Castile and Leon, 2nd Union

The Quarterly


Royal Arms

crowned arms


The Union of Castile, Leon and Aragon

The Royal Arms

The Achievement


Back to Castile and Leon Part 1

Castile & Leon, 2nd union



The quarterly


In the first years of the union of Castile and Leon new emblems were developed of the institutions of the Castilian-Leonese state. The emblem which merely symbolized the realm of Castile and Leon (national arms) came to be a quarterly of the castle and the lion developed in the years before the union.

This quarterly, being the emblem of the realm of Castile and Leon, came amongst others on clothes or coins. Sometimes it was enclosed by a quatrefoil but in other instances it was on an undefined background. When, in the course of history, the royal coat of arms was crowned or crested, a shield with the quarterly came to mean the emblem of the realm of Castile and Leon.

At the beginning of the 16th century when the spanish monarchy was created, the emblems of Castile and Leon came to be separated again but at the end of that century they were united and crowned, the emblem meaning “the kingdom of Castile and Leon”.


Reverse of a coin of King Pedro 1350-‘69

Arms of Castile and Leon separated

By Albrecht Dürer, 1515/1517


Arms of  Castile and Leon

On a playing card, 1700 ca


Arms of Castile and Leon

On coins.18th century

Additions to the Quarterly


This quarterly came to be united with a square cross, to make the symbol of Legislature, a shield charged with that quarterly, symbolizing Royal Military Command, a crown making the symbol of Royal Administrative Authority, and supporters making the symbol of the Royal  Government, all of Castile and Leon  to be distinguished of such authorities of other states.

The general early christian symbols of administrative and armed authority were in that way individualized by adding an emblem symbolizing the realm and making emblems of the administrative and armed authorities of Castile and Leon

The development of the emblems can be traced by the subsequent the royal coats of arms and signos rodados.


The Legislature


In the time before the union of Castile and Leon legislature had been symbolized as a function of administrative authority by adding to the square cross the names of the king, the mayor domo and the alférez or marhal, the main representatives of the legislative board which authorized laws and priviliges issued by the chancery.  In the time of the union this symbol was made more specific by adding the emblems of Castile and Leon in the four quarters of the cross.


Æ  See for example the privilege of Sancho IV.


Privilege of Castile and Leon, 1252


The privilege is certified with a circular emblem of a square cross between the emblems of Castile and Leon, surrounded by the names of king Alfonso X, alférez Diego Lopez de Haro (1243-’54) and mayor domo of the court Juan Garcia de Villamayor (1252-‘60) [1]. On the sides are the names of the members of the legislative board.

In dexter chief is the christogram of armed authority.


By king Alfonso XI (1325-‘50) the square cross was removed:


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Circular emblem of Alfonso XI, 1333 


The circular emblem underwent no fundamental changes until de reign of the Catholic kings when the arms in the center were replaced by the combined arms of Castile-Leon-Aragon.


The Royal Arms


For some reason supreme military command ceased to be considered a function of armed authority as it had been in roman times, but as a function of individual warriorship symbolized by suit of armour, in particular the shield which was charged with the emblem of the realm. This is paralleled by the presentation of the ruler as an operational commander on seals, depicting him as a rider on horseback in full armour. The alférez in this process became represented in a less official way, the blue shield (or the ibex), apparently symbolizing his office, being replaced by his personal arms.

The christogram, at the same time, remained the symbol of armed authority.


The introduction of the crowned arms was accompanied or preceded by the introduction of the crest which, in fact, represented the dynasty. In this way at the end of the 14th century a coat of arms was developed of the supreme commander, the chief administrator and of the realm of Spain.

Also there was an emblem for the administration


Ferdinand III



At first Ferdinand III continued the use of the lion and the castle of himself and of his predecessor in Castile separated.


Lead seal of Ferdinand III, 1232


Lead Seal: On the obverse a castle and on the reverse a lion passant. L.: X S FORADI REG CASTELE TOLTI /  X LEGIONIS GALLICIE. [2]


Shortly afterwards the two emblems were united in what is called a quarterly. An old example of this quarterly of Castile and Leon can be found in York Cathedral where it is on a stained window which can be dated about 1234.


