João do Cró: Livro do Armeiro-Mor, Folio 4v - Charlemagne (1509)

(Torre do Tombo National Archive, Lisbon, Portugal)

This magnificent page comes from an illuminated manuscript from Portugal. The manuscript is a so-called 'Roll of arms' or 'armorial' - a collection of coats of arms. The Livro do Armeiro-Mor was commissioned by king Manuel I of Portugal and was composed by the official Portugese King of Arms João do Cró (a 'King of Arms' was a high ranking official who had the authority to grant Coat of arms to other persons). The Livro do Armeiro-Mor consists of several chapters, each dealing with a specific country: persons of fame, Germany, France, Portugal etc. This page comes from the first chapter which shows the (fictitious) coat-of-arms of several historical persons. The picture shows the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) with his fictitious coat-of-arms which is a combination of the coat-of-arms of Germany (the eagle) and France (the fleur-de-lis). Book from around 1509.