Minutes of the November, 2002 Herald's Meeting

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The College of Heralds will be having a sale on names and devices (and badges) starting in January. For the next six months (through June), all submissions will cost $8 instead of the usual $10. If someone submits a name and device at the same time, the charge will be $15 for the set. (This is possible because the Heralds have instituted several cost-cutting measures.)

MINUTES OF THE MONTHLY MEETING - 24 November xxxvii (2002)

The meeting was held on Sunday, 24 November 2002, at Eilis’ house in Berkeley. The meeting started at noon and ended at 2:45 pm. In attendance at this meeting were: Gaius M.L. Auklandus, Vesper; Berengaria de Montfort de Carcassone, Sable Swan; Frederick of Holland, Brachet; Tangwystl verch Morgant Glasfryn, Harpy; Teleri Tawel, Pursuivant for Crosston; Saerlith l’Estrangere, Snowbound; Mary Elizabeth Fairweather, Gwenhwyfaer ferch Gwilym, Ghislaine d’Auxerre and Maxen Dawel ap Morgan, PaL; Antonio Giordano da Sicilia and Wilhelm von Homburg, PE at Large; Robert Skallagrimsson, Edith de Laufare, Elsa Saxisdottir, Duncan Blackthorne, Alison Gray of Owlwood, and Emma FitzWilliam, Cornets; and Eilis O’Boirne, Matins. Marguerite du Royon, Seawolf; Magnus Arktos, Greencloak; and Letitia de Scotia, Acting Baldric, attended the Senior Staff Meeting which preceded the regular meeting.


The upcoming meetings are: January 5, February 9, March 9, April 13, May 18, and June 15. Meetings are generally held at the home of Eilis O'Boirne, 2322 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA 94705. Call for directions. Meetings start at noon. Note that there is no meeting scheduled for December of 2002!

Anyone with walk-in submissions should contact Matins in advance. This is especially important if the submitter has previous submissions, since the files are stored in a remote location (which is the fancy way of saying that we haven't moved them yet…).

We are researching some of the name submissions beforehand some months through an e-mail list, names@synergy.transbay.net. The Names list is open by request to heralds in the West Kingdom who are interested in onomastic (name) research. To join the list, please contact Felix MacAvady at ha.raschid@sinewave.com.

NOTE: The January meeting will be held at the Modesto Convention Center (site of Twelfth Night) and will start at 10:30am. Check in at the heralds’ table in the lobby on Saturday to learn the exact location – it will probably be in one of the small meeting rooms on the lower floor. Note that we will not be able to process any walk-in submissions at the Twelfth Night meeting. All submissions for the Twelfth Night meeting should be mailed to the College address so that they will arrive NO LATER than January 3.


HERALDS' COLLEGIUM: The Spring Heralds’ Collegium is scheduled for March 8, the day before the March meeting – it will focus on voice heraldry and the mechanics of running field heraldry at an event. It will probably be held in Cynagua. If you know of a site which would be available, please contact Baldric, Letitia de Scotia.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Current submission fees are $10 per name, $10 per device, $10 per badge. There is no fee for resubmission. Submissions require 3 copies of the name form and documentation, 4 colored copies of the device form, and 3 colored copies of the badge form, as applicable. The submission forms for the West Kingdom College are now available from Matins or the Kingdom consultation table or by following the appropriate links at http://heralds.westkingdom.org/Register.htm#Forms. Completed forms should be sent to Matins at the above address.

MAILING LIST: The West Kingdom College of Heralds has a mailing list for internal communication. Any herald is welcome to join by request. To join the list, please contact Matins at baroness_eilis@juno.com.

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES: Many interesting heraldic links can be found through the SCA Heraldry web page at http://www.sca.org/heraldry, including West Kingdom submission forms, the Laurel home page, the on-line armorial and ordinary search and The Academy of St. Gabriel (a heraldic consultation service). Heraldic queries may also be addressed to Eilis at heralds@westkingdom.org -- answers may take a few days.


These meetings comment on heraldic submissions from other Kingdoms. Please consider attending. They are a fast way to learn how the Rules of Submission work and how to research armory. The Brachet meetings are in Berkeley on Wednesday nights. If you are interested, contact the Brachet Herald, Frederick of Holland (Fred Hollander) at 510-653-3652.


