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BLAZON SAMPLER A Selection from Each of Our Heraldry Programs BLAZON SAMPLER A Selection from Each of Our Heraldry Programs An Introduction to Heraldry.

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Presentation on theme: "BLAZON SAMPLER A Selection from Each of Our Heraldry Programs BLAZON SAMPLER A Selection from Each of Our Heraldry Programs An Introduction to Heraldry."— Presentation transcript:

1 BLAZON SAMPLER A Selection from Each of Our Heraldry Programs BLAZON SAMPLER A Selection from Each of Our Heraldry Programs An Introduction to Heraldry for Genealogists Blazon 100 – Basic Heraldic Terms Blazon 101 – Basic Heraldic Terms (contd) Blazon 102 – The Grammar of Blazon Blazon 200 – Early Period Style Heraldry Blazon 205 – The Heraldry of the Mamluks

2 Copyright © 2001, 2004 by David B. Appleton All Rights Reserved A Self-Paced Computer Slide Show from Appleton Studios by David B. Appleton

3 INTRODUCTION This PowerPoint TM program contains sample screens from our series of educational programs about heraldry and coats of arms. We have produced this sample program in the hope of giving you a better idea of what these programs are like.

4 An Introduction to Heraldry for Genealogists This program discusses, in layman's terms: the origins of heraldry the various bits and pieces of an "achievement of arms" determining the colors of black and white drawings of coats of arms; where to look for armorial clues to a genealogy; how to use armory in your own genealogy; and corrects a couple of common misconceptions about heraldry.

5 INTRODUCTION Heraldry (fr. armoirie, or La science des armes et de blason): the name of Heraldry has been applied to the Art, or (as some with reason contend that it should be called) the Science which deals with observing, deciphering, and recording the coats of arms borne by the ancestors of the nobility and gentry of the present day; because in the sixteenth and seventeenth century this became an important part of the duties of the Heralds.Heraldry (fr. armoirie, or La science des armes et de blason): the name of Heraldry has been applied to the Art, or (as some with reason contend that it should be called) the Science which deals with observing, deciphering, and recording the coats of arms borne by the ancestors of the nobility and gentry of the present day; because in the sixteenth and seventeenth century this became an important part of the duties of the Heralds. James Parker, A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry, p. 322

6 Or, put much more simply, Heraldry is the systematic use of hereditary devices centred on the shield. Sir Anthony Wagner Clarenceaux King of Arms Ah! Heres what we as genealogists have been looking for! Hereditary. Systematic. So, whats heraldry, again? And how is it useful in genealogical research?

7 The central feature of any achievement is, and must be, the shield, on which is displayed the coat of arms. Indeed, it is the only indispensible feature, and may often be displayed alone.

8 Frequently, above the shield will be a helmet of some sort. The type of helmet, and the direction it faces, may hold clues to the rank of the person whose arms are on the shield.

9 Surrounding the helm, and sometimes extending down the sides of the shield, is mantling, a cloth protecting the helmet. It may be very simple, or quite ornate.

10 So, weve now discussed why heraldry is colorful. What makes it a useful tool for genealogists? Simply this – remember that earlier definition of heraldry? The systematic use of hereditary devices centred on the shield. Because coats of arms are hereditary, and because their use is systematic, study of them can lead to clues which may help us trace a family line, just as the records of births, marriages, and deaths may help us to do so.

11 First of all, because coats of arms are passed down from generation to generation within a family, they can give clues to family lines. If you find two individuals of the same surname living many miles apart but bearing the same or very similar coats of arms, the chances increase that these individuals are related to each other. On the other hand, if you have two individuals living very near each other, but bearing completely different coats of arms, the odds increase that they are that they are not related, even though they share a surname.

12 These men are probably related.

13 Second, because arms are frequently modified in specific ways for junior, or cadet, branches of a family, it is sometimes possible to determine through which son a coat of arms has descended. Second, because arms are frequently modified in specific ways for junior, or cadet, branches of a family, it is sometimes possible to determine through which son a coat of arms has descended. Both the English and the Scots have specific, though different, methods of indicating whether the arms borne are those of a first son, second son, and so on. It is sometimes possible to trace arms through several generations using such cadency marks. Both the English and the Scots have specific, though different, methods of indicating whether the arms borne are those of a first son, second son, and so on. It is sometimes possible to trace arms through several generations using such cadency marks.

14 Places to Look for Heraldic Clues Family heraldry may be found in many different places, and any armory found may be a clue to a familys history. Where might you look for coats of arms used by your family?

15 BLAZON 100 Blazon 100 is an introduction to some of the basic terms of heraldry: the names of the colors used; lines of division of the shield; and specialized charges called ordinaries, which are among the very earliest designs painted on heraldic shields.

16 INTRODUCTION The language of heraldry, like that of any other specialized field, has its own vocabulary and grammar, its jargon. This specialized jargon is called blazon. An heraldic blazon is a word description of a coat of arms, and is sufficiently precise so as to allow someone to recreate the picture, the emblazon, of a coat of arms from the word description, the blazon, alone, without ever having seen the emblazon. This specialized jargon is called blazon. An heraldic blazon is a word description of a coat of arms, and is sufficiently precise so as to allow someone to recreate the picture, the emblazon, of a coat of arms from the word description, the blazon, alone, without ever having seen the emblazon.

17 To someone new to the language of computers, the description 2.8 GHz with a 60 GB hard drive, 1 GB of RAM, a DSL modem and a 54X DVD- R/CD-ROM drive is no more intelligible than is the descripton Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or to someone new to the language of blazon. Just as one can speak intelligibly about computers once the vocabulary is known, so it is with the language of heraldry. Just as one can speak intelligibly about computers once the vocabulary is known, so it is with the language of heraldry.

18 So, to quickly review: There are five dark tinctures (the colors): gules, azure, sable, vert, and purpure. And there are the two light tinctures (the metals): or and argent.

19 The Ermine Furs The ermine furs are all variants of the winter coat of a type of weasel, the ermine. The most common of this kind of fur, called ermine, is white with black ermine tails or spots scattered throughout it, where the tip of the tail shows.

20 The Vair-Based Furs The other fur commonly found in heraldry is vair, a fur of two colors – blue and white – which is believed to be based on the skins of a gray squirrel.

21 Or the field may be divided into two parts horizontally. This field division is called per fess.

22 This is a very ancient coat of arms, those of Philip de Cerne, which uses a per fess division of the field.

23 Just as a field could be divided into a number of parts vertically, so may it be divided horizontally, orbarry.

24 And here is a barry field. The arms of Hungary found in an old roll of arms.

25 Because their names sound so similar, many people get the pale, the pile, and the pall confused. Here they are side-by-side for comparison. Pale Pile Pall Pale Pile Pall

26 BLAZON 101 Blazon 101 is a continuation of Blazon 100, and discusses the complex lines of division and various types of common charges: geometric (e.g., roundels, lozenges); animate (beasts, birds, fish, monsters, human figures); and other miscellaneous charges (e.g., architecture, weapons, celestial objects). Again, real coats of arms from around the world are used to illustrate the various lines and charges.

27 The complex lines of division may be divided into several sub-categories. These sub-categories are based on the general shape of the line, and may be roughly grouped as: The complex lines of division may be divided into several sub-categories. These sub-categories are based on the general shape of the line, and may be roughly grouped as: Pointed; Pointed; Square; Square; Rounded