him as the son of “Gwenllian,” although both of the most famous Gwenllians in Welsh history had, respectively, no children, and no sons named Eunydd. The nags’ heads allegedly come from his mother via her father, Rhys ap Marchen, which is completely unverifiable. It’s possible this Eunydd is intended to be one Eunydd ap Gwerngwy ap Gwrgeneu, who would have lived around 1165 or 1170, or potentially a conflation of multiple people with the same first name.

Arms of Edt bei Lambach, Austria

Edt bei Lambach

Granted 1980

Blazon: Vert on a fess in base argent two torteaux each charged with a cross paté, in chief a turbine or

The wind turbine is a legacy from the American occupation of the area after World War II, when several were built for extracting groundwater. Only one remains today. The crosses represent two former churches in the localities of Mairlambach and Mernbach, and the green field symbolizes the predominance of forests and fields in the region.

Arms of Bologna, Italy


Granted 2015

Blazon: Argent a lion rampant bearing a double-headed spear azure, flying a banner tierced per fess vert, the first, and gules emblazoned with the motto “Liberta” of the last

The tinctures and stylization are different than the former arms (granted 1933), but the general symbology is basically the same. The lion rampant (which apparently symbolizes the people?) is drawn from the 1831 seal of the Provisional Government of Bologna, which later evolved into the United Province of Central Italy. Presumably, that is where the tricolor flag comes from, while the “Liberta” motto is from the arms of the city of Bologna. (I should point out that this Bologna is a “metropolitan city,” closer to a province than an actual city or municipality.)

Arms of Bodelshausen, Germany


In use since at least 1987

Blazon: Per fess gules a lion passant or and of the last an antler fesswise sable

While I don’t have any direct information on the arms, it seems reasonable to assume that the antler in the base half is drawn from the arms of Württemberg, which is the municipality’s state. I’d speculate that the lion is from the arms of the von Ows, who ruled the area around the 13th-15th centuries. The von Ows bore per fess or a lion passant gules and azure, which seems awfully close to the lion in these arms. Of course, it’s possible it’s just a coincidence.

Official Birthday of the British Monarch

United Kingdom

Today (ed. yesterday, due to technical issues) is the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. It’s not the day she was actually born, but an official holiday. The tradition of two birthdays was started by Edward VII. His actual date of birth was in November, which is not the best time for a public celebration. So he opted to pick a day in June that would hopefully have less terrible weather. Most British monarchs whose birthdays fell during the less pleasant months followed the tradition.

The arms borne by Elizabeth II do not differ significantly from those borne by Victoria; the one major difference is the Irish harp is now a plainer form rather than the older winged woman. Elizabeth made the change in 1952 due to personal preference.

The three basic elements of England, Scotland, and Ireland have shared a shield (albeit often with other arms) since the personal union of James I and VI in 1603. This is also, not coincidentally, around the same time that the line of monarchs began using different arms in Scotland; James bore per quarterly I and IV Scotland, II per quarterly France and England, III Ireland. The current royal arms of the United Kingdom take the same form in Scotland, with the omission of the French arms. (For the record – the British monarchs did not yield their claim to the French throne, or their use of the French arms, until 1801, which is still remarkable to me.)

The Scottish version of the achievement also transposes the lion and the unicorn supporters, placing the Scottish unicorn on the dexter (more prominent) side and adding an imperial crown. The supporters also bear banners of their respective nations’ crosses; St. Andrew (azure a saltire argent) for Scotland, and St. George (argent a cross gules) for England. Finally – although there are numerous other small differences – the crest on the Scottish version is a lion sejant affronté gules armed and langued azure, royally crowned holding in the dexter paw a sword and in the sinister a sceptre, all proper.

I don’t want to go into too much depth on Hanover’s incorporation into the national arms, since I’ve already covered those monarchical variations in pretty significant depth while walking through the Burkes’ royal armory, but suffice to say that between 1714 and 1837, the British arms included either a quarter or an escutcheon of pretense with the arms of Hanover, to reflect the kings’ titles in the Holy Roman/Austrian Empire. It is specifically the kings who used the Hanoverian arms, since by definition, a woman could not inherit the land – and when Victoria became queen in 1837, she didn’t, which gives us nearly the same arms Elizabeth II uses today.