Arms of Castile and Leon on a window in York Cathedral (England)

 depicting the arms of all ruling kings of the epoch, together with the arms of the pope and the emperor


At about the same time Ferdinand came to use a seal depicting him in full armour with a shield of the arms of Castile and Leon on his left arm:

Equestrian seal of Ferdinand III, 1237


Arms.: ¼ of a castle and a lion. Crown. Horsecloth: Castle and lion. L.: X FERRANDVS : DEI : GRACIA : REX : CAST(elle et Toleti). Reverse: ¼ of castles and lions. L.: X SIGILLUM FERRANDI REGIS : LEGIONIS : ET : GALLECIE. Date: Valladolid, 23.03.1237. (Æ 110 mm, on a letter of Ferdinand to Louis the Saint of France. Vic­.Casc. 227.)


The combination of the two emblems in one shield of course took the attention of the chroniclers.

In the Crónica rimada del Cid  of 1245 it was written that the castilians urged the king to adopt a golden castle and an purple lion (the color specified as yndio = indigo) [3].



Rey foy de Castilla & Leo aſſi

ffago .//.//.//.//.


Sabedes q leo es cabesa

De todos los rreynados

Et por eſſo vos enego

E a vos pregunto tanto

Qual fena me mandades fase atal fare de grado

Ca en quto yo valga

no vos ſaldre de mandado.

dixeiron los castellanos.

en buen punto fueſtes nado

Mandat fasez un caſtello

De oro e un leon yndio qtado


It was also remarked by the english chronicler Matteus Parisiensis who writes in his Liber Additamentorum of 1250 ca:

“Scutum regis Castellae et Leonum videlicet moderni sed non partis, pater enim portavit scutum tale quale comes Provinciae Raimun­dus.

(1&4): campus huius quarteri rubeus, castrum de auro - campus rubeus, castrum de auro (2&3) Campus huius quarteri albus, leo de purpura - campus iste albus, leo de purpura. [4]


That is: Shield of the king of Castile and Leon is apparently modern and not parted, his father had a shield like count Raimund of the Provence / the field is of quarters red with a golden castle and quarters white with a purple lion.


Alfonso X el Sabio


King of Castile en Leon 1252

(Titulay) King of Rome 1257-1275


Equestrian seal: A.: ¼ of Castile and Leon. Crown. L.: ALFONSO DEI GRA REGIS CASTELLE  ET TOLETI

Counterseal : ¼ of castles and lions. L.: LEGIONISS: GALL..­... CORDVBE MVRC SEGIENNIS.[5]


Alfonso X el Sabio on horseback, royally crowned and in armour

Shield and horse-cloth of the quarterly of Castile and Leon

Picture in Tumbo 08 of Santiago de Compostela


Another quote from Mattheus Parisiensis:


Castile and Leon, Alfonso X King of - († 1284): 1. (1253) ¼: Gules a triple towered castle or & argent, a lion rampant or (?). [6]


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay.


Sancho IV el Bravo


*1258 - †1296

King of Castile and Leon 1284-1295


Equestrian seal of Sancho IV




Ferdinand IV 


*1285- †1312

King of Castile en Leon 1295


Equestrian Seal of Ferdinand IV (1295-1312)


Equestrian seal. Arms.: ¼ of Castile and Leon. Crown. L.: S: FERNANDI: DEI : GRACIA: REGIS: CASTELLE: TOLETI: LEGIONIS. D.: 1302. [7]


Alfonso XI


Pedro I, the Cruel





The arms of the King of Castile

as in the Armorial Bellenville [8]


In the time of these two kings the royal coat of arms was depicted in two armorials of the Low Countries. The first is in the Armorial Bellenville and the second in the Armorial de l’Héraut Gelre.

In the first the author seems to be uncertain about the crest and accordingly does not give us a picture of it although he inclined the shield as if a crest should be added. This is more or less confirmed by the seal of Pedro I which shows a casquet without any crest.  In the second however there is indeed a crest which consists of a griffin issuant Or.


