In Portugal, D. Manuel 1º, the Venturoso, (1469-1521), was the one who ordered the organization of a heraldic nucleus in Portugal for the coat of arms of noble families, (almost simultaneously with the English Weapons College founded in 1484) who organized / corrected and had the Coat of Arms registered.
72 families were highlighted with prominence as the most illustrious and important in the Kingdom, having as a differential honor, history and goods and their Coat of Arms were painted on the ceiling of the Coat of Arms Room of the National Palace of Sintra .
Ordered to be erected by King D. Dinis 700 years ago, the Vila Palace was being updated and added by successive kings. Commissioned by D. Manuel I in the century. XV, the Sala dos Brasões is the most impressive piece of this very unique royal palace. But what in this room seems to be an exceptional decorative program is actually a millimeter political program: the Coat of Arms Room of the Palace of Vila de Sintra is the perfect image of the centralization of the king’s power that D. Manuel unequivocally fixes. Contrary to what had happened to his predecessors in the Middle Ages, D. Manuel I was no longer a peer among equals, but an absolute king, above all other men and from whom all light and all power emanated.
The place that each of the 72 noble families represented here occupied in the court hierarchy is expressed in the placement of the respective weapons or emblems on the ceiling of the Sala dos Brasões.
By placing his coat of arms on top of the dome of this room, D. Manuel projects himself as the center and top of a highly hierarchical, but interdependent society. His power depends on the support of the nobility, and the nobility obtains the social distinction it needs from the king.
The nobility is here represented by the coats of arms of the 72 most important families. Coats of arms reflect identities to which individuals are associated, being a form of social distinction.
Between the symbol of D Manuel and the coats of arms of noble families, there are the coats of arms of D Manuel’s eight children.
The inscription around the room reveals how the memory of the services provided by the ancestors – “the loyal services” – defined the identity and the social position of each one. As for the king, he is the supreme judge responsible for ensuring that order.
The walls of this room were covered in tiles in the 18th century with gallant scenes.