Last modified: 2020-10-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: montiel |
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Flag of Montiel - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 May 2019
The municipality of Montiel (1,450 inhabitants in 2015; 27,129 ha; municipal website) is located 110 km south-east of Ciudad Real and 110 km south-east of Albacete.
Montiel is, according to Ramón Menéndez Pidal, a toponym of Mozarab origin. The ruins of the Star's Castle (La Estrella) crown a conic hill (961 m) located in a meander of river Segurilla. The site overlooks the valley of river Jabalón and the crossing of historical roads connecting Cuenca to Granada, Seville to Valencia, and Mérida to Levante.
A first fortification was erected by the Muslims, probably in the 9th
century, to be increased in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. In 1224,
the Order of Saint James established the San Polo fort on a hill (947 m)
facing La Estrella, which eventually surrendered in 1227. San Polo was
then transformed into a settlement that included a chapel, used until
the 15th century.
La Estrella was transformed by the Order of Saint-James in a citadel; the seat of the Commandery of Montiel, the citadel watched and ruled the whole district. From the 14th century onward, the citadel was a strategic place, of administrative, economical and political significance. Defeated on 14 March 1369 in the Battle of Montiel by his brother Henry of Trastámara, King of Castile Peter I the Cruel sought shelter in the citadel. With the help of Constable Du Guesclin, Henry captured his brother and killed him on 23 March 1369; the event is recalled by a stone monolith erected on the site of the murder.
The citadel declined in the first years of the 16th century, being abandoned by its inhabitants. The ruins of the first church of Montiel, built around 1230 in the citadel, were excavated in 2013.
Montiel is the capital of the district of Campo de Montiel, once "one of
the poorest among the poorest districts in La Mancha", and therefore
considered as "the starting point and the main setting of Don Quixote’s
adventures". The district is indeed mentioned four times by Cervantes:
Preface: "... the story of the famous Don Quixote of La Mancha, who is held by all the inhabitants of the district of the Campo de Montiel to have been the chastest lover and the bravest knight that has for many years been seen in that neighbourhood."
Part I, Chapter II: "...when the renowned knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, quitting the lazy down, mounted his celebrated steed Rocinante and began to traverse the ancient and famous Campo de Montiel"
Part I, Chapter VII: "Don Quixote decided upon taking the same route and road he had taken on his first journey, that over the Campo de Montiel, which he travelled with less discomfort than on the last occasion, for, as it was early morning and the rays of the sun fell on them obliquely, the heat did not distress them."
Part II, Chapter VIII: "... and he urges them to forget the former chivalries of the ingenious gentleman and to fix their eyes on those that are to come, which now begin on the road to El Toboso, as the others began on the plains of Montiel;"
Ivan Sache, 27 May 2019
The flag of Montiel, adopted on 1 April 2015 by the Municipal Council,
is prescribed by an Order issued on 22 April 2016 by the Government of
Castilla-La Mancha and published on 10 May 2016 in the official gazette
of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 90, p. 10,396 (text).
The flag is described as follows:
Flag: Rectangular panel in proportions 2:3. Field divided into four triangles formed by the intersection of the two diagonals of the field. Two triangles crimson at hoist and fly, another two triangles white. At the intersection of the triangles the official coat of arms of the place, beneath it two armored arms intercrossed: pieces of armor covering shoulder and arm, gray (G, Pantone 424 C); pieces of armor covering elbows and forearms, swords, grey (G, Pantone 421 C), hands, orange (O).
The flag, selected among a dozen of proposals and approved by the Royal
Academy of History, was unveiled on 7 May 2016. It "simulates" the
Battle of Montiel.
[Noticias Ciudad Real, 9 May 2016; Diario La Comarca de Puertollano, 9 May 2016]
The coat of arms of Montiel is prescribed by an Order issued on 16 April
2001 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 27 April
2001 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 51, p. 5,280 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:
Coat of arms: In Spanish style, on a white field (argent) a cross or cloth of St. James gules (red) in base (below) a castle or port and windows azure (blue). The castle superimposed (over) the cross and [the shield] surmounted by a Royal crown.
This is a "rehabilitation" of the coat of arms "of immemorial use".
[Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat. 1973. Heráldica municipal de la provincia de Ciudad Real. Cuadernos de Estudios Manchegos 4, 84-109]
Ivan Sache, 27 May 2019