The Kingdom of Galicia in European heraldry

Among the symbols that identify a country are flags and coats of arms, the latter being the ones that have the most representations offered to the different European countries. Galicia - as a political, social and cultural reality of its own since the beginning of the Middle Ages - has had its own coat of arms since the 13th century, which distinguishes it iconographically from the other peoples of the continent. It will be no Fresh’s roll, a roll of arms that various authors date to 1282, where the first heraldic testimony of the Galician people is certified - for the time being. Because of the similarity between the terms Galicia (Galice, in French) and chalice (chalice, in the same language), such an object of the crockery of the nobles and kings serves as a speaking emblem of our kingdom.

First there were three chalices represented and then, in different armorials, only one appears – with or without a cover – and generally bare of other heraldic furniture in the field of the coat of arms. The aforementioned is certified by several books of emblems, namely: The coat of arms of the Vermandois herald, Egerton Tract, Redinghoven, Lyncenich e Bergshammar. In the same vein, but in the variant started by Fresh’s roll, the shield that is assigned to the Roy [of] Galacie in one of the capitular letters of the Sherborne Missal, an English liturgical book produced no later than 1407. However, it will be from the first half of the 15th century when other elements are incorporated into the field of the Galician coat of arms, specifically three-lobed clovers. The number of them is usually four, as it is represented in the armorials of Nancy, André Rineck e Coislin-Seguir; but, there are also several versions in which the field is seeded with these vegetables. In this aspect, not only the codices of John V of Bueil e leg corner, but also with Spirited Love Heart Book, an allegorical work created by René d’Anjou, king of Xerusalén, around 1457.

Apart from this line of speaking emblems, two more trends are witnessed in the 15th century. One is the one in which shields with azure and gold bars, or azure and silver, allude to the King of Galicia. After the Council of Constance (1414-1418), Ulrich von Richentals elaborates his Chronicle about what happened. Many manuscripts and incunabula are preserved from it, in which a considerable number of coats of arms of kings, ecclesiastical dignities and institutions are depicted, one of them being that of the "king of Galicia". The other current will be that extended by Pedro de Gracia Dei, "King of Arms" of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile. This time, the Brigantine Lighthouse (or Tower of Hercules) aims to identify our country, perhaps influenced by the numismatics of Fernando I of Portugal, king of Galicia between 1369 and 1371. For the record, this is the first representation of our emblem at the level Peninsular, because it appears published in the work General Blazon of all insignia of the Universe (1489). A few years later, the chalice also distinguished Galicia among the peninsular kingdoms. Diego Hernández de Mendoza in his book of arms (1497) provides this emblem, already widespread throughout Europe and linked to the Galician kingdom.

As for the crosses, which have been so characteristic of our coat of arms throughout the Modern Age, it will be in the tapestry of Franz von Tassis, preserved in a fragmentary way in Brussels, where we find perhaps the first example. Its creation must have been finished no earlier than 1519 and, from that date, the others mentioned above will coexist with this version, except for the shamrocks. In various European buildings, the arms of Galicia are displayed (cathedrals, palaces, guild headquarters...) and can even be seen on fireplaces, chimneys, works of art and books on various subjects. The same, and not only with an ornamental function, but also a political one, will be present in Brussels during the celebration of the funerals of Isabella of Castile, Ferdinand of Aragon, Charles V and Philip II.

Héitor Picallo

Born in Cuntis, on October 18, 1974, he is a naval technical engineer by the UDC, although he also dedicates himself to writing and illustration.

Publish in scientific journals such as Anuarium Sancti Iacobi, Bulletin of Genealogy, Heraldry and Nobility of Galicia; Compostellanum, Conimbriga, Murguía, Museum of Pontevedra, Tapa... Newspaper articles come to lightOur Earth, Diario de Arousa, Diario de Pontevedra, Galicia Confidential, Galicia Today, Lights, We Diario, Sermos Galicia, Terra e Tempo... By some of them he is recognized with the Máximo Sar (2005) and Reimóndez Portela (2012) journalism awards.

In addition to dabbling in children's literature, he is the author of the essays: Xohán Xesús González: a forerunner of Galician sovereignty (2008), With the tongue on the ground (2013), Cuntis in Roman times (2016), In the Middle Ages, chestnuts and chestnut trees as economic resources (2018), The Galician Letters in Caricature (2020) e The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Galicia: an (inter)national (re)vision (2021). He was commissioner ofO Castro is also the origin of the Galician Children's and Youth Literature (2020).

In the field of plastic arts, he exhibits in institutions such as the Museo de Pontevedra, San Martiño Pinario and the MUPEGA (both in Compostela), the MOME (A Estrada), the Valle-Inclán Museum (A Pobra), the Museums of Arts of Gravado and Lustres Rivas (both in Ribeira), Guarda Museum (Portugal), Manuel Torres Museum (Marín), Galicia Sea Museum (Vigo) etc. In the latter, he collaborates in the exhibition of O Vindel parchment (October 2017 – March 2018).

Archaeological drawings of his come out in publications such as Romanesque: Friends of Romanesque Art Magazine, international works such as Priscillian's Legacy on the Starway (2017) by Ralf Pochadt and in specific books of the Valle-Inclán Museum (A Pobra), an institution that preserves 44 of his original pieces.

Some of his compositions on authors of Galician Literature have been featured in newspapers Galicia Today e The Galician Post.