Coats of Arms Structure


Esquema da estrutura dos brasões de Portugal.

All administrative Portuguese coats have their textual description published in the Official Gazette, this textual content can be interpreted in different ways by designers and therefore may exist different designs of the same coat and both fit the description.

This publication was based on ruled symbology in a structural basis and applied to each district, county or parish  in accordance with their historical and cultural geographical structure.

The main components of the Portuguese coat are CROWN (COROA), SHIELD (ESCUDO) and the BANNER (LISTEL).


About the CROWN


The "Coroa" is placed on the top of the "ESCUDO" and it will identify the locality by its hierarchical situation.


Gold mural crown of five towers, indicates the capital city (Lisbon).

- Silver mural crown of five towers, indicates City (CIDADE).

Silver mural crown of four towers, indicates Town (VILA).

Silver mural crown of three towers, indicates Village or City Neighborhood (ALDEIA OU FREGUESIA URBANA).



About the SHIELD

The Shield is the central element of a coat, so important that when we often speak of the "coat" we are referring specifically to it, is the shield that contain the distinctive elements of the coat.

These elements are called Figures (FIGURAS).

A figure is an object affixed to a heraldic shield or on any other object of an armorial composition. Anything found in nature or technology may appear in this shield as a heraldic figure. Figures can be animals, objects or geometric shapes.

The figures may represent various themes such as religion, Weapons, Architecture, Geography, Biology...

The most frequent figures are the cross, with its hundreds of variations, the lion and the eagle. Other common elements are fish, snakes and other more exotic creatures like dragons appear both as figures and as supports. The animals are found in stereotyped positions or attitudes and quadrupeds are usually found on its hind legs.



About the BANNER

The Listel is a small flag or pennant, usually white, that is located under the shield of a coat of arms. Exists to simulate a fabric banner with the application of the name of what is, in the case heraldry, the name of the district, county or parish written in black. Often along with the name of the parish also appears the name of the county because of the existence of several parishes with the same name.



Other elements

In some cases, regardless of whether is district, county or parish, at some point in the portuguese history, was awarded with the condecoration of Military Order of the Tower and Sword ("Ordem de Torre e Espada"), Values Loyalty and Merit, the most important Portuguese Honor Order. The Grand Collar is the award of greater value.

Figures in the coat between the shiels and the banner. See, for example, Coimbra's coat.