Star of David

Star of David (Period)

Star of David (Period)

The star of David is a geometric figure, comprising two equilateral triangles, voided and braced.  Alternatively, it may be described as a mullet of six points voided and interlaced.  It’s also called a “shield of David”, a “Mogen David”, or a “seal of Solomon”.

The star of David appears in Jewish texts as early as the 11th Century (in the Leningrad Codex), and as a decoration on gravestones and synagogues; in modern times, it has been adopted as a universal symbol of Judaism.  As an heraldic charge, it’s found in the arms of Compan, 1548 [Vigil Raber’s Armorial of the Arlberg Brotherhood of St. Christopher, fo.740].  For related charges, see knot, polygon, shield.

Judith bat Avram of York bears:  Quarterly azure and purpure, in the second quarter a shield of David argent and Or.

Israel ibn Jacob bears:  Paly wavy of twelve sable and argent, a star of David Or.

Moshe Mashughannah bears:  Or, a star of David azure within and interlaced with another vert.

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


Rogacina doubly crossed (Period)

Rogacina doubly crossed (Period)

A rogacina is a cypher charge from Polish heraldry, resembling a broadarrow mounted on a straight shaft.  It was used in the arms of the Powała or Ogonczyk herb, c.1460 [GATD 120].  The rogacina was frequently misblazoned in Western Europe as an “arrow” or “arrowhead”.  The rogacina has its point to chief by mundane and Society default.

The shaft of the rogacina was frequently treated in some way:  singly or doubly crossed, forked, or conjoined to another charge (e.g., another rogacina, a demi-annulet, &c).  As these details can count for difference, they must be explicitly blazoned.  The illustration shows a rogacina doubly crossed.  See also letters, pheon.

Angharad Rose Tewdwr of Pembroke bears:  Azure, a rogacina crossed and fourchy argent.

Vitus Polonius bears:  Per bend gules and sable, a rogacina doubly crossed and fourchy argent.

Vytautas Vilkas bears:  Per pale vert and sable, a rogacina bendwise sinister doubly crossed and fourchy argent.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2014, in .


Triangle (Period)

Triangle (Period)

Octagon (Period)

Octagon (Period)

A polygon is a closed geometric plane figure with straight sides.  While there are some simple heraldic charges which might be described in this way – e.g., the billet and the delf – the term here refers specifically to abstract geometric shapes, not otherwise defined, and which don’t appear to represent actual objects.  Of these, the most commonly found in period European armory is the “triangle”, seen in the allusive arms (Italian canto, “angle, corner”) of de Cantono, mid-15th C. [Triv 91].

The only other polygon found in period European armory (as of this writing) is the “octagon”:  this appears to be unique to a single coat, the arms of Haller, mid-16th C. [NW 165].  Society armory also has examples of the “pentagon” and the “hexagon”.  The pentagon and hexagon, while registerable, are deemed a step from period practice.

Pentagon (SFPP); hexagon (SFPP)

Pentagon (SFPP); hexagon (SFPP)

Polygons are normally drawn as regular polygons (i.e., equilateral and equiangular), though triangles are also found in isosceles forms.  Most polygons have a point to chief by Society default; the exception is the octagon, which rests on a flat side and thus has a flat side to chief.

For related charges, see lozenge, polyhedron, star of David, valknut.  See also jewelry.

Hraði inn rakki bears:  Quarterly sable and gules, in bend sinister two triangles inverted Or.

Georg Eisenfaust bears:  Per fess argent and sable, in chief a clenched gauntlet and in base three octagons two and one counterchanged.

al-Haadi abd-al-Malik Husam ibn Khalid bears as a badge:  Sable, a hexagon voided within another argent.

Uto von den Sümpfen bears:  Sable, a pentagon gules fimbriated Or.


This entry was posted on May 27, 2014, in .


Nefr (Accepted)

Nefr (Accepted)

A nefr is an Egyptian hieroglyphic, signifying the “heart and windpipe”, and used by them as a good-luck symbol.  No examples are known in period armory.  See also letters.

Einar Lutemaker bears:  Vert, a nefr Or.

This entry was posted on May 23, 2014, in .

Musical note

Musical note (Accepted)

Musical note (Accepted)

G-clef (Accepted); C-clef (Accepted)

G-clef (Accepted); C-clef (Accepted)

A musical note is a written symbol, indicating pitch and duration to the performer.  Musical notation had evolved continuously, from the “neumes” of the 10th Century to the stemmed ovoids of modern notation.  In Society armory, the musical note is commonly represented as a lozenge with a vertical stem out of its top corner, as used in 16th C. Italian notation [Grove 18:136].  Specific types of notes may be blazoned a “fusa”, a “(semi)minim”, or a “(semi)quaver”, depending on the period and the exact form; no heraldic difference is granted.

