The Tenure of Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme


A number of commenters complained about the common use of annulets on fieldless badges, comparing them to bordures on devices (and, in some comments, granting no difference from bordures). I agree that annulets are added to SCA badges for the same reason bordures are added to SCA devices: to provide a quick, easy CD that doesn't greatly change the central design. Beyond that, annulets and bordures are quite different charges: the annulet is always round, where the bordure follows the outline of the display surface. The background shows on both sides of the annulet (even a fieldless badge is usually set against some background), but only on the inside of the bordure. A design may have multiple annulets, but only one bordure. And so forth.

If someone can present evidence that the use of annulets encircling other charges is non-period design, we can discuss the issue again. But as far as conflicts are concerned, an annulet and a bordure are separate charges. (Neil Greenstone, July, 1992, pg. 14)

[A gurges vs. five annulets one within the other] As seen from the examples in Parker (p.299), Woodward (p.193), and Papworth (p.1122), a set of concentric annulets is simply an alternate method of drawing a gurges or whirlpool [therefore there is not a CD between them]. (Iago al Hasan, September, 1992, pg. 39)

The consensus of the College was that a coiled match is visually too similar to an annulet to grant a CD between the two. (Kazimir Petrovich Pomeshanov, September, 1992, pg. 40)

[On an annulet of flame sable an annulet Or] This submission engendered considerable discussion at the Symposium; many felt that the badge was post-period in style ...The full-sized emblazon did not show an annulet "fimbriated of flame", as some commenters described it, but a ring of fire charged with a gold annulet. The question was whether an annulet of flame was an acceptable motif. Our standards regarding charges made of flame have tightened over the years, but we still accept simple cases (the base of flame being the prime example). The annulet of flame seemed simple enough to accept, on a case-by-case basis. (Barony of Wiesenfeuer, June, 1993, pg. 3)

ARACHNID -- Scorpion

Crayfish, like lobsters and scorpions, are tergiant by default (Eckhardt zu Westfilde, October, 1993, pg. 6)

ARACHNID -- Spider

The black widow spider does not appear to have been known to period Europeans. It didn't even get the name until the early 20th Century; and it appears to have been introduced into America in the late 19th Century (from China, according to the best speculations). Without evidence that the black widow spider was known to period Europeans, it may not be registered. (Novia the Widow, July, 1992, pg. 20)

[Order of Black Widows] While I concede that the words black and widow are period words, the phrase black widow is a modern construction. As with the Artemisian Tank Corps (returned Feb 91), though the parts of the name may be period, the name as a whole is decidedly modern. In previous appeals, the submitters have made clear that the Order's name specifically referred to the black widow spider; and that's certainly how the name will be perceived. No evidence has yet been produced that the spider was known to medieval Europeans, or even to anyone prior to the 19th Century. (It didn't even get the name black widow until the early 20th Century.) Without such evidence, we will not register the creature, by name or in armory. (Kingdom of Trimaris, October, 1992, pg. 33)


There's [not a CD] for castle vs. single-arched bridge. (John Quartermain, September, 1992, pg. 50)

[A trilithon [type of dolmen] vs. a dolmen of three uprights capped by two lintels] Just as there is no difference between a tower and a castle, there is no difference between trilithons and "pentalithons". (Fiacha Suileach, January, 1993, pg. 31)


[A clenched gauntlet aversant] This is probably the least identifiable posture for a hand, glove or gauntlet; it's currently acceptable for SCA use, but only barely. Such charges were normally apaumy in period. (James Falconbridge, July, 1992, pg. 1)

[Argent, a gauntlet gules] There was some concern whether this was too reminiscent of the Red Hand of Ulster, a prohibited charge in the SCA. It turns out that the Red Hand of Ulster was used as an augmentation, not as a main charge. We would certainly return a device that used a canton argent charged with a hand gules, and perhaps even a chief argent charged with a hand gules would be too suggestive; but the use of red hands, gloves, gauntlets, etc., on white backgrounds is not, in and of itself, cause for return. (Guillaume de la Rapiere, August, 1992, pg. 4)

[a cubit arm gauntleted vs. an arm embowed and armored] After comparing the emblazons, we really couldn't grant a difference between an armored cubit arm and an armored arm. (Deryk von Halberstadt, August, 1992, pg. 31)

