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Whale

Whale (Period)

Whale (Period)

Narwhal haurient (Accepted)

Narwhal haurient (Accepted)

The whale is a large sea-creature, known today as a cetacean mammal, but regarded in period as a fish; it was hunted from ships for its meat, oil and baleen.  It is found in period heraldic tracts (e.g., de Bara’s Blason des Armoiries, 1581 [88]), but Your Author has not found an unarguable example from period armory.

The medieval depiction of the whale was somewhat fanciful; the illustration is taken from Gesner’s De Avibus et Piscibus, 1560.  If a naturalistic depiction is desired, it must be specified as a “natural whale”, or more explicitly, e.g., a “sperm whale”.  The whale is naiant by default.

In Society armory, there is also the “narwhal” or “narwhale”, a cetacean with a long unicorn-like “horn” (actually its tooth).  It’s generally depicted as found in nature.  The illustration shows a narwhal haurient.  For related charges, see dolphin.

The Baron of Smoking Rocks bears:  Argent, a whale haurient embowed sable within a laurel wreath vert.

André of Stormhold bears:  Argent, a whale naiant azure.

Arinbjorn Talverri bears:  Or, a narwhal haurient purpure.

This entry was posted on June 8, 2014, in .

Sea-nettle

Sea-nettle (Accepted)

Sea-nettle (Accepted)

The sea-nettle is the marine creature today called the “jellyfish”, with a round body and dangling, frond-like tentacles.  The creature was known in period – the illustration is taken from Gulielmi Rondeletii’s Libri de piscibus marinis: in quibus verae piscium, published in 1554 – but no examples of the sea-nettle’s use in period armory have been found.  The sea-nettle has its tentacles to base by Society default.

Luciana Pesce bears as a badge:  A sea-nettle gules.

Ceara inghean Ui hUisce bears:  Argent, a sea-nettle purpure, between in chief two mullets azure, a ford proper.

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

Sea-horse

Sea-horse (Period)

Sea-horse (Period)

Natural sea-horse (Accepted)

Natural sea-horse (Accepted)

The sea-horse is an heraldic sea-monster, with the foreparts of a horse and the tail of a fish.  Period depictions, from the late 15th Century, may show it with forehooves, or with fins in their place; either form is correct.  (The latter is more often found in English emblazons, as with the supporters of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, 1573 [Bromley & Child 198].)  There may also be a webbed dorsal fin; this too is artistic license.  The sea-horse is erect by default, as in the illustration.

The modified term “natural sea-horse” refers to the small tropical fish of the Syngnathidae family.  At one point, it was sometimes blazoned a “hippocampus”, but that term is no longer used in the Society, as being ambiguous.  The natural sea-horse’s naiant posture, erect with the tail curled, is its default.

The Crown Province of Østgardr bears:  Argent, a sea-horse erect azure within a laurel wreath vert.

Katharine Ravenshill bears:  Sable, a sea-horse Or.

Adriana von Vogelsang bears:  Vert, two natural sea-horses addorsed argent.

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

Lucy

Lucy haurient (Period)

Lucy haurient (Period)

The lucy is a long, aggressive fish, popular in medieval armory for its canting value (as in the arms of Lucy, c.1255) [ANA2 432].  It was also known as the “pike”, or the “gad” or “ged”, in each case for its canting value.  The illustration shows a lucy haurient.

Ari Ánsson bears:  Argent, in pale two lucies and on a base gules a lucy argent.

Matti Turkulainen bears:  Argent fretty sable, a pike naiant vert.

Ivar Hakonarson bears:  Barry azure and argent, two pike haurient gules.

This entry was posted on May 17, 2014, in .

Fish

Fish naiant (Period)

Fish naiant (Period)

The term “fish”, as used in heraldry, refers to any marine creature not a monster.  The category includes the generic “fish”, which is drawn more or less like a trout, and which will conflict with all other types of fish.  More frequent in period heraldry are specific types of fish, such as the herring, the hake, the roach, and the salmon.  The distinctions between these specific types were often blurred: the exact type of fish was frequently chosen for a cant, as in the arms of Herring, Hake, de la Roche, and the Grafs von Salmen, respectively.

Also included in this category are the cetaceans, e.g., the porpoise or natural dolphin, the orca or killer whale, the narwhal, and the natural whale; though now known to be mammals, they are considered fish for heraldic purposes.