Though we’ve no examples of their use as independent heraldic charges, musical notes were used to embellish charges in period armory, such as the “prick-song book” in the crest of the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks, 1582 [Bromley & Child 191].

Other musical symbols were used as period charges:  the arms of the composer Orlando di Lasso, 1570, uses the symbols “sharp”, “flat”, and “natural” as charges [Woodward 387].  Society armory also has examples of clefs, such as the “G-clef” and “C-clef”; the illustrations are taken from 16th C. scores [Grove 6:26].  In all cases, period forms of the notation should be used.

Musical notation is exempt from the Society’s requirement that armory not consist solely of letters or similar symbols.

Quinlan of Sheare bears:  Argent, on a chevron azure three quavers palewise argent.

Vincenzio di Bartolomeo da Brescia bears:  Azure, three quavers argent.

Ivory Genevieve la Rouge bears:  Vert, on a bend sinister between a G clef and a fleur-de-lys argent an ivy vine throughout vert.

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


Gothic capital letter "M" (Period)

Gothic capital letter “M” (Period)

A letter is a single written glyph, symbolizing a phoneme of speech.  By default, letters are taken from the Roman alphabet, with the case and script sometimes specified in the blazon; letters from other alphabets, such as Greek and Hebrew, are also permitted.  The use of single letters as decorations on shields dates early, but as charges in actual armory, they came into use much later:  e.g., the three letters “M” in the arms of Le Marchant, 1362 [DBA2 384], or the two letters “S” in the arms of Mendoça, c.1540 [Nobreza xii].  The illustration shows a Gothic letter “M”.

Full words are also found in period heraldry:  the word “souvereyne” in the badge of Henry of Lancaster, 1385 [Hope2 167], and the word “lieb” as a charge in the arms of von Startzhausen, 1605 [Siebmacher 84].  Iberian heraldry, in particular, has examples of whole phrases used as charges:  e.g., the arms of Velaz de Medrano, mid-16th C., with a bordure charged with the opening words of the Ave Maria [Armeria 70].

In Society heraldry, the category of letters includes such other symbols as astronomical signs, Arabic script, Norse runes, and Japanese kanji.  The use of these symbols is restricted in one way:  since any person may use a common word – and certainly may use their own initials – no Society armory may consist solely of letters, words, or their equivalents.  The armory must include some other charge as well.

Punctuation marks, being unattested in medieval armory, are not permitted in Society armory.  See also chi-rho, cypher charges, musical note, nefr, rogacina.

Franchesca MacBeth bears:  Vert, a Gothic capital letter “M” Or and a base embattled argent masoned sable.

al-Haadi abd-al-Malik Husam ibn Khalid bears:  Argent, on a fess cotised between the Arabic script “al-mulk” and “lillah” sable, the Arabic script “abd-al-Malik Husam ibn Khalid” argent.

Dulcinea Margarita Teresa Velàzquez di Ribera bears:  Argent, three piles in point gules, overall an estoile, all within a bordure sable charged with the words “Dignidad, Vertud, Honestad” Or.

Julien Lapointe bears:  Gules, three lowercase Greek letters pi within a bordure embattled Or.

Cadell ap Hubert bears:  Argent, the astronomical sign of Sagittarius and a gore sinister azure.

This entry was posted on March 5, 2014, in .

Cypher charges

Cypher charges are peculiar abstract designs, runic rather than pictorial in nature.  They were most frequently found in Polish armory, where they date from at least the 14th Century [Gelre 54], and in German hausmarken.  In many cases, they were not (and are not) blazonable in standard Western European heraldic terminology, but may still be blazonable by their parts, conjoined:  cypher charges which can be so blazoned are permitted in Society armory.

For specific entries, see chi-rho, rogacina.  See also cross, letters.

Antek Ignatovich bears:  Azure, a cross couped of three crossbars, missing the dexter base arm, a bordure embattled argent.

Aron Niedźwiedź bears as a badge:  In pale a cross couped between and conjoined to two chevronels couped sable.

Jan Janowicz Bogdanski bears as a badge:  A horseshoe ensigned with a cross couped fitchy azure.

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


Chi-rho (Accepted)

Chi-rho (Accepted)

The chi-rho is a Christian symbol popularized by the Emperor Constantine.  It consists of the first two (Greek) letters of Christos, conjoined into a monogram.  Though found in period art – the illustration is taken from a 4th C. coin – the chi-rho does not appear to have been used in period heraldry.  See also cross, cypher charges.

Basilius Phocas bears:  Gules, a chi-rho argent within an orle of bezants.

Artus Quintus bears:  Argent, a chi-rho and a bordure gules.

Konstantinos of Rath an Oir bears:  Purpure, a chi-rho and a chief Or.

This entry was posted on December 19, 2013, in .