|Scope of this Class|
|1. General Rules|
|2. Specific Rules|
|3. The Basic Heraldic Items|
|4. Display on Equipment|
|5. Display on Clothes (Men)|
|6. Display on Clothes (Women)|
|7. Display on Flags and Banners|
|9. Period Examples of Heraldic Display|
The display of one's colors, arms or other heraldic items was an important integral part of the culture in medieval Europe.
This happened not only at tournaments, on the battlefield or at a royal court, but was present in everyday life, too. In a time, when most people were illiterate, the display of one's arms acted like a 'medieval business card'.
Furthermore, in a world with no means of telecommunication, word of mouth was the primary source for news and stories. And if you wanted to be 'in the news' back then, you had to be recognizable and noticeable, so that even if nobody would know your face, the people would certainly remember you by the lavish heraldic display of your arms.
The quote from the Sumptuary Laws of the Kingdom of Atenveldt in the
box below reflects this very important, yet so often neglected aspect of
our recreation efforts in the SCA in a truly inspiring statement.
The Crown of Atenveldt wishes to enhance the pageantry and joy of Our Current Middle Ages with a blaze of heraldic display.
Every individual in Our Kingdom isencouraged to design and submit unique and suitable arms for consideration by Laurel King of Arms.
Regardless of rank or station, those arms should then be displayed as frequently as possible in banners, shields, and items of personal regalia (where appropriate).
from the Sumptuary Laws of the Kingdom of Atenveldt
|Scope of this Class
This Class provides a general overview about the possibilities of Heraldic Display in the SCA. It uses medieval references and examples whenever possible to illustrate specific usages of designs.
But to show the Heraldic Display in an SCA-context, I 'invented' a persona with a heraldic device, achievement and badges, which I used to illustrate the various forms of heraldic display possibilities.
Also, this class does not deal with matters of construction, materials, or art working techniques.
A basic knowledge and understanding of Heraldry is desirable, but not required. Also, this class is not meant to be a 'blueprint' for your own designs, not a 'how-to-do-it-in-ten-easy-steps' kind of manual, but merely a spotlight on how it was done in period and how you could utilize this potential in the SCA.
And of course, there is no claim to be 'comprehensive' in any way, and also no academic pretension.
|1. General Rules
Be magnificent, be pompous, be
Use only your own heraldic items
|2. Specific Rules
The Kingdom of Meridies has something, which no other Kingdom in the SCA has - specific rules for the design, use and definition of Banners, Standards, Flags etc.
But fortunately it seems, that due to a suggestion by Master Cathal and some input by myself, these very stringent regulations about 'who can have what type of flag in what size with what on it' soon will be a thing of the past.
Our most beloved Queen Broinnfhionn has already indicated, that she as well is not very fond of those regulations and that she feels too, that this is holding the Kingdom of Meridies back compared to all the other Kingdoms, which don't impose such limitations onto their populace. Her Majesty plans to change the law shortly, so I did not incorporate those obsolete laws into this class.
You are entitled to Heraldic Display of any kind with your own registered heraldic items. The emphasis here lies on 'registered', but generally it is acceptable if you start using them after they have passed the Kingdom level (normally that occurs about two months after you submitted them) - the final registration by Laurel can take up to eight months and nobody can be forced to wait that long.
The Basic Heraldic Items to use in your Heraldic Display
Let's assume further, that you also already have an Award
of Arms, which entitles you to augment your Device with a Crest (in this
case a red Griffin's Head), a Mantle and a Wreath, which transforms it
into your 'Arms'. Just to make it more
interesting, let's say you also got a Grant of Arms, which gives you the
right to incorporate a single supporter in your Arms (in this case a
golden Leopard), which now become an 'Achievement'.
An Achievement is not complete without a Motto, so you pick one (in this
case, just for demonstration purposes, I chose the famous quote from Gaius
Julius Cesar 'Veni Vidi Vici').
But that's not all - depending on your Kingdom's Laws, you might be also entitled to use the Badge(s) of that Kingdom. Meridies allows the populace to use the two Kingdom Badges in their Heraldic Display:
A word about whether to use the Device or the Badge
|4. Display on
Mark your stuff - this is one of the first things you will hear before you attend your first event. But apart from this more practical side of Heraldic Display, you can there is also the decorative side as well as the recognition issue. Here are some examples - the mugs and the quiver for the marking of stuff, the scabbard for the decorative side and the shield for the recognition issue.
|5. Display on
There are numerous variations how to turn your clothes into a part of your Heraldic Display. Your Device can be applied as a single piece to a part of the clothes, or strewn over a piece of your garb like in the middle figure. The left figure also wears a tunic in 'his colors', red and blue (the two main colors of the device).
The classic Heraldic Display is of course the tunic of a
fighter. The middle figurine displays the elements of the device at the
front part of the tunic. There are also 'shoulder flaps' with the device
on it, which is a very typical characteristic until the mid 14th century.
He is holding a banner with the Badge on it.
on Clothes (Women)
In period, Women had no Heraldic Devices of their own, but used those
of their fathers (when unmarried) and those of their husbands (when
married) instead. In the SCA, women are of course treated as equals to the
men and therefore have their own devices.
There is also the possibility to show your status a a
married woman by having both arms, yours and that of your husband,
incorporated on your clothes. When you look at the dress, your husband's
arms (the fleur-de-lys on the green field) are always on the left side,
your own arms on the right side.
Display on Flags and Banners
Without a doubt, through their high visibility and their artistic
design, Flags and Banners are the single most important items in any
No such limitations exist in the SCA, and even the least distinguished
persona can have the most gigantic flag.
What is on it : Your heraldic device or arms (if it is approved
by the College of Arms!)
The Pennon was used by the simple Knight. It was attached to the front end of the lance, and therefore the heraldic element on it is shown 'upright' when the lance is held at charge.
What is on it : Your Badge
You could see the Pennon as kind of a medieval bumper sticker - you know, like on some cars : 'If you can read this, you are too close to my car'. Because there are no rules for Heraldic Display in the SCA, only some Guidelines, common sense and good taste (hopefully), you could very well make yourself something like this :
What is on it : Your crest, surrounded by a belt inscribed with
the motto; sometimes additional badges and mottoes you have
Although of Scottish origin, the Pinsil can also be used by non-Scottish personas in the SCA. The belt can be exchanged with a circle then.
What is on it : Anything - your arms, your complete achievement,
ornamental decorations, badges, whatever tickles your fancy and does not
conflict with other, registered pieces of heraldry
What is on it (either all together or just certain parts in any
combination) : your Kingdom Badge or Device, your personal Badge, your
Household Badge, your Motto, other Mottoes, your supporter, your crest; but
not your heraldic device or arms as a whole!
More often than not, the main field is divided into the two principal colors of the device. Also, fringes are often incorporated.
This could be you at an event in the not too far future ...
Period Examples of Heraldic Display
Ulrich von Liechtenstein, around 1300
Scenes from the Manesse Anthology, ca. 1300-1350
Tournament from the Treatise of Rene d'Anjou, 15th century
Crusader, second half of the 13th century
Bertrand du Guesclin, ca. 1380
Sir Geoffrey Louterell, his wife and daughter-in law, ca.1340
Margaret, Princess of Wales, 1410 and Lady Joice Tiptoft, 1460
mid-14th century Knights
early 15th century Knights
early 15th century Knights
Flags and Banners of Burgundy, 15th century
European Flags and Banners, 15th century
Louis, Dauphin of France, ca.1450
Heraldic Display of Sir John Spencer of Althorp, 1599
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