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.
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.
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.)
(The bull is sometimes, as here, depicted as rampant, but the blazon specifies counter-rampant.) The bull was evidently an ancient symbol of the Samnite people who lived in the region before being conquered by the nascent Roman Empire. It seems to have played an important part in the ver sanctum, or spring rites. In recognition of this history, the province adopted the bull as a heraldic symbol in 1871, with the current grant being established in 1938.
Blazon: Gules a town gate of two portcullises argent, issuant therefrom a cross patriarchal botony surmounted by a lion counter-passant guardant or
We looked at the arms Robert Louis designed for Tarn last week, but I think it’s also worth bringing these up. These arms were depicted in an 1854 atlas of the (then) 86 departments of France, elaborately illustrated by Victor Levasseur. Unfortunately, I am unable to access a physical copy of the atlas, but the digital copies I’ve found match the depiction here. (As far as I can tell, anyway – the arms are sadly, printed directly in the gutter.)
Blazon: Per fess gules and argent, in chief a marquis crown proper
There is some ambiguous evidence that these arms might have been used before the seventeenth century, but that is unfortunately far from certain. The first record of this blazon dates to 1601, and the arms seem to have been in fairly consistent use until they were formally granted in 1938. The crown might represent the kingship of Roger II of Sicily, who united the Norman conquests in Italy.
Blazon: Or on a chief-pale gules a cross of Toulouse of the field
The department of Tarn doesn’t actually have an official coat of arms, but the prolific heraldic artist Robert Louis designed one for them (among his many, many arms designed for French departments and regions). The main charge is described as a “chef-pal” in the blazon; I’ve translated this directly into English, since it doesn’t seem there is a better way to convey this form. I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical that it’s found in French heraldry, either. Part of me thinks that possibly Louis made this up so the shield could have a T for Tarn on it.
Blazon: Azure two cornucopias in saltire ensigned by a crown or, the dexter filled with wheat and the sinister with fruit all proper
While I cannot find any specific rationale behind these arms, it’s highly plausible that the dual cornucopia is a reference to the remarkable fertility of the region; it was part of the area called “Campania felix” in the Roman era, or “fertile countryside.”
These are obviously the arms of Aragon, which probably ended up associated with Pyrénées-Orientales via the county of Roussillon. Given the significant influence that Aragon had over what is now southern France, it’s not surprising that their arms kind of end up all over this region. However, these are definitely not official arms, and their connection with the department is tenuous.
These are fairly new arms; in 2010, Salerno switched over to the “Amalfi” cross (as it is described in the official decree) from the previous arms, which featured a winged compass. Amalfi may have used the cross long before the Knights Hospitaller; the Duchy of Malfi apparently minted coins with a similar design in the eleventh century. Of course, there are plenty of eightfold symbolisms attached to the cross; the grant cites the Beatitudes as the origin of the eight points. Personally, I think the Maltese cross is a fairly natural evolution of the cross moline, and probably doesn’t have any greater theological meaning.