Monday, April 09, 2012

Cartographic interlude

Just took some advantage of Easter days interlude to widen a bit my National Library. I've added to it a new cartographic (and heraldic!) piece. Following the path of my first map plate, which showed the Principality of Catalonia, its administrative districts and each one's coat of arms, I've now made a second, smaller map plate showing the second main territory of my Galatan Commonwealth: the Balearic Islands, currently an Imperial vice-royalty ruled by Princess Elisenda on behalf of Archduke Charles --except for Minorca island, under British rule.
Please note that external charges of coats of arms are totally invented (just as in the Principality plate). I've designed these as a visible sign of each territory's legal status. Inversely, shields themselves are correct. Also, the flags attributed to Minorca island may seem likely, but have no historical backing actually.

As commented some days ago, I feel more comfortable at giving their actual names to real places, such as Spain, France, Majorca, Vienna, Madrid, etc --rather than masking them with fictional names. From now on I'm going to reserve the fictional name Galatan Commonwealth (or Galatea in short) to the whole, intricated Imagi-Nation our characters are slowly building, while each of its parts will keep its own, real name: Catalonia, Balearic Islands, maybe Sardinia and so on.


abdul666 said...

Are the diamond-shaped *that* old as a distinguishing feature of Catalan heraldry?
Now, such 'diamonds' in traditional heraldry correspond to the coat-of-arms of a woman (unmarried, if I remember well): thus in 'your' timeline they could have become *the* Catalan type of heraldic shield in homage to Princess / Queen Elisenda (a few years after the current events, nonetheless)?

Soldadets said...

Yes it's an old iconographic tradition, already observed either in stone monuments and codices as early as late-13th Century.

However, I suspect this particular form of shield (called "cairó") has little to do with the "diamond" shape commonly used for unmarried ladies in European Heraldry. Note that it is actually a square, with all its four angles at 90º. Only that standing on one edge, in place of lying on one side.

I can't recall having seen Catalan ladies' coats of arms, although I bet they would share the common "lozenge" shape.

As for the "cairó" form, its use has been progressively associated to municipalities and civic institutions. I'd say that has historically seen little use by nobiliary lineages, except maybe Royal Dinasty itself.