Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas-related Post

So I was thinking about what I might post as a celebration of the season that also related to heraldry, and I was reminded while looking through a recently downloaded armorial that coats of arms were attributed to many pre-heraldic individuals. (Because, don’t you know, that if important people use heraldry today, or even in the late middle ages, then, by golly!, people throughout history must also have used coats of arms.)

So in keeping with the Christmas season, here are two different renditions (and two versions - one the black and white original and the second one hand-colored) of the arms of the Magi, wise men "from the East" who brought gifts to the newborn child in Bethlehem.

I've added my own translations from the German of the descriptions below.

First, the black and white version from Virgil Solis’ Wappenbuchlein, published in Nuremberg in 1555. (A reprint of the entire “heraldry booklet” is available to purchase softbound or in .pdf format at: http://www.appletonstudios.com/BooksandGames.htm)

The Holy Three Kings: Caspar, Balthaser, and Melcher


The second version is also from the Wappenbuchlein, this one is available to view on-line or as a free download in .pdf format from the website of Heidelberg University: http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/solis1555/0001)


And finally, from the Wernigeroder Wappenbuch, created in the late 1400s, available to view on-line or as a free download in .pdf format from the website of the Bavarian State Library at: http://bsb-mdz12-spiegel.bsb.lrz.de/~db/0004/bsb00043104/images/

The holy three kings
     The holy king Caspar of Arabia
     The holy king Balthasar of Tarsus (I think; the placename is not that easy to parse)
     The holy king Melchior of Saba


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good (heraldic) night!

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