Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

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Renton, WA 98058-8221
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herald@sca.org

For the November 2006 meetings, printed February 23, 2007

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Elisabeth Laurel, Jeanne Marie Wreath, and Margaret Pelican, greetings.

For information about future scheduling, please review the status table located on the Web at http://www.sca.org/heraldry/status.html.

The November Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, November 11, 2006 and the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, November 4, 2006. The meetings considered the following Letters of Intent: Laurel (8 Jul 2006), Middle (12 Jul 2006), Artemisia (15 Jul 2006), Ansteorra (19 Jul 2006), Atlantia (20 Jul 2006), Æthelmearc (20 Jul 2006), East (20 Jul 2006), Drachenwald (23 Jul 2006), Gleann Abhann (26 Jul 2006), Caid (26 Jul 2006), West (26 Jul 2006), Northshield (27 Jul 2006), Outlands (27 Jul 2006), An Tir (28 Jul 2006), Ealdormere (28 Jul 2006), Palimpsest LoItUP (29 Jul 2006), Atenveldt (30 Jul 2006), Meridies (30 Jul 2006), and Trimaris (31 Jul 2006).

The December Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, December 9, 2006, and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday December 10, 2006. The meetings considered the following Letters of Intent: Laurel LoPaD (12 Aug 2006), Artemisia (22 Aug 2006), Drachenwald (22 Aug 2006), Gleann Abhann (22 Aug 2006), Caid (23 Aug 2006), Ansteorra (25 Aug 2006), Atenveldt (25 Aug 2006), Outlands (27 Aug 2006), East (28 Aug 2006), Meridies (28 Aug 2006), An Tir (29 Aug 2006), East (29 Aug 2006), and Atlantia (30 Aug 2006).

The January Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican meeting held Sunday, January 28, 2007 and the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, January 27, 2007. The meetings will consider the following Letters of Intent: Middle (11 Sep 2006), Lochac (12 Sep 2006), East (18 Sep 2006), Drachenwald (19 Sep 2006), Artemisia (20 Sep 2006), Caid (20 Sep 2006), West (20 Sep 2006), Æthelmearc (21 Sep 2006), Ansteorra (21 Sep 2006), Loyall (21 Sep 2006), Trimaris (23 Sep 2006), [An Tir (27 Sep 2006)], Outlands (27 Sep 2006), Atlantia (28 Sep 2006), Atenveldt (30 Sep 2006), Palimpsest (30 Sep 2006), and Siren (30 Sep 2006). Original commentary on these letters should have been in the College's hands no later than November 30, 2006. Responses and rebuttals to commentary should have been in the College's hands no later than December 31, 2006.

The February Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican meeting held on Sunday, February 11, 2007 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, February 25, 2007. The meetings will consider the following Letters of Intent: Northshield (6 Oct 2006), Laurel LoPaD (15 Oct 2006), Gleann Abhann (16 Oct 2006), Lochac (16 Oct 2006), Artemisia (22 Oct 2006), Drachenwald (22 Oct 2006), East (23 Oct 2006), Ansteorra (24 Oct 2006), West (25 Oct 2006), Æthelmearc (26 Oct 2006), Caid (26 Oct 2006), Loyall (26 Oct 2006), Middle (27 Oct 2006), Outlands (27 Oct 2006), Atlantia (29 Oct 2006), Trimaris (29 Oct 2006), [An Tir (30 Oct 2006)], Calontir (30 Oct 2006), Meridies (30 Oct 2006), Palimpsest LoItUP (30 Oct 2006), and Atenveldt (31 Oct 2006). Original commentary on these letters should have been in the College's hands no later than December 31, 2006. Responses and rebuttals to commentary should have been in the College's hands no later than January 31, 2007.

The March Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held in March 2007. The meetings will consider the following Letters of Intent: Laurel (13 Nov 2006), Lochac (13 Nov 2006), Atenveldt (17 Nov 2006), [Ealdormere (18 Nov 2006)], Drachenwald (20 Nov 2006), Ansteorra (21 Nov 2006), [Æthelmearc (22 Nov 2006)], [Caid (22 Nov 2006)], East (22 Nov 2006), Atlantia (27 Nov 2006), Meridies (27 Nov 2006), Northshield (27 Nov 2006), Outlands (27 Nov 2006), and [An Tir (28 Nov 2006)]. Original commentary on these letters should have been in the College's hands no later than January 31, 2007. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than February 28, 2007.

