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Santiponce (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-11-23 by ivan sache
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Flag of Santiponce - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 31 May 2014

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Presentation of Santiponce

The municipality of Santiponce (8,382 inhabitants in 2013; 838 ha; tourism website) is located 10 km north-west of Seville.

Santiponce was established on the bank of river Guadalquivir, in a place named Isla de Hierro (Iron's Island). Following the flood that destroyed most of the village on 20 December 1603, the survivors were offered by the monks of the San Isidoro del Campo monastery a plot located in higher lands, where they founded a new town. Upon request of the monks, King Charles II allowed in 1691 the organization of the Santiponce Fair, which was held every year in the beginning of October.

Santiponce was built on the ruins of the Roman town of Italica, which had been established in 206 BC, during the Punic Wars, by Publius Scipio the African. Colonia Aelia Augusta Italica was the first Roman town erected out of Italy. Originally intended as a field hospital, IItalica soon grew up as a main Roman town. Named for the origin of its founders, Italica is the birth town of Emperor Trajan (53-117), the first Roman emperor of foreign origin.
His successor, Hadrian (76-138), although born in Rome, was taught in Italica, where he established a new borough (nova urbs), as opposed to Scipio's old town (vetus urbs). Hadrian's borough disappeared in the middle of the 3rd century, while the old town survived until the Muslim invasion.
Archeological excavations of the new town were initiated from 1781 to 1788 by Francisco de Bruna and have never stopped since then. Italica was proclaimed a National Monument by a Royal Order signed on 13 December 1912. The theatre, built during the reign of August, was concealed by the modern town of Santiponce; Francisco Collantes de Terán Delorme performed the first excavations from 1935 to 1955 (see José María González Parilla. Francisco Collantes de Terán Delorme y las excavaciones in Itálica entre 1935 y 1955. Habis, 2005, 36:333-347).

Santiponce is said to have been named fro St. Ponzio, a legendary bishop of IItalica, of for St. Geroncio, a priest of the town. Another etymology relates Santiponce to the "santo pozo", the holy well on which St. Isidore of Seville used to seat to study.
After the fall of Seville, Santiponce was granted to Guy Martínez and Nuño Yálñez, who sold the domain to Infante Alonso de Molina, the brother of Ferdinand III. Santiponce was subsequently transferred to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán the Good and his wife María Coronel, who established in 1301 the San Isidoro del Campo monastery, according to a privilege granted in 1298 by Ferdinand IV. The monastery was erected on the ruins of a Mozarab chapel, said to have kept the relics of St. Isidore of Seville until their transfer in 1063 to the collegiate church of León. The founder's son, Juan Alonso, erected a nave adjacent to the original church, the two buildings being known as the twin churches. The monastery was ran by Cistercian monks from 1298 until 1431, being the southernmost Cistercian monastery in Europe. In 1471, the monastery was transferred to the Hieronymites, who were expelled in 1835 during Mendizábal's desamortización. The monastery was subsequently used as a women's jail, a tobacco factory and a brewery. On 10 April 1872, the monastery was proclaimed a National Historical and Artistic Monument, the first in the Province of Seville. Resettled by the Hieronymites in 1956, the monastery was eventually abandoned in 1978.

Ivan Sache, 31 May 2014

Symbols of Santiponce

The flag of Santiponce (photo, photo, photo) is horizontally divided green-white-red with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The coat of arms of Santiponce is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 2 August 1984 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 17 August 1984 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 77, p. 1,621 (text). This was confirmed by a Decree adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The coat of arms is prescribed as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Argent a mitre crossed by a double cross sable issuant from a lion couchant gules in chief an episcopal cap filled vert with cordons of the same of six tassels on each side, 2. Vert a Roman amphitheater proper in base the word "ITÁLICA" argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed arms. The memoir supporting the symbol was well redacted and backed up by a relevant bibliography.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 1984, 181, 2: 327]

The arms were proposed on 10 July 1983 by Joaquín González Moreno. The Academy did not correctly amend the design, keeping the amphiteater proper on vert and the writing beneath it. Such a writing has to be placed in the bordure of the shield. For the sake of legibility, the writing should have been argent instead of sable. Finally, the reproduction of the ruins is misleading, so that they cannot be properly identified without the caption.
in the 20th century, Santiponce used a shield in Carlist shape, with the ruins of the amphiteater proper on a field or and the writing in base, surmounted by a crown open, sometimes a Marquis' coronet. Two seals kept in the National Historical Archives feature the ruins of the amphiteater; "the first used for old times and the second for 15 years". In other reproductions, the ruins are restricted to a broken arch. The second quarter represents the monastery of San Isidoro del Campo.
[Juan José Antequera Luengo. Heráldica oficial de la provincia de Sevilla]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 31 May 2014