Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms
For the March 2019 meetings, printed May 29, 2019
To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Juliana Laurel, Alys Pelican, and Cormac Wreath, greetings.
This is another in our new monthly feature to thank commenters who've been useful. As with other items, we're going to range broadly from month to month. We hope that commenters will look to see when they appear, and that principal heralds will pay attention to when their heralds are mentioned here.
From Wreath: This month, I'd like to recognize Gunnvor Orle for her fantastic efforts in providing period examples of charges and other armorial elements. Gunnvor has shown consistent excellence in her ability to pull, cite, and collect examples of period heraldic charges and motifs seemingly out of thin air, no easy task even for senior heralds. In addition, her website has an excellent collection of period rolls of arms available digitally which every armorist should have bookmarked: http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/Stars/Rolls_of_Arms.html. Thanks, Gunnvor!
From Pelican: Dame Juliana Laurel has asked us to recognize commenters who have provided particularly excellent or exceptional work. I can think of no one more fit to begin with than Mistress ffride wlffsdotter of the Kingdom of Lochac. ffride can always be counted on to lend her knowledge and skills to try to salvage names that lack sufficient documentation, usually with remarkable success. Her expertise in Russian and various other Eastern European languages has been invaluable to me and my predecessors. She is a boon to name heraldry in the Society and deserves all the appreciation that we can give her.
This month, we were asked to consider a device with three non-ordinary charge groups directly on the field. The arrangement of these charges was not attested in Appendix J of SENA, which requires all armory with three or more charge groups directly on the field to be documented. This would be grounds for return.
However, according to those involved in assembling Appendix J, the list of attested charge arrangements was done quickly at Pennsic's Herald's Point as the draft of SENA was being assembled. It was never intended to be a definitive list, and there are certainly patterns in period armory that are not covered by it.
We therefore ask for the College's help in expanding Appendix J to include other arrangements of three or more charge groups directly on the field. Of particular need are attested arrangements of charges where held charges are classified and considered as their own secondary charge group.
The August 2015 ruling, "Eliminating the Unsustainable `maintained/sustained' definitions" that caused maintained charges to be worth a DC also effectively brought them into the discussion on charge group theory as covered by Appendix J. However, maintained charges functioning as their own secondary charge group have been an issue never truly addressed within the context of Appendix J, Section E.
Part of this was out of kindness to submitters: Appendix J was written when maintained charges did not count for difference, so none of the attested patterns mention them. Any submitter who wanted to register armory with three non-ordinary charge groups directly on the field (e.g. Argent, a lion maintaining a spear, in chief three mullets sable) would have had to document the pattern in order to successfully register the armory, so very few consulting heralds were even aware that this was an issue.
That said, the call for documentation of arrangements to add to Appendix J specifically included a request for consideration of held charges in period armory as separate charge groups. As these specific patterns are added, the grace period for submitting armory with undocumented patterns of maintained and sustained charge groups will come to a close. Armory appearing on an external LoI published on or after January 1, 2020 that has three or more charge groups, including maintained secondary charges, will need to either have the pattern attested in SENA Appendix J or provide documentation.
This month we were asked to consider designs featuring three tomoe in annulo. In the January 2016 registration of the device of Samukawa Mantarou Yukimura, it was ruled: "This is the defining instance of the tomoe in Society heraldry. The tomoe is a comma-shaped period Japanese charge, generally used in threes rotating around a central axis. It cannot be used outside of the context of an Individually Attested Pattern."
The ruling above is not without merit; the only context we have in period mon for three tomoe in annulo, or mitsutomoe, is alone on the field. The inclusion of any other charge would be a deviation from documented practice. And if allowed as a step from period practice, there will certainly be times where the motif would be used with a design entirely unjustifiable by the available documentation, including armory that is decidedly European, perhaps even obnoxiously incongruous with anything we know about cultures and contact (e.g. the combination of a mitsutomoe with a Thor's hammer).
However, tomoe are attested armorial charges in period, and the specific arrangement of the tomoe into an annular swirl akin to a triskelion is an attested -- indeed, defining -- arrangement for these charges. While we fervently hope that submitters don't actively abuse loopholes placed into SENA for the benefit of non-European or non-heraldic cultures, we cannot in good conscience allow this restriction to remain.
Therefore, the previous precedent is overturned. Tomoe, specifically mitsutomoe, are accepted as a step from period practice. Functionally, mitsutomoe are a single charge for purposes of conflict-checking and unity of orientation/arrangement purposes.
