Coat of arms of Catalonia

Coat of arms of Catalonia

Arms of the Generalitat of Catalonia
Adopted 12th century
Crest Royal crown of Spain
Escutcheon Or, four pallets gules.

The Coat of arms of Catalonia is based on four red pallets on gold background which have been used since the Middle Ages on several coats of arms. Its origin is strongly related to that of the arms of the Crown of Aragon.

It is considered by heraldists and by the government of Catalonia to be originally the familiar arms of the Counts of Barcelona,[1][2][3] and it was adopted by the descendents of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona as Kings of Aragon.[1][4] Several authors strongly dispute the origin of coat and consider the arms to always have been those of the Kings of Aragon.[5]

It is one of the oldest coats of arms in Europe dating back in a seal of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona from 1150.[1][6][7][8]

Heraldic description

Gelre Armorial, page 62r

The blazon of the arms is: Or, four pallets of gules, ensigned with a royal crown.[9] In heraldry, the escutcheon is traditionally called as of the King of Aragon, although some medieval armories display the same arms also on the entry for the Count of Barcelona. Modernly called of Aragon [10] or of Barcelona.[11]

It has been described on the Middle Ages armorials as in "Armorial du Hérault Vermandois", 1285-1300,[12] as that of the King of Aragon, naming specifically Peter III as one of the bearers, is described as These are the arms of the Counts of Barcelona who acquired Aragón by marriage (...), the one of Count of Barcelona is the same or three pallets gules,[13] the arms of the King of Majorca are those of Aragon, with the coat of arms of James II, King of Majorca being or four pallets gules a bend azure [14] and the one of the King of Ternacle d Aragon et Ternacle en flanquiet lun dedans lautre (...) Per pale or four pallets gules and argent (...).[14] The coat of arms with the four red pales on a gold background appears on several other coats of arms, named as "of Aragon".[15] Also mentioned in Armorial de Gelre, 1370-1395, the coat of arms of Peter IV Die Coninc v. Arragoen is golden with four pallers of gulets (Barcelona) [16] or the Armorial d'Urfé, 1380, sont les armes de le Conte de Cathalogne, and in armorial de Charolais, 1425, arms conte de Barselongne and armorial Le Blanq (sources from 1420-1450) venant des contes de Barselone,[17] armorial Wijnbergen, King of Aragon or four pallets gules [18]


Seal of Ramon Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona

According to those scholars who favor a Catalan origin, the red pallets on gold originally stood as the familiar emblem of the counts of Barcelona.[1][2][3] The descendants of the Counts retained the symbol as Kings of Aragon (the main branch), Counts of Provence, Counts of Foix,[1] Judges of Arborea in Sardinia (party per saltire), Kings of Mallorques, and Kings of Sicily (party per saltire).[4]

As a pre-heraldic symbol, the red and yellow bars appeared on the Romanesque tombs of Barcelona's Count Ramon Berenguer II Cap d’estopes, (†1082), and of his great-grandmother Ermessenda, (†1058), wife of Count Ramon Borrell I,[19] both of whose tombs were at the portico old Romanesque Cathedral of Girona. The dating of the tombs' paintings is controversial. Analysis of the painting showed that it coincided with paintings of the same times[20] and the pre-heraldic forms indicate pre-heraldic times, before the second third of the 12th century.[21]

The oldest seal including the arms dates from 1150: a seal of Raymond Berengar IV, Count of Barcelona and Prince of Aragon. [1][6][7][8][22] The arms where inherited by all the three sons of Raymond Berengar, and they appear on the seals of Ramon Berenguer, count of Provence, from 1178, on the seal of Sanç, from 1180, and on the seal of the oldest brother, Alfons the Chaste, king of Aragon and count of Barcelona (1164-1196) from 1186. Some authors dispute the evidence of the seals; they claim that the first documented evidence dates from the reign of Alfonso II (king of Aragon and count of Barcelona, 1164-1196).[5]

The chronicle of king Peter the Ceremonious, over 1359, says that the king-count Alfons the Chaste "left the arms and signals of Aragon and took pales",[23] and the genealogy of the kings ordered by the future king John I, on 1380, states that Raymond Berengar IV "did not change the comital arms".[24]

The Queen Consort Maria de Luna stated in 1396 in the Catalan Parliament that the arms of the County of Barcelona were "bars reds and yellows" and King Martin I in 1406 stated that the royal flag was the "flag of the old Principality of Catalonia".

