This device (and other symbols, see 'Vlasto Eagles' below) is one of many similar variants on the double-headed eagle motif used by the Vlasto family. See explanatory notes Heraldry in Byzantium; Vlasto Family References and A Brief History Of Byzantium.
See also: Vlasto Arms (1) c.1300-1500; Vlasto Arms (2) c.1300-1500; Vlasto Arms (3) c.1300-1500; Vlasto Arms (4) c.1300-1500; Vlasto Arms (5) c.1300-1500; Vlasto Arms (6) Chios, c. C16th; Vlasto Arms (7) Antonio Vlasto, Crete 1590; Vlasto Arms (8) Georgius Vlasto, Crete, 1630, & Marcus Vlasto, Crete, 1680; Vlasto Arms (9) Nicolaus Vlasto, Crete, 1694; Vlasto Eagles (1) c. 300 B.C.; Vlasto Eagles (2) c.50 A.D.
These elaborate and purely decorative arms are almost certainly an 18th or 19th Century variant of Vlasto Arms (3) and may belong to the Chios branch of the family.
These variants on a theme [see Vlasto Arms (2) (3) (4) and (5)] may be the result of the major division of the family into several branches during the early 17th Century. Having taken part in the Byzantine conquest of Crete with the Grand Duke Jean Doucas in 1089 AD, the Vlastos made Crete their principal base for more than 600 years. Then, quite suddenly they appear to have left the island, perhaps because of invasions by the Ottomans and/or Venetians, and settled in a number of major trading centres in the Eastern Mediterranean notably in Zante, Corfu, Chios and Alexandria. This may account for these well-documented variants in their arms.
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