Similar motifs, such as two tomoe in annulo (futatsutomoe) or four tomoe in annulo (yotsutomoe) will need to be documented to period mon in order to be used in Society armory, as will the use of a single tomoe. The number and arrangement of the tomoe in mitsutomoe are inherent in the design, in the same way flaunches are defined by their number and arrangement.
This month we were asked to consider whether an augmentation of arms may use SENA A3A3 to violate the long-standing prohibition on charged tierces. While I saw no harm in this allowance, it did cause me to visit the original ruling to ensure that I wasn't missing an unexpected reason for the rule in the first place. When I was but a vert pursuivant, I believed the reasoning behind the rule to be that charged tierces were too close to marshalling. Bruce Batonvert's Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry supports this interpretation, noting "since a charged tierce has the additional problem of looking like impaled armory, tierces may no longer be charged in Society armory."
However, the ruling dates from the February 1991 Cover Letter, where the reason listed was merely "what is becoming overwhelming support for the idea." Discussion prompted by that letter also considered "whether uncharged tierces should be included in this ban (and whether we could or should expand it to un/charged gores, gussets, etc.)."
Tierces, according to Batonvert, are difficult to document. "We have no unarguable examples of the tierce in period armory; it is found in modern flags, and therefore permitted in Society heraldry. However, because the use of a tierce creates an unbalanced design, the use of a tierce with other charges is a step from period practice, pending documentation." Gores are found as hypothetical charges in period armorial tracts, and gussets are attested charges in Scots heraldry.
We ask the College for input on whether we should revisit this ruling. Is there a reason consistent with the principles of SENA to continue the ban on charged tierces, gores, and gussets? Has more current research provided evidence of tierces in period? If not, is there a reason to continue their use at all?
This month we were asked to consider a tortoise rampant and three tortoises statant in annulo. Tortoises are tergiant by default, and one of the few quadrupeds (along with other reptiles and amphibians) which are currently allowed in that posture. The shell of the tortoise, however, limits the length of its legs, making it more difficult to identify when in the other quadrupedal postures. Several commenters noted that the tortoise rampant was particularly difficult to identify, and one noted that heraldic tortoises are tergiant, period.
This discussion could not have come at a more opportune time. In drafting my long-anticipated omnibus ruling on Unity of Posture, Orientation, and Arrangement, I've been trying to work out an easy and sensible way to categorize animate charges to determine which should be compared and which shouldn't. Generally, this has been easy by applying the principle of "if it can be compared, it must be compared:" the categories of fish, serpents, and birds each have postures which are incomparable with one another, or with quadrupeds. Most quadrupeds fit neatly into their own category, but the aforementioned quadrupedal reptiles and amphibians present a challenge.
On one hand, a charge group with a lion passant and a tortoise rampant would be returned for a clear violation of the Unity of Posture rules; both charges can be in the same posture under current Society practice, so they must be in the same posture. On the other hand, a lion cannot be tergiant so a lion rampant and a tortoise tergiant might not be comparable.
Lizards and their monstrous cousins salamanders are statant by default. Examples of lizards and salamanders appear in standard quadrupedal postures, such as the statant salamander badge of Francis I of France and the rampant lizards as supporters and crest of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. There are also examples of lizards in tergiant postures in late Italian and German armory. Frogs are found both tergiant and sejant in period arms. Tortoises are attested charges in tergiant postures in period armory.
We ask for the College's assistance in answering the following questions:
1. Are there examples in period armory of tortoises in postures other than tergiant?
2. Are there other examples of quadrupedal reptiles and amphibians in postures not listed above?
3. Absent explicit attestation, are tortoises in standard quadrupedal postures such as rampant, couchant, or sejant recognizable and identifiable enough that they should be allowed in SCA armory? If so, what guidance should we provide submitters to ensure that the postures are clearly and unambiguously depicted?
This month we considered a question of whether the name Jose Taberna de Torquemada should be considered offensive because the locative byname de Torquemada was also used by a particularly infamous historical figure, Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada. In the past, we have limited questions of offensiveness to the meaning of name elements or, occasionally, the sound of the name elements. We have registered without comment the surnames of infamous historical figures, for example: BŠthory (Elizabeth BŠthory, the "Blood Countess," serial killer and inspiration for innumerable mediocre vampire movies); Eichmann (Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust); Heydrich (Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, the "Butcher of Prague," organizer of Kristallnacht, and another main architect of the Holocaust).