Finally, there are the crustaceans, e.g., the crab, the lobster, and the prawn.  These too are classed as fish in heraldry.  Unlike most other fish, however, crustaceans are tergiant by default.

As may be seen, given the wide variety of types of fish found in period armory, any fish known to period Europeans may be used in Society armory – though, if the fish is not itself European, its use is considered a step from period practice.  (An exception would be made for non-European fish actually used in period European armory, but no examples have been adduced.)  The examples of fish peculiar to Society armory include the North American “catfish”, the “swordfish”, and the “zydrach” – the latter being a period term for the hammerhead shark.

Salmon haurient (Period); chabot tergiant (Period)

Salmon haurient (Period); chabot tergiant (Period)

Three fish fretted in triangle (Period)

Three fish fretted in triangle (Period)

Fish are in general naiant by default.  Other fish postures include “haurient” (head to chief) and “uriant” or “urinant” (head to base); the word “embowed” might be added to any of these, although it is usually unnecessary.  Fish “fretted in triangle” are arranged as illustrated; the usage is described in Guillim, 1610 [170].  Non-crustacean fish tergiant are considered a step from period practice; an exception is made for flat fish such as the chabot, in the arms of Cabos or Cabot, c.1400 [Wapenboek Beyeren, fol.25v].

In other respects, the fish of Society armory follow the same conventions as those of mundane armory.  The illustration shows a salmon haurient and a chabot tergiant.  For specific entries, see:  barbel, calamarie, crab, dolphin, eel, lucy, sea-horse (natural), whale.

The Baron of Jararvellir bears:  Azure, on a fess between two catfish counternaiant Or, a laurel wreath vert.

The Shire of Frozen Mountain bears as a badge:  Three fish fretted in triangle gules.

Margery Colvere bears:  Azure, in pale two trout argent.

Ian O Kennavain bears:  Vert, a sturgeon in annulo Or.

Sean of Elmhurst bears:  Per bend azure and sable, a shark naiant to sinister argent.

Marina Jensdatter bears:  Gules, a salmon embowed within a bordure Or.

Jarvis of Hakesleah bears:  Purpure, three hakes haurient Or.

This entry was posted on January 28, 2014, in .

Escallop

Escallop (Period)

Escallop (Period)

An escallop is the shell of a bivalve mollusc; it is also called a “scallop”, “cockle” or “cockleshell”.  The escallop is an ancient charge, found in the arms of Dacre c.1282 [ANA2 351]; it was used as a pilgrim’s badge in medieval times, as it was the symbol of St. James, patron of pilgrims.  The escallop has its hinge to chief by default.

Karl von Kugler bears:  Checky Or and sable, an escallop azure.

Nuala inghean Murchadha bears:  Vert, six escallops Or.

Llywelyn ap Evan bears:  Per fess azure and vair ancient, three escallops in chief argent.

This entry was posted on January 26, 2014, in .

Eel

Eel (Period)

Eel (Period)

The eel is a fish with a long, serpentine body, distinguished from the serpent by its tail and fins (though, sadly, these are frequently omitted in period art).  It’s usually found in heraldry for the sake of a cant, as in the arms of di Pescera, mid-15th C. [Triv 288], the civic arms of Ahlen, 1605 [Siebmacher 220], or the arms of Ellis, 1610 [Guillim1 168].  Eels may also be called “congers” for canting purposes; small eels are also called “grigs”.

Eels are naiant by default, their bodies wavy.  See also sea-serpent.

Gregoire le Gris bears:  Or, an eel erect embowed counterembowed, a chief embattled azure.

Osweald Hæfring bears:  Gules, in pale two eels naiant Or.

Magdalen Mwrray bears:  Azure, two eels haurient respectant Or and in chief a roundel argent.

This entry was posted on January 16, 2014, in .

Dolphin

Dolphin (Period)

Dolphin (Period)

Natural dolphin naiant (Accepted)

Natural dolphin naiant (Accepted)

The dolphin was considered in medieval times the fastest and noblest of the fish.  The unmodified term refers to the heraldic form of the dolphin, which is the default:  a fierce fish with a spiny dorsal fin, and sometimes tusks.  It’s found in the canting arms of the Dauphin of France as early as c.1370 [Gelre 46].  The dolphin’s default posture is naiant; when blazoned “proper”, it is vert detailed gules.

