Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

601 S Washington #137
Stillwater, OK 74074
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For the July 2017 meetings, printed September 23, 2017

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Emma Laurel, Alys Pelican, and Cormac Wreath, greetings.

* From Laurel: New Laurel!

As most of you know, the office of Laurel Sovereign of Arms, Society Herald, recently closed for applications. We had a total of four applications, which is a goodly number for a Society office, and I wish to publicly thank all the applicants:

All of these individuals offered to give up a good deal of their time to serve the College of Arms and the SCA, and while only one was chosen, it is my hope that the rest will continue to enrich the Society with their service.

It is my privilege to announce that the Board has appointed Mistress Juliana de Luna to be the next Laurel Queen of Arms. Juliana hails most recently from the kingdom of An Tir, although she is known throughout the Society for her heraldic work at Pennsic, her driving force and personal touches on SENA as Palimpsest Herald, and her tenure as Pelican Queen of Arms, along with much other heraldic service.

The Laurel office will change hands on October 1, 2017.

* From Pelican: Lenition in Gaelic Names

Lenition is a not a concept found in modern English and, as a result, it is an issue that often trips up heralds and submitters creating Gaelic bynames. Lenition, as an initial mutation in Gaelic, is a "softening" of certain consonant sounds at the beginning of words in some grammatical contexts. This pronunciation change is sometimes indicated by a changed spelling as well. Lenition is primarily an issue when creating female Gaelic bynames, but it is also sometimes requires for male Clan Affiliation bynames as well. Where required, the spelling change to show lenition involves adding an "h" after the affected consonant. For guidance on when lenition is (and is not) required by standard Gaelic grammar, heralds and submitters are referred to Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald's invaluable "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names" (

Over the last several months, Brían dorcha ua Conaill has found numerous examples in which lenition was applied inconsistently and "incorrectly" (as far as standard rules of Gaelic are concerned) by medieval Gaelic authors. In an effort to provide clearer guidance for lenition based on this new data, starting with submissions decided at the January 2018 Pelican decision meeting, the following rule applies:

Standard Gaelic grammar rules for when lenition is required apply unless: (1) the submitter indicates that he or she prefers the unlenited form AND (2) the submitter or commenters provides documentation showing at least three (3) examples in which lenition was not applied to the same first lettter in medieval Gaelic writings in a situation in which it would otherwise be required.

For example, this month, a name was submitted as Sibán ingen Cianáin without lenition of the C in the father's name as required by standard Gaelic grammar. Brían dorcha ua Conaill found more than 100 instances in medieval Gaelic writings where a father's name starting with C was not lenited after ingen. Accordingly, we registered the name as submitted, without lenition. In the future, only three such examples will be required.

The necessary examples of how lenition was applied in practice can be found by searching the raw data in Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada's "Index of Names in Irish Annals" ( I recommend using the articles search function found at (written by Dame Elsbeth Ann Roth) as a starting place for searching out specific spellings. In addition, those with some facility in Gaelic can search the Annals directly using the search function in the CELT archive (

* From Pelican: On Using Wickenden's A Dictionary of Period Russian Names (aka the Russian Names Database)

Both in its electronic second edition and in its hard copy third edition, Paul Wickenden of Thanet's A Dictionary of Period Russian Names is the major source on Russian names available to SCA heralds and submitters. Unfortunately, the work is not without its flaws, which have become more apparent as time has passed. Although some of the flaws were discussed in the June 2013 Cover Letter, issues have been raised often enough in recent months that we wish to provide two important guidelines for how to use this work.

First, heralds and submitters must keep in mind that the Dictionary gives only the earliest dated instance of a particular name under the heading for that name. For example, although the male given name Nikita was used throughout the SCA's period, under the heading for Nikita, the Dictionary provides only a single example, dated to "before 1147." It is only by searching the Dictionary in its entirety that one finds later-dated examples of Nikita under different headings. Because only the earliest date is given for most names, we generally give submitters the benefit of the doubt that name elements found in the Dictionary are temporally compatible.

In the case of name elements in the Dictionary derived from the names of saints and martyrs, we continue to apply the rule set out in the June 2013 Cover Letter. For names listed with only a very early date (3rd century, for example) and noted to be the name of a saint or martyr, the submitter can rely on the Saint's Name Allowance found in PN1B2d1 to register that element.

Second, Wickenden included far more than just period Russian names in the Dictionary. In addition to Russian names, the Dictionary includes name elements from Lithuanian prince and princesses, Bulgarian kings, Czechs, Finns, and people of the Caucasus region including Georgians, sometimes without clearly indicating their origins. This wide range can be problematic for submitters seeking authentic Russian names.