This last crest we must assume, is the one of Pedro I as the manuscript was written in the time of his reign.




Seal of Pedro I, 1386 (= 1356 A.D.)


Seal: R°: Rider on horseback with casque. V°: Quarterly of Castile and Leon. L.: X PETRUS : DEI : GRACIA: REX : REINAT : ERA MIL : E : CCC : LXXX : VI [II] / X [PET] RVS : DEI : GRACIA : [REX : CAST] ELLE : ELEGIONIS  : ETCETERA. [9]


House of Trastamare


Henry II Mercedes




With Henry II, being a bastard son of Alphonso XI a new dynasty was founded ruling Castile and Leon.


At first Henry II continued the use of a crown for crest like on the helmets of his predecessors before. Also, his presentation was like them as he and his horse are represented in the coat of arms and the horse-clothes of the arms. This can be seen on a golden doble de 35 maravedis struck by him.

Doble de 35 maravedis of Henry II, obverse.


R°: Crowned rider on horseback to the sinister with coat of arms and horse-cloth quarterly of Leon and Castile V°: A quatrely of Castile and Leon. L.: X ENRICVS DEI GRACIA REX CASTELLE / X ENRICVS DEI GRACIA REX ELEGIONIS.


Somewhat later, probably at te occasion of the coming of age of his son John in 1373 a crest was introduced consisting of a griffin issuant. This is on an altar piece, formerly in the church of Tobed (and today in the Prado) representing the Holy Virgin feeding Jesus (Virgen de la Leche). In the lower register the royal family of Castile is depicted consisting of Henry himself, his wife Johanna Pennafiel and their son and daughter John and Eleanor. In front of the king and his son, both kneeling, their helmets lambrequined of the arms and crested of a griffin issuant Or, are clearly visible. [10]


Henry II and John I on the ‘Virgen de la Leche’ altar piece, ca. 1373


This griffin was ‘corrected’ by the Heraut Gelre (which had probably written sources)


Arms of the King of Castile as in the Armorial de Gueldre, 1369 ca.


Arms: ¼ of Castile and Leon. Crest: on a helmet lambrequined a griffin issuant Or. L.: die conīc vā ſpaēgen. [11]


John I





As John I is clearly represented with a griffin crest on the Virgen de la Leche altar piece, it is of course likely that he bore the same crest for the rest of his life.


Henry III





No crest is known of Henry III.


John II




The first crest known from John II is a castle. It is on a dobla de veinte doblas showing him as a knight of the Order of the Bend (Orden de la Banda):

Dobla de veinte doblas of John II


Obverse: Rider on horseback with sword and shield of the arms of the Order of te Bend. On his helmet a triple-towered castle. Legend:  X DOMNUS : IOHANNES : DEI : GRACIA : REX : CASTELLE : LEGIONIS.

On the reverse is a quarterly of Castile and Leon within the same legend.


Later the crest on the arms of John II consisted of a castle and a lion issuant. It is on a collection of pictures of mannequins of the most important warriors of the time around 1440:


                                                     Mannequin with the coat of arms and crest of Castile.      

L.: Le Roy de Castille. From: Armorial du Toison d’Or et de l’Europe. Bibl. de l’Arsenal, Paris. Fol. 176.[12]


At about the same time the arms and crest of John II were depicted in the Bergshammer Armorial, together with the arms of other european kings: 

Arms of four european kings 1440 ca 

Arms of Castile: (Courtoisie) ¼ of Castile and Leon. Crest: on a helmed lambrequined Gules the castle and the lion of the arms.  L.: kastilien.  [13]


The other arms are of the kings of Hungary, England and Cyprus.


More than half a century after his death his arms-and-crest were depicted amongst the arms and crests of the great grandfathers of Charles I (V) by Jan van Battel on a triptych representing him surrounded by the arms of his posessions. [14] On this painting the arms of John II are quarterly of Castile and Leon and crested with a crown and the castle of Castile


Jan van Battel: Arms and crest of John II, grandfather of Charles I.


