SCA - College of Arms
P.O. Box 742825
Dallas, TX 75374-2825
(214) 276-2129
74107.1446@compuserve.com

October 29, 1995

Unto the members of the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive do Shayk Da'ud ibn Auda, Laurel King of Arms, and Baron Talan Gwynek, Pelican King of Arms, send Greetings!

The October 1995 Laurel meeting was held on Saturday, October 21, 1995, and considered the following Letters of Intent: Drachenwald (3/27); Drachenwald (4/27); Caid (5/30, posted 6/7); Ansteorra (6/10); An Tir (6/13); Middle (6/14); Atlantia (6/19); Caid (6/20); Gold Falcon (6/21); West (6/22); Trimaris (6/25); Atenveldt (6/26); Ansteorra (6/28); and Meridies (6/30). Original commentary on these LoIs must have been in the College's hands no later than August 31, 1995. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must have been in the College's hands no later than September 30, 1995.

The November 1995 Laurel meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 18, 1995, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Outlands (6/28, mailed 7/9); Rouge Scarpe Letter of Intent to Protect (7/5); Middle (7/7); Atlantia (7/11); An Tir (7/11); Caid (7/19); West (7/24); Calontir (7/26); and Atenveldt (7/28). Original commentary on these LoIs must have been in the College's hands no later than September 30, 1995. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than October 31, 1995.

The December 1995 Laurel meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 9, 1995, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: East (8/11); An Tir (8/12); Middle (8/21); Outlands (8/22); Trimaris (8/25); Atlantia (8/27); West (8/30). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than October 31, 1995. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than November 30, 1995.

The January 1996 Laurel meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 13, 1996, and will consider Letters of Intent dated and mail in September. Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than November 30, 1995. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than December 31, 1995.

Not all Letters of Intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this Cover Letter. Date of mailing of the LoI, date of receipt of the Laurel packet, or other factors may delay consideration of certain Letters of Intent. Additionally, not all Letters of Intent received have been scheduled because the administrative requirements (receipt of the forms packet, receipt of the necessary fees, etc.) have not yet been met.

ROSTER CHANGES

Aten asks that you remove the Solar Herald, Drusillus von Oberbessenbach, from the mailing list, as he does not have the time at the moment for commenting. Additionally, his legal surname has been misspelled on the Roster. His name is Christopher Bowen.

Gold Forest (Caid) has a new address: P.O. Box 3278, Tustin, CA 92681-3278. Her telephone number and e-mail address remain the same.

MEDICAL INSIGNIA AND CERTIFICATION

In his Letter of June 21, 1995, Gold Falcon requested a reconsideration by the College of the continuation of the restriction on the registration in armory of the caduceus, rod of Aesculapius, and bowl of Hygeia to those with medical credentials. Baron Bruce as Laurel proposed removal of this restriction in the Cover Letter accompanying the June 1993 LoAR. Such restriction was lifted in the Cover Letter with the December 1993 LoAR, then placed on hold for more discussion in the Cover Letter to the February 1994 LoAR.

The commentary received was almost unanimously in favor of eliminating the restriction of the use of these charges. The primary reason given was that it was felt that the College of Arms should not be in the business of judging a submitter's modern medical credentials. As noted by Harpy, "The SCA has structures under which interested and qualified parties can make their medical and emergency-response skills known and available, and the College of Arms is not part of it." The anecdotal evidence presented in favor of retaining the restriction was not strictly on point: the victim did not find medical assistance based on the symbol; he had to be directed by someone who independently knew that the banner with that symbol on it belonged to a physician.

Historically, the Anglo-American use of the caduceus as a medical symbol seems to be more or less unique. Elsewhere in the world, from its origin as a symbol of the god Mercury, it is used to symbolize merchants and commerce rather than medicine. In fact, it is often blazoned a rod of Mercury rather than a caduceus. (In addition to being the patron of merchants, Mercury is also the patron of thieves and heralds. ) The rod of Mercury/caduceus is found in the arms of the cities of Kharkov, in the former Soviet Union; Tampere, Finland; and Oberhausen, Germany (European Civic Coats of Arms by Jií Louda, pp. 67, 117-118). Its use in these coats of arms has to do with its use as a symbol of commerce, not medicine.