The April Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held in April 2007. The meetings will consider the following Letters of Intent: [West (6 Dec 2006)], Calontir (11 Dec 2006), Gleann Abhann (14 Dec 2006), Laurel (15 Dec 2006), Middle (16 Dec 2006), Ansteorra (20 Dec 2006), [Artemisia (20 Dec 2006)], [Atenveldt (20 Dec 2006)], [Æthelmearc (20 Dec 2006)], [Caid (20 Dec 2006)], [Drachenwald (20 Dec 2006)], Atlantia (26 Dec 2006), Middle (26 Dec 2006), Outlands (27 Dec 2006), and Trimaris (30 Dec 2006). Original commentary on these letters must be in the College's hands no later than February 28, 2007. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than March 31, 2007.

Not all Letters of Intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this cover letter. The 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, some letters of intent received may not have been scheduled because the administrative requirements (receipt of the forms packet, receipt of the necessary fees, et cetera) have not yet been met.

REMINDER: Until all administrative requirements are met, the letter may not be scheduled.

From Pelican: Results of the discussion on changes to temporal disparity allowances

Under current precedent, name elements that are documented with a more than 300 year difference in date are declared one step from period practice. Names with a more than 1000 year gap between elements are not registerable. In July 2006, we asked the College whether this second gap should be shortened and, if so, what it should be shortened to.

The only comments on this issue came from Metron Ariston, Palimpsest, and Albion, who are the most accomplished linguists of the Laurel commenters. All three argue (correctly, we feel) that, to allow for consistent application, linguistic changes within a language/culture must be examined on a case by case basis. They argue that in most cases languages change significantly over a 300-600 year period, and that by the time 600 years have passed a name is almost always already two steps from period practice -- one for temporal disparity and the other for language change. We have no argument with this conclusion, although it is not always an obvious one. Many heralds have expressed the feeling that giving a temporal step and a language step for two elements from the same immediate language family (for example, Old English and Middle English) is penalizing a name twice for the same violation. This is not the case. As languages change we see definable changes in grammar, orthography, and vocabulary. Because of this, we would expect a name to show the appropriate grammar, spelling conventions, and vocabulary for a single language. Over time, though, fashions change--societal conventions for naming change within a culture because of both language changes and historical events taking place within a culture. One of the most obvious of these is the widespread adoption of Christian saints names in many European cultures and the subsequent disappearance from the naming pool of many older names. Another example familiar to many SCA folk is the introduction of Norman names into Wales and Ireland during the 12th C.

Given this, we will not narrow the gaps provided by precedent for temporal incompatibility.

From Wreath: Steps from Period Practice or Weirdnesses

First, I would like to thank all those who took the time to comment on this issue. Reading the commentary it is clear that determining what should not be considered a step from period practice (SFPP) is much easier than determining what should be considered a SFPP.

At this time I am proposing various modifications to part VII of the Rules for Submission, Compatible Armorial Content. The wording to be added is indicated like this. The example in VII.5 - Compatible Monsters is being changed, as a sea-unicorn was not created by the Society; it is found in the arms of Niemptscher, 1605 (Siebmacher 58). I would like your comments for the June decision meeting.

PART VII - COMPATIBLE ARMORIAL CONTENT

Every element in a piece of Society armory must be compatible with period armorial practices, as is required by General Principle I. 1. a. of these rules. This section defines the categories of elements that the College of Arms has generally found to be compatible, those which have been ruled not compatible, and those generally found to be a step from period practice (SFPP).

1. Period Charges. - Ordinaries and other charges used in period armory may be registered.

No charge that is documented as having been used in period European heraldry, including as part of a crest or badge, will be considered a step from period practice.

Use of a charge in heraldry after 1600 does not guarantee its acceptability. Thus, even though they appear in modern British heraldry, DNA molecules and hydrogen atoms may not be used.

2. Period Armorial Elements. - Lines of division, lines of partition, field treatments, and other elements used in period armory may be registered.

Use of an element in period art does not guarantee its acceptability for armory. Use of the Greek key design, which was common in period decorative art, never carried over into armory. If an element of period art not otherwise used as a heraldic charge is determined to be registerable, it will be considered a step from period practice.

3. Period Artifacts. - Artifacts that were known in the period and domain of the Society may be registered in armory, provided they are depicted in their period forms.

A pen, for instance, must be depicted as a quill pen or other period form, not a fountain pen. A wheel must be depicted as a wagon wheel, not a rubber tire from an automobile.

The use of artifacts that, though not found in period armory, follow a pattern of charges found in period armory, will not be considered a SFPP. For instance, there are so many examples of period tools being used in armory, that any tool documented as in use in Europe prior to 1600 is generally acceptable without being a SFPP. Artifacts that do not follow a pattern of charges found in period armory, such as an aeolipile, will be considered a SFPP.

4. Period Flora and Fauna. - Flora and fauna that were known in the period and domain of the Society may be registered in armory.

Specific types of flora and fauna documented as having been used as charges in period heraldry, including as crests and badges, will not be considered a step from period practice. This includes New World and sub-Saharan African flora and fauna.