Based on some of the commentary on the de Torquemada question, we wish to open up a wider commentary on whether we should expand the concept of offensiveness in SENA to include name elements with unsavory historical associations. Bearing in mind that few historical figures from the Middle Ages and Renaissance are likely to meet modern standards of conduct, there seemed to be a consensus among commenters that some surnames (and possibly given names) are too closely associated with unquestionably awful people. The most frequently cited example was whether we would permit a submitter to register the surname Hitler. (Yes, it is period. No, don't submit it to make a point.) We ask Palimpsest to open a Rules Letter on the possible expansion of the concept of offensiveness without waiting for a test case.
The December 6, 2018 Palimpsest letter proposed the release of six alternate titles in Arabic, Qadi, Qadiya, Maulan, Maulana, Naquib, and Naquiba, based on research by Basil Lions Heart. We are approving the removal of all six of these titles from the alternative titles list. We thank Lions Heart for his thoughtful research into medieval Arabic language and culture.
On April 6 at Spring Coronation in Atlantia, Their Majesties Ragnarr and Lynette made Eldred ∆lfwald, Triton Principal Herald, a Baron of their Court.
On April 13, at Silver Arrow in the the Kingdom of Avacal, Their Majesties Fergus and Kora elevated Daniel the Broc, current Precedence Herald for Avacal, to the Order of the Pelican.
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Items listed below in square brackets have not been scheduled yet. For information about future scheduling, please review the status table located on the Web at http://oscar.sca.org/index.php?action=137.
The March Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Sunday, March 10, 2019 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, March 17, 2019. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Gleann Abhann (02 Dec, 2018), Palimpsest Other Letter (06 Dec, 2018), Calontir (07 Dec, 2018), ∆thelmearc (15 Dec, 2018), Avacal (19 Dec, 2018), West (23 Dec, 2018), Ealdormere (26 Dec, 2018), Laurel LoPaD (28 Dec, 2018), Outlands (28 Dec, 2018), Caid (29 Dec, 2018), Artemisia (30 Dec, 2018), East (30 Dec, 2018), Lochac (30 Dec, 2018), Ansteorra (31 Dec, 2018), Atenveldt (31 Dec, 2018), Atlantia (31 Dec, 2018), Drachenwald (31 Dec, 2018), Gleann Abhann (31 Dec, 2018), Meridies (31 Dec, 2018), Middle (31 Dec, 2018), Northshield (31 Dec, 2018), and Trimaris (31 Dec, 2018). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Thursday, February 28, 2019.
The April Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Sunday, April 28, 2019 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, April 14, 2019. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Lochac (03 Jan, 2019), Atlantia (05 Jan, 2019), Calontir (05 Jan, 2019), An Tir (14 Jan, 2019), Palimpsest (24 Jan, 2019), Ealdormere (25 Jan, 2019), Drachenwald (27 Jan, 2019), Laurel LoPaD (28 Jan, 2019), West (28 Jan, 2019), Avacal (29 Jan, 2019), Outlands (29 Jan, 2019), ∆thelmearc (30 Jan, 2019), Atenveldt (30 Jan, 2019), Middle (30 Jan, 2019), Ansteorra (31 Jan, 2019), Artemisia (31 Jan, 2019), Atlantia (31 Jan, 2019), Meridies (31 Jan, 2019), and Northshield (31 Jan, 2019). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Sunday, March 31, 2019.
The May Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Sunday, May 19, 2019 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, May 5, 2019. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Lochac (07 Feb, 2019), Calontir (08 Feb, 2019), Atenveldt (15 Feb, 2019), Avacal (22 Feb, 2019), Ealdormere (25 Feb, 2019), ∆thelmearc (26 Feb, 2019), Drachenwald (27 Feb, 2019), Gleann Abhann (27 Feb, 2019), Outlands (27 Feb, 2019), An Tir (28 Feb, 2019), Ansteorra (28 Feb, 2019), Artemisia (28 Feb, 2019), Atlantia (28 Feb, 2019), Caid (28 Feb, 2019), Lochac (28 Feb, 2019), Meridies (28 Feb, 2019), Middle (28 Feb, 2019), Northshield (28 Feb, 2019), and Trimaris (28 Feb, 2019). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Not all letters of intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this cover letter. The date of posting 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.
Pray know that I remain,
Juliana de Luna
Laurel Queen of Arms
Created at 2019-05-29T18:33:30