In particular, Wickenden relied on a book by Mikhail Iakolevich Moroshkin called Slavianskii imenoslov ili, sobranie slavianskikh lichnykh imen (The Slavic Name Book, or a Collection of Slavic Personal Names) that is today in the public domain and freely available online ( Name elements from this source are marked in the Dictionary with the abbreviation [Mor]. Moroshkin was interested primarily in common name elements that appeared across the Slavic languages and, as a result, he grouped name elements together under a "Russified" spelling even if they were found in Latin-language records from Bohemia or German-language records from Poland. Thus, a name element taken from Moroshkin and appearing in the Dictionary may not actually be a Russian element.

Despite these flaws, the Dictionary remains the best generally available source for Russian names and one easily accessible to submitters. Therefore, where the submitter has not requested authenticity, names found in the Dictionary will be treated as Russian, regardless of their source. In addition, we will continue the policy of giving submitters the benefit of the doubt as to temporal compatibility when using name elements found in the Dictionary.

Submitters and heralds attempting to construct authentic Russian names are advised to use the Dictionary with caution. Entries sourced solely from Moroshkin should be avoided because it is likely that they are not truly Russian forms. Name elements that use the letters c or h without a c, k, s or z before it probably were not originally written in Cyrillic. Likewise, names containing the letters j, v or w likely were not originally written in Cyrillic and may not be authentic Russian forms.

We encourage anyone who might be interested in writing an Errata to the Dictionary or writing other Russian/Slavic name articles to contact us for guidance or assistance.

* From Wreath: On "displayed" and "affronty" - a call for commentary

In period, the term displayed was primarily used as a posture for birds (especially eagles) with their bodies facing the viewer and legs and wings splayed to either side. It is also used for wings when describing their placement relative to the winged charge. Over the years, usage of displayed in SCA blazonry has come to be applied to winged quadrupeds as a shorthand for statant erect affronty, wings displayed with the forelimbs placed just above the wings for ease of recognition.

The most common application of this term for quadrupeds is dragons, and its use is a step from period practice. However, other postures of winged quadrupeds affronty, when explicitly blazoned (e.g. sejant affronty, wings displayed), do not get called out as a step from period practice.

There are a couple of reasons quadrupeds "displayed" might be a step from period practice. The first is an extension of the ruling about eagles being the only birds displayed in period. However, as cockatrices, frauenadlers, and other bipedal winged creatures were seen displayed in period armory, this might have been an improper extension of the ruling.

The second possibility is that affronty postures for quadrupeds are not often seen in period heraldry, and application of wings to an already rare posture becomes improbable for period armorial design. As far as I know, no one has done a thorough search of period rolls to catalog affronty quadrupeds, so this might be possible.

In the interest of determining whether a winged quadruped statant erect affronty, wings displayed, should remain a step from period practice, we ask the College to provide examples of quadrupeds affronty from rolls of arms or other armorial displays that we consider to be "core heraldry." i.e. Anglo-Norman heraldry prior to 1485. Armorial examples outside of this window are also welcome, but will be given less consideration.

What prompted this search? On three separate occasions during the transition of Wreath, a variation of a dragon displayed with a torso twisted to dexter and the limbs arranged unevenly has been registered with an artist's note to "Please make sure that the belly scales are in the center of the body, with flanks showing on either side and with the limbs displayed equally, to be more properly displayed." A fourth submission using this same depiction appears in this LoAR.

It appears that most of these depictions are coming directly or indirectly from the Pennsic Traceable Art Project. We are in the process of pulling this depiction from the project. Absent documentation, we will cease to register any depictions of animate charges displayed with the torso twisted to dexter or sinister as of the January 2018 decision meeting.

* From Wreath: On "dormant" - a call for commentary

The posture of dormant is frequently described by heralds as "meatloafant," because it is notoriously difficult to recognize the type of creature by its silhouette. With legs pulled beneath the body, tail frequently lowered or wrapped, and head down, the outline of the creature becomes an amorphous blob, with defining features largely lacking.

Dormant is found in period heraldic tracts as a theoretical posture (Legh's Accedens of Armory, 1576, fol.44, attributes Azure, a lion dormant Or to the Tribe of Judah), but one that is not found in actual armory prior to the 17th century. A variation on couchant, it's best described as "couchant, head lowered to the forepaws." We generally allow things from period heraldic tracts.

