Angles palewise (Disallowed)

Angles palewise (Disallowed)

Angles are of obscure origin, but are supposed to represent a belt fastener [Parker 11], and as a result seem always to be borne in pairs.  No examples of their use in period armory have been found; pending such evidence, angles are no longer permitted for Society use.  See also chevron.

Albrecht von Swabia, the Clumsy bears:  Or, a pair of angles palewise interlaced in fess sable.

Kenneth of Elsinore bears:  Azure, a pair of angles fesswise interlaced in pale Or.

This entry was posted on November 15, 2013, in .


Anille (Period)

Anille (Period)

An anille is an architectural anchor-plate, used with tie-rods to brace and support masonry.  In German blazonry, it’s thus known as a Maueranker, “wall anchor”.  The anille is a period charge, found in the arms of van Oestvelt or Oostvelt, c.1370 [Gelre 96v].  It is fesswise by default.  See also millrind.

Avid Zvonikha bears:  Purpure, an anille argent.

This entry was posted on November 15, 2013, in .


Annulet (Period)

Annulet (Period)

Three annulets braced two and one (Period)

Three annulets braced two and one (Period)

An annulet is a plain circular ring.  It’s an ancient charge, dating from c.1255 in the arms of Plessis or Plescy [ANA2 10].  In the earliest blazons, it was sometimes called a “false (i.e., voided) roundel”, but soon became recognized as an independent charge.  In the English system of cadency, the annulet is the brisure of the fifth son.

Armory with multiple annulets will normally have them separate on the shield, as with any other charge, but they may also be “interlaced” or “braced”:  the illustration shows three annulets braced two and one, as in the arms of Huberk or Hawberk, c.1460 [RH].  Concentric annulets may also be termed “vires”:  i.e., “Three concentric annulets” and “Three vires” are equivalent blazons, being an early depiction of the gurges.

For related charges, see ring.  See also chain, loom weight, maily.

Anne des Anneaux bears:  Purpure, five annulets in saltire Or.

Carl of Carolingia bears:  Argent, three annulets azure.

Margie of Glen More bears:  Vert, three annulets interlaced one and two argent.

This entry was posted on November 18, 2013, in .


Antelope rampant (Period)

Antelope rampant (Period)

The antelope is an heraldic monster with a body like a deer’s, but with tusks, a lion’s tail, and serrated horns.  The creature was described in medieval bestiaries as remarkably fast and fierce, capable of cutting down trees with its horns.  The antelope was one of the Royal badges of Henry IV, d.1413 [Dennys 147; HB 109].

The unmodified term “antelope” refers to the heraldic monster; if the natural beast of the deer family is intended, it must be blazoned as a “natural antelope”.

The antelope does not seem to have a default posture; the illustration shows an antelope rampant.  For related charges, see bagwyn, ibex, yale.

Steven Shirebourne bears:  Pean, three antelopes rampant argent.

Athena Catarina of Windcrest bears:  Azure, an antelope rampant argent.

Shoshona bat Malachi bears:  Argent, two cypress trees couped vert and a natural antelope statant sable.

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


More anvils

Armorer’s anvil (Period); square anvil (Accepted)


Double-horned anvil (Acceptable); default anvil (Period)

An anvil is an iron block on which metalware is hammered into shape.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of Wolstone, temp. Henry VI [DBA1 9].  In English heraldry, the unmodified term “anvil” refers to the armorer’s anvil [Franklyn 12]:  portable, with a spike on the bottom for fixing it in place during use.  If this form is intended in the Society, it must be explicitly blazoned.

In Society heraldry, the unmodified term “anvil” usually refers to the blacksmith’s anvil.  The number of horns, unless specified, is left to the artist; both double-horned anvils (also called “bickerns”) and single-horned anvils are documented period artifacts.  A “square anvil” is one with no horns. 

The Armorer’s Guild of Østgarðr bears:  Gules, a bend Or between a hammer bendwise and a bickern argent.

George Edward Archer bears:  Argent, three anvils sable.

Balin the Fairhaired bears:  Sable, a square anvil within an annulet Or.

Sven Gunnarsson of Fjathrundaland bears:  Argent, an armorer’s anvil sable and a chief embattled gules.