Henry IV




No crest is known of Henry IV but a triple-towerd castle with or without a crowned lion issuant is likely.


The Crowned Arms


An emblem for the royal administrative authority was developed in the same way as the emblem for the royal armed authority. This happened by individualizing the crown, being the symbol of administrative rank, by adding the quarterly. The first example of the adding of the quarterly is the mantle of King Ferdinand III († 1252) but later the crown was placed on top of a shield of the quarterly.


By Ferdinand III a crown seems to have been combined with official dress of the arms to symbolize royal administrative authority of Castile and Leon. A fragment of his mantle, strewn with the quarterly of Castle and Leon is preserved and is today in the Royal Armoury in Madrid.

Fragment of the mantle of Ferdinand III,

Armeria del Palacio Real Madrid, N9


The idea was also followed by Alfonso the Wise. He and his wife and children were dressed in official dress decorated with the lions and castles from his kingdom. The crown, symboliszing royal rank however, was reserved for himself.


Alfonso el Sabio and officials of the court

From: Libro de los Juegos de Alfonso el Sabio. (Bibl. del Escorial)


The 13th century Royal Castilian House Style


Other similar official dresses are the socalled Chasuble of Toledo and the dress found in the tomb of the Infante Fernando de la Cerda (*1256-’75). Also there are some pictures of members of the royal family in contemporary manuscripts.


Queen Yolanthe


            So-called Chasuble of Sancho of Aragon, Archbishop of Toledo (*1250/1266-‘75).

Treasury, Toledo Cathedral


This chasuble, found in the tomb of Don Sancho, archbishop of Toledo, is in fact a mantle. It is decorated with the arms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and of the King of Rome, the last being Or, an eagle Sable.

This program cannot be of Don Sancho as he had, being a prince of Aragon, no relationship whatsoever with Castile and Leon, let alone to the king of the Romans. Instead, the configuration of emblems matches Yolanthe of Aragon, queen consort of the king of Castile, Leon and the Romans. The fact that the emblems do not have the shape of a shield also makes it probable that the mantle has belonged to a woman and not to a man.

Indeed, archbishop Sancho was a brother of queen Yolanthe (*1236-†1300) who, just at the time of his death had ceased to be a titulary queen of Rome. This can be explained as follows:


In 1256, at the death of William II of Holland, Alfonso's descent from the Hohenstaufen through his mother, a daughter of the emperor Philip of Swabia, gave him a claim to represent the Swabian line. Alfonso's election as King of the Romans by the imperial prince-electors misled him into complicate schemes that involved excessive expense but never took effect. His rival, Richard of Cornwall, went to Germany and here was also crowned in 1257 at Aachen. Alfonso instead never moved to Germany, and his alliance with the Italian Ghibelline lord Ezzelino IV da Romano deprived him of the initial support of Pope Alexander IV. In the end, after Richard's death, the German princes elected Rudolph I of Habsburg (1272), Alfonso being declared deposed by Pope Gregory X. In 1275 Alfonso tried to meet with his nominal imperial vicar in Italy, William VII of Montferrat (who had succeeded Ezzelino) and his Ghibelline allies in Piedmont and Lombardy to fight against the Guelph Charles I of Anjou; he was however stopped in Provence by the Pope who, after a long negotiation, obtained Alfonso's renunciation of the title of King of the Romans.


Therefore the eagle on the mantle had become obsolete when archbishop Sancho had to be interred, reason why Yolanthe could give it as a grave good to her brother. As a mantle of Yolanthe it can have been made for the occasion of the election of Alfonso as a king of the Romans in 1257.


Infante Ferdinand de la Cerda


In the same year Alfonso X and Yolanthe had to bury their son and heir apparent Ferdinand de la Cerda at the age of 19. In his tomb his 'alijuba' (tunic) of woven half silk fabric, a product of the Mudejar workshop in Spain was found. It is, along with a 'pellote' (sideless surcote) and a mantle of the same fabric, in the collections of the Museo de Telas Medievales (Monasterio de Santa Maria de Huelgas, in Burgos, Spain).


