Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fancy cartography

Just for musing, I've completed today a map of the Principality of Catalonia detailing the administrative vegueries or Districts it was sub-divided into. All of these are historically true except for the Bishopric of Urgell --I was plainly envious of some of your Imagi-nation settings that explicitly include ecclesial states and semi-states!!

As a personal musing I've included in chart the hypothetical coats of arms of each District --inspired on those of the capital town giving its name to each one. As for the arms themselves, all of them are historically correct too, except for the special administrative territories of Andorra and Val d'Aran, which have both been slightly modified on a historical basis. Oh yes, I should also point out that all shield common charges do follow modern Catalan Heraldry rules instead of those commonly applied in 18th century.

External charges (that is, crowns, collars, scepters and so) are totally invented instead. All of the common districts have been charged a Countly crown, two crossed silver scepters and the Collar of Sant Jordi d'Alfama. There are only two exceptions to such rule: on one hand, Barcelona City arms --which show golden instead of silver scepters, besides of bearing the traditional Bat crest identifying the old Crown of Aragon's royal sovereignty. On the other hand, Bishopric of Urgell, where the countly crown has been replaced by a mitre while the civilian scepters have been changed for episcopal staffs.

As for the so-called Special Districts, their respective devices are intended to reveal the legal status of each. Although a part of the Principality in itself, Aran Valley long since enjoyed a home rule status, traditionally respected and promoted by Catalan authorities. The case of Andorra is quite of a different thing. It was created by the King of Aragon in mid-13th century as a feudal condominium between his vassals Count of Foix and Bishop of Urgell, both of which claimed similar rights on Andorra. Later Foix became a part of French royal domain, so that the condominium started being something of an international issue, rather than a merely feudal affair.

Worth to be noted that I've given up using the name of Galatea to design my Principality. Well, let's better say that I feel quite more comfortable at giving its actual name to real things. This way, I've thought it more convenient henceforth calling Commonwealth of Galatea to the 18th century what-if conglomerate of historical territories constituting my Imagi-nation, while preserving the real name of each of its components: Principality of Catalonia, Kingdom of Majorca, Kingdom of Sardinia and so. Or simplier, The Principality, The Isles and The Viceroyalty.

This cartographical piece has been uploaded to the National Library too, for future reference


Salvador said...

Master Class work!

I absolutely love the coats of arms! Great idea, and with a clean design. BTW I guess you used municipal boundaries to draw the borders of the vegueries, they look very neat. So neat I will (with permission) use it as a template to help me in the design of my own map of Catalàunia (you know, that another parallel universe version of our nation).

Mine will look different though, including sotsvegueries and the transpyrenean counties but not the islands. I'll also use (slightly) different coats of arms, and crowns will be royal ones (being already a sovereign state); scepters I won't use and collars wil be substituted, using garlands instead.

Praise your quickness, I've been stuck with it for some days now...

Soldadets said...

No worries, use it at your will.

As a matter of fact I've been working hard on this map for several weeks, from the basis some samples that can be found on the Net --none of which fully matching my requirements.

I was doubtful about the crowns issue for a while. I finally chose the countly crowns with the aim to represent the authority of the "Veguer" or district Sheriff --appointed by the Sovereign just as in earlier times proper Counts had been so appointed before becoming hereditary. It's some form of "back to Charlemagne" policy in this matter, don't you believe?

Salvador said...

"Back to Charlemagne", something that would undoubtedly please the king/s of France... And sounds very legitimate too.