West Kingdom College of Heralds Minutes are published on the web, and are not available by subscription. They may be read at or printed from the heralds' website at http://heralds.westkingdom.org/Minutes.htm. There are now both a colored version and a printer-friendly black and white version available.

The tenth edition of the Armorial and Ordinary, along with updates for the previous editions, are available from Free Trumpet Press West along with other useful heraldic publications. Write for a free price list. The address is Free Trumpet Press West, 1613 N. School St. Normal, IL 61761-1240.

A Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry as Used in the Society for Creative Anachronism (by Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme and Akagawa Yoshio) is available in the United States by sending $15 to Bruce Miller, 1711 Tenth Street, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, (310) 379-1321.


The LoAR for August has been published, but we have not received the electronic version. The acceptances in the August LoAR will be published with the January 2003 Minutes – there were no Western returns but some of the accepted names had their spellings changed slightly to more correct forms. The cover letters, acceptances and returns for the past can be found at http://www.sca.org/heraldry/loar/. If you are interested in responding to some of the calls for commentary put out by Lord Laurel, please be sure to visit the site.

In Service,

Matins Herald

SUBMISSIONS - 24 November xxxvii (2002)


Brianna ni Shea      (Thistletorr)     New Name and Device

Or, on a fess between three shamrocks vert, a shamrock Or.
Brianna has been ruled SCA compatible and appropriate for the British Isles. McLysaght, p.185, gives O Shea. The patronymic particle ni should be acceptable with the Anglicized form of the surname. She will not accept major or minor changes to the name.

Catalina Estevez de Teixeira     (Fettburg)     New Name Change; Device Registered 6/79
The currently registered name is Stephen of the Yews. The submittor has provided documentation that she has the legal authority to make changes to this registration. If this is registered, the previous name will be maintained as an alternate name, and the registered device of Quarterly Or and gules, a yew tree eradicated proper will be retained.

The given name and patronymic are from Juliana de Luna’s Portugese Names 1350-1450. The locative is Portugese for “place of the yew trees”; while the submittor was not able to find a dated citation, there are several places in Portugal bearing that name.

Catherine de Gray     (Golden Rivers)     New Name and Device; see Returns for Badge

Barry wavy azure and argent, on a chief argent three crosses crosslet fitchy sable.
Catherine is on p.186 of Withycombe at Katharine. The name “has been a steady favorite since its first introduction”; “the spelling with th came about in the 16th c.” Reaney (p.154-155) cites Henry de Gray in 1196.

Clarissa the Traveller     (Crystalmist)     Name and Device Resubmission to Kingdom

Argent, two cats combatant purpure, langued gules, a bordure purpure.
Her previous name submission, Armida la Viajera, was returned in September for lack of documentation. The device design submitted at that time was unregisterable since it was color on color.

Airmed is documented from Celtic legend as the name of the sister of Miach – this is from the Tuatha de Danaan legends and makes her a godess figure. We have no evidence that this name was used by humans, and without that evidence it cannot be registered.

Her first alternate, Clarissa the Traveller, seems acceptable. Withycombe (at Clarice, p.67) gives Claricia dated to 1199 and Clariscia to 1379; she states that Clarisse was “not uncommon in the 13th and 14th century”. We feel that the Clarissa form is acceptable based on these citations. The byname is common English.

The first design, without a bordure, is too similar to the arms of Leon: Argent, a lion rampant purpure.

Cynagua, Principality of     (West)     Name Registered 10/79; Device Registered 4/02; New Badge

Quarterly argent and Or, a swan naiant within a bordure sable.
This is intended to be a populace badge.

Étaín du Pommier     (Prov. Mists)     New Name and Device

Per saltire Or and sable, a pomegranate gules slipped and leaved proper between four trefoils counterchanged.
Étaín is on p.90 of O’Corrain &Maguire. Pommier is in Dauzat, on p.491, at Pomme; Dupommier is given as another version. We were not able to document her first choice, Etaine, which she felt was a French form.