The use of flora and fauna native to Europe, including coastal waters, that cannot otherwise be documented as heraldic charges will not be considered a step from period practice. While some flora (such as roses and lilies) and fauna (such as lions and dogs) are much more common than others, there is still a wide practice of using a variety of flora and fauna in period armory.

The use of flora and fauna native to the New World, Africa, Asia, and other non-European locales will be registerable if it is reasonable to believe that Europeans knew them in period. Their use will be considered a step from period practice. Consider a turkey and a manatee: they are both New World fauna, but the turkey is documented as part of a crest in period armory. The use of a turkey, therefore, is not a SFPP. The use of a manatee as a charge, pending evidence that it was used in period armory, is a SFPP.

Hybrids or mutations of period forms known to have been developed after 1600 generally may not be used as charges. For example, the English Sheepdog may not be used in Society armory because it was developed after 1600.

5. Compatible Monsters. - Monsters compatible with period armorial practice may be registered in armory.

Monsters described in period sources may be used in the Society, even if they were not used in period heraldry. New monsters may be formed for Society use on the analogy of period monsters, so long as all components remain sufficiently identifiable in the compound monster. For example, the Society has created the sea unicorn fox parallel to the sea lion and sea horse. Adding wings to a non-winged creature is another common period method of creating heraldic monsters. Monsters described in period sources or created in a manner that follow period practice will not be considered a step from period practice.

6. Compatible Armorial Elements. - Any charge, line of division, line of partition, field treatment, or other armorial element that has been ruled compatible with period heraldic style may be registered in armory.

The line of partition dovetailed and field treatments designed to imitate chain mail and honeycombs are some examples of undocumented armorial elements that have already been ruled compatible with period heraldic style. [Wreath: note that changes to these examples have been proposed and will be decided on at the January meeting]

a. Compatible Charges - Charges that have been ruled SCA-compatible are considered a step from period practice.

A ruling that a charge is SCA-compatible can change with new evidence. Charges that were in the past ruled a step from period practice may later be ruled unregisterable. Charges that were in the past ruled SCA-compatible because they were rare in period, or that have since been documented as period heraldic charges, are not a step from period practice. Examples of charges that are a SFPP include compass stars, lightning bolts, pawprints, and valknuts.

b. Compatible Usages - Usages that follow a pattern so widespread that they would be considered unremarkable will not be considered a step from period practice.

Usages are more constrained by classical heraldic design philosophy. Usages which are rare, such as those supported only by a single documented example, may be considered a SFPP. Such usages will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

From Wreath: Panthers

A submission this month raised the question of the default head posture for heraldic panthers. The question is complicated by the fact that there are two different monsters going by the name of panther - one English, one Continental - which the Society has tried to treat the same. It's further complicated by the fact that the Society has had conflicting defaults for panthers over the years.

The English-style panther is "depicted rather like the natural animal, but covered with spots of various colours and with flames issuing from its mouth and ears" (Dennys' Heraldic Imagination, p.143). Period examples can be found in Dennys, p.143; Woodcock & Robinson's Oxford Guide to Heraldry, plate 16, dated 1616; and Marks & Payne's British Heraldry, p.39, dated 1604. Some examples are rampant, some are passant. In almost all period cases we've found, the English panther is guardant and colorfully spotted - and the one exception, which is colorfully streaked, we're prepared to accept as an aberration.

There is more variation in the depiction of the Continental (or German) panther. Pastoureau (Traité d'Héraldique, p. 156) describes it as "a composite creature, having the body of a lion, the head and horns of a bull, the front feet of a griffin, the back feet of an ox or lion. It is rampant and belches flames from its mouth and ears (une créature composite, ayant le corps du lion, la tête et les cornes du taureau, les pattes antérieures du griffon, les pattes postérieures du b{oe}uf ou du lion. Elle est ram-pante et vomit des flames par la bouche et les oreilles)." Examples from the Zurich Roll, c.1340 (#20) and the European Armorial, c.1450 (p.37), support this description. But the panther's head is occasionally that of an eagle (Cotta Codex, 1459, plate 6), and its neck is frequently elongated. None of the period examples were spotted.

Hitherto, the Society has granted no difference between these types of panther:

[Returning Vert, a German panther rampant Or breathing flames gules, maintaining a fleur-de-lys argent] Conflict with... Per chevron rayonny erminois and sable, in base a panther rampant Or, incensed proper. There's a CD for the change to the field, but since the move ... is forced, nothing for position on the field, nor can we see granting a CD between continental and insular panthers. [3/94, p.19]

But as with the English chimera versus the German chimera, the only thing the two types of panther have in common is the name... and possibly the flaming breath. We are therefore overturning the 1994 precedent, and ruling as follows:

In terms of difference, we henceforth will grant a CD between a standard (i.e. English) panther and a Continental panther; and either monster will have a CD from an (unspotted, unincensed) natural panther.