Submitters frequently struggle to depict their charge in this posture while maintaining its identifiability, and submissions are frequently returned for redraw because of this. We ask for commentary from the College of Arms about how to best serve submitters who seek to have a sleeping critter on their arms, so that they can avoid the disappointment and frustration of a return.

* From Wreath: On ships and their sails

The recent submission of Giana di Nicholň da Firenze, on the East Kingdom Letter of Intent of November 30, 2016, raised the question of the difference we should give for the tincture of the sails of a ship. This is intimately connected to the question of the difference we should give for the presence or absence of those sails, as well. Past rulings have been contradictory on these matters.

We have several explicit rulings that the tincture of a ship's sails, or their presence or absence, is worth no difference:

Prior Laurel rulings (LoARs of July 91, Nov 91) have granted no difference for the tincture of a ship's sail - just as we grant no difference for sails furled vs. unfurled. [Lars Gilsson, LoAR of Oct 1992]

Conflict with [several armories]. In each case, there is one CD for fieldlessness, but nothing for changing the tincture of the sail. [Daibhidh Ruadh MacLachlan, LoAR of May 1994]

There is one CD for the field (or lack thereof), but nothing for the difference in the tincture of the sails. [Otto the Confused, LoAR of July 1996]

This is our current policy: There is no DC for type of ship (lymphad, drakkar, rowboat, etc.); nor is there a DC for sails furled (or absent altogether) vs. sails unfurled; nor is there a DC for the tincture of an unfurled sail as half the charge.

But a more recent ruling suggests that, for contrast purposes, the sail of a ship is half the charge:

[A caravel proper sailed Or on an argent field] The ship, like most ships, has sails which are roughly half the charge. The ship, therefore, is equally divided of a color (the dark brown wood proper of the hull) and a metal (the Or of the sails). [Damian of Ered Sűl, LoAR of July 2002]

If the ship's sail is half the charge for contrast purposes, then it might be argued to be half the charge for conflict purposes as well. Changing its tincture would therefore be worth difference; moreover, removing it should likewise be worth difference. It would be analogous to the wings of a pegasus: a pegasus argent would have a DC from a pegasus argent winged gules, and likewise a DC from a horse argent.

Giana's submission was pended, and appeared on the Laurel LoPaD of April 23, 2017, wherein commentary on this issue was sought.

Period heraldic examples of ships were presented in commentary, particular cases of a single coat of arms depicted repeatedly over the years. These examples showed, among other things, that the type of ship (the hull, mostly) was subject to much artistic variation. However, the most extensive collections were the arms of the Earldom of Caithness (with a ship under sail) and the Earldom of Orkney (with a ship with sails furled), from Scotland. Despite any changes to the coats over time, Caithness's ship is always shown under full sail, and Orkney's ship is always shown with sails furled - even when the two coats were quartered in the same arms, in the period when the two Earldoms were held by a single person. This suggests that the sails were considered heraldically significant by period heralds.

We are therefore amending our policy on the difference we grant for ships: As before, we grant no difference for type of ship, per se. The shape of the hull, the presence of oars, or the number of masts will count for no difference.

We now grant difference for the presence or absence of sails on a ship. This will mean, for example, a DC between a lymphad (which has its sails furled by default) and a drakkar (which is under full sail by default). No difference will be given between, say, a drakkar and a caravel (or any other late-period sailing ship), since both are ships with sails.

The corollary to this is that the sails, if shown, must be drawn large enough to be considered "half the charge" for contrast and conflict purposes. For instance, we will grant a DC between a lymphad and a lymphad, sails unfurled - but only if the sails are large enough to be worth that difference. A "sailed" ship with insignificant sails will be returned for redrawing.

For sailed ships, we now grant difference for the tincture of the sails. This will mean a DC between, for instance, a drakkar gules and a drakkar gules sailed Or. Note that the sail's tincture is an integral part of the tincture of the charge: between a drakkar gules sailed Or and a drakkar azure is one DC, not two.

The corollary to this is that sail tincture can now be counted against other charges in addition to ships. For instance, between a drakkar gules sailed Or and a lion gules, we have one DC for type of charge and one DC for its tincture.

In the specific case which prompted this discussion, the submission of Giana di Nicholň da Firenze (Argent, a bend sinister vert, overall a wyvern erect sable), we find it clear of the device of Charles the Traveler (Argent, a bend sinister vert, overall a drakkar sable its sail paly gules and argent). There's now one DC for tincture of half of the overall charge, as well as one DC for its type.