Tunic of Ferdinand de la Cerda (†1275)

From his tomb in the Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas.


This tunic, the mantle and the sideless surcoat, a coat of arms in the most literally sense of the word, is purple and strewn with the arms of Castile and Leon.



In the time of Henry III after a crest had been introduced by Henry II, replacing the crown on the royal seal, an emblem symbolizing civic competence only was designed which consisted of the arms of Castile and Leon crowned with a royal crown. The oldest representation of such an emblem is on a stone dated 1395, today on Baeza Cathedral together with the arms of Pope Bonifacius, Henry III and the city of Baeza.

Photo Rafael Gomez

Crowned arms of Henry III on the façade of Baeza Cathedral. 1395


The arms consist of the quarterly of Castile and Leon charged with the square cross of administrative authority (thus changing the arms into the emblem of administrative authority of Castile and Leon) and crowned with a crown of three large and two small leaves (thus making the emblem the emblem of the administrative authority of the king of Castile). [15]


The crowned arms of Castile and Leon were also displayed at the Council of Konstanz where Catherine of Lancaster supported the cause of Antipope Benedict XIII. It is documented by the chronicler Ulich Richental. It is:

Arms: ¼ of Castile and Leon. Crown. L: Von dem durchluchtigsten fursten kung Johansen vo Castell.


Royal arms of Henry IV (1454-’74)

Monasterio de Sta Maria del Parral (Segovia).


The Achievement


An achievement usually symbolizes an institution. From times immemorial the achievement was created by adding to a central emblem two other emblems supporting it.  It cannot be the emblem of a person who himself acts as a supporter. However, the individual emblem is the centre of the achievement identifying the institution which it is representing.


At the end of the 14th century supporters were introduced in Castile and Leon. The oldest supporters known are a pair of angels in fact symbolizing a heavenly mandate. These angels, as it shows up later, were permitted for members of the ruling family not holding an office. They were used accordingly by the queen and by the infante[s].


Achievement of Castile and Leon

Santa Maria la Real de Nieva, Segovia


The church was built by order of Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt (who had been a titulary king of Castile 1385-’88) and wife of Henry III of Castile. The construction started in 1392 and was finisted in 1399.


The achievement is:

Arms: A square cross and Castile and Leon in the quarters.

Supporters: Two angels kneeling.


This achievement probably means: The household of the consort of the supreme administrator (= king) of Castile and Leon. by the grace of God


A later version of her achievement is on a stained window in the Alcazar of Segovia where she took refuge after the death of Henry III in 1406 to keep her son John II (*1405) out of the hands of his appointed custodians Diego López de Stúñiga and Juan Fernandez de Velasco.


Achievement of Catherine of Lancaster

In the Alcazar of  Segovia


In this version the square cross is omitted and a crown added. This achievement can be determined to be of Catherine as a regent for her son John II.


To make the achievement of the ruling king two lions were added to his royally crowned arms. These lions originated in ancient times when a pair of lions addorsed were the emblem of a Grand admiral or chief of staff of the army. They were introduced in Spain in the time of the Visigoths and their use was continued by the Almoravids and Almohads on the official dresses of the chiefs of staff. On silks preserved they are supporting a tree on a medallion surrounded by a formula in arab script. In a way they were reintroduced in the christian kingdom of Leon and Castile in the time of Alfonso VI when they were supporting a christogram, as we have seen on the porch of Santiago de Compostela cathedral. Afterwards, sources are not abundant but we can point at the socalled Sicilian Coronation mantle and some other Almoravid silks showing also lions addorsed supporting a tree. The configuration was certainly known in Leon as a mantle has been preserved in San Juan de Ortega, strewn with medallions with lions addorsed supporting a tree. Probably even, this mantle has been reused by some Castilian alférez of Alfonso el Emperador (even when its owner had been serving the almoravid amir Ali (1106-’43).

