9 November 1985, A.S. XX

Unto the members of the College of Arms, from Baldwin of Erebor, Laurel King of Arms. My lords and ladies,

I'm sorry this letter is so late. They've been dumping projects on me at work faster than I can finish them, which has been eating into my weeknights (there are disadvantages to working for a high­tech startup); and the yard work could no longer be postponed, which has taken a heavy toll on my weekends. Things are starting to lighten up, however, and with five weeks between the November and December meetings, I hope to be back on my regular schedule by then.

Enclosed herewith is the letter of acceptances and returns for the Laurel meeting of 15 September. Submissions were processed for Ansteorra (6/10), Calontir (6/11), Meridies (6/15), West (6/16), Caid (6/20), and East (6/27). There were 127 approvals and 19 returns, for an 87% approval rate.

The October meeting was held on the 20th. Submissions were processed at this meeting for the Middle (7/4) [heraldic titles], Atenveldt (7/5) [two letters], West (7/10) [appeal], Caid (7/11), Atlantia (7/26), East (7/27), East (7/28), West (7/28), and East (7/29). The Middle letter of 7/15 was postponed, pending receipt of the forms.


The November meeting has been scheduled for the 10th. Letters of intent will be reviewed from Laurel (9/26), Ansteorra (8/1), Ansteorra (8/5), Caid (8/7), West (8/18), and Ansteorra (8/31).

The December meeting has been scheduled for the 15th. The letters to be processed at this meeting are Caid (9/11), West (9/16), Atenveldt (9/17), Atenveldt (9/18), Trimaris (9/19), and Middle (9/30). Letters of comment for this meeting should arrive no later than December 7.

The letters of intent I have received for the January meeting are Ansteorra (10/10), East (10/17), West (10/24), East (10/26), and East (10/27).


Please add Master Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme, Silver Trumpet Herald for Caid, to the list of commenting heralds: Bruce Miller, 13530­1/2 CeriseAvenue, Hawthorne, CA 90250; (213) 679­2435.


One of this month's submissions drew a number of comments to the effect that "the trefoil should be blazoned as slipped," to which one of the heralds at the meeting replied, "But trefoils are always slipped." After studying my references and the Laurel files, I have concluded the following:

Mundane practice

1) Trefoils are "always" shown slipped, and they are almost always blazoned as either slipped or stalked.

2) According to Parker, if the stalk is not represented as torn off, ie must be described as couped.

3) Fox­Davies (A Complete Guide to Heraldry) and the Lynch­Robinsons (Intelligible Heraldry) say that it is unnecessary to blazon the stalk, since it is always present.

SCA practice

1) Trefoils are always slipped.

2) The stalk is usually not blazoned.

It appears that the conventional representation of the trefoil, in SCA as well, as mundane heraldry, includes the stalk. Mundane idiom is to mention this fact in the blazon, even though it is always present. Fox­Davies and the Lynch­Robinsons (who have reputations as reformers) consider slipped or stalked to be redundant, and feel this should be omitted from the blazon. SCA heralds seem for the most part to have followed their advice.

I consider both forms of blazon to be correct, and will register whichever form is submitted.

The plural of Pegasus

In my cover letter of 8 May 1985, I asked the College of Arms for the correct plural of pegasus. The following is courtesy of the aforementioned Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme:

The original word for the winged horse of myth is the Greek Peggsos. Its diminutive is Peggsion, its adjectival or genitive form is Pegasidos; so the pristine dreek plural would be Pegisides. [1]

The Greek Pegisos was subsumed directly into Latin, and into Middle English via Old French. In each case the spelling was changed to conform to local grammatical usage. In Latin, it became Pegasus, whose plural is Peggasi. I know this because of a stater [a type of coin) of Corinth, stamped with an image of the winged horse and taking its name from it; and the plural of the coin pegasus is definitely pegasi. [2]

In English, the word became Pegase, Pegasee; and the plural became Pegases. [3] In later centuries the Latin form was itself subsumed into English, and was made to conform to its usage; a 1761 treatise on heraldry gives Pegasusses as the plural. [3)

To sum up, then, there are many words that might be used to denote a group of winged horses. But to answer the question you asked, the plural of pegasus is pegasi or pegasusses., depending on your linguistic purity.