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 " Léon Jéquier. Actes du II Colloque international d'héraldique". Breassone.1981. Académie internationale d'héraldique. Les Origines des armoiries. Paris. ISBN 2-86377-030-6.
  2. 1 2 Ottfried Neubecker, JP Brooke-Little. Le grand livre de l'héraldique.p.233. Elsevier Séquoia.1977. Paris-Brussels. ISBN 2-8003-0140-6
  3. 1 2 The Catalonia Government's Official Web
  4. 1 2 Fluvià I Escorsa, Armand de (1994). Els quatre pals: l'escut dels comtes de Barcelona (in Spanish). Barcelona: Episodis de la Història, 300.
  5. 1 2 "Palos de Aragón" entry on Gran Enciclopedia Aragonesa
  6. 1 2 Paul Adam Even."L'heraldique catalane au moyen age" in Hidalguia, 22, Mayo-Junio 1957. Madrid. p465.
  7. 1 2 Martí de Riquer. "Heràldica catalana: des l'any 1150 al 1550". Quaderns Crema.1982. ISBN 84-85704-34-7
  8. 1 2 Michel Pastoureau. L'origine des armoiries de la Catalogne" in II Simposi numismàtic de Barcelona. 1980.E.Cymys SCEN ISBN 84-85060-16-4
  9. Ampelio Alonso de Cadenas y López; Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent. (1985a). Heráldica de las Comunidades Autónomas y de las capitales de provincia. Ediciciones Hidalguía: Madrid (Spain). ISBN 8400060407
  10. Presidencia del gobierno. "The coat of arms"
  11. "blasón aragonés de cuatro cuarteles llamados de Sobrarbe, Aínsa, Alcoraz y Barcelona" at the Great Aragonese Encyclopedia
  12. Armorial du Hérault Vermandois, Introduction
  13. Armorial du Hérault Vermandois, Le Royaume d Arragon, Nos 1047 - 1061 see 1047 Le Roy d Arragon and 1051 the entry for the Conte de Barsellonne
  14. 1 2 Armorial du Hérault Vermandois, Rois King of Majorca entry
  15. Armorial du Hérault Vermandois, Le Royaume d Arragon, Nos 1047 - 1061 see 1054 Le Duc de Monblanc, 1055 Le Conte de Daigne Marquis de Villames, 1056 Le Conte d Ourgel, 1057 Le Conte de Prades, 1058 Le Compte d Ampures,
  16. "Folio 62r 637.Pierre IV, R. d'Aragon" (in French). 637. Pierre IV, R. d'Aragon (...) Description : D'or, à quatre pals de gueules (Barcelone). Cimier: Un buste de dragon d'or, lampassé de gueules, dans un vol de chauve-souris du même, issant d'une couronne sur une capeline d'Aragon ancien. (638)
  17. Michel Poppof. "L'heraldique espagnole et catalane a la fin du Moyen-âge". Editions Leopard d'Or. 1989. ISBN 2-86377-078-0. Paris.
  18. Armorial Wijnbergen, Rois, Nos 1257 - 1312, see 1263 le Roy darragon
  19. original Romanesque tomb of Ermessenda
  20. Frederic Udina Martorell. Problemática acerca de los palos de gules.
  21. Marti de Riquer. "Llegendes històriques catalanes. Quaderns Crema. 2000.pag.16. Barcelona. ISBN 84-7727-296-4
  22. Faustino Menéndez-Pidal. "Palos de oro y gules" in Studia in honorem prof. M. de Riquer (pars quarta). Quaderns Crema.1991.p669. ISBN 84-7727-067-8
  23. Carmen Orcastegui. "Crónica de san Juan de la Peña(versión aragonesa).Edición crítica". Inst.Fernando el Católico.1986.Zaragoza. ISBN 84-00-06144-6
  24. Pedro lópez Elum. "J.Domenech crónica. Textos medievales 42".Anubar ediciones.1975.Valencia ISBN 84-7013-067-6
  • Fatás, Guillermo; Guillermo Redondo (1978). La bandera de Aragón (in Spanish). Zaragoza: Colección Básica Aragonesa, 3. 
  • Fatás, Guillermo; Guillermo Redondo (1995). Blasón de Aragón : el escudo y la bandera Zaragoza (in Spanish). Diputación General de Aragón, D.L. 
  • Fluvià I Escorsa, Armand de (1994). Els quatre pals: l'escut dels comtes de Barcelona (in Spanish). Barcelona: Episodis de la Història, 300. 
  • Menéndez Pidal de Navascués, Faustino (1991). Palos de oro y gules (in Spanish) (vol. IV ed.). Barcelona: Episodis de la Història, 300. pp. 669–704. 
  • Montaner Frutos, Alberto (1995). El señal real del rey de Aragón: historia y significado (in Spanish) (vol. IV ed.). Zaragoza: Fernando el Católico. pp. 669–704. 

External links

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