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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