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


Ape passant

Ape passant, collared and chained (Period)

The ape is a simian beast, which the medievals considered a mockery of man.  Period armory didn’t distinguish between an “ape” (which has no tail) and a “monkey” (which does); Society armory makes the distinction for the sake of the artist.  Both forms are found as period charges:  the ape, as early as c.1340 in the arms of Affenstein [Zurich 241] and as late as 1605 in the arms of von Prag [Siebmacher 21]; the monkey, in the arms of de Aymo, mid-15th C. [Triv 47] and as the crest of FitzGerald, 1601 [Bedingfeld 59].  Society armory also permits more specific forms to be registered (e.g., the “gorilla”, the “spider monkey”, &c), so long as they were known to period Europe.

When statant or passant, the ape is on all fours, in the manner of beasts (unlike humans, who are statant or passant on two feet).  If an ape is “collared” or “chained”, the collar goes around its waist, not its neck.  Of usages peculiar to the Society, the ape “in its vanity” is gazing into a hand mirror that it’s grasping in its hand.

The illustration shows an ape (monkey) passant and collared.  See also human figure.

Estasia de Fiorenza bears:  Argent, a monkey sejant erect in its vanity, chained gules.

Ysabeau de Vézelay bears:  Purpure, an ape passant Or.

Shait ben Mikha’el bears:  Per pale purpure and gules, two gorillas statant respectant argent.

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

Ape clog

Ape clog (Period)

An ape clog, or ape’s clogge, is a large block of wood with a chain attached. It acts both as a perch for a pet ape (to which the chain’s other end would be attached) and as an anchoring weight. The ape clog is a period charge, used as a badge by William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, d.1450 [Siddons II.2 231; HB 147].

Rylyn Buchanan bears as a badge: An ape clog quarterly vert and sable, chained argent.

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

Apothecary jar

Apothecary jar (Period)

Apothecary jar (Period)

An apothecary jar is a broad-mouthed vessel with a flat or conical lid, used to hold unguents; it was also called an “ointment jar”.  Though the sides were usually straight, as shown here, jars used by apothecaries might have slightly bulging sides; this is left to the artist’s license.

As an heraldic charge, the apothecary jar is found in the attributed arms of Christ, in the Hyghalmen Roll, c.1450 [Dennys 98], and possibly as the crest of Roder [Siebmacher 165].  In medieval art, it was one of the attributes of St. Mary Magdalen.  A similarly shaped vessel, blazoned as a buserra or bussolotto in Italian, is found in the canting arms of de Bussero, mid-15th C. [Triv 60].

Martha the Healer bears:  Argent, on a bend sinister azure between a mandolin bendwise sinister, peghead in chief gules, and an apothecary jar vert voided argent, a pair of fetterlocks joined by a chain argent.

Isabel de Estella bears:  Or, an apothecary jar sable lidded within a bordure indented gules.

Amye Elizabeth Barrington bears:  Purpure, on an apothecary jar argent a frog vert.

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


Apple slipped and leaved (Period)

Apple slipped and leaved (Period)

The apple is a fruit; originally, the term simply meant “fruit” in general (as in the terms “crabapple”, “rose apple”, “pineapple”, &c), but is now understood to refer to the sweet, white-fleshed fruit of the tree of the Malus genus.  Medieval tradition equated the apple with the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden, possibly due to the pun (Latin mālum, apple, and malum, evil).

Apples are found in period armory, as in the canting arms of Holtzapfel, 1605 [Siebmacher 196].  They should be depicted in the period round form; apples drawn as a more modern cultivar, such as the trapezoidal “Red Delicious”, are a step from period practice.  The Society default is with slip to chief, which seems to be the opposite of medieval convention.  The illustration shows an apple slipped and leaved.

Adelicia Tagliaferro bears:  Sable, an apple argent.

Cai ap Cai bears:  Per pale argent and gules, in pale two apples counterchanged.

Da’ud ibn Auda bears as a badge:  An apple gules slipped and leaved proper.

This entry was posted on November 20, 2013, in .


Waist-apron, strings loose (Accepted)

Waist-apron, strings loose (Accepted)

An apron is an article of clothing covering the wearer’s front, worn over garments to protect them (though sometimes worn for decoration as well).  It’s a period artifact, with examples in illuminations dating to at least the 14th C., but we’ve no examples of the apron’s use as an independent charge in period armory.

Though styles of apron were not distinguished as “waist-aprons” or “bib-aprons” in period, the distinction is made in Society blazon for the sake of the artist.  The illustration, based on the Luttrell Psalter, shows a waist-apron.

Morgan Donner bears:  Gules, a cloth waist-apron strings loose argent.

Ása in svarta bears as a badge:  A bib-apron azure.

This entry was posted on November 20, 2013, in .