[Argent, arms proper] The arms have insufficient contrast on the argent field. Human flesh "proper" was sometimes emblazoned as argent in period tomes; and in any case, carnation (pink) cannot be seen against white. (Simona Zon d'Asolo, September, 1992, pg. 51)

[A dexter hand fesswise reversed, palm to chief, maintaining a flame] Some commenters wondered whether the central charge could be considered a hand of glory, which isn't permitted in Society heraldry. The hand of glory is essentially a hand on fire: it's usually seen apaumy, and issuant small flames (especially at its fingers). The hand shown in this submission is simply holding a flame, and is not a hand of glory [device returned for fimbriating the flame and for unidentifiability of the hand position]. (Deirdre Colintrie, March, 1993, pg. 23)

[A foi] The charge in chief was blazoned on the LOI as two hands conjoined in fess. This would have had two default hands --- i.e. apaumy --- rather than the clasped hands shown. According to Lord Crescent, the motif of two hands clasped has an heraldic name: a foi, used in French blazons and possibly some English canting arms ( Parker 305) (Lothar Freund, July, 1993, pg. 10)

[A sinister mailed fist aversant grasping stalks of grain] This is clear of such armories as [a gauntlet]. The stalks of wheat are conceded to be worth no difference; neither is the distinction between dexter and sinister gauntlets, or for aversant vs. not aversant. However, I have to agree that the change from the default apaumy posture (i.e. with the fingers spread) to the clenched posture is worth a CD in this case. That, with the CD for fieldlessness, brings it clear. (Dietrich Kurneck von Hammerstein, August, 1993, pg. 2)


It has been ruled that an arch of charges is not period heraldic style. The ruling was originally for an arch of stars : "Stars surrounding only part of a charge is fantasy art." [BoE, 28 Sept 84] It has since been extended to any charges "in arch". (Michaela de Romeny, October, 1992, pg. 30)


Arrows fesswise have their points to sinister by default, just as arrows palewise have their points to base. (Alain ap Dafydd, July, 1992, pg. 2)

[A Maltese star cross] This ...conflicts with [six sets of arrow fletchings in annulo, points conjoined] ...the visual similarity is too great to permit a CD to be granted. (Elgar of Stonehaven, January, 1993, pg. 23)

The arrow was drawn with small, nigh-invisible point and fletching, which has been reason for return ere now. If he uses an arrow in his resubmission, please instruct the client to draw it with large, visible fletching and point [returned for this and also for over-complexity] (Brychen Silverfist, May, 1993, pg. 17)


A few of July's returns were for incorrect emblazonry: a charge was drawn in a non-period style, or couldn't be identified from the emblazon. The College can't be too fussy about emblazonry: most of our clients aren't skilled heraldic artists. But it remains true that charges must be drawn in a period, recognizable style.

At what point, then, will a problem emblazon be returned? When do we no longer feel comfortable with a simple instruction to "Draw the X wider (or bolder, or whatever)"? Several factors contribute to the decision, but the main factor is the recognizability of the submitted emblazon. If, say, a bordure is drawn too narrow, but still recognizably a bordure, I'll blame the problem on the submitter's lack of expertise --- and tell the submitter, through her Kingdom heralds, to "draw the charge correctly". But if the charge is so badly drawn as to be unrecognizable --- worse, as to be confused with some other charge --- then the submission must be returned. The policy already exists for some cases --- e.g. a pile vs. chaussé --- and I have extended it to arrows vs. any long skinny charge in this LoAR.

Modern-style drawings have the same problem of identifiability, with the additional problem of being screamingly non-medieval. This is why we insist that a unicorn be drawn as a medieval unicorn, and why the unicornate horse is banned: not only is the latter too easily confused with the horse, it's a 20th-Century rendition. If we wish to grant the period difference between unicorn and horse, we must insist on the period rendition --- which means returning unicornate horses.

Even when the modern-style drawing is identifiable, its intrusive modernity can be reason enough for return. Trian aspect, "pinking shear" lines of division, lightning flashes (shazams) --- all are non-medieval drawing styles, and all have been grounds for return in the past. Given my druthers, I'd prefer to encourage correct emblazon style through education, not regulation --- but pragmatically, I know that regulation drives the lesson home. (It took years of returning trian-aspect emblazons before our clients stopped submitting them.)

