Monday, January 25, 2016

Heraldry of the Decadence, Part 3

Continuing with our presentation of some of the various blazoning schemes which have been invented over the years, we continue with the following selection:


Or               Gold
Argent         Silver
Gules           Iron
Azure           Tin
Sable           Lead
Vert             Copper
Purpure        Quicksilver

I would note here that the Canadian Heraldic Authority has added Copper as a third metal in heraldry, along with Or and Argent. It is, however, a bright copper color, and not the tarnished copper green suggested in this blazon scheme.


Or               Light
Argent         Water
Gules           Fire
Azure           Air
Sable           Earth
Vert             Life
Purpure        Thunderbolt

Some of those at least make some sense to me. But I had no idea that "light," "life," and "thunderbolt" were considered to be elements on their own. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, sure, but not these other three additions. (Which they had to have in order to be able to give an element for each of the seven standard heraldic tinctures.)


Or               Adolescence
Argent         Infancy
Gules           Manhood
Azure           Childhood
Sable           Decrepitude
Vert             Youth
Purpure        Old Age

Presumably from, or at least related to, Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" which he puts in the mouth of Jacques in his play As You Like It:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

Not necessarily something I'd suggest basing blazon upon, but at least it has the advantage of having seven elements to match the seven standard heraldic tinctures.


Or               Blithe
Argent         Phlegmatic
Gules           Choleric
Azure           Sanguine
Sable           Melancholy
Vert             Bilious
Purpure        Serious

This scheme can give you some very strange-sounding blazons. For example, my wife's assumed arms would be: Phlegmatic semy of sexfoils serious. And France Modern would be: Sanguine three fleurs-de-lys blithe. Nope, don't care much for this blazon scheme.


Or               Heliotrope
Argent         Lily
Gules           Rose
Azure           Blue Bell
Sable           Scabiosa
Vert             The field
Purpure        Iris

At least this scheme has the advantage of (mostly) relating the colors of the flowers to the heraldic tinctures. Scabiosa comes in a dark burgundy color that I suppose can pass for black, but it also comes in a light blue color, which could be confusing for those more familiar with the flowers than with heraldic tinctures.

And, too, if you have a coat of arms with flowers on it, or a badge even, such as the Tudor rose, it could end up sounding really weird: A rose rose charged with another lily (or, On a rose rose a rose lily). And heaven help you if you've got a lily of any color but white.


Or               1, 3
Argent         2, 12
Gules           10
Azure           4, 9
Sable           5, 8
Vert             6, 11
Purpure        7

I'm afraid I don't understand this scheme at all. I mean, I know that late medieval writers ranked the heraldic tinctures in a hierarchy, but none of the hierarchies I can recall put them in this kind of order. So I'm at a bit of a loss to understand this one.

Next up: Virtues!

1 comment:

  1. ugh. there is nothing serious about my assumed arms!