Bat (heraldry)

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Ratpenat (the Crest of the Bat), an heraldic symbol of the former Crown of Aragon.
Teruel city coat of arms.

The bat (also called the reremouse, reermouse, or rearmouse) is a heraldic symbol sometimes used as a charge, but most prominently used as a crest on or around the crown in municipal arms of the former Crown of Aragon—specifically in Valencia, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

Origins[edit]

The heraldic use of the bat has its origins in the "royal dragon" crest (cimera reial) of the coat of arms of the Kings of Aragon. The royal helmet has a víbria, a traditional Catalonian dragon, emerging from a crown as its crest. Although traditionally the dragon helmet is ascribed to king James I of Aragon (1208 – 1276),[1] reliable documents[which?] state that the winged dragon didn't appear over the helmet until Peter IV of Aragon's reign (1319 – 1387). This crest was then transformed into a bat by municipalities.[2]

There is also a legend of a bat causing King James I of Aragon to win a crucial battle against the Saracens that allowed him to win Valencia for his kingdom. However, original documents state that the animal was a swallow and not a bat.[3]

The bat in official heraldry[edit]

The coats of arms of certain cities in eastern Spain, like Valencia,[3] Palma, Mallorca[4] and Fraga[5] have the bat over the shield. Some smaller towns, like Catarroja and Novallas, also use this symbol.

Formerly the Barcelona city coat of arms had a bat crowning it as well, but the bat was removed at the beginning of the 20th century for unknown reasons. The city of Teruel[5] used to have the bat surmounting the coat of arms' crown. There the bat represents a commemoration of the role of this city in the conquest of Valencia.[6] The bat now rests just below the crown in Teruel's seal.

While the use of the bat as a heraldic symbol is prevalent in the territories of the former Crown of Aragon it is rarely used elsewhere. However, it can be found in a few places, including in the coats of arms of the city of Albacete in Spain, the town of Montchauvet, Yvelines in France, Fiefbergen in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany and the former Borough of Brecknock and historic county of Brecknockshire in Wales, UK. Outside of Europe, the coat of arms of Santa Fe de Antioquia, Colombia includes multiple bats; it was granted to the town in 1545 by Charles I of Castile and Aragon and his mother, Joanna of Castile.[7]

Other uses[edit]

Based on the heraldic symbol of their city, certain Spanish association football club badges, like Albacete Balompié, CD Alcoyano, Levante UD and Valencia CF, have a bat on them. The ancient badge of the FC Barcelona, used during the 1899-1910 period, had a small bat crowning it as well.[8]

The Burgee of the Royal Valencia Yacht Club (Reial Club Nàutic de València) displays a bat on a golden field in its center.

Lo Rat Penat, a political organization based in Valencia in 1878, was named after the heraldic bat. Established by Constantí Llombart, Teodor Llorente and Fèlix Pizcueta, its aim was originally to foster a movement similar to the Catalan Renaixença in the region of Valencia.

The No. 9 Squadron RAF adopted the bat badge in 1917 along with the Latin motto Per Noctem Volamus "We fly through the night". The badge was approved by King Edward VIII in November 1936.[9]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Diario de Palma - Vicisitudes históricas en torno a la cimera de Jaime I
  2. ^ Fatás Cabeza, Guillermo (2000). "El Escudo de Aragón. Epílogo: El dragón d'Aragón". In Gobierno de Aragón (ed.). Aragón, reino y corona: Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid, del 4 de abril al 21 de mayo de 2000 [Aragon, kingdom and crown: Cultural Centre Villa de Madrid, 4 April-21 May 2000] (pdf) (in Spanish). Zaragoza. p. 174. ISBN 84-8324-084-X. (pdf: link).
  3. ^ a b Luis Tramoyeres Blasco, Lo Rat Penat en el escudo de armas de Valencia
  4. ^ Antoni I. Alomar i Canyelles, L'Estendard, la festa nacional més antiga d'Europa (s. XIII-XXI) Palma 1998
  5. ^ a b Blanco Lalinde, Leonardo (2005). "La Tabla De Magistratura de la Audiencia Territorial de Zaragoza (s. XIX)" [The Magistrate’s Table of the Territorial Hearing of Zaragoza (19th c.)] (PDF). Emblemata-Revista aragonesa de emblematica. 11: 231. ISSN 1137-1056.
  6. ^ Old Teruel city coat of arms
    Blanco Lalinde, Leonardo (2005). "La Tabla De Magistratura de la Audiencia Territorial de Zaragoza (s. XIX)" [The Magistrate’s Table of the Territorial Hearing of Zaragoza (19th c.)] (PDF). Emblemata-Revista aragonesa de emblematica. 11: 242. ISSN 1137-1056.
  7. ^ REUNA - Municipio de Santa Fé de Antioquia
  8. ^ "L'origen dels colors i l'escut del Barça". Archived from the original on 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  9. ^ "RAF Bomber command". Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2009-02-14.

External links[edit]