Our touchstone is this: If it can be mistaken for some other charge, it's drawn incorrectly. If it's a flagrantly modern depiction, it's drawn incorrectly. Either of these risks a return. [For examples see others in this section plus Thomas Britton, July, 1992, pg. 18, Aaron de Hameldene, July, 1992, pg. 20, Eirik Ising Stengrim, September, 1992, pg. 38, Jacobo Parige, September, 1992, pg. 43, Urluin le Garlykemongere, October, 1992, pg. 28, and John Wolfstan, January, 1993, pg. 24] (3 August, 1992 Cover Letter (July, 1992 LoAR), pg. 4)

Eagles have ruffled feathers, and a crest atop the head; falcons are sleekly feathered. [device reblazoned] (Dun Fugol, July, 1992, pg. 10)

Cotises should not be as wide as the ordinary they surround; their visual weight, as secondaries, should be much less than the primary's. (Gareth of Wyke, July, 1992, pg. 12)

Portcullises in heraldic art are generally identified by their square grillwork and their dangling chains. Omitting one of those aspects might be dismissed as artistic license; omitting both of them renders the portcullises unidentifiable, and so unregisterable. (Bronwen O'Riordan, July, 1992, pg. 18)

Charges must be drawn in their period form (per Rule VII.3), so that they can be identified (per Rule VIII.3). This is especially true when a wrongly drawn charge can be mistaken for some other charge (Federico Arcière dal Fióre, July, 1992, pg. 18)

Nowing of the tongue ...must be considered artistic license, as is the exact style of nowing. (Morgan Etienne ap Gwalchmai Gwynedd, August, 1992, pg. 6)

To several commenters the [water-bougets] seemed closer to torii or the Chinese character ch'ien. They are also within the variation seen for period water-bougets, though [overruled August, 1993, pg. 21] (Mochi of the Iron Horde, September, 1992, pg. 20)

[A fess wavy with wave drawn with amplitude 1/4 wavelength] The wavy line was drawn too small to be considered a period rendition. Medieval wavy lines were drawn big, bold (so much that they were sometimes misblazoned nebuly by Victorian armorists). This must be returned for redrawing. (Dervilia O'Shannon, September, 1992, pg. 38)

[Quarterly urdy azure and vert, a bear between <charges> with 20 "waves" across each side] The urdy line of division is drawn far too small, which would be reason for return even if the portions of the field had good contrast with one another. When the field is of two colors, the line of division is even more unidentifiable; when the line has a charge overall, more unidentifiable still. This must be returned, per Rule VIII.3. (Sigeferd Bjørnen, September, 1992, pg. 44)

[A pile, with 14 indentations on each side] The indentations on the pile are too small to be considered good medieval style. For an example of a medieval pile indented, see the arms of Sire John de Forneus, 1322 (Foster, p.91). (Cailean McArdle, September, 1992, pg. 44)

[Argent, two herons statant counter-statant in saltire, and a bordure flory azure] This is not really drawn in a period style. The ripples around the (couped) legs of the herons, and the Art Deco bordure that doesn't follow the line of the shield, combine to warrant a return for redrawing. (Ander Vargskinn, September, 1992, pg. 47)

I hold identifiability to be the criterion for judging a submission, not necessarily the school of its style. So long as the hound is recognizably a hound, it may be drawn with suggestions of "Book of Kells" style; too many such suggestions, however, can make the hound unidentifiable, and be reason for return [device returned for unrelated reason]. (Connor Malcolm O'Maoilbhreanainn, September, 1992, pg. 52)

[Counter-ermine] There was some debate as to whether the field should be blazoned Sable goutty d'eau inverted. However, examples have been produced showing this to be a valid depiction of ermine spots. It would probably be better, however, if the submitter could be introduced to more standard ermine stylizations. (Adnar Dionadair, October, 1992, pg. 11)

Aspen leaves should be drawn with jagged edges ...not smooth edges. (Barony of Caerthe, October, 1992, pg. 16)

The hounds are drawn with a strong "Book of Kells" stylization, which makes them difficult to identify; and though blazoned on the LOI as azure, they are in fact multi-colored in blue, green, red and yellow, again as in the Kells style. Motifs from period art must be used sparingly at best; if they interfere with identification, they become ipso facto non-heraldic, and reason for return. (Diarmait mac Alasdair Chaomhanaigh, October, 1992, pg. 32)