As for their default postures, the Pictorial Dictionary states that a panther "is guardant by English default... [The Continental panther] faces dexter by German default; the SCA follows German practice rather than English, since the English posture can easily be blazoned explicitly." On the other hand, the Glossary of Terms (under Table 4, Defaults) states that the panther is "Guardant; body posture must be specified." Precedent states:

[a panther sejant head to dexter argent] Table 3 of the Glossary of Terms indicates that the panther (which is to say, the default "English-style" heraldic panther) is guardant by default. As a result we must explicitly state that this panther has its head to dexter. Note that the Continental panther does not have an SCA default posture.

Please note that the discussions of the panther's default posture in the Pictorial Dictionary in the SCA have been superceded [sic] by the listing in the Glossary, which has been available for some years. [Katerina McGilledoroughe, 08/03, A-Æthelmearc]

There are 200 entries in the Online Armorial with the term "panther". Of these, the majority are either blazoned as natural panthers or have the head posture explicitly blazoned. Of the remaining armory, most are not guardant. As most of the registered panthers follow the default mentioned in the Pictorial Dictionary, rather than that currently listed in the Glossary of Terms, we are restoring the default to the German practice (not guardant). This will be reflected in the next revision of Table 4 of the Glossary of Terms.

Henceforth, all heraldic panthers are not-guardant (i.e., facing to dexter or sinister, as appropriate) by default. If the panther is guardant, it must be explicitly blazoned. The body posture has no default, and must be specified.

Over the next several months, we will be checking all the emblazons of the registered panthers, reblazoning as necessary to distinguish the Continental panthers and those which are guardant. While reblazoning, the term ounce, a heraldic term for a maneless lion that dates from 1591, rather than natural panther has been used when the cat is incensed (but lacking the spots of a heraldic panther) so as to avoid possible confusion in the blazon between a panther and a natural panther.

From Laurel: Appeal of Laurel Return of Heraldic Title - Longeley Herald

This title was returned by Pelican in March, 2006, for conflict with the real-world location of Langley Air Force Base. This decision was appealed on the Atlantian Letter of Intent dated 20 July 2006, which reads in part.

"We are appealing the return of the heraldic title Longeley Herald. This title was returned by Laurel in March 2006 for conflict with Langley Air Force Base. We argue instead that Langley is a common place-name not associated with a single, consistently and widely recognized, significant real-world location and that Longeley Herald should therefore be registerable in the SCA."

The appeal goes on to describe at least 7 places in England, 1 in Canada, 1 in France and 4 in the US named Langley, and even more that use this as a name element, and states that while some of these places have regional or local significance, none is uniquely recognizable.

According to the RfS III.5.A. "A geographical location will be considered significant if it is associated with important administrative, social, political or military events (e.g., a capital city, the site of a major treaty or battle, etc.). Geographic locations will generally be considered significant if they appear in standard references such as an encyclopedia. Generic descriptive names outside the Society will not be protected except where the name is immediately associated with a single significant location." Commenters, please note the last sentence of that rule. We regard the existence of an encyclopedia reference to a personal or a place name to be a starting place, not an ending. Please see the August 2003 Cover Letter for a more thorough discussion.

Whether 'Langley' and by extension 'Longeley' can be considered a generic descriptive name is debatable, it is clear from the appeal and from the commentary thereon that this place name is not "immediately associated with a single significant location" as per the RfS. The title of Longeley Herald is therefore registerable in the SCA.

Send What to Whom

For all Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, et cetera, which are not posted on OSCAR, send one paper copy directly to each of the Sovereigns of Arms, Laurel, Pelican and Wreath at their mailing addresses as shown on the College of Arms Roster.

Send Laurel office copies of all submissions-related paper, including

to the SCA College of Arms, PO Box 31755, Billings, MT 59107-1755.

Send the required electronic copies of all submissions-related files to submissions@sca.org. This applies to all LoIs, LoCs, LoRs, et cetera.

Cheques or money orders for submissions, payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms" are to be sent to Laurel Chancellor of the Exchequer, 4N400 Church Rd, Bensenville, IL 60106-2928.

Send roster changes and corrections to Laurel. College of Arms members may also request a copy of the current roster from Laurel.

For a paper copy of a LoAR, please contact Laurel, at the address above. The cost for one LoAR is $3. Please make all checks or money orders payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms". For subscriptions to the electronic copy of the LoAR, please contact Laurel at herald@sca.org. The electronic copy is available free of charge.

For all administrative matters, or for questions about whom to send to, please contact Laurel.

Pray know that I remain,

In service,

Elisabeth de Rossignol
Laurel Principal Queen of Arms


Created at 2007-03-15T23:25:49