Archive for the ‘Books’ Category.

Armorial of the Order of St. Lazarus

I had the honor of receiving the other day a preview version of the book “Libro de Armería de la Orden Militar y Hospitalaria de San Lázaro de Jerusalén” or “Armorial of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem”, of the Grand Priory of Spain.

This is a book of exquisite quality with a great deal of research having put into it by its authors: José María de Montells y Galán and Alfredo Escudero y Díaz-Madroñero, both heraldists of the highest caliber with a long array of publications each.

Montells y Galán is the Chief Herald of the Order of St. Lazarus for the Grand Priory of Spain. He has published a multitud of books on heraldry, orders of knighthood and historical research making him something of a “household name” of heraldry in the hispanic world.

Escudero y Díaz-Madroñero is the Chancellor of Valencia under the Grand Priory of Spain. He too has a long and enviable list of publications that has landed him at the top of the list of heraldic experts of the Spanish speaking world.

Both together, have come to create a book that looks at the heraldic history of the Order of St. Lazarus, demonstrate the richness of the institution and display an armorial of knights of the Grand Priory. The armorial also includes the arms of the supernumerary Royal knights of the Order, namely HM King Kigeli V of Rwanda, HIH Zera Yacob Amha Selassie, Crown Prince of Ethiopia, HH Abune Paulos Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and HRH the Infante Miguel of Portugal, Duke of Viseu.

Moreover, throughout the text one finds heraldic examples of what the text refers with displays of the arms or achievements of Grand Cross knights or Grand Masters.

Coincidentally, just like there are two authors of the text, there are two artists.

The heraldic emblazons were completed by the very talented heraldic artis Carlos Navarro Gazapo. His work is widely known in Spain and is considered by many to be at the top of his field in his country.

The designs were done by one of the well known Spanish heraldists, Fernando Martínez Larrañaga. He has been written about extensively by experts in Spain and has lent his expertise to many in his country.

For anyone who has a passion for heraldry, this would be a great addition to their library. For those who are members of the Order of St. Lazarus, I would consider this a must.

Many of the emblazons found in this publication can also be seen on the excellent site maintained by Navarro Gazapo.

Unfortunately, the Grand Priory of Spain does not have a web site therefore I cannot share a link to them. However, the two artists mentioned above do:


Note: Image by Fernando Martínez Larrañaga

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with the Order of St. Lazarus

Link to an article where I write about my personal opinion on the group

Armorial of Corfu

A new book titled “Armorial of Corfu” or “Κερκυραΐων Οικόσημα” has been recently published and is the culmination of over 20 years of research by the noted historian John S. Pieris (Γιάννης Σ. Πιέρης).

In this book, Pieris covers the society of the island of Corfu from the 15th to the 18th century, the leading families and personalities of the time. A true masterpiece of historical and heraldic research, this book is absolutely going to be a fundamental book in any heraldic or genealogical researcher’s library. Especially in that of anyone focusing on Greece or Italy.

In its 224 pages you will find 115 emblazons of the arms of the most important families of the island over the period and masterfully done by the the leading Greek heraldic artist Ioannis Vlazakis.

The families covered are:

Αβράμης, Αλαμάνος, Αληπούτζας, Αλταβίλλας, Αρκούδης, Αρλιώτης, Αρταβάνης, Ασημόπουλος, Αυλωνίτης, Βαρούχας, Βέγιας, Βενιέρης, Βερβιτσιώτης, Βλασόπουλος, Βονδιλάγκης, Βούλγαρις, Βραχλιώτη-Μπότης, Γαλιέλους, Γερομεριάτης, Γεροπέτρης, Γιαλλινάς, Γκαγκάδης, Γονέμης, Γράψας, Γρίτης, Δαμύλλος, Δάνδολος, Δαράτσος, Δελλαδέτσιμας, Δετζώρτζης, Διγότης, Δόντης, Δούσμανης, Δώριας, Έπαρχος, Ζάκκος, Θεοτόκης, Θεοτόκης-Ανδρουτσέλης, Ιγγλέσης, Ιουστινιάνης, Καβάσιλας, Καλλέργης, Καλογεράς, Καμάλης, Κανάλ, Καπάδοχας, Καπέλλος, Καποδίστριας, Καραβέλλας, Καριόφυλλος, Καρτάνος, Κατσαΐτης, Κιγάλας, Κοκκίνης, Κολλητάς, Λάνδος, Λάντζας, Λεπενιώτης, Λευκόκοιλος, Λισγαράς, Λουκάνης, Λουπινάς, Μαζαράκης, Μαρκοράς, Μάρμορας, Μάστρακας, Ματσολένης, Μιδέης, Μίνιος, Μόσχος, Μοτσάνεγας, Μουστοξύδης, Μπάκος, Μπαλιαρής, Μπαρμπάτης, Μπασάν, Μπελάντας, Μπενεβίτης, Μπούας, Παδοβά, Παλατιανός, Παλατσουόλ-Σκορδίλης, Παλλαδάς, Παπαδάτος, Παπαδόπολης, Πετρετής, Πιέρης, Πολίτης, Πολυλάς, Προσαλέντης, Ρεγγίνης, Ρεφελέτης, Ριζικάρης, Ρίκκης, Ροδίτης, Ροδόσταμος, Σαραντάρης, Σαχλίκης, Σκιαδάς, Σορδίνας, Σοφιανός, Σπάθας, Σπανόπουλος, Στεφανόπουλος, Τουρλινός, Τραντάφυλλος, Τριβώλης, Τροΐλος, Φέστας, Φίλιος, Φιομάχος, Φλαμπουριάρης, Φλώρος, Φόρτιος, Χαλικιόπουλος.