The cetacean dolphin, as found in nature, must be specified as such in blazon, usually as a “natural” or “bottlenosed dolphin”.  When blazoned “proper”, it is colored in grey tones, and is considered equivalent to argent.  For related charges, see whale.

The Order of the Dolphin of Caid bears:  Azure, a dolphin embowed uriant to sinister argent.

Beatrice Delfini bears:  Per chevron argent ermined gules, and azure, a dolphin haurient embowed Or.

Diantha Sylvana Galatea Athalie de Castalia bears:  Per pale argent and azure, two dolphins uriant respectant counterchanged.

Angelina Nicollette de Beaumont bears:  Gules, a bottlenosed dolphin embowed and in chief a sprig of three orange blossoms slipped and leaved fesswise proper.

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

Crab

Crab (Period)

Crab (Period)

Lobster (Period)

Lobster (Period)

The crab is a squat-bodied crustacean, with a reputation for irritability.  Heraldically, it’s classed as a type of fish.  It’s found in the arms of Bryger or Bridger, c.1470 [DBA2 338], and the canting arms (Italian granchio) of de Grangis d’Ast, mid-15th C. [Triv 166].  The crab was also the canting badge of Scrope, 1415, the crab being called a “scrap” in northern England [Hope2; also HCE xxviii].

Similar to the crab are the “lobster” and the “crayfish” (or “crevice”, from the French écrevisse):  biologically distinct (living in saltwater and fresh water, respectively), they are indistinguishable for heraldic purposes.  The lobster or crayfish is found as early as 1413, in the arms of Weiss [Conz.Const. cliiii], and in the canting arms (Italian gambero) of de Gambara, mid-15th C. [Triv 157].  It’s usually drawn with a longer body than the crab.  However, there are instances in period armory of “crabs” (known to be such because of a cant) drawn with lobster-like tails; no difference is therefore granted between these crustaceans.

Also found in period armory is the “prawn”, similar to crayfish but without the claws; it’s found in the arms of Sea or Atsea, 1632 [Guillim2 241].  All of these crustaceans are tergiant by default, with their heads or claws to chief.  See also scorpion.

Mór Ruadh bears:  Gules, a crab Or.

Raymond Crus Hummer bears:  Argent, a lobster gules.

Eckhardt zu Westfilde bears:  Gules, two crayfish and on a base Or, a compass star gules, in chief a label of five points overall Or.

Jean Oste de Murat bears:  Azure, a chevron argent between two prawns haurient respectant and a fleur-de-kys Or.

This entry was posted on January 4, 2014, in .

Calamarie

Calamarie (Accepted)

Calamarie (Accepted)

Polypus (Accepted)

Polypus (Accepted)

The calamarie is a water-dwelling mollusc, its body pointed at one end and with multiple tentacles (usually ten) at the other end.  In period, it was also called a “cuttle-fish”; its modern name is the squid.  Though known in period, no examples of the calamarie have been found in period armory.  The calamarie has its tentacles to chief by Society default.

The calamarie has been used as the modern interpretation of a sea monster from Norse legend, known as the “kraken”, which would grab passing ships and break them apart.  At one point in the Society’s history, the calamarie was blazoned as a “kraken”.  However, given the lack of evidence that the mythical kraken was ever depicted as a giant squid in any art predating the 18th Century, the term is no longer used.  (There are a handful of Society blazons still using the term, mostly for canting purposes.)

Similar to the calamarie is the “polypus”, distinguished by its rounded head and eight tentacles; it’s known modernly as the octopus.  Again, though known in period, no examples of the polypus have been found in period armory.  The polypus has its tentacles to base by Society default.

Both the calamarie and the polypus should be drawn so their tentacles may be clearly distinguished; they should mostly occupy the space opposite the head, with less than half recurving back to the midsection of the creature and none going past its head.  See also fish.

The Order of the Kraken, of Atlantia, bears:  A kraken Or.

Jon Searider bears:  Barry wavy argent and azure, a calamarie sable.

Alphonse d’Ayr bears:  Vert, a polypus argent orbed azure wearing a skull-cap gules, a chief invected ermine.

This entry was posted on December 11, 2013, in .