We might excuse emblazonry problems with a note to the artist; but when all the charges of a submission must be redrawn, we have no compunction about returning it. (Osric Logan, November, 1992, pg. 15)

The charge in chief was blazoned on the LOI as an eagle, but even allowing for beginner's artistry, we cannot call that bird an eagle: it has no crest, no hooked beak, and no ornate feathers. We have simply blazoned it as a generic bird; if the submitter wishes an eagle, he'll have to provide us with a correct emblazon. (Hereward Bannerban, December, 1992, pg. 4)

[A sea-serpent "erect"] The sea-serpent is not drawn in a style that would allow it to be reproduced from the blazon: it isn't really erect, but muliply coiled and queue-fourchy. Although we allow a certain amount of artistic leeway, reproducibility from the blazon is a requirement. (Tyne of Lostwithiel, January, 1993, pg. 35)

Please advise the submitter to draw the gem without its "glint" of light. The "glint" is an artistic conceit that's only found in the Pictorial Dictionary (and which I intend to remove from the next edition; too many submitters seem to think that glint is mandatory). (Ælfwynn Elswith, March, 1993, pg. 7)

The Stafford knots were blazoned as inverted on the LOI. Having seen mundane examples of Stafford knots in both orientations --- and since we grant no difference for the orientation of most knots --- we've left the exact posture of the knots to the artist's license. (Ingrid the Crafty, May, 1993, pg. 10)

In period, the normal depiction of a [charge] enflamed showed the charge on the field, with tiny spurts of flame issuant (and also on the field) [for full discussion, see under FLAME] (24 July, 1993 Cover Letter (June, 1993 LoAR), pg. 5)

The cartouche was drawn in this submission with pointed ends, not the rounded ends normal for the charge. We've registered this variant form in the past, usually blazoned a cartouche with pointed ends; the technical term for the shape is mandorla, or amygdaline aureole. (Metford's Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend) (Order of the Stella Rubra (Kingdom of Meridies), July, 1993, pg. 14)

In heraldic art, the dove is drawn with a small tuft on its head, to promote identification. (Lisette de Ville, August, 1993, pg. 10)

The charges on the bordure are not drawn as recognizable water-bougets. Some commenters felt they resembled torii, other described them as Chinese ideograms; but in fact they are none of the above. However, the lady submitted the charges in good faith, copying the depictions of water-bougets used in the armory of Mochi of the Iron Horde (registered Sept 92). At that time, I stated that the charges were within the acceptable variation of water-bougets found in period armorial art. Upon reviewing my sources, however, I now believe that statement to have been in error. The period water-bougets closest to this form are in the arms of Rose or Ross c.1265 (Anglo-Norman Armory I, p.68); but while the torii-like tops are the same, the bottom limbs of Rose's bougets spread out in the familiar "bag" shape which is characteristic of the charge. Without those bags, this rendition of a bouget simply doesn't hold water [as it were]. [Device pended for redrawing] (Kökejin of the Iron Horde, August, 1993, pg. 21)

Mountains, as variants of mounts, should be emblazoned to occupy no more than the lower portion of the field. (Barony of Blackstone Mountain, September, 1993, pg. 10)


Augmentations in Society armory should always be blazoned as such; the bearer has the option of displaying the armory with or without the augmentation, and conflict should be checked against both versions. (Rondallyn of Golgotha, September, 1992, pg. 26)

[Gules, an elephant passant trumpeting, on a chief raguly argent two annulets gules, and for augmentation, in center chief an inescutcheon sable charged with an annulet Or.] We will allow augmentations to use quaternary charges in simple cases, such as this one. The blazon reflects the fact that the device may be displayed either with or without the augmentation; conflict should be checked against both forms. (Fiona Averylle of Maidenhead, October, 1992, pg. 13)


There was some question as to whether this serpent-entwined axe was too close to the rod of Aesclepius, a reserved charge; I decided that the prominent axe-head made it quite clearly not a rod of Aesclepius. (Olaf of Forgotten Sea, October, 1992, pg. 7)

Lochaber axes have a defined heraldic form, characterized by a long curving haft ending in a hook (Parker 29). (Magnus Rothach, October, 1992, pg. 17)

Berdiches ...are characterized by blades mounted at the center and bottom. (Magnus Rothach, October, 1992, pg. 17)

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