First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
The Heraldry of the German Electoral College
(A) The First Woodcut
First Row

Center: The Emperors Shield is emblazoned with a double eagle, representative of his dual office as King of Germany and of Roman emperor. Since 1335 the double eagle appeared sporadically as a symbol of the Roman-German Empire, and under Emperor Sigmund, who died in 1447, it was made the permanent emblem of the Roman Empire, while the king, before he was crowned emperor, employed a single eagle.

Color: A double eagle in black, on a filed of gold.

The Dukes’ Shields:

  1. Swabia (Suevie). Three lions above one another. Color: Three black lions in a field of gold.
  2. Braunschweig (Prauusueig). Two leopards above one another. Color: Two golden leopards in a red field.
  3. Palatinate (?). A lion rampant. Color: A golden lion with red crown, in a black field.
  4. Lorraine (Lothiring?). On a diagonal bar three maimed eagles. Maimed birds are a specialty in European heraldry. Eagles without feet, and often without bills, are called “alerions;” maimed ducks, cannets; and the maimed black thrush is called a “martlet,” – a name given to any imaginary bird without legs. Color: In a field of gold a diagonal red bar with three maimed silver eagles.

Left: The Archbishops’ Shields as they would appear in color:

  1. Trier (Spiritualis Treverensis). Red cross in a silver field.
  2. Cologne (Spiritualis Coloniensis). Black cross in a silver field.
  3. Mainz (Spiritualis Maguntinus). Silver wagon-wheel in red field.

Right: The Shields of the Secular Princes, with colors:

  1. King of Bohemia (Rex Bohemie). Red field emblazoned with a crowned lion rampant, forked tail, the lion in silver, but the crown, tongue, and paws in gold. Lion should face right.
  2. Rhenish Palsgrave (Palatinus Remi). A black field emblazoned with a golden double-tailed lion with red crown. Same as Palatinate (below).
  3. Duke of Saxony (Dux Saxonie). Over a field of nine horizontal stripes, alternately black and gold, is imposed an oblique foliated green bar (its upper edge, only), ornamented on the upper edge only, with crown-like leaves. In heraldry this bar is called the “Rautenkranz.” The Raute or Ruta is a shrub indigenous to the Eastern Hemisphere. The best known variety is found in Southern Europe and North Africa—small abundant and cultivated shrub with many thorny branches and yellowish green flowers, rich in oil (Oleum Rutae) of a balsamic, somewhat offensive odor, and bitter aromatic taste. The fresh leaves are much used, being cut fine and strewn on buttered bread as a stomach-invigorating specific.
  4. Margrave of Brandenburg (Marchio Branden). A silver field, emblazoned with a red eagle, crowned with the cap of the elector; scepter and sword in its talons. Clover branches superimposed on the wings.

Second Row

Left: The Shields of the Margraves, with colors:

  1. Meissen (Misne). A black lion in a field of gold. Lion should face left.
  2. Mähren (Moravia). In a blue field, a crowned eagle, checkered in red and gold. In the woodcut the eagle faces right instead of left.
  3. Baden (Padue). A diagonal red bar in a field of gold.
  4. Brandenburg (Same as Margrave of Brandenburg, first row right, #4.)

Center: The Shields of The Burgraves, with colors:

  1. Magdeburg (Meidburg). The coat of arms is that of the burgrave. The field is divided vertically, that on the left consisting of four red and four silver horizontal bars; field on right is silver and charged with a half-eagle in red, golden break, tongue and talons.
  2. Nuremberg. Arms of the burgrave, a black lion rampant, in a field of gold; the lion should face left, and not right.
  3. Rieneck (Renech). Nine horizontal bars, alternately gold and red, beginning with gold.
  4. Stromburg (Strumburg). A horizontally divided shield. In the upper half, three crows or black birds in a field of silver; lower half, red.

Right: The Shields of The Landgraves, with colors:

  1. Thüringia (Dürgen), same as Hesse, below.
  2. Hesse (Hassie). In a blue field, a double-tailed crowned lion, striped alternately in cross-bars of red and silver.
  3. Leuchtenberg. Shield is divided into three horizontal bars, -- blue, silver, and blue.
  4. Alsace. In a red field, a diagonal golden bar with embroidered edges (Upper Alsace).

Third Row

Left: The Shields of The Four Freemen, with colors; where known.

  1. Limburg (Limperg). A quartered shield; upper left and lower right quarters serrated (4 points), upper red, lower silver (Franken). Upper right and lower left fields in blue, each emblazoned with 5 silver battle clubs.
  2. Tusis, probably Thusis (Roman Tuseun); a single eagle in a plain field.
  3. Westerburg. The field is quartered by a cross. In each quarter are five smaller crosses.
  4. Aldenwalden. Crowned lion rampant.

Center: The Shields of The Knights:

  1. Andlau (Andelau). Red cross in a field of gold.
  2. Meldingen. A red diagonal bar (containing two golden eagles) in a field of gold.
  3. Strück. Red lion rampant, in a silver field.
  4. Frauenberg. Shield divided vertically into three bars, red, silver, red.

Right: The Shields of the Counts—with colors:

  1. Schwartzburg. In a blue field, a golden lion rampant, which should face left instead of right.
  2. Cleves (Klefen). In a red field, a small central shield in blue, surmounted with a golden glevenrod of light radial branches tipped with gleves. The term ‘gleve’ is applied to the three terminal petals or leaves of the lily. It is surmised that his star-shaped or radial pattern is derived from the battle-shield. These were often made of wood, covered with leather, and reinforced with metal bands converging to a center. In the center was a ring (called the navel) in which, in case of an actual shield, a gem (carbuncle) was placed by way of ornamentation. The lily as an ornament had its origin in the Orient. In France, it was used in coats of arms as early as 1179, and even much earlier as a terminal figure on crown and scepter. It is also the emblem of the city of Florence.
  3. Cilli, or Celeja (Zilie). Quartered shield. Left upper and right lower quarters show three golden stars in blue filed. Right upper and left lower quarters each contain four horizontal bars, alternately red and silver.
  4. Savory (Sopheii). A silver cross in a red field.