Anyhow, the lions addorsed supporting the arms of Castile and Leon appear after Juan I (1379-’90) had replaced the office of Alférez Mayor (Grand admiral) by the office of Condestable de Castilla, that is to say in about the time of the appearance of the angel-supporters of Catherine of Aragon. For that reason we may postulate that the arms of Castile and Leon were in fact introduced during the minority of Henry III, for example by Alfonso de Aragón y Foix or Pedro Enríquez de Castilla who were then his most important representatives.

We may conclude that the lions supporting the royal arms of Castile are representing the office of Constable of the kingdom of Castile and Leon and, accordingly, the achievement is meaning “the royal goverment of the constable / armed forces”.

The use of the lion supporters was continued by the kings from the house of Habsburg and the House of Bourbon right into the 18th century. In certain cases however, one or both of the lions was replaced by a griffin which was the badge of rank of an archduke. The two-headed eagle of Charles I, appearing in the 16th century, was but the emblem of the Emperor then acting merely as a regent of Queen Ioanna whose arms were supported indeed by two lions.

After the Spanish Wars of Succession, when the then hereditary office of constable had been abolished (1713), the lions were replaced in the larger achievement of Spain by two angels, now symbolizing the autocratic style of royal rule.


Achievement of John II of Castile and Leon.

On the altar behind the tomb of Juan II in the Cartuja de Miraflores (Burgos)


Henry IV of Castile, his achievement at his feet.

 L.: Hainrich von gots gnade küng von Castilia, Leon, Toledo, Galicia, Sevillia, Cordua, Mortza, Ja°n, Algarbe, Algezira, her von Wisgeia, Mollina.  [16]


The Union of Castile, Leon and Aragon


I. The Royal Arms


The Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Isabella


After the death of Henry IV the castilian crown was inherited by his younger half-sister Isabella (*1451) who had married Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469. From then on, as there was no king or queen of Castile and Leon alone anymore but only a king of Castile, Leon and Aragon, the royal arms quarterly of Castile and Leon ceased to exist and were replaced by a royal arms composed of the quarters for Castile Leon and Aragon, the last an impaled of Aragon and Sicily-Trinacria. The crest of the King of Castile, Leon and Aragon became the crest of Ferdinand, the dragon issuant of Aragon.

After Isabella and her husband Ferdinand of Aragon had been proclaimed queen and king of Castile, Leon and Aragon, the arms of Castile and Leon and the arms of Ferdinand were combined in another quarterly, the arms of Castile and Leon blasoned in the first and fourth. As a heraldic anomaly, a nimbused eagle was added behind the shield as a personal emblem symbolizing St. John Evangelist (and as an homage to her father John II). This eagle had been placed behind the shield of Castile and Leon on the seal of Isabella of 1473 when she was still a princess of Asturias.

The eagle was maintained as an additional emblem with her arms after joint arms were agreed for the couple in 1475.  As her impresa or personal emblem appeared a yoke and an Y together with a bundle of arrows and an F for Ferdinand.

As the eagle can easily be interpreted as a supporter, it has caused much confusion about what was actually meant with the achievement created in this way.


Isabella of Castile


¥ Ferdinand of Aragon 1469

Queen of Castile & Leon 1474-1504


As the personal arms of Isabella as an infanta after the death of her brother Alfonso in 1468, and because of the childlessness of Henry IV, contained the emblems of Castile and Leon, the arms of her union with Ferdinand of Aragon, King of Sicily, were composed of the emblems of Castile, Leon and Sicily in an impaled of a per fess of Castile and Leon and Sicily.  


Arms of Isabella

 As a queen consort of the king of Sicily-Trinacria, 1469. [17]


Nevertheless her arms as an infanta were the quarterly of Castile and Leon. A drawing from 1473 shows it, of course uncrowned, supported by a nimbused eagle, the eagle of St. John Evangelist, to honour her father John II (†1454). [18]


Drawing of the seal of Isabella,

As a princess of Asturias, 1473. [19]

Arms of Isabella

As a queen consort of  the king of Aragon, 1479. [20]

Circular emblem of the Catholic Kings 1475-1492.