For all of these reasons, then, the proposal lifting the restriction of the use of the caduceus, rod of Aesculapius, and bowl of Hygeia to those with medical credentials is affirmed. These charges are available for use by anyone wishing to do so, regardless of their medical background, experience, or credentials.

BROWN ANIMALS "PROPER" (or, How Now, Brown Cow?)

Lion's Blood presented the fruits of her research in support of the An Tir submission of Ériu of Tlachtga, which had upon it "three brown bulls' heads cabossed proper". She cited a large number of cases of period animals shown as brown which were blazoned as proper. Here, I can do no better than to quote from Palimpsest's LoC:

It is easy to get caught up in SCA heraldry discussions based on what seems reasonable to our moder conceptions. When this is all we have to go on this is fine, but it doesn't compare to actual data about actual period practice. Lions Blood is to be thanked for filling in this gap in her LoR of 9/17/95. What it seems to come down to is that any critter blazoned as "proper" which doesn't have some glaringly obvious different coloration is likely to end up as brown. Thiis is intuitively unsurprising, and certainly more reasonable than our current practice in whcih we search through guide books to find a species or breed which is solid brown. ... This is hardly in the spirit of period heraldry. Lions Blood's evidence has persuaded me that we should accept the blazon of "brown {critter} proper" for an European species for which this is reasonable. This will take some getting used to, but period practice should prevail over old SCA prejudices."

Laurel would go one (small) step further, and note that except in cases where there is more than one common tincture (besides brown) for an animal (hounds, say, which may commonly in period be black or white, as well as brown), it would not even be necessary to blazon more specifically than "{critter} proper": e.g., beaver proper, but brown bulls proper, since there is more than one common color for cows (both black and white).

PRECEDENT: Henceforward, and more in line with period heraldic practice, animals which are normally brown may be registered simply as an {X} proper (e.g., boar proper, hare proper). Animals which are frequently found as brown but also commonly appear in other tinctures in the natural world may be registered as a brown {X} proper (e.g., brown hound proper, brown horse proper).

This precedent does not, however, loosen the ban on "Linnaean proper" (Cover Letter, May 13, 1991); proper tinctures for flora and fauna which require the Linnaean genus and species to know how to color them. For example, a falcon proper will be considered to be all brown, not brown head, wings and back, buff breast with darker spots, and a tail striped with black; a hare proper will be considered to be all brown, not brown with white underbelly and tail and pink ears. This also appears to be more in keeping with period heraldic practice.

RULES CHANGES (Part X.4.a.)

The following is the new revision of RfS X.4.a., field only and field primary difference:

X.4.a. Field Difference - Significantly changing the tinctures, direction of partition lines, style of partition lines, or number of pieces in a partition of the field is one clear difference.

In general, if the tincture of at least half the field is changed, the fields will be considered different. Per chevron azure and gules has one clear difference from Per chevron azure and sable. Per pale azure and Or has one clear difference from Per bend azure and Or and from Per pale embattled azure and Or. Bendy argent and sable has one clear difference from Per bend argent and sable. Barry gules and argent has one clear difference from Barry and per pale gules and argent. There is a clear difference for reversing the tinctures of a field evenly divided into two parts, per saltire, or quarterly, but not for reversing the tinctures of a field divided in any other way; Per pale nebuly ermine and gules has one clear difference from Per pale nebuly gules and ermine, but Paly ermine and gules has no clear difference from Paly gules and ermine. Field treatments are considered an aspect of tincture, so Per fess gules and argent has one clear difference from Per fess gules and argent masoned sable. Per fess dovetailed gules and argent has no clear difference from Per fess embattled gules and argent because the difference between dovetailed and embattled lines is not significant. It suffices to change significantly the style of at least half of the partition lines, so Quarterly per fess wavy argent and sable has one clear difference from Quarterly argent and sable; Paly and per fess argent and sable has no clear difference from Paly and per fess indented argent and sable, however. Gyronny Or and sable has no clear difference from Gyronny of twelve Or and sable because the difference between eight and twelve pieces is not significant.

i. Charged Fields - If charges other than an uncharged peripheral ordinary are present, at most one clear difference may be counted for changes to the field.

