Search Results for: sphinx

Sphinx

Greek sphinx sejant (Period)

Greek sphinx sejant (Period)

Egyptian sphinx couchant (Accepted)

Egyptian sphinx couchant (Accepted)

The sphinx is a monster from ancient myth, with a lion’s body and a human head.  There are two forms of this monster, the Greek form and the Egyptian form, both of which date from antiquity.

The Greek sphinx (the riddling monster slain by Oedipus) is winged, and has a woman’s head and breasts; it’s the more common form, and the only form found in period heraldry.  Blazoned simply as a “sphinx” in period, it is sometimes blazoned in the Society as a “winged” or a “gyno-sphinx” (gyno, “woman”).  The Greek sphinx was described in period tracts [Bossewell II.46], and was granted as a crest to Robert Parris in 1573 [Dennys 118].

The Egyptian sphinx is the monster whose statue is seen at Giza; it has a man’s head, wearing a pharaonic headdress, and has no wings.  It’s sometimes blazoned an “andro-sphinx” (andro, “man”) in the Society.  Though the statue was known, the Egyptian sphinx doesn’t seem to have been used in period armory.

Of course, Society armorists take pleasure in conflating the two forms, and examples of “Greek andro-sphinxes” and “Egyptian gyno-sphinxes” have been registered.  Go figure.

Neither form of sphinx has a default posture in Society heraldry; the illustrations show a Greek sphinx sejant and an Egyptian sphinx couchant.  For related charges, see chimera (German), lamia, manticore, man-tyger.

Ariadne Leontodes bears:  Argent, a Greek sphinx rampant azure winged sable.

Eirene Korinthia bears:  Purpure, a Greek sphinx sejant Or.

Khalil el-Hadji bears:  Or, an Egyptian sphinx couchant azure between in chief two scimitars inverted, blades to center sable.

Mammarra Liona of Egypt bears:  Azure, an Egyptian gyno-sphinx rampant Or.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .

Monsters

As used in heraldry, the term “monster” describes any creature not found in nature:  a fabulous beastie, a product of the imagination.  Some heraldic monsters were thought to represent actual beasts (e.g., the antelope), but their forms differ so widely from the natural beasts that they are considered separate and imaginary creatures.  In such cases, if the natural beast is intended, the term “natural” must be included in the blazon; otherwise, the heraldic monster is used.

There are some special categories of monsters, classed by their form or construction.  These include:  chimerical monsters, humanoid monsters, sea-monsters, and winged monsters.

For specific monsters, see:  allocamelus, alphyn, amphisbaena, antelope, bagwyn, bog beast, boreyne, calamarie (kraken), calygreyhound, camelopard, centaur, chatloup, chimera, cockatrice, dragon, enfield, griffin, harpy, hippogriff, Hrassvelg monster, ibex, lamia, lion-dragon, man-serpent, manticore, man-tyger, mermaid, musimon, naga, Norse beasts, opinicus, orm, pantheon, panther, pegasus, phoenix, piping beast, pithon, salamander, sea-horse, sea-lion, senmurv, silkie, sphinx, tarasque, theow, tyger, unicorn, vegetable lamb, werewolf, yale, ypotryll.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2014, in .

Man-tyger

Man-tyger passant guardant (Period)

Man-tyger passant guardant (Period)

The man-tyger is a monster, consisting of a lion with a human head; sometimes the feet have been replaced by human hands.  It’s been suggested [Dennys 116] that the monster is an heraldic representation of the baboon of nature:  the cant with Babyngton, who used the man-tyger as a badge in 1529, supports this theory.  The man-tyger is very similar to the manticore, and may be considered an artistic variant.

The man-tyger doesn’t seem to have a default posture, so this must be explicitly blazoned; the illustration shows a man-tyger passant guardant.  For related charges, see lamia.  See also sphinx.

Godfrey of Inwood bears:  Vert, a bat-winged man-tyger sejant guardant within a bordure argent.

Beathach mu Saoileachedainn bears:  Azure, a winged man-tyger salient guardant within a tressure wreathed Or.

This entry was posted on May 18, 2014, in .

