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Cannon

Cannon (Accepted)

Cannon (Accepted)

A cannon is a large caliber gun, mounted on a carriage, and used primarily as a siege weapon.  It’s a period artifact, dating from the 14th Century, but doesn’t appear to have been used as an heraldic charge until much later:  e.g., the arms of de Leitan, c.1540 [Nobreza xli].  There was also the “culverin” or “culvering”, a smaller type of cannon but longer in proportion, which seems to have been more for use against troops than walls [Guillim1 225]; and the “mortar”, a short-barreled cannon for lobbing projectiles over walls, found in the arms of von Brösicke, 1605 [Siebmacher 177].

 

 

 

Cannon mounted in ship's carriage (Accepted)

Cannon mounted in ship’s carriage (Accepted)

Cannon barrel (Period)

Cannon barrel (Period)

The cannon is mounted in a carriage, mouth to dexter, by default; if palewise, the mouth is to chief.  The largest cannon, sometimes called “bombasts”, were mounted in simple cradles and dragged into position for the siege [EB XX:190]; this form is the default for Society heraldry, and is shown in the illustration.  Later in period, carriages with wheels were also used; these must be specified in blazon, as a “wheeled carriage” (field artillery, with two large wheels) or a “ship’s carriage” (naval ordnance, with four or more smaller wheels).  The illustration on the left is of the latter, taken from ordnance recovered from the Mary Rose, 1545 [Rule 165].  The cannon barrel alone may also be used [Guillim1 225,226], which fact is always specified; it’s shown on the right.  For related charges, see gun, pole-cannon.

The Order of the Scarlet Battery, of Æthelmearc, bears:  Per fess embattled argent and gules, in chief a culverin dismounted gules charged with an escarbuncle and in base a sheaf of arrows argent.

Gareth of Gutenberg bears:  Sable, two cannon barrels in saltire between two halberds in fess and in chief a sallet helm Or.

Alastar the Coursayre bears:  Sable, in pale a woman’s head couped and in saltire two cannons mounted on ship’s carriages and crossed at the barrels, a bordure argent.

Angus Olyver bears:  Lozengy Or and gules, in pale three cannons reversed, mounted on ship’s carriages, on a chief sable three bezants.

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Canton

Canton (Period)

Canton (Period)

The canton is a square section of the shield, issuant from one of the upper corners.  It’s one of the earliest of charges, found in the arms of John of Brittany c.1285 [Asp2 213].  Unless stated otherwise, it issues from the dexter chief corner; a “sinister canton” issues from the sinister chief.

The canton is a peripheral ordinary, though classed as a sub-ordinary by some authors.  The same charge is also called a “quarter”; 19th Century writers tried to distinguish between the two, saying the quarter was one-fourth the area of the shield, and the canton one-ninth.  No such distinction is made in medieval or Society heraldry; it’s drawn as large as necessary, to accommodate the design on the shield.

Charged cantons were a period form of augmentation, and their use is so reserved in the Society.

Alan Fairfax bears:  Bendy sinister Or and gules, a canton sable.

Thomas of Red Square bears:  Argent, a quarter gules.

Helena d’Évreux bears:  Per fess Or and azure, a sinister canton azure.

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Card-pique

Card-pique (Accepted)

Card-pique (Accepted)

A card-pique is a symbol found on playing cards:  in non-heraldic terms, a “spade”.  Tradition deems it a stylized form of spearhead.  The card symbol appears to be period, though not used in period armory.  However, there were some types of leaf in heraldry whose depictions are visually indistinguishable from a card-pique – the linden leaf, for instance – and the card-pique is accepted on that basis.  It also means no difference is granted from those leaves.  See also foil (trefoil), heart, lozenge.

Hugh ap Llewelyn bears:  Or, a chevron voided gules between two card-piques and a crux ansata all sable.

Erc FitzMungo bears:  Sable, a card-pique argent.

Jacob Maximilian of the Black Forest bears:  Quarterly gules and checky argent and sable, a card-pique Or.

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Carriage frame

Carriage frame (Period)

Carriage frame (Period)

A carriage frame is the understructure of a horse-drawn carriage, comprising the wheels, axles, and chassis.  It’s a period charge, found in the canting arms of da Carrara, lords of Padua, as early as 1413 [Conz.Const. clviº].  The carriage frame is palewise by default.

Leonarda Maria Carrera bears:  Gules, a carriage frame argent.

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Cartouche

Cartouche (Accepted)

Cartouche (Accepted)

A cartouche is an oval or elliptical figure; its default orientation is palewise.  It is considered a shape upon which arms may be borne; thus, like the lozenge and escutcheon, when used as a fieldless badge it must not itself be charged.  Straight-sided cartouches are found in ancient Egyptian art; more oval cartouches were used for heraldic display [Hope 112].  Both forms have been accepted for Society use.  See also egg.

Michael the Dane bears:  Gules, on a fess argent a cartouche fesswise gules voided argent.

Axel Bohm bears:  Argent estencely sable, a cartouche gules.

Juana Isabella de Montoya y Ramirez bears:  Barry engrailed Or and vert, a cartouche pointed in chief and base counterchanged.

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Castle

Castle (Period)

Castle (Period)

A castle is a mighty edifice, a fortress or stronghold, generally made of stone.  It is an ancient charge, found in the canting arms of the Kings of Castile, c.1244 [Asp2 213].  In early heraldry, no distinction was drawn between the castle and the tower; Society heraldry distinguishes between the two forms for the artist’s sake, but grants no difference.

The typical castle is of two towers, joined by an embattled wall with a gate; a “castle triple-towered” has a third tower issuant from the joining wall.  The gate is usually shown closed, but this is an artistic detail; some early Society blazons use the term “friendly castle” to denote one with an open gate.  (The term is no longer used; the gate is now left to the artist.)