For the purposes of this rule the peripheral ordinaries are the chief, the bordure, the base (including the point pointed), the quarter, the canton, the gyron, the orle, the double tressure, and flaunches. There is just one clear difference between Per chevron ermine and azure, a pale gules and Per bend wavy Or and vert, a pale gules.

ii. Field-Primary Armory - If neither of two pieces of armory being compared has charges, or if each has the same uncharged peripheral ordinary, they may derive greater difference from changes to the field. Such armory will be called field-primary armory.

For the purposes of this rule the peripheral ordinaries are the chief, the bordure, the base (including the point pointed), the quarter, the canton, the gyron, the orle, the double tressure, and flaunches.

(a) Substantial Change of Partition - If two pieces of field-primary armory have substantially different partitions, they are considered sufficiently different and do not conflict, irrespective of any other similarities between them.

Any divided field is substantially different from any plain field: Per pale azure and vert is substantially different from Azure. Any two of the following partitions are substantially different from each other except the pairs per fess and barry, per bend and bendy, per pale and paly, per bend sinister and bendy sinister, and per chevron and chevronelly: per fess, per bend, per pale, per bend sinister, per saltire, per chevron, quarterly, checky, lozengy, gyronny (of any number of pieces), barry, bendy, paly, bendy sinister, and chevronelly. Checky is substantially different from all other grid-like partitions (i.e., those formed by two sets of parallel lines, like lozengy and barry-bendy); these other grid-like partitions are not substantially different from one another. Barry and per pale argent and vert is substantially different from Checky argent and vert, but it has only a clear difference from Bendy and per pale argent and vert. Per chevron Or and gules is not substantially different from Chevronelly Or and gules, nor is Per pale wavy purpure and argent substantially different from Paly wavy argent and purpure, though in each case there is a clear difference between the fields.

(b) Complete Change of Tincture - If the fields of two pieces of field-primary armory have no tinctures in common, they are considered completely different and do not conflict, irrespective of any other similarities between them.

The ermine furs and their variants are considered to be different tinctures, so Per bend ermine and azure is completely different from Per bend erminois and gules and from Per bend argent ermined gules and sable. The addition of a field treatment is also a change of tincture, so Per fess argent and gules is completely different from Per fess argent masoned gules and sable.

(c) Other Field-Primary Armory - In any case, independent changes to the tincture, direction of partition lines, style of partition lines, or number of pieces in the partition may be counted separately when comparing two pieces of field-primary armory.

There are two clear differences between Per chevron argent and azure and Per pale nebuly argent and azure.

iii. Fieldless Difference - A piece of fieldless armory automatically has one clear difference from any other armory, fielded or fieldless.

Tinctureless armory and Japanese mon are considered to be fieldless for this purpose.

EX ROSTRO PELECANI

Submissions Heralds please note: If a name or name element is documented from a non-standard source, especially a non-onomastic source, the packet should include a photocopy of the relevant page(s). It too often happens that documentation has been miscopied or even completely misunderstood.

Speaking of documentation, I'm sorry to say that I've found another ringer: someone used the title page of Charles F. Gosnell's Spanish Personal Names to identify the source of a page from what appears to be a bad English-language Spanish baby-name book. Two instances are hardly an epidemic, but they are a bit disconcerting, especially since there's not much that we can do about the problem except keep our eyes open.

ADDING NON-SCA ARMORY TO THE PROTECTED LIST

In her Letter of Intent for October, Lions Blood noted that: "During the discussion of the Modest Proposal it had always been stated that there would be some procedure for determining whether the mundane armory or the S.C.A. submission would be registered (or 'protected').... I hope that the procedure will be laid down clearly regardless of the outcome of these possible conflicts." Such procedure was, I thought, laid down in the Cover Letter to the August 1994 LoAR:

If someone finds a "conflict" for a submission of SCA armory with a piece of non-SCA armory that they believe is important enough to protect, their commentary on that SCA submission should cite the potential conflict by name, blazon and source, and the reasons they believe it should be considered important enough for us to protect. The decision on the SCA submission will be pended for a month or two[*] to allow commentary on the possible conflict, and then either the SCA submission or the non-SCA armory will be "registered" and added to the A&O.

[* Here I assumed that the discussion would be on-going, and not waiting for an "official" pend by Laurel that it needs to be discussed.]