On the agreement of Segovia, 1 January 1475


In the Agreement of Segovia (Concordia de Segovia) it was agreed that Isabella would be the queen and proprietor of Castile. Ferdinand was granted equal rights as is wife and both kingdoms should be united in the future. All documents were to be signed by both the king and the queen, the name of the king coming first. The arms were to be the same for both, the quarters of Castile and Leon occupying the place of honour in the first and fourth quarters. [21] 

After the conquest of Granada in 1492 a quarter was added in a point enté in base of the arms of Granada consisting of a canting arms of a pomegrenade proper on a white field.


Arms of Isabella after the conquest of Granada, 1492

From the Isabella Breviary, British Library Add. Ms. 18851


The eagle and the crowned arms quarterly with a pomegrenade proper on a white field enté en point for Granada.

On a scroll: SVB VMBRA ALARVM TVARVM PROTEGE NOS (Protect us under the shadow of your wings).

Below are the arms of Ioanna of Castile and archduke Philip the Fair of Habsburg, wedded in 1494.

The arms are impaled of the arms of Castile and Burgundy v.v..



Ferdinand of Aragon


¥ Isabella of Castile 1469

Co-regent of Isabella of Castile 1475-1504


For the arms of Ferdinand II as a king of Sicily see: Sicily Trinacria

And as a king of Aragon see: Aragon


Arms and crest of Ferdinand II (V) after 1475

Palacio de los Reyes Católicos of La Aljafería (1488-1492)


By the sucessors of Ferdinand other crests were chosen but the king of Castile and Leon was the king of Spain by then.




¥ 1496 Philip the Fair

Queen of Castile 1504-1555

Ferdinand II the Catholic, regent 1504-1506

Philip the Fair regent 1506

Ferdinand II the Catholic, regent 1506-1516

Charles I co-king 1516-1555


The main part of her life Joanna was deprived of her sovereign rights after the death of her mother. Her fierce resistance against the infringements of her father (and later of her own son), resulted in her confinement for the rest of her life under the pretext that she had to be out of her mind not accepting her setting aside. It also caused her nickname ‘the Mad’.


Arms of Joanna the Mad.

In the Museo Arquelogico of Badajoz

The arms of Philip the Fair (†1505)

In the choir of the Bavo-church, Haarlem (Netherlands)


The arms are quarterly of Castile-Aragon and Habsburg:


Arms: Quarterly: I&IV: ¼: 1&4: ¼ of Castile and Leon; 2&3: Impaled of Aragon and Sicily-Trinacria; enté en point of Granada; II&III: ¼ of Austria, Burgundy new, Burgundy ancient and Brabant and on an escutcheon Flanders.

Both arms are crowned but to the arms of Joanna the Eagle of St. John is added behind the shield, continuing the tradition established by her mother. To the arms of Philip the collar of the Order of the Fleece is added.


Arms of Ferdinand of Aragon, after the conquest of Navarra, 1513.

On the façade of the Museum of the Capilla Real, Granada.


In sinister chief  Aragon, Jeruzalem, Arpad, Navarra and Anjou. These quarters he could bear after his succession in Sicily-Naples in 1503 and his conquest of and succession in Navarra in 1513.

These are the arms of Ferdinand of Aragon as a regent of Joanna of Castile (1506-’16). The eagle continues the tradition of the arms of his wife Isabella and his daughter Joanna in Castile and Leon. In Aragon he bore the arms crowned, the eagle omitted.


II The Achievement


As it was agreed in 1475 that the arms of both Isabella and Ferdinand should be the same in the future, some diffences were allowed concerning the achievements of both, the arms of Isabella being the arms of them both but the exterior ornaments somewhat different. That is to say that the arms of Isabella were augmented with eagle of St. John and the one of Ferdinand with his personal crest.

The same was true for the achievements, the one of Isabella with the eagle of St. John being supported by two lions but the one of Ferdinand being crowned and supported by two lions and the eagle of St. John missing. This last achievement was seen in Aragon.


Achievement of the Catholic Kings, 1475-1492.

Toledo Cathedral


After the conquest of Granada, when the (new) arms of Granada were inserted into the arms of the Catholic Kings, the achievement was adapted accordingly:


Achievement of the Catholic Kings 1492-1504

On the façade of the Colegio de San Gregorio, Valladolid (1496).





