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Larissa Herb

Larissa Arms:

Gules, two Coulter blades addorsed in pale points to chief, Argent. For a crest: Out of a crest coronet, three ostrich plumes proper.

There are supposed to be two plowshares side by side, points upward and the sharp ends of the blade facing each other, on a red shield. On the helmet there are three white ostrich feathers. Thus it was described by Bielski in his work, page 184; by Paprocki in Gniazdo cnoty [Nest of virtue], page 402 and in O herbach [Of clan shields], pg. 263; and by Okolski in his book, Vol. 2, page 39, and in Klejnoty [Crests], page 36.

None of these authors found anything certain as to when and why this coat of arms was conferred. Parisius in his manuscript infers that it got the name from Larissa, a city in Thessaly, before the birth of Christ. At that time the Sarmatians called the Mesians invaded Italy from the town of Larissa in Thessaly, and captured many people as the spoils of war. Soon they were settled in Sarmatia, which had been little used previously because no one there knew how to farm the land, which turned out to be fertile. Ovid seems to corroborate this to some extent in book 3, Tristium Elegia 10, where he says of Sarmatia's lack of fertility at that time, "Aspiceres nudos, sine [ronde, sine arbore campos etc. ยป [One sees fields bare of foliage or trees"]. This was the main reason for its fertility, and thus the plowshares appear in the shield.

He also reports that the coat of arms was conferred at a time when the Sarmatians, irritated by the Romans' frequent raids, attacked Italy and captured several cities, leveling them, then plowing the land and sowing it with salt. The discoverers of this method received as an award a coat of arms with plowshares arranged as you see here. At least, that is the conjecture Parisius made as to this shield's origin.

Paprocki cites two opinions regarding the origin of these arms. First, when Piast had been elevated to the throne, he honored his mothers' relatives with this shield; Tylkowski In dedicat. attests to this, but Okolski thinks otherwise.

Secondly, when Jaromir, the true prince of Bohemia, was fleeing from his brother Wratyslaw, he came to Boleslaw the Brave, King of Poland. Wratyslaw, not content with having driven his brother from Bohemia, took his army and pursued his brother into Poland. As Boleslaw was leading an expedition against Wratyslaw, along the way he came upon a man who was carrying two plowshares to the blacksmith to have them repaired. The King started to talk to this man and learned that he knew all the trails in the forest; he promised to guide the King through it. The man proved instrumental in the King's victory, for he crept into the Bohemian camp before dawn. Finding the enemy still asleep, he took all their horses, after which Boleslaw attacked and easily conquered the horseless and drowsy Bohemians. The King therefore allowed Laryssa, as the progenitor of this clan was supposedly named, to bear on his shield the plowshares he had been carrying.

Families Bearing These Arms


- translated by Leonard Suligowski

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Last Updated on September 11, 2013