To which I can only add: unless the conflict call is made early enough, either in the LoI or in primary commentary, that everyone has the opportunity to comment on the potential conflict and a consensus is reached within the normal parameters for commentary, in which case the issue may be resolved at the regularly scheduled Laurel meeting without the need to pend the item.

COMMENTARY TIME, PART II

The commentary on the proposed reduction of commentary time from four months to three has been coming in. There are a goodly number of commenters in favor. Of those opposed, the arguments contra seem to be falling into groups as follows:

(i) The biggest time losses for submitters are at the kingdom level, so cutting the process by one month at the Laurel level is not that big a savings for them.

(ii) A four-month commentary period gives commenters some "slack" if for any of a number of valid reasons they get behind in their commentary.

The first is the argument of futility: "We can't solve the biggest problem with submissions time, so there's no point in doing what we can do to cut that time down." (For some reason, this argument reminds me of comedian Pat Paulsen's 1968 presidential campaign, where he discussed the issue of pollution: "Let's start with the big pollution first. Get the frogmen out of the water and the parachutists out of the air.") I'm sorry, but I don't buy that argument. It's the same with my recycling glass, plastic, newspapers and aluminum at home. It's not a big savings, and in the long run my recycling probably doesn't save the environment anything noticeable. On the other hand, it is something that I can do and it does make an impact, even though minor. Here, we have the opportunity to do something to ease the delay faced by the people we are supposed to be servicing. And even where the big delays may be at the kingdom level, if we can cut one month of time out of ten months total processing time, that's still a 10% savings, which is not insubstantial.

The second argument would carry more weight if the majority of those using it were actually regularly making their primary commentary in the first month after the LoIs are mailed out. However, the fact is that many of those propounding this argument are not making their primary commentary until the second month allocated for primary commentary and so already don't have that "margin of slack" that they have said we should retain. In one example, a commenting group who made this argument also made their primary commentary on July LoIs in mid-September. The last of the July LoIs (dated July 28) on was reported as received by them August 4; the earliest was received July 15. Another group commented in late October on August LoIs, reporting that all of the LoIs had been received between August 21 and September 5. In neither example were any of the LoIs commented upon during the first full month designated for primary commentary, and no "cushion" exists in either example if the commenters get behind. I fail to see what would be lost by eliminating the first "unused" month of commentary time in these cases.

Given that the College operated for two decades on a three month commentary period without serious problems or complaints, I am having trouble understanding why it should now be too much of a burden on commenters to restore that -- especially since both the reasons for going to four months originally (neither of which involved a time "cushion" for commenters) no longer exist.

A third argument which has been made is that reducing the commentary time will somehow increase the "record-keeping" necessary for commenters. I am afraid that I miss the point of this argument entirely. Exactly what "record-keeping" will be increased?

Given all the above, I am still inclined to make the end of month deadline for the distribution of LoIs a "hard" one (LoIs mailed too late to be received in a given calendar month will be considered as dated the following month), and reduce the commentary period for primary commentary to two months from one, thus cutting 20+% off the time that a submission currently must spend at the interkingdom level. I continue to invite your commentary on this issue, however.

JOB OPENING

Again, this is a reminder that my warrant (and Pelican's) will expire at the end of June 1996. Anyone (or, since the workload has been split), any group of individuals wishing to apply for the position of Laurel Sovereign of Arms should do so by writing the Board of Directors by the end of November 1995, with a copy to Laurel and an announcement to the College of Arms. This will give the College time to write to the Board by the end of December regarding the various candidates, so that the Board may make a decision at its January 1996 meeting; sufficiently early that an easy and smooth transition of office can be made.

If you have any questions about how the office is organized or run, or what is involved in it, please do not hesitate to contact either Laurel or Pelican.

MISCELLANY

The badge granted by the Chief Herald of South Africa to the South African National Scrabble Players' Association is blazoned as follows. [The field is not upon an escutcheon or a roundel; it has a field of neither shape nor boundary.]

On a background Vert two scrabble racks in end aspect addorsed Or, each bearing a tile in end aspect Argent all within an annulet Or ensigned of a leaping springbok Proper.

From an item in The Heraldry Gazette, The Official Newsletter of the Heraldry Society of England, September 1995, p. 2

Until next month, pray believe that I am, and remain,

Your faithful servant,

Da'ud ibn Auda

Laurel King of Arms