The ISBN for the book is 978-960-99084-4-3 and is published by Alkinoos Publications (Εκδόσεις Αλκίνοος).


Bruno Heim’s “Or & Argent”

Or and Argent

Bruno Heim’s “Or & Argent” is a fascinating book that explores what is perhaps the most fundamental rule in heraldry: the rule of placing metal on metal (Or and Argent in heraldic terms) on a shield.

In the entry on the rule of tinctures, we explored the reasoning behind these rules and also saw a few examples of where these rules were simply tossed out the window. This book goes one step further however, focusing on the rule of metal on metal.

Bruno Heim was a Cardinal in the Catholic Church and for a number of years the Papal Nuncio in England. Heim is considered to have been the foremost authority on heraldry in the Catholic Church and his work has influenced the area of heraldry in a great way.

In this book, Heim explores the heraldic axiom of not placing metal on metal on a shield and questioning its validity. Almost all the literature expounds upon this rule as if it is the most significant of them all and it is refreshing to read a book that takes that rule head on; especially from an authority such as Bruno Heim.

What he accomplishes in this book is to show that the rule did not always exist and that, like many other rules, it is ignored more that it is observed. He quotes and presents many of the arms found in Rietstap’s Armorial Général (in which we find over 1500 examples) and Papworth’s Ordinary (over 200 examples) as well as arms documented elsewhere.

In this book, Heim also demonstrates examples from countries across Europe in clear violation of the rule, proving that the famous arms of the Crusader Kingdom of Jersulam is not the only exception. Countries such as England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden are well represented.

Now, one may ask what would drive someone to write such a book? The answer is given by Heim himself on the very last page and I will quote him directly:

13. HEIM: Argent, on a “Dreiberg” (triple mount) Vert a lion rampant Or holding a horseshoe Azure surmounted by a mullet of the third. These arms were painted on a stained glass for Joh. Heimb in 1640. Joh. Heimb is the author’s direct ancestor, n. 1024 on the pedigree, who died 15th February 1659. This explains why I have been looking for other instances of Or and Argent arms for very many years, and this book shows part of the harvest of my endeavours. (These arms are still publicly exposed in Boningen, Solothurn, Switzerland, two miles from where Johannes Heimb lived and had his house and land).

Boutell’s heraldry

Boutell’s Heraldry is perhaps the most quoted and referred to text on heraldry ever written. Though it has an admittedly English bias, it is nevertheless required reading for anyone interested in the art and science of heraldry.

Originally published by Charles Boutell in 1863 as “Boutell’s Manual of Heraldry” , it has gone through a number of revisions with the latest being of 1983 by J.P. Brooke-Little, Clarenceux King of Arms. For almost 150 years, it has been the standard reference book for heraldry worldwide in general and English heraldry in particular. The detailed descriptions of of the rules surrounding heraldry from tinctures to supporters to crest coronets to badges to pennons are of immense value to the student of heraldry.

After having read it, more than a couple of times, I can honestly say that this is an excellent book for anyone that wants to seriously enter the world of heraldry. However, I would not recommend this book to the novice with just a curiosity on the subject for two main reasons: 1) the cost of the book is rather high and 2) it is a thick and dry book. For the absolute beginner, I would recommend Discoveries: Heraldry by Michel Pastoureau. Boutell’s Heraldry would be a great follow up book one would need to have after making the decision to continue on this path.