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Arms: gules, a gonfannon ensigned of a cross in chief, and fringed in base, all or. Issuant of a helmet ducally crowned; for a crest, three ostrich plumes proper.
There is a banner of gold similar to those used in churches, having three sections, the bottom of each fringed, and at the top is a cross. On the helmet are three ostrich plumes. This is how Paprocki described it in O herbach, p. 273, and Okolski in volume 2, p.560.
It was awarded during the reign of King Boleslaw Śmialy (1058-1079) on the occasion of a battle with Ruthenia; a captain named Radwan had been sent out on a foray with part of the army. He happened upon the enemy camp in such close quarters that they could neither protect themselves from a skirmish with the Ruthenians, nor fight with them, inasmuch as their numbers were so much smaller. But they all agreed it was better to fall dead on the spot than to encourage the enemy by fleeing. So with all their heart they sprang toward the Ruthenians, whose knights were daunted by this attack; but when they saw the small numbers against them, the Ruthenians grew bold, and not only took away their banner, but dispersed them as well. Captain Radwan, wishing to encourage his men to fight once more, rushed to a nearby church, where he seized the church's banner; he then gathered his men and courageously attacked the enemy. The Ruthenians took this to mean a new army with fresh troops had joined the battle, and began to retreat and flee. So Radwan's banner carried the day, and for this he received that church's banner for his shield, as well as other gifts.
Paprocki, however, gives this as occurring during the rule of Bolesław Chrobry in 1021. He writes that Radwan was a royal chancellor, which information he is supposed to have taken from ancient royal grants. I conclude from this that either this clan sign is more ancient than the time of Bolesław Śmiały and originated in the time of Bolesław Krzywousty, to whom some authors ascribe its conferment on the aforementioned Radwan; or else that before the time of Bolesław Śmiały the Radwans used some other arms in their seal: for instance, that Radwan whom Paprocki gives as Bishop of Poznan in 1138. Długosz, in Vitae Episcop. Posnan. [Lives of the Bishops of Poznań] does not include him under Radwan arms, but Sreniawa; there I, too, will speak of him.
Bearers of These Arms
[Added by the 19th century editor, Bobrowicz:] Duńczewski, Kuropatnicki, Małachowski, and Wielądek and others give these families in their armorials as also using these arms:
Not all those listed here use the same form of these arms as the Radwans. First of all, the Dostojewskis have on the banner a ring instead of a cross, and for a crest an armored hand and arm, up to the shoulder, raised toward the right and holding a sword.
The Hluszanin family in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania have only one variation, five ostrich plumes in the crest, which a lance with a ring on its tip penetrates, as it were, from the right side of the shield.
The Judycki family does not have a middle section in the banner or a cross, but in their place has an arrow through the center of the banner, with the point straight up, and for a crest a raven [Ślepowron] stands with a ring in its beak. Both the raven and the arrow's point face the right side of the shield.
The Kohalowskis have a javelin with a pennon instead of a cross over the banner; this is the only way in which the form they use differs from that described.
The Krukowskis placed a raven with a ring in its beak, facing the right side of the shield, over the banner and cross.
The Krzyczewskis have the same arrow the Judyckis use, except theirs points downward, symmetrically; the crest, however, is the standard one for the Radwan arms, that is, three ostrich plumes.
The Paszkiewiczes and the Sołokajs have the usual banner, but instead of a cross they have on it half an arrow, from the point only, straight upward.
The Siemionowiczes have a five-pointed star instead of the banner's middle section.
Here, too, belong the Kmitas, who have in the arms two church banners, but without crosses, one above the other, and for a crest a peacock's tail, on which there is a star.
The Swiszewskis of Wolyń [Volhynia], according to Rev. Rutka's manuscript, have those same two banners, but turned upward.
- translated by Leonard Suligowski
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Last Updated on September 11, 2013