[Paper:] Marta Gomes dos Santos (Coimbra),Heraldry in Portuguese Medieval Towns: A unique context?

Arms of Lisbon (1360), Arroios Fountain. Presently in the Lisbon City Museum, nº inv. MC.ESC.415.

Arms of Lisbon (1360), Arroios Fountain. Presently in the Lisbon City Museum, nº inv. MC.ESC.415.

The aim of this paper is to analyse the practice and usage of municipal heraldry in Portuguese towns from the first known municipal town seal in 1205 to the beginning of a new reign in 1495, a watershed moment for Portuguese heraldry. Through an already concluded collection and classification of extant sources (sigillographic, monumental and iconographic) it will be possible to present an iconographical mapping considering region, chronology and aesthetical modifications. This will illuminate the evolution not only of medieval Portuguese civic heraldry in a wider perspective but also the development of local arms. Seal-stripped documents will also be considered. These ghost-sources provide clues to usage of seals in earlier and now disappeared documents, introducing issues such as social and institutional agency in sealing practices with city arms, as well as allow us to reconstruct a more accurate database on which towns had heraldic representation. This will show that it is possible to study medieval civic heraldry with scarce remaining sources, unlike other countries, which still preserve their material heraldic heritage. The paper will provide updated information and highlight the relation between heraldry and the city, the specific usage and role of arms as materialization of town corporate identity through time, space and context.


Conference: Heraldry in the Medieval City: The Case of Italy in the European Context (Journées Héraldiques 5), Rome, 5th-7th May 2015

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