The coat of arms of a city as a sign of its possession

This is the “Zadora” coat of arms, used by the founders of Gorlice, the Karwacjanie. According to Marcin Kromer, the city was founded in 1355, with the consent of Casimir the Great, by Dziersław I Karwacjan, who came from a wealthy family of merchants and bankers in Kraków. Under the rule of the family, the city developed rapidly, although it was still in the shadow of the nearby royal town of Biecz. In 1416, the Town Council and the Vogt were already operating in the town, and, in 1417, Władysław Jagiełło changed the town charter of Gorlice from Polish law to Magdeburg law.
In 1496, the Karwacjans changed their surname to Gorliccy. Was the name supposed to emphasize their attachment to the city, or rather to strengthen their status? A coat of arms? The one that still functions in Gorlice and which we can see on the presented shield, is only a slight transformation of “Zadora”, and therefore the private coat of arms of the city’s founders. The lion does not breathe fire anymore, but it still holds keys in its paws: probably the keys to the gates of Gorlice. The Karwacjans’ lion is still visible on the blue background, or rather... in order not to leave any doubt: Gorlicki’s lion.


Elaborated by Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
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 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.