Lamia

Lamia passant guardant (Period)

Lamia passant guardant (Period)

The lamia was originally a female creature from Greek myth, combining the traits of the vampire and succubus.  The legend evolved over the centuries:  in Tudor heraldry, the lamia was depicted as a monster with the body of a lion, the head and breasts of a woman, and the tail of a horse; its forelegs are a woman’s arms, ending in hands, and the hindlegs are those of a goat.  In this form, it’s found as the canting crest of Lambent, 1585 [Dennys 117; Gwynn-Jones 106], though later heralds confused it with the manticore.

The lamia doesn’t seem to have a default posture; the illustration shows a lamia passant guardant.  For related charges, see man-tyger, sphinx.

Muirgen mac Ultain bears:  Sable, a lamia passant guardant Or.

This entry was posted on February 24, 2014, in .

Humanoid monsters

This category of monster consists of those whose forms are basically human, but with additions or mutations.  There does not seem to be a default posture common to all of them.  When blazoned “proper”, the human parts are Caucasian (pink) unless otherwise specified.

Angel (Period)

Angel (Period)

Standing seraph (Accepted)

Standing seraph (Accepted)

The “angel” is a human with a pair of wings on his back; it’s a period charge, found in the canting arms of von Engelhoffer c.1450 [Ingeram 140; also Siebmacher 97].  Its default posture is statant affronty, wings displayed (frequently displayed inverted) [Parker 10].  A specific variant of this is the Archangel Michael, so named in blazon:  winged and haloed, but armed and armor-clad (and frequently depicted vanquishing a dragon underfoot).

A Society variant of the angel is the “standing seraph”, with six wings:  two with tips up, two with tips down, and two covering the body.  Like the angel, it’s statant affronty by default.  (These are not to be confused with the “cherub” and the “seraph”, which are winged heads; these may be found under (human) head.)

Fury statant affronty, wings displayed (Accepted)

Fury statant affronty, wings displayed (Accepted)

Satyr maintaining a panpipe (Period)

Satyr maintaining a panpipe (Period)

The “fury” is a creature from Greek myth, a winged woman with serpents for hair.  It appears to be unique to Society heraldry.

 

The “satyr” or “pan” is also from Greek myth; it combines the torso of a human with the hindquarters of a goat.  It is horned, and may be shown playing a panpipe.  The satyr is found as an heraldic charge in the arms of Arcos, c.1540 [Nobreza xl]; though cantingly armed with a bow, and blazoned as a “sagittary”, the creature has two feet, not four, and they are cloven.

 

Troll (Period)

Troll (Period)

Demon (Disallowed)

Demon (Disallowed)

The “troll” is a charge from Scandinavian heraldry, found in the canting arms of Trolle, c.1440 [Raneke 412-413].  (It is sometimes, erroneously, blazoned a “devil” outside Scandinavia.)  The heraldic troll is distinguished by having no head:  its face is embedded in its torso.  It has clawed hands and feet, and a tail; by default, it is shown passant, with the head in full view, and one hand holding the tail.

Finally, there is the “demon” or “gargoyle”, like the satyr in having a beast’s hindquarters, but with the addition of bat-wings, a barbed tail, and sometimes talons.  Unfortunately, its best-known heraldic use, in the arms of the City of Brussels, dates only to the early 19th Century.  Demons depicted in period books of hours vary too widely in appearance to be reproducible; therefore, pending evidence of their use in period armory, demons are no longer permitted in Society armory.

For specific entries of other monsters with human parts, see:  centaur, harpy, lamia, man-serpent, manticore, man-tyger, mermaid, silkie, sphinx, tarasque.

The Baron of the Angels bears:  Gules, a standing seraph affronty proper, winged Or, haloed of a laurel wreath proper.

The Canton of Trollhaven bears:  Argent, a troll within a laurel wreath vert and on a chief azure a three-arched bridge Or.

Francesca d’Angelo le Noir bears:  Argent, a brunette angel proper, winged and vested sable.

Rhys Gethin bears:  Vert semy-de-lys Or, the Archangel Michael argent haloed Or.

Jason the Blue bears:  Or, a four-armed demon azure, winged gules.

Marta as-tu Mika-Mysliwy bears:  Per chevron vert and Or, in base a satyr dancing and piping proper.

Megara di Alessandra bears:  Sable, a Fury rampant affronty, sinister hand lowered, proper vested argent, winged Or, maintaining in the dexter hand a torch bendwise sinister enflamed proper.

This entry was posted on February 12, 2014, in .