In her achievement the arrangement of her mother was maintained, that is to say that the joint arms of her and her husband were of a quarterly of Castile-Aragon and Habsburg but that the Eagle of St. John was maintained by Ioanna in her achievement. Its counterpart of Philip the Fair never seems to have been realized, probably because he died to soon. Also, he never was a ruling archduke of Burgundy.


Achievement of Ioanna the Mad

On the façade of the church of Santa Maria la Real in Aranda de Duero (Burgos)


The arms are quarterly of Castile-Aragon and Burgundy, crowned and embellished with the Eagle of St. John, a bundle of arrows and a yoke. It is supported by two lions reguardant.


Achievement of Ferdinand of Aragon, after the conquest of Navarra, 1513.

On the façade of Granada Cathedral


This is the achievement of Ferdinand as a regent for Joanna of Castile in Castile and Leon (1506-’16). The regency is indicated by the supporting angels (replacing the lions reguardant).


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© Hubert de Vries 2013-06-22




[1] Veas Arteseros, Francisco & Maria del Carmen Veas Arteseros: Alferez y mayor domo real en el siglo XIII.

[2] AHN-Sigilografía, C.5/3

[3] Cantar del mío Cid / Crónica rimada del Cid, fol. 191 dd. 1245 (MCCXLV)

[4] Mattheus Parisiensis: Liber Additamentorum. British Library Ms Cotton Nero D. I  171 6. Lewis, Suzanne: The Art of Matthew Paris in the Chronica Majora. Univ. of California Press. Berkeley/Los Angeles, 1987.

[5] Posse, O.: Das Siegelwesen der Deutschen Kaiser und Könige von 751 bis 1913. Dresden, 1913. Bd. 1, p. 38

[6] Mattheus Parisiensis: Cronica Majora  Corpus Christi College Ms.16 f. 277. / Lewis op.cit.

[7] Vicente  Cascante, Ignacio: Heraldica General y Fuentes de las Armas de España. Barcelona, 1956. Fig. 228.

[8] Jequier, L.: L'Armorial Bellenville. Paris, 1983 fol. 5 (p. 248).

[9] Vicente Cascante. Fig. 229.

[10] Menéndez Pidal, Faustino: El Escudo de España. Madrid, 2004. P. 93.

[11] Gelre, Heraut: Wapenboek/Armorial. K.B. Brussel Ms. 15652-56.. fol. 60 v°, n°  635.

[12] A.o.: Pinches, J.H. & R.V.: The Royal Heraldry of England. Heraldry Today. London, 1974. 334 pp., 258 figs..

[13] Raneke, Jan: Bergshammar Vapenboken - En Medeltidsheraldisk Studie. Lund, 1975.  n°s, 7, 3298, 3362.

[14] Now in the town hall of Mechelen

[15] Menéndez Pidal op.cit, 2004 p. 90

[16] In the manuscript of Jörg von Ehingen. 1455 ca. Univ. Bibliothek Freiburg Hist. nr. 141.4°.

[17] Dish, Spain. Victoria & Albert Museum N° 1680-1855

[18] Drawing of Luis de Salazar y Castro in: Seguro que la Reina Católica, siendo Princesa, dio al conde de Haro, Salamanca, 15 de mayo de 1473, Real Academia de la Historia, colección Salazar, K-37, fol. 112v. See also: Manso y Suárez (2004:72). And Menéndez (2005:109).

[19] Drawing of Luis de Salazar y Castro "Seguro que la Reina Católica, siendo Princesa, dio al conde de Haro", Salamanca, 15 de mayo de 1473, Real Academia de la Historia, colección Salazar, K-37, fol. 112v, apud. VV. AA.,

[20] Vicente Cascante op.cit. fig 296. Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, Æ 90 cm.

[21] Faustino Menéndez Pidal, "Tanto Monta, El escudo de los Reyes Católicos." In: Isabel la Católica vista desde la Academia. Luis Suárez Fernández