The castle is sometimes blazoned a “fortress” or a “citadel”, especially for canting purposes.  For related charges, see bridge.

The Baron of Ben Dunfirth bears:  Barry wavy argent and sable, a castle within a laurel wreath Or.

David of Castlewhyte bears:  Per chevron gules and sable, three castles argent.

Harold Breakstone bears:  Or, a castle triple-towered sable, pennons flotant to sinister vert.

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Cat; Lynx

Domestic cat sejant (Period)

Domestic cat sejant (Period)

The cat is a feline beast, famed for its deceitfulness.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of Vaughn, c.1520 [DBA1 201].

In mundane blazons, the simple term “cat” usually refers to the wild cat, most commonly associated with Scots heraldry; but in Society blazons, “cat” refers to the domesticated cat.  The two forms should be distinguished in blazon to avoid confusion, the first as a “wildcat” or “cat-a-mountain” (Bossewell, 1572 [I.56], also terms it a “musion”), the latter as a “domestic cat” or “house cat”.  No difference is granted between them.

Wildcat salient (Period)

Wildcat salient (Period)

The cat does not seem to have a default posture; the illustrations show a domestic cat sejant and a wildcat salient.  Other postures, peculiar to the cat, include “herissony”, with arched back, raised fur, and spitting; de Bara, 1581 [168] shows a cat in this posture.  The posture “s’élongeant”, stretching (as only a cat can), is currently disallowed, as blurring the distinction between passant and couchant.  Finally, there’s the Society-unique “cat in its curiosity”, on its hind legs peering into a cauldron, which is about to tip over on it; it too is no longer permitted, as the motif has not been found in period armory.

Lynx rampant guardant (Period)

Lynx rampant guardant (Period)

Similar to the cat is the “lynx”, a spotted feline with tufted ears, prominent side whiskers, and a stub tail; its medieval reputation was for keen eyesight.  Though sometimes considered synonymous with the wildcat, the two seem to have been separate beasts in period armory.  The lynx was used in the canting arms (German Luchs) of Lüchsperger, mid-16th C. [NW 44], and as the crest and a supporter of the Worshipful Company of Skinners, 1550 [Bromley & Child 223].  The illustration shows a lynx rampant guardant.

For related charges, see lion, panther, tyger.

Gilles of Lennox bears:  Or, a domestic cat sejant, paw extended sable.

Rianna Whirlwind bears:  Azure, a wildcat statant guardant argent, a bordure argent semy of hawk’s bells vert.

Hvitr Loðinbak bears:  Ermine, two lynxes rampant gardant addorsed gules.

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Catapult

Catapult (Period)

Catapult (Period)

A catapult is a siege weapon, used to throw large stones and other missiles; also called a “mangonel”, it was known since Roman times. The term “catapult” is a generic term, referring to several forms; these have been powered by tension from twisted ropes, from springs, and from other power sources.  The catapult in most common use in medieval warfare was also called a “trebuchet” or “swepe”:  powered by gravity, it employed a long lever arm and a heavy counterweight.  It was found in the canting arms of Magnall, 1610 [Guillim1 227], and is the most common type in Society heraldry.  The most usual Society depiction, shown in the illustration, is somewhat more realistic than those in period emblazons.

All types of catapult are depicted by default in their “rest” position, with the arm neither cocked and ready, nor at full release; if blazoned as “loaded”, the arm is cocked and ready for release, though the distinction is purely artistic. The catapult’s “proper” coloration, as with all wooden charges, is brown.

Erich von Kleinfeld bears:  Quarterly gules and sable, four catapults Or.

Dafydd y Peiriannydd bears:  Argent, a trebuchet proper between a chief embattled and a base azure.

Woodford of Lorien bears:  Or, a swepe sable, a chief vert.

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Celtic

The term “Celtic” has been sometimes used in Society blazons to indicate a style of depiction:  e.g., a “Celtic hound” would be a hound as drawn in the Book of Kells.  The term is thus a direction to the artist, not a variant of type, and carries no heraldic difference; indeed, it’s more commonly not blazoned.  Moreover, a charge drawn too strongly in the Kells style may be rendered unidentifiable, and so unacceptable.  Two exceptions are the Celtic cross and the Celtic harp.

Sabia Gunnhild Hunang bears:  Gules, a Celtic hawk statant close reguardant Or.  [The hawk is drawn as in the Lindisfarne Gospels.]

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Centaur

Centaur passant (Period)

Centaur passant (Period)

Leonine sagittary passant drawing a bow (Period)

Leonine sagittary passant drawing a bow (Period)

The centaur is a monster from Greek myth, with the body and legs of a horse and the torso, arms and head of a human.  Male and female centaurs are found in Society heraldry; blazons of posture (e.g., “passant”) refer to the equine portion, not the human.

Nearly all of the period heraldic examples of the centaur show it with a bow and arrow, as in the arms of Bardi, c.1550 [BSB Cod.Icon 278:81], or in the crest of Mackonele of the Yles, c.1601 [Bedingfeld 147].  Such cases may also be blazoned a “sagittary” or “sagittarius”.

A “leonine-centaur” (or, with a bow, a “leonine-sagittary”) has the body of a lion, instead of a horse; it’s found in the attributed arms of King Stephen of England, c.1097 [Dennys 119].

The illustrations show a centaur passant and a leonine-sagittary passant drawing a bow.

Chuluun the Scribe bears:  Gules, two sagittaries salient addorsed Or.

Tatiana Aleksandrovna bears:  Or, a female centaur passant within a bordure gules.

Piers of Malmesbury bears:  Per pale gules and azure, in pale two leonine sagittaries passant argent.

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