Gemini de Grendel     (Fettburg)     Name Registered 05/02; Appeal of Device Return by Laurel

Per chevron raguly sable and argent, two death’s heads and a Roman numeral two counterchanged.
We wish to appeal the return of the device of Gemini de Grendel, which was returned on the LoAR of May 2002. The text of the device return was as follows:

The device is presumptuous of non-human powers or status when combined with the submitter's name: specifically, presumption to the identity of the mythological Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux, who are represented or personified by the constellation Gemini. Current precedent states:

For those names that are well documented as period human names, that also happen to be the names of gods, one armorial allusion to the god will no longer be considered excessive. (LoAR August 1992 p.17)

The device contains two allusions to the constellation Gemini. The Roman numeral two very closely resembles the astrological sign for Gemini, a strong allusion. (The crossbars on the astrological sign for Gemini are drawn slightly embowed towards the center of the sign, and the crossbars of the Roman numeral two are generally drawn straight across, but the visual resemblance is remarkable). The two skulls are also suggestive of twins, a less strong allusion but an allusion nonetheless. The August 1992 precedent indicates that two allusions to a supernatural entity is excessive. As a result, the combination of the name and the armory is not acceptable by RfS XI.2.

The key to the return lies in the phrase: “The two skulls are also suggestive of twins.” Without that second allusion, the device would not have been considered presumptuous. However, the claim that two death’s heads must suggest twins is not supported in the text of the return; it appears to be an unverified assumption. This appeal addresses that assumption.

We note that the reason for return seems to alternate between excessive allusion to the constellation Gemini, and excessive allusion to the mythological characters Castor and Pollux. Taking each of those points in order:

If the return was for “two allusions to the constellation Gemini”, we respond that the constellation Gemini has never been depicted with two death’s heads. As an astronomical constellation, Gemini is noted for its two bright stars, Castor (Alpha Geminorum) and Pollux (Beta Geminorum). Two estoiles, or two mullets, would thus have been an allusion to the constellation. In art, the zodiacal constellation is normally depicted as two full human figures. These were frequently drawn as male figures in medieval art: however, the constellation was often shown with a male and a female figure. (An example of the latter is seen in the Tres Riches Heures of Jean, Duc de Barry, in the illumination for the month of June; it can be seen online at http://humanities.uchicago.edu/images/heures/june.jpg. This also shows that, in period, the constellation Gemini did not automatically personify the mythological (male) twins Castor and Pollux.) Two full human figures could thus be a legitimate allusion to the constellation. But no depiction of the constellation uses two death’s heads. Two objects that are never associated with the constellation, in art or astronomy, cannot be considered allusive.

If the return was for “presumption to the identity of the mythological Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux,” we again respond that death’s heads were never among the symbols of Castor and Pollux. According the Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition), vol.v, pp.481-482:

“In battle they appeared riding on white horses and gave victory to the side they favoured. They were the patrons of hospitality, and founded the sacred festival called Theoxenia. They presided over public games, Castor especially as the horse-tamer, Pollux as the boxer; but both are represented as riding on horseback or driving in a chariot. In Sparta their ancient symbol was two parallel beams (dokana), connected by cross-bars, which the Spartans took with them into the field (Plutarch, De Fraterno Amore, I; Herodotus v.75); later, they were represented by two amphorae with snakes twined around them.

“...the Dioscuri are represented as youthful horsemen, naked or wearing only a light chlamys. Their characteristic attribute is a pointed egg-shaped cap, surmounted by a star.”

(Dioscuri is the term most frequently used in classical mythology to refer to Castor and Pollux. Gemini is the generic word for “twins” in Latin.)

So a pair of white horses would be an allusion to the mythological characters Castor and Pollux; a pair of amphorae with snakes would be an allusion; and as with the constellation, a pair of human figures or a pair of stars would be an allusion. No version of the myth includes a pair of death’s heads, or relates them to the myth.

This is more readily seen by recalling the most popular form of the tale: Castor and Pollux, though twins, were born of Leda with different fathers: Zeus (in the form of a swan) was the father of Pollux, while Leda’s human husband Tyndareus was the father of Castor. Castor was human, Pollux was immortal:

“ [One of their exploits was] their battle with the sons of Aphareus, brought about by a quarrel in regard to some cattle, in which Castor, the mortal (as the son of Tyndareus), fell by the hand of Idas. Pollux, finding him dead after the battle, implored Zeus to be allowed to die with him; this being impossible by reason of his immortality, Pollux was permitted to spend alternately one day among the gods, the other in Hades with his brother.”[ibid.]

It seems impossible that a death’s head can allude to an immortal hero!

Finally, there is the suggestion that two identical human body parts in chief can be said to allude to twins in general, which (in light of the submitter’s name and charge in base) can then be construed to allude to Castor and Pollux. In response, we note that, for this device, the heraldic rules of design require the charges in chief to be identical: the device would certainly be returned if two different charges were in chief, and the Roman numeral II in base. And in the broadest sense, any two identical charges might be held to symbolize identical twins. (How many metaphors for twins refer to common items: peas, pigeons, coins?) A pair of randomly chosen objects do not necessarily allude to twins; and references to generic twins do not necessarily allude to Castor and Pollux, which is what is needed for presumption to occur here.

We might add that many pairs of identical charges, with a little ingenuity, can be construed to refer to Castor and Pollux: two swords (they were both warriors), two wheels (they were charioteers), two torches (Romans attributed to Castor and Pollux the phenomenon we now call St. Elmo’s fire), two ships (Castor and Pollux were part of Jason’s expedition on the Argo), etc. We understand the need to be cautious in registering allusive armory, but we feel this is carrying caution to an extreme.

In order for these two death’s heads to be allusive to Castor and Pollux -- either the constellation or the mythological heroes -- there must already have been an association of death’s heads with those characters. If two skulls, by themselves, don’t remind anyone of Castor and Pollux, then they cannot be considered symbolic of those characters. No one seeing two skulls will be reminded of the Dioscuri, even in conjunction with the submitter’s name and his charge in base.

There is no substantiation for the claim in the LoAR of May 2002 that “two skulls are suggestive of twins”, much less the specific twins Castor and Pollux. Neither in the classical mythological tales, nor in medieval art, nor in modern astronomy, are two death’s heads part of any representation of Castor and Pollux. We therefore ask that the ruling be overturned, and that the device Per chevron raguly sable and argent, two death’s heads and a Roman numeral II counterchanged be registered to the client.

Richenza von Augsberg     (Eskalya)     Name and Device Resubmission to Kingdom

Per fess gules and vairy sable and argent, in chief a stag’s head affronty argent.

Her previous submission was under the name Richenza von Schlagen in April 1998. Richenza is on p.61 of Socin, with multiple citations from the 12th thru 14th c. Augsberg is a city in Germany and this is the standard modern form. She wants a German name.

Thomas of Selveirgard     (Selveirgard)     New Name and Device

Argent, two brown bears combatant proper, on a chief indented vert, three mullets of eight points argent.
Thomas is on p.279 of Withycombe, dated in this spelling to the Domesday Book. The locative is the registered name of his SCA branch.

William Blood the Merchant     (Ravenshore)     Name Submitted 10/02; Device Resubmission to Kingdom

Gules, a skull argent between three bezants, all within a bordure Or.

Yrsa Egilsdottir     (Silver Desert)     New Name
Yrsa is on p.16 of Bassi; Egill is on p.9. The patronymic is correctly formed.


Aldric Haldane of Griswold     (Ravenshore)     Name and Device Registered 8/94; New Device Change Submission

Per pale argent and purpure, six goblets in pile, in chief a castle, a bordure(let) embattled counterchanged.
The submission fee was not included. In addition, while his registered device (Per pale argent and purpure, six billets in chevron inverted and a bordure embattled counterchanged) has six charges in a similar arrangement (which was blazoned as “in chevron inverted” although it is visually “in pile”), it does not have the central charge – and the central charge really increases the visual complexity of the device greatly. We do not feel that this arrangement will be allowed, even under the grandfather clause, because of that change. In addition, the bordure is drawn about a third as wide as it should be.

Catherine de Gray     (Golden Rivers)     New Name and Device to Laurel; New Badge Returned

(Fieldless) A mermaid affronty argent, tailed vert, crined and maintaining in each hand a cross crosslet fitchy sable.
The badge is too similar to the device registered to Ondine Patru de Limantour: Azure, a mermaid proper holding in both hands a scarf striped longitudinally gules and purpure arched over her head. Her first alternate, changing the field to argent, makes an illegal blazon – you cannot place an argent charge on an argent field. Her subsequent design changes rely on the argent field.

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