* Society Pages

On August 9, 2017, at East Kingdom Court at Pennsic, Their Majesties Ioannes and Honig inducted Alys Mackyntoich, Pelican Queen of Arms, into the Order of Defense.

On August 12, 2017, at Dreiburgen Summer Arts/Festival of the Rose, Their Majesties Alexander and Tahira admitted Paul fitz Denis, Crescent Principal Herald, to the Order of the Lux Caidis for his skill in brewing and performing arts.

On August 19, 2017, Brigida von Munchen, former Saker Herald (submissions) of Calontir, was placed on vigil for the Order of the Pelican, to be elevated at a later date.

On September 9, 2017, at the An Tir Kingdom Heraldic and Scribal Symposium, Their Majesties Christian and Helene inducted Oddr Ţiálfason, Black Lion Principal Herald into the Order of the Pelican.

Also on September 9, 2017, at Angels Anniversary, Their Majesties Alexander and Tahira admitted Arianna Foxford, Seraph Pursuivant, to the Order of the Crescent for her service to the Barony and the Kingdom. The Order of the Crescent is Caid's grant-level service award.

Please send information about happenings to major heralds and major happenings to all heralds to Laurel, so that it can be published here.

* Send What to Whom

Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, et cetera are to be posted to the OSCAR online system. No paper copies need be sent. All submission forms plus documentation, including petitions, must be posted to the OSCAR online system. While black-and-white emblazons must be included in the Letter of Intent, only colored armory forms need to be posted in the forms area.

Cheques or money orders for submissions, payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms" are to be sent to Stephanie Ray-Solum, Blue Bug Bookkeeping, 2144 Westlake Ave. North Suite F, Seattle, WA 98109.

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". The electronic copy of the LoAR is available free of charge. To subscribe to the mailings of the electronic copy, please see the bottom of for more instructions.

For all administrative matters, please contact Laurel.

* Scheduling

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

The July Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Sunday, July 9, 2017 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, July 16, 2017. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: West (03 Apr, 2017), Ćthelmearc (17 Apr, 2017), Caid (19 Apr, 2017), Laurel LoPaD (23 Apr, 2017), West (24 Apr, 2017), Ealdormere (25 Apr, 2017), Artemisia (26 Apr, 2017), Atenveldt (26 Apr, 2017), Lochac (26 Apr, 2017), An Tir (30 Apr, 2017), Artemisia (30 Apr, 2017), Atenveldt (30 Apr, 2017), Atlantia (30 Apr, 2017), Caid (30 Apr, 2017), Calontir (30 Apr, 2017), Drachenwald (30 Apr, 2017), East (30 Apr, 2017), Meridies (30 Apr, 2017), Middle (30 Apr, 2017), Northshield (30 Apr, 2017), Outlands (30 Apr, 2017), and Trimaris (30 Apr, 2017). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Friday, June 30, 2017.

The August Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Monday, August 7, 2017 and Sunday, August 20, 2017 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, August 13, 2017. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Ćthelmearc (16 May, 2017), Caid (22 May, 2017), Ealdormere (23 May, 2017), Lochac (25 May, 2017), Atlantia (27 May, 2017), West (27 May, 2017), Artemisia (28 May, 2017), Avacal (28 May, 2017), Atenveldt (30 May, 2017), Calontir (30 May, 2017), An Tir (31 May, 2017), Drachenwald (31 May, 2017), East (31 May, 2017), Meridies (31 May, 2017), Northshield (31 May, 2017), Outlands (31 May, 2017), and Trimaris (31 May, 2017). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Monday, July 31, 2017.

The September Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Sunday, September 3, 2017 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, September 10, 2017. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Gleann Abhann (06 Jun, 2017), Ćthelmearc (14 Jun, 2017), Caid (18 Jun, 2017), Laurel LoPaD (22 Jun, 2017), Ealdormere (24 Jun, 2017), Atlantia (26 Jun, 2017), Lochac (26 Jun, 2017), Artemisia (27 Jun, 2017), Drachenwald (27 Jun, 2017), Ansteorra (28 Jun, 2017), Northshield (28 Jun, 2017), An Tir (30 Jun, 2017), Avacal (30 Jun, 2017), Calontir (30 Jun, 2017), East (30 Jun, 2017), Laurel (30 Jun, 2017), Meridies (30 Jun, 2017), Middle (30 Jun, 2017), and Outlands (30 Jun, 2017). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Thursday, August 31, 2017.

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,

In service,

Emma de Fetherstan
Laurel Queen of Arms

Created at 2017-09-23T11:21:04