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Silkie

Silkie, or selkie (Disallowed)

Silkie, or selkie (Disallowed)

The silkie, or selkie, is a monster from Scots legend, able to shift shape from a seal to a human and back.  In Society heraldry, it’s drawn as a seal with a human head.  The silkie is erect and guardant by Society default.

No examples of the silkie in period armory are known, and the standard Society depiction is likewise unknown.  Pending documentation, the silkie has been disallowed for Society use.  For related charges, see mermaid.

Timandra of Thule bears: Azure, atop a rock in base a female silkie, all argent, headed proper, crined sable, in her hair a cinquefoil argent.

Kathleen O’Shee bears:  Per pale sable and argent, a selkie sejant guardant counterchanged atop a mount counterchanged argent and vert.

Siobhán inghean Aodhagáin bears:  Purpure, a silkie and a bordure embattled argent.

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

Senmurv

Senmurv (Accepted)

Senmurv (SFPP)

The senmurv is an ancient Persian monster with the front half of a dog and the wings and rear body of a bird.  It dates from 7th Century legends [Ernst and Johanna Lehner, A Fantastic Bestiary], but no examples have been found in period armory.  As a motif from outside Europe, the use of the senmurv is a step from period practice.

The senmurv has its forelegs extended, and wings elevated and addorsed, by Society default.  See also simurgh.

Bahram the Resplendent bears:  Sable, a senmurv within an annulet of roundels Or.

Artemisia Lacebrayder bears:  Gules, a senmurv between three lace-making bobbins Or.

Gaston de Lurs bears:  Azure chaussé, a senmurv argent.

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

Sea-serpent

Sea-serpent ondoyant (Accepted)

Sea-serpent ondoyant (Accepted)

Sea-serpent ondoyant-emergent (Disallowed)

Sea-serpent ondoyant-emergent (Disallowed)

The sea-serpent is a monstrous finned serpent, which was believed to live in the Great Ocean and attack unwary ships.  It was sometimes shown on period maps, but no examples have been found in period armory.  In Society heraldry, it is most often shown “ondoyant”, or wavy, as in the illustration.

Some early Society blazons use the term “ondoyant-emergent”:  wavy, couped at the waterline, with only the top portions drawn, as in the illustration.  This treatment is no longer permitted in Society heraldry.

See also eel.

The Baron of Calafia bears:  Azure, a sea-serpent ondoyant-emergent sable fimbriated Or, overall a trident with a laurel wreath entwined in its tines Or.

Ivan the Illustrated bears:  Per fess sable and argent, a sea-serpent ondoyant within a bordure wavy counterchanged.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Salamander

Salamander (Period)

Salamander (Period)

The salamander is an heraldic monster, an elemental fire-spirit.  In period heraldry, it’s usually depicted as a lizard enflamed; the illustration is taken from the badge of Francis I of France, c.1540 [Dennys 193].

The salamander is statant by default.  Note that flames are part of the monster’s definition.  If depicted without flames, it must be blazoned as a “natural salamander” and treated as though it were a lizard.

Zofia Wis’niewska bears:  Vert, three salamanders Or enflamed gules.

Aurelia Vipsania Gallio bears:  Gules, semy of flames argent, a salamander couchant Or enflamed argent.

Daire Leboucher bears:  Argent, a salamander tergiant sable enflamed azure.

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

Pithon

Pithon erect (Period)

Pithon erect (Period)

The pithon is a reptilian monster, essentially a bat-winged serpent.  It is sometimes called an “amphiptère”, especially in French blazon.  When leaping, it may also be called a “jaculus”; if the wings are feathered (bird’s) wings, rather than bat-wings, it should be blazoned a “winged serpent”.  No heraldic difference is granted between the two forms.

The pithon is a period charge, found in the arms of the Portuguese poet Camões (d.1580) [Woodward 294].  Brooke-Little has shown [Her.Alph 170] that the heraldic pithon is a variant of the wyvern, and in some cases was drawn as such; thus no difference is granted in the Society between the two monsters.

Society heraldry doesn’t seem to define a default posture for the pithon; “erect” is the most common, in which posture the wings are addorsed, as in the illustration.

When the natural constrictor-type serpent is meant, the term “natural python” is used.  For related charges, see dragon.

Llywela o Landaff bears:  Or, a pithon erect purpure.

Reynald il Bianco bears:  Per chevron inverted sable and gules, overall a winged serpent erect displayed argent.

Ilya Azhtelstinevich Gryaznie bears:  Per bend sinister vert and argent, a jaculus, his wings above the line of division, counterchanged.

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

Piping beast

Piping beast rampant (Disallowed)

Piping beast rampant (Disallowed)

This odd monster resembles a bat-eared, rat-like human figure, with a tail ending in a hand, and a nose like a trumpet (which it’s playing!).  The piping beast was defined in the armory below; as a Society invention, its use is no longer allowed.

Padraic ui Faolin bears:  Quarterly gules and azure, a piping beast rampant Or, holding in its sinister forepaw an arrow bendwise inverted and in the tail paw a trefoil argent.

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

Phoenix

Phoenix (Period)

Phoenix (Period)

The phoenix is a monster from Greek myth which, after living alone in the desert for half a millennium, consumed itself in fire and rose again from the ashes.  It is shown as a demi-bird issuant from flames.  Medieval emblazons always gave it a prominent crest atop its head, as in the illustration (taken from the standard of Ralph Verney of Pendeley, c.1510 [Walden 138; cf. Bromley & Child 184]); modern emblazons often show it as simply a demi-eagle.

The phoenix is displayed by default:  even when blazoned “rising from flames”, as it often is, its posture is displayed, not the heraldic posture of rising.  The flames need not be blazoned (unless their tincture must be distinguished); without flames, the monster wouldn’t be a phoenix.  See also firebird.

The Baron of the Sacred Stone bears:  Vert, a double-headed phoenix and in chief a laurel wreath argent.

Sarah Davies of Monmouth bears:  Or, three phoenixes sable.

Eiríkr Mjoksiglandi Sigurðarson bears:  Per chevron gules and Or, three phoenixes counterchanged.

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