St. Stephen’s Day

Today is the feast day of St. Stephen of Hungary, the very first King of Hungary, canonized in 1083. (In addition to Hungary, he is also the patron saint of kings, masons, bricklayers, and severely ill children.) In honor of him and the nation he founded, I figured we’d take a look at their arms.

Hungary

The nation of Hungary bears per pale barry of gules and argent and of the first, a cross patriarchal paté of the second issuant from a crown upon three mounts in base all proper. I appreciate that it’s a union of old and new(er) arms, and the repeated gules and argent help give the arms a visual unity. 

The dexter arms, barry of eight gules and argent, were used by the Árpáds dating back to 1202. Supposedly, the four white stripes represent the four major rivers – the Danube, Tisza, Dráva, and Száva, which is just boring enough to be plausible. The explanation could just as easily be a post hoc rationalization, though. Depending on the particular ruler and who was drawing the arms, sometimes the red stripes were charged with lions of various positions (passant, respectant, etc.). There are also a few depictions that add linden leaves, such as the Golden Bull of 1222 displaying the seal of Andrew II.

The use of the patriarchal cross is only slightly younger than the bars; Béla IV used it on a royal seal around 1235. However, the mount doesn’t show up for another 35 years or so until the reign of Stephen V. The patriarchal cross was in fairly consistent use until the Catholic House of Anjou came to power in 1308. They impaled the arms of Hungary ancien with the azure semé de lis or of France. With the exception of Louis the Great, the patriarchal cross didn’t reappear in the royal arms until Władysław III in the 1440s. After that, Hungary ancien and Hungary moderne were both in fairly common use in various royal arms (please don’t make me talk about the Habsburgs, please don’t make me talk about the Habsburgs, you thought Liechtenstein was bad, have you seen some of the Habsburg arms?). The combination was popular enough that it was also used by republican governments, and it was reestablished as official in 1990. (From 1957 to 1990, the arms were tierced per fess gules, argent, and vert, which just seems like a cheap knockoff of Italy to me.)

Interestingly, what’s going on around the base of the cross in any particular version can tell you a lot about what was going on with the political situation of Hungary at the time. Louis the Great seems to have been the first to add the crown to the patriarchal cross, and it stuck around until the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. At that point, the crown was removed from the arms as a symbolic rejection of the monarchy, and replaced with a laurel wreath instead. Similarly, the First Hungarian Republic used the ancient-and-moderne combo, but without any crown at all. The crown didn’t really come back until the current version of the arms, and it sounds like it was a minor point of contention, but they obviously ended up going with the crown.

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Arms of Louis d’Appiani d’Aragon

Louis d'Appiani

(1533-1592)

Blazon: Per quarterly I and IV  lozengy argent and gules (Appiani), II and III per quarterly i and iv tierced per pale 1 barry of eight gules and argent (Hungary ancien), 2 azure semé de lis or (France ancien), and 3 argent a cross paté between four crosses or (Jerusalem), ii and iii or four palets gules (Aragon); overall a chief gules a cross argent (Savoy)

“Louis” appears to be Alfonso d’Appiani, brother of Jacopo VI. He seems to have been a military man, possibly serving under Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Arms of the House of Appiani of Aragon

Appiani of Aragon

In use since 1445?

Blazon: Per quarterly I and IV  lozengy argent and gules (Appiani), II and III per quarterly i and iv tierced per pale 1 barry of eight gules and argent (Hungary ancien), 2 azure semé de lis or (France ancien), and 3 argent a cross paté between four crosses or (Jerusalem), ii and iii or four palets gules (Aragon)

The alliance between the Appianis and the house of Aragon began (informally) in 1445, when Emanuele Appiani married Colia de’ Giudici, the illegitimate daughter of King Alfonso V of Naples. His great-grandson Jacopo V also married into the house of Aragon via Marianna of Aragon in 1510, though she died before she could bear any children.

Legendary arms of Joanna of Naples

Joanna of Naples

From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586) p222.

Blazon:  Per pale azure semé de lis or, a label of three points gules (Naples) and barry of eight argent and gules (Hungary ancien).

Unusually, Joanna bears her paternal arms on the dexter side of the shield, which was generally reserved for their husbands’ arms. The sinister side shows the arms of her first husband, Andrew, Duke of Calabria

Arms of Léon Potier

Duke of Gesvres and Tresmes 1670-1704 (1620-1704)

Blazon: Per quarterly I argent a lion rampant double-queued, armed, langued, and crowned or (Luxembourg); II azure between three fleurs-de-lis or a bendlet couped gules (Bourbon); III per pale, the first per quarterly i barry of eight gules and argent (Hungary ancien); ii azure seme des lis or, a label of three points gules (Naples); iii azure seme des lis or within a bordure gules (Anjou); iv azure a lion counter-rampant or crowned gules (Gueldre); the second per quarterly i argent a cross pate between four crosses or (Jerusalem); ii or four palets gules (Aragon); iii or a lion rampant sable, armed and langued gules (Juliers); iv azure seme des cross crosslets fitchy, two fish hauriant addorsed or (Bar); overall a label of three points gules, in the fess point an escutcheon or on a bend gules three alerions argent (Lorraine) (the entire quarter for Guise); IV gules a cross argent (Savoy); overall in the fess point an escutcheon azure, three dexter hands or surmounted by a canton chequy argent and the field (Poiter)

Arms of Henri de Mayenne

Baron of Aiguillon 1578-1599, later duke of Aiguillon 1599-1621, and duke of Mayenne 1611-1621 (1578-1621)

Blazon: Per quarterly I and IV per quarterly i and iv per pale barry of eight gules and argent (Hungary ancien) and azure semé de lis or, a label of three points gules (Kingdom of Naples), ii per pale argent a cross potent between four crosses couped or (Jerusalem) and or four palets gules (Aragon), iii per pale azure semé de lis or within a bordure gules (Anjou) and azure a lion counter-rampant or crowned gules (Gueldre); iv per pale or a lion rampant sable, armed and langued gules (Juliers) and azure semé des cross crosslets fitchy, two fish hauriant addorsed or (Bar); overall a label of three points gules, in the fess point an escutcheon or on a bend gules three alerions argent (Lorraine); II and III per quarterly i and iv azure an eagle displayed argent, armed and crowned or, ii and iii azure three fleurs-de-lis or within a bordure parted dancetty gules and the second (Este)

Arms of René of Anjou

Also known as “Good King René”, King of Naples 1435-1480 (titular after 1442), titular King of Jerusalem 1438-1480, King of Aragon 1466-1480, Duke of Bar and Count of Piedmont 1430-1480, Duke of Lorraine 1431-1453, Duke of Anjou and Count of Provence 1434-1480 (1409-1480)

Blazon: Party of six, I barry of eight gules and argent (Hungary ancien), II azure seme de lis or, a label of four points gules (Anjou), argent a cross paté between four crosses or (Jerusalem), IV azure seme de lis or within a bordure gules, V azure seme of cross crosslets fitchy, two barbels hauriant addorsed or (Bar); VI or on a bend gules three alerions argent (Lorraine)