Arms of Normandy, France

Normandy

In use since 1189 at the latest

Blazon: Gules two lions passant guardant or armed and langued azure

Oh, Normandy. Never change. You haven’t since like, 1189 at the latest, but we already saw what happened to Aquitaine, so. And I do say 1189 instead of 1066, because we don’t have any contemporary records of William the Conqueror using the two lions. The number of lions was a little flexible for a while, but it was pretty solidly established as two by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

I will also take this opportunity to point out the issue with the leopards. The position of “passant guardant” in English heraldry is blazoned as “leopardé” in French. Often, from translation errors, confusion, or laziness, this results in lions passant guardant being recorded in English as leopards. This problem is especially acute in regards to the Norman coat of arms, which a. actually has lions passant guardant, and b. belongs to a region that kept switching back and forth between France and England for a while. If you ever see an English reference to the leopards of Normandy, it’s technically incorrect, but a very common and understandable error.

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Arms of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Granted 2016

Blazon: Argent in dexter three palets wavy azure, in sinister a lion rampant gules

Another new coat of arms for the administrative regions! Personally, I prefer the former arms of Aquitaine (gules a lion passant guardant or, armed and langued azure), and Limousin was pretty sharp, too (ermine a bordure gules), but design-wise, this is pretty good. In terms of the charges selected… well, I suppose I understand the reasoning. The palets are probably intended to represent the rivers that run to the Atlantic, much like the lion’s mane in the new logo. They also could be a canting charge, if you subscribe to the etymology that has “Aquitaine” derived from the Latin for “water.” I feel that it’s worth mentioning the competing theory – that it’s actually named after the pre-Roman tribe of the Ausci.

The lion has been used for Aquitaine since at least the twelfth century, and possibly earlier, so it isn’t like they could leave it out. And I guess if we’re going to get picky about the law of tincture, and we really want those palets wavy, then fine, gules works. There are several cities in the region that use a lion gules, so it’s not like it’s coming from nowhere. (I really did like the former arms, though.)

Arms of Abruzzo, Italy

Abruzzo

Granted 1986

Blazon: Tierced per bend sinister argent, vert, and azure

Okay, I was toying with the idea of going into the historic arms of the various kingdoms, principalities, and dukedoms that eventually became the Republic of Italy, but (a) if I’m going to do something that wickedly complicated, I’m going to need a LOT more planning and (b) just look at these arms! They’re sharp af, and I couldn’t resist. Who needs a charge when you have a good, clean, visually pleasing division of the field? I’m sure some of the historical stuff will come up as I work my way through the boot; if it doesn’t, that’ll be a good future project. As for these arms specifically, the tinctures are evidently a highly abstracted representation of the landscape – white for snowy mountains, which gives way to green for wooded hills, and finally going down to blue for the sea. It’s an elegant  explanation for some very elegant arms.

Arms of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Bourgogne-Franche-Comte

Granted July 12th, 2017

Blazon: Per quarterly I azure semé de lis or a bordure gobony argent and gules, II and III azure biletté and a lion rampant crowned or, armed and langued gules, IV bendy of six or and azure a bordure gules

This is why I’m glad I’m revisiting these! As it turns out, there was an administrative reorganization of France in 2016 – and I did most of the regional French arms in 2014, so some of these arms are going to be brand new! (To me, at least.) Some regions did stay the same, but Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is only about three and a half years old. That being said, the design operates on pretty much the same principle as the name – the first and fourth quarters come from the former arms of Burgundy, and the second and third are the former arms of Franche-Comte.

The Burgundian quarters are, respectively, the arms of the county (later duchy) of Touraine and the House of Burgundy. The arms of Franche-Comté were allegedly adopted by Count Palatine Otto IV in 1280 when he switched his allegiance to France from the Holy Roman Empire. He previously bore gules, an eagle displayed argent, but opted for the azure and or to mimic the French arms.

Arms of Zamora, Spain (province)

In use since 1833?

Blazon: Party of seven; I per pale or a bull counter-salient and argent a lion rampant gules, pointé in base vert (Toro); II argent on a bridge or over water in base barry wavy azure between two towers of the first windowed gules, a representation of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, both crowned proper (Benavente); III argent an escutcheon barry azure and or charged with a sun in splendor of the last (Villalpando); IV gules two towers or windowed azure, pointé in base argent a lion rampant of the first (Alcañices); V azure a saltire between four fleurs-de-lis or within a bordure of the first charged with eight crescents argent (Puebla de Sanabria); VI or a castle triple-towered of the first masoned and windowed sable (Bermillo de Sayago); VII argent a double-headed eagle displayed sable armed gules, crowned proper, between two pennons addorsed in chief per fess of the field and the third (Fuentesaúco); overall in the fess point an escutcheon per pale i argent an arm armored proper issuant from the sinister holding a flag gules and ii argent on a base vert a pale wavy barry wavy argent and azure and a bridge between two towers proper (Zamora)