Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present): - Order Names and Heraldic Titles -
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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna, Lillia de Vaux, and Alys Mackyntoich

- Order Names and Heraldic Titles -

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April 2011 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

Documenting order names and heraldic titles is one of the frustrating jobs which falls to every kingdom and many baronial heralds. The standards for these non-personal names at this time are tighter than they historically were, but we also have better resources available.

Let's start with the resources. This is going to sound a little self-absorbed, but I got annoyed with the available resources a few years ago (all right, a decade ago) and started researching herald's titles and order names. It took a while, but finally came to fruition as two articles that substantially improved our knowledge of period practice.

For order names, we have "Medieval Secular Order Names" at or at (they're identical in content, but formatted differently). Someday I'll get the religious order names done; for the moment I'll note that most were named for places. This article gives an analysis of patterns (noting that "other" isn't a pattern; it simply groups items that don't fit neatly in larger categories), standardized forms, and documentary forms.

For herald's titles, we have "Heraldic Titles from the Middle Ages and Renaissance" at It again gives an analysis of patterns (noting that "other" isn't a pattern), standardized forms, and documentary forms.

So, what do you do with them? For any submission, you have to argue that the submission follows a particular pattern for creating that kind of name. Patterns are somewhat limited in time and space: a pattern documented for 16th century England is not automatically justifiable in Russia, or for 11th century England. However, there are patterns that were used broadly over Europe from the 14th to 16th century, and those are justifiable for more times and places.

Unfortunately, that means that some times and places are just out of luck for the creation of herald's titles and order names. We have no evidence that either were in use before the 12th century, and only a few patterns were in use before 1300. That means that languages that fell out of use before that time (Old Norse, Old English, Frankish, etc.) cannot be used to create heraldic titles or order names, as there are no patterns for them to follow. Herald's titles and orders were used broadly in Europe, even eastern Europe, but they did not spread further. Therefore, the registration of either a heraldic title or an order name in Russian, Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages, and Asiatic languages is not allowed. I know that it creates a difficult situation for those whose personas are from outside the main European powers, but those European powers are the home of the heraldic/chivalric game we play.

Patterns must be closely followed: evidence of the use of a vernacular color term is not evidence of the use of a heraldic color term, and "other adjective" doesn't mean "any adjective" (it just means that there are some that are hard to classify). Similarly, just because you joke about venerating some item doesn't make it a religious object of veneration for our purposes. Instead you must demonstrate that the object was venerated in period (or that it matches a pattern of objects venerated in period).

Having demonstrated that the submission follows a pattern, you have to demonstrate that the words within it are period and spelled in a period way (or justified as the lingua Anglica version of a foreign language name). Using the lingua Anglica allowance is a way to get modern spellings if you don't like the period spellings; just construct the order name or title in another language (French often does the trick). However, you still must justify the terms as period; the lingua Anglica allowance doesn't get you out of that hard work.

Finally, don't be afraid to get outsiders to help; and please do it before you get attached to an unregisterable name. Too many times, I've seen groups heartbroken when the name they want is ruled to not follow a period pattern.

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