I prefer pegasi, myself, he said reflexively.

Agreement of prepositions

While working on the submission of RENEE MERCI DU TARO (p. 4), I realized that there is a problem in the policy that says a preposition should agree in language with the noun that follows it. The problem is that proper nouns are often assimilated directly into other languages ­ though we may pronounce them differently, to an English speaker, the Louvre is still in Paris. The policy, as worded, does not take this practice into account, and this is wrong.

The ruling of Master Wilhelm's from which I drew the policy (ANDELEON OF AXEGARTH, 31 Oct 82) was intended to prevent a French particle (du) from being used with an English place name (Axegarth). Similar circumstances applied when I ruled that the German preposition von should not be used with Ratisbon, the English name of Regensburg.

In the case of Ratisbon, there was definitely a German form of the place name,. so it did no't seem unreasonable to insist that the appropriate form be used. It also seems appropriate to ask that the preposition have something in common with the rest of the name ­ "Abdul von Llydaw" seems a bit much. But what do you do when you don't know of an equivalent form in a given language, or if there isn't one, especially when the remainder of the name is linguistically consistent?

Unfortunately, this means that the policy in question is not strictly a matter of grammar. It appears to involve some subjective judgements as well, and I am not certain how defensible it is on these grounds. I have relaxed the ruling already, by acknowledging the role of English as the lingua franca of the Society, and am relaxing it further to recognize the principle of assimilation. I don't know how best to proceed from here. Any suggestions?

Notes and queries

1) Virgule has asked if anyone knows of any period examples of "genuine use of 'dormant'." He has been unable to find any instances in the Armorial General.

2) There has been some controversy in the correspondence recently over the use of the gore. The references are of little help; they all seem to be repeating definitions gleaned from other works. Can anyone actually produce a mundane example of a coat containing two gores? For that matter, what instances are there of the gore being used as a charge at all?


Laurel office

Genevra Gerhart. The Russian's World: Life and Language. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974. [donated by HHOF; excerpts]

John H. Nicholls. The label. The Journal of Heraldic Studies, Heraldry Society of the U.S.A., 1617 West 261st Street, Harbor City, CA 90710. I:5­13, 1985. [donated by EA)

N.A. Petrovski. Dictionary of Russian First Names A­Z. 1984. Translated and abridged by Tatiana Nikolaevna Tumanova (B. J. Gerth).

Personal library

Guy Cadogan Rothery. Concise Encyclopedia of Heraldry. Bracken Books, 1985. Originally published as ABC of Heraldry. Reprint of 1915 edition.

Et cetera

I cleaned out my "indefinite pending" file this month, and am returning several submissions that were being held for documentation. These will need to be resubmitted through normal channels once the requisite documentation has been obtained.

Please take note of the discussions of the use of prehistoric animals as charges (GARTH ALLMANN, pp. 9­10) and of the demotion of points of difference (Appendix, pp. 14­17) in this month's LOAR.

The first draft of the revised Rules for Submissions is complete. Review copies will be mailed to the commenting members of the College of Arms in about two weeks.

Work has begun on the usage book. We have compiled a list of terms used in registered blazons, and another of charges, and are presently classifying these. I have also (unexpectedly) made some progress on the update to Precedents III.

I pray you believe me to be, my lords and ladies,

Your servant,

Baldwin of Erebor

Laurel King of Arms


[1] Liddell and Scott's Greek­English Lexicon, Oxford, rep. 1963.

[2] Webster's Second Unabridged.

[3] Oxford English Dictionary.