The Origin of the Odrowaz Shield (the Legend)

Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

The Odrowaz Shield and Legends::

The shield is red, upon which is placed a silver arrow pointing upward, and the bottom of this arrow is divided and curved. Out of a helmeted crown there is a display of peacock plumes with the same silver arrow lying on its side. All historians agree that this clan came to Poland from Moravia, where the families of this house were always prudent and eloquent. The narrative of the ancient origin of this clan and its descendants is pure fable. However, for those who like fables it goes like this:

One of the first of the Clan Odrowaz was a knight of great renown in Moravia. This knight hunted with his trusty bow and arrow for pagans and after slaying them, he would hang their scalps upon his belt, as trophies, and as a mark of his skill. This knight was known to win all the archery and wrestling contests in the land. The local king thus valued him as a trusted member of his court.

One of the King's other courtiers had a bit of the "green-eyed monster" for this skillful knight, mostly likely fearing his own position as favorite. The jealous man decided to entice the king to set up a match between himself and this newcomer. When the match began, the knight from Moravia was angered. He was insulted by this man's ploy to discredit him. It is said that when the two met face to face that the Moravian knight grabbed the other man's moustache and tore it off, along with a good part of his upper lip. The courtier was in such pain that he could not continue the contest. The Moravian knight then placed his opponents moustache upon his arrow, and brought it to the monarch. The king ordered that from that day forward that the shield of the knight should reflect this day. So from that day until now, the Odrowaz shield was named Odrzywas or "torn mustache."

Translated from Niesiecki's Armorial, Vol. III, pg 23. (to English) by Leonard J. Suligowski, Heraldry Director of the Polish Nobility Association.

See Leonard Suligowski's article about this clan on POLISH ROOTS (Odrowaz)

Another Version:

Another version of the origin of the coat of arms is that the legs stand for the Oder River delta where the first members of this clan lived. The arrow stands for the roof of their home.

Related Links:

[Reacocks in Heraldry and in Lore|Medieval Helms and Crests (Peacock)|Minnesinger Arms (peacock)|14th Century Zurich Roll of Arms (Peacock)|The Oder River Cruises on the MV Frederic Chopin ] Shows map of the Delta.

Families that belong to the Odrowaz Clan/Coat of Arms
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This page was last updated on August 3, 2006


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