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Tapestry with the shield of the city of Zaragoza

By | 11 September, 2015 | 0 comments

This is a 19th century tapestry showing the shield of the city of Zaragoza. In the field gules a lion rampant gold appears, with tongue and nails,

armed and topped by an open royal crown inlaid with precious stones, composed of eight fleurons, five visible, and interpolated pearls. This shield is documented in the 17th century, with its elements originating in the arms of the monarchs of León. The city holds the titles of Very Noble, Very Loyal, Very Heroic, Very Beneficial, Always Heroic and Immortal, granted after its resistance to Napoleon’s army during the sieges of Zaragoza in the Independence War and later in the Carlist Wars (1838).

The tapestry bears the motto “Ni por nada ni por nadie” (Not for anything or anyone), a phrase linked to nearby town of Tarazona, as documented in the following text:

“From the old parish church of St Michael in Tarazona the procession departed, bright and proud, headed by the raised parish cross and followed by a long line of Christian faithful, with the city’s corregidor [chief local official] closing the procession. Flags, banners and images were interspersed. The corregidor had marked the procession’s route and the obedient sacristan was at its head. But it happened that he entered a dead-end street. The sacristan came to a halt and behind him the others gradually did likewise. The corregidor loudly asked what had happened. They told him the cause and that the procession should move back so it could resume its course to the church. “What?” he exclaimed angrily. “Go back? Not for anything or anyone! Tarazona doesn’t recoil even if ordered by decree!” He then ordered an assault on the wall. The banners, standards and saints’ images were all passed over the wall, followed by the faithful, and the procession was reorganised on the other side.”

Tarazona occupies a geographic area historically on the border between the kingdoms of Castile, Navarre and Aragon. This unique circumstance, along with the fact that the region is a natural passageway between the Castilian plateau and middle valley of the Ebro River, means that Tarazona was a strategic location for centuries. The city thus became a reference enclave for business, diplomatic, military and religious relations – indeed, its Diocese comprised territories in three different kingdoms. However, gradual unification of the crowns of Castile and Aragon meant its strategic value diminished. Up to that point, Tarazona had been a site of royal weddings, pacts, wars and court councils.

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