Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blofeld. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

As a follow-up to our last post about the relationship of fictional spy James Bond and heraldry, today we note the use of arms by his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of the oddly-named group SPECTRE, the SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, both the book and the movie, what makes it possible for our erstwhile hero, "Bond. James Bond", Agent 007, to pose as an emissary from the English College of Arms is the fact that his arch-enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Telly Savalas in the movie), has written to the College seeking to have his rights to the title and arms of the Comte de Bleuville. The coat of arms of de Bleuville (which does not appear in Rietstap’s Armorial Général, by the way, though the coat does appear in Papworth's Ordinary as Blonveill) are blazoned as Argent four fusils in fesse gules, and the motto, translated into English, is "For Hearth and Home."

But you will, of course, notice that the arms of the Comte used in the movie (shown just above and also in the inset of the picture of Blofeld) are far more complex, with the fusils placed on a chief, while the field is azure with a patriarchal cross fitched argent surmounted in base by a boar’s head couped close proper.* The motto, Arae et foci, is roughly translated "hearth and home", where the "hearth" would actually be (in Roman times) the family home’s altar.

You gotta love it, though. Good guys, bad guys, it doesn’t matter. Heraldry is everywhere!

* Boar’s heads are couped differently in England than they are in Scotland. The boar’s head here is couped in "Scottish fashion."

The boar’s head couped in English fashion
Includes the neck–a generous ration;
In Scotland when this charge appears
It’s cut off close behind the ears;
But with the herald’s wonted tact
I draw no moral from this fact.
(Motley Heraldry, by The Fool of Arms)


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