“What is it that induceth you, what stirs you up to believe, or who told you that white signifieth faith, and blue constancy? An old paltry book, say you, sold by the hawking pedlars and balladmongers, entitled The Blason of Colours. Who made it? Whoever it was, he was wise in that he did not set his name to it. But, besides, I know not what I should rather admire in him, his presumption or his s...ottishness. His presumption and overweening, for that he should without reason, without cause, or without any appearance of truth, have dared to prescribe, by his private authority, what things should be denotated and signified by the colour: which is the custom of tyrants, who will have their will to bear sway in stead of equity, and not of the wise and learned, who with the evidence of reason satisfy their readers. His sottishness and want of spirit, in that he thought that, without any other demonstration or sufficient argument, the world would be pleased to make his blockish and ridiculous impositions the rule of their devices.” - Rabelais
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't design and register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. (You can find some of my books about heraldry and a list of my articles and presentations about heraldry at "Our Website" below.) And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to ask or let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
You know, under Scottish heraldic law, this could - in theory - happen! The Procurator Fiscal to Lyon Court has the authority to erase unwarranted arms, to "dash them furth of" stained glass windows, and to break unwarranted seals, or to seize movable goods and gear where unwarranted arms are found.
And that's how you enforce the laws of heraldry, by golly! At least in Scotland.
There were a couple of stories over the weekend about the continuing conflict of the logos of a number of Scottish football ("soccer" in American English; Britain and the United States; "two countries divided by a common language" (attributed to both Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw)) and Scottish heraldic law as enforced by the Office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms.
Naturally, you get the folks who think that "the law is unnecessary," and others on the other side who state that "Scotland probably has the best heraldry in the world ... I think that it is something that is worth preserving."
Ayr United, which has received a letter from the Procurator Fiscal, the enforcement arm of the Court of the Lord Lyon, is looking for local help in designing a new logo that will not infringe on the national symbols of Scotland (as the current logo, with the white saltire on the blue field, plainly does).
Well, you know, just because a law is some 350 years old doesn't mean you can, or should, ignore it.
Though I have to admit, the fact that a fan of a rival football team turned Ayr United in to the Procurator Fiscal seems a bit petty. (It does make me wonder, of which team is that person a fan, and what does that team's logo look like?)
I ran across an interesting article by John Tepper Marlin entitled "What's your blazon?" about the history of the coats of arms of Oxford University and a number of its constituent colleges. Nicely illustrated, it's well worth a look by the heraldry enthusiast, particularly those with an interest in academic heraldry.
(This image is not from the article, but is an scan of an old postcard with the arms of the University and its colleges.)
Heraldry, I mean. It's everywhere I go, every place I look.
I was back at work earlier this week after a week's "vacation." At lunch time, I went into the break room to grab a bite before heading back to my desk. And there, right on the counter, between the coffee maker and the sink, you'll never guess what I found.
That's right, some more heraldry.
This is a mug with the arms of Ursuline Academy on it, just sitting out there as bold as brass (well, okay, plastic, but still ...) My guess at a blazon would be: Argent a cross and on a chief gules seven mullets in a representation of the constellation Ursa Major argent.
I had to go on-line (where the above image comes from) to look them up, since all of my children are beyond the ages for which I might be looking for schools for them. "Ursuline Academy of Dallas is an independent Catholic college preparatory school for young women in grades 9-12." And, I'm guessing, on of the attorneys at the law firm I work for has a daughter, or daughters, who attend there. Hence my stumbling across heraldry while simply having lunch.
I know I've said it before, but it continues to be proven to me time and again: "You can find heraldry everywhere!"