Italian Heraldry

Este Family Arms 1049-1598 AD

The family of Este was said to descend from Sigibert, who was of Longobard origin and ruled over Lucca, Parma and Reggio around 904. They received the fief of Este from Otto I around 1049. Modena was ruled by the Este family since 1288, and they bore Azure an eagle argent armed, beaked and crowned or since the earliest times. In 1431, Charles VII granted to Niccolo d’Este a quarter Azure three fleurs-de-lys or and a bordure indented gules and silver.

 

Arms of Este, from a 16th c. ceiling fresco in the Villa d'Este, Tivoli.
Arms of Este, from a 16th c. ceiling fresco in the Villa d’Este, Tivoli.

 

On May 18, 1452 the emperor Frederic III granted Borso d’Este the county of Rovigo and the title of Imperical Vicar at which point the arms became: Quarterly 1. Or an eagle sable, 2 and 3. Azure three fleurs-de-lys or and a bordure indented gules and silver, 4. Per pale azure and or a two-headed eagle per pale silver and sable (Rovigo) en surtout Este (in later versions the quarter of Rovigo is replaced by another Imperial quarter). Modena was made a duchy in 1453. Ferrara was made a duchy by the Pope on 15 April 1471. In 1474 Ercole I d’Este was granted by Sixtus IV a pale gules with the papal keys, placed in the middle, with the escutcheon d’Este over the pale. In 1508 Alfonso I, duke of Ferrara, became gonfalonier, and the tiara was added to the keys. Although Alfonso lost the title the next year he and his descendants retained the pale of augmentation. In 1598 the d’Este were expelled from Ferrara which they held since 1240, and made Modena their capital.

If this interested you, you may like my Heraldry Page,  Pinterest Heraldry Board, or this tour of heraldy in Venice, Rome, and Tuscany.

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