Archives

Scepter

Scepter (Period)

Scepter (Period)

A scepter is an ornamented rod or baton, borne as regalia by a sovereign as a token of authority.  The physical scepters borne by monarchs might vary widely; however, as an heraldic charge, the scepter follows a more standardized form, a baton tipped with a fleur-de-lys.  The scepter’s use as a charge dates from at least c.1340, in the arms of Kloten or Gloten [Zurich 220].  It’s palewise by default.  See also staff.

The Canton of Kynges Creke bears:  Vert, two scepters in saltire fretted with a laurel wreath Or, a ford proper.

Suleiman ibn Rawh bears:  Vert, a scepter argent.

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Schnecke

Schnecke issuant from base (Period)

Schnecke issuant from base (Period)

A schnecke is a highly stylized charge from German heraldry, consisting of a tapering line spiraling inward from a point on the shield’s edge to its center.  The term literally translates as “snail”, as its curve resembles that of the snail’s shell; in French blazon, it’s termed un gyron gironnant, “a spiraling gyron”.

The schnecke is a period charge, found in the arms of von Rordorf, 1605 [Siebmacher 198].  We have no period examples of its being charged, or used with other charges on the field; therefore, the use of a schnecke with secondary charges is considered a step from period practice, as is its use with tertiary charges.

The point at which the schnecke enters the shield should be blazoned; whether it spirals deasil or widdershins is left to the artist.  The illustration shows a schnecke issuant from base.

Schnecke issuant from base maintaining on its outer swirl three schneckes (Period)

Schnecke issuant from base maintaining on its outer swirl three schneckes (Period)

An early-period variation on the schnecke depicts it with three smaller schneckes issuant from its outer curve.  This form is found in the arms of Casteleynsche or Kestelinge, c.1370 [Gelre 110v], and appears to be unique to those arms.

For related charges, see gurges.

Peter Schneck bears:  Sable, a schnecke issuant from dexter chief argent.

Leocadia de Bilbao bears:  Argent, issuant from base a schnecke azure.

Marie de Blois bears as a badge:  Or, a schnecke issuant from sinister base maintaining on the outer swirl three schneckes sable.

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Scorpion

Scorpion (Period)

Scorpion (Period)

The scorpion is a venomous arthropod, treated as an insect for heraldic purposes; its medieval reputation was of viciousness and treachery.  It’s found in the canting arms of de Scorpionis, mid-15th C. [Triv 325], and the arms of Cole, c.1520 [DBA2 395].

The scorpion is tergiant, tail to base by default.  We have an example of scorpions tergiant inverted, in the arms of Cole, 1610 [Guillim1 153]; scorpions tergiant inverted are considered consonant with period practice in the Society.  See also crab.

Albrecht Waldfurster bears:  Purpure, a scorpion argent.

Aurelia Nomadikē bears:  Gules, three scorpions Or.

Katherene de la Huerta bears:  Argent, three scorpions gules.

Juan Diego de Belmont bears:  Argent chapé gules, a scorpion inverted sable.

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Scrip; Purse

Pilgrim's scrip (Period)

Pilgrim’s scrip, or purse (Period)

Belt pouch (Period)

Belt pouch, or saddlebag (Period)

A scrip is a leather satchel or large pouch, worn on a strap.  Since it was frequently borne by pilgrims, it’s more fully blazoned a “pilgrim’s scrip” or “palmer’s scrip”; it might also be termed a “pilgrim’s pouch” or “purse”.  It’s a period charge, found in the allusive arms of Palmer, late-15th C. [DBA2 395].  The scrip is frequently depicted with its carrying strap.

Related to the scrip is the “belt pouch”, sometimes called a “kidney pouch” because of its shape; it’s also called a “saddlebag” in modern heraldry.  The belt pouch is a period charge, found in the canting arms (German Täsche) of Täschinger, mid-16th C. [NW 46].  For related charges, see bag.

Maria Taresa Ospital bears:  Sable, a cross Or goutty de sang between four pilgrim’s scrips Or.

Lucia Traveler bears:  Purpure, a palmer’s scrip and on a chief embattled Or three shoes bendwise sinister purpure.

Sáerlaith ingen mic Néill bears as a badge:  A belt pouch argent.

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Scroll

Open scroll (Accepted)

Open scroll (Accepted)

Closed scroll palewise (Accepted)

Closed scroll palewise (Accepted)

A scroll is a roll of parchment or paper.  The mundane heraldic scroll seems to be a simple banderole, which is also called an “escroll” (and is so blazoned in the Society).  In Society armory, the term “scroll” refers to the ancient form of book (still used for some sacred texts, such as the Torah); this form of scroll has not been adduced in period armory.

A scroll may be either “closed” (rolled) or “open” (partially unrolled).  As neither type is default, the type should be explicitly blazoned; open scrolls are more common in the Society.  Closed scrolls always include the handled rods around which the paper is rolled; open scrolls may include the rods or not, at the artist’s discretion.

An open scroll is palewise by Society default.  No default orientation has been defined for closed scrolls; the illustration shows a closed scroll palewise.

Hubert de Recoing bears:  Vert, a sword bendwise sinister inverted argent, gripped and pommeled azure, between an open scroll argent handled azure and a loaf of bread proper.

Simon d’Arc the Scholar bears:  Per bend sinister azure and gules, two open scrolls Or.

Na’arah bat Avraham bears:  Azure, a closed Torah scroll palewise, on a chief argent three frets throughout sable.

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Scythe

Scythe (Period)

Scythe (Period)

A scythe is an agricultural tool with a curved single-edged blade on a long bent handle; it is used to cut long grass, grain, &c.  It’s a period charge, used in the arms of Prers c.1295 [ANA2 548].  The scythe has its blade to chief by default.

The scythe blade alone is also found as a charge, as in the arms of Neynlinger, c.1450 [Ingeram 25]; indeed, the blade would appear to be a more common charge in period than the full scythe.  For related charges, see pruning hook, sickle.  See also pole-arm (war-scythe).

Alric of Couentreu bears:  Sable, a scythe Or.

John Morgan of Caerleon bears:  Per pale sable and purpure, in saltire two scythes argent.

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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.

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Sea-lion

Sea-lion (Period)

Sea-lion (Period)

Natural sea-lion (seal) sejant (Accepted)

Natural sea-lion (seal) sejant (Accepted)

The sea-lion is an heraldic sea-monster, with the foreparts of a lion and the tail of a fish; it is also sometimes blazoned a “morse”, especially for canting purposes.  It’s found in the attributed arms of “King Palaeologus”, c.1282 [ANA2 493]; in true heraldry, in the arms of Imhof, 1605 [Siebmacher 206].

Period depictions may show the sea-lion with a lion’s clawed forepaws, or with webs between the toes; either form is correct.  (The latter is more often found in English emblazons.)  There may also be a webbed dorsal fin; this too is artistic license.  The sea-lion is erect (rampant) by default, as in the illustration; it may also be found with its tail reflexed over its head, particularly in German armory.  The sea-lion’s “proper” tincture is with the leonine portion tawny brown and the piscine portion green.

The modified term “natural sea-lion” refers to the pinniped beast, more often termed a “seal”; the two beasts are heraldically indistinguishable, so the latter term is preferred in blazon.  No period heraldic examples of pinnipeds (e.g., seals, walruses, &c) have been cited from period armory, but they are acceptable for Society use.  The seal doesn’t seem to have a default posture; the illustration shows a seal sejant.

The Baron of Lyondemere bears:  Argent, a sea-lion proper grasping a laurel wreath vert, a base engrailed azure.

Ealasaid Nic Shuibhne bears:  Quarterly gules and sable, a sea-lion Or tailed argent.

Anne of Ockham bears:  Azure, a sea lion passant, its tail reflexed over its head, within a tressure argent.

Haleric Poleskowna bears:  Per bend vert and argent, a seal sejant erect to sinister counterchanged.

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Sea-mew

Sea-mew (Period)

Sea-mew (Period)

The sea-mew is an aquatic bird, more modernly called a “sea-gull” or even simply a “gull”.  In medieval thought, it was a symbol of hope, because hearing its cry told lost sailors that land was near.  The sea-mew is a period charge, found (blazoned semew) in the arms of Sayer c.1460 [RH].

Despite its name, the sea-mew is not a sea-monster in the heraldic sense:  the term refers to the natural bird, not a fish-tailed hybrid.  The sea-mew is close by default.

The Province of Southern Shores bears:  Per bend azure and Or, a sea-gull volant bendwise argent and a laurel wreath vert.

Togashi Kihō  bears:  Azure, a sea-mew volant argent, on a chief wavy Or three oak leaves sable.

Elsa Taliard bears:  Per fess wavy argent and azure, two sea-gulls counterchanged.

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Sea-monsters

Sea-griffin (Period)

Sea-griffin (Period)

Sea-dog (Period)

Sea-dog rampant (Period)

This class of monster is characterized by having a demi-beast conjoined to a fish’s tail.  Virtually any beast may be so treated:  Society armory records examples of sea-stags, sea-bears, sea-otters, and sea-urchins among others.  Even monsters may be made into sea-monsters, following the same pattern (fish-tailed demi-X) as other sea-monsters:  e.g., the sea-unicorn in the arms of Niemptsch, and the sea-griffin in the arms of von Mestich, both 1605 [Siebmacher 58, 69].  The illustration shows a sea-griffin.  Sea-monsters are usually erect by default.

When the unmodified term “sea-[beast]” is used, the heraldic monster is meant; if the term may also apply to a natural creature (e.g., the sea-tortoise, the sea-urchin, &c), the modified term “natural sea-[beast]” must be used for those cases.  (The sea-mew and sea-nettle are exceptions to this:  they’re always depicted as the natural creatures.)

There are some monsters whose names begin with the prefix “sea-“, and yet are not fish-tailed demi-beasts.  The most notable of these is the “sea-dog” or “sea-hound”, a talbot with scales and a webbed dorsal fin.  Period examples show it either with webbed feet, as in the crest of Flemyng, c.1510 [Walden 156], or with a talbot’s paws and tail, as in the arms of Harry or Harris, 1547 [Dennys 155]; this is left to the artist’s discretion.  The illustration shows a sea-dog with webbed feet and tail.

Sea-wolf (Period)

Sea-wolf (Period)

Sea-loat rampant (Accepted)

Sea-loat rampant (Accepted)

In like manner, English heralds defined the “sea-wolf” analogously to the sea-dog, with fins and scales [Bedingfeld 66].  However, Swedish heralds recognized the “sea-wolf” as a fish-tailed demi-wolf, in the arms of Stalder, 1399 [Raneke 420], and Society heralds follow this definition as well.

Unique to Society heraldry is the “sea-loat”, with six legs.

For specific entries, see:  mermaid, sea-horse, sea-lion.  See also sea-serpent, silkie.

Elisa Montagna del Susino bears:  Azure ermined Or, a sea-unicorn naiant reguardant argent.

Andrew MacGregor of Glen Lyon bears:  Argent, a sea-wolf counter-ermine.

Morgan of Aberystwyth bears as a badge:  Gules, a baby sea-loat rampant Or.

Humfrey Matthew Lovett bears:  Per fess gules and azure, three sea-dogs rampant Or.

Duncan Stuart bears:  Sable, a sea-goat erect argent.

Assar merch Owen bears:  Per fess Or and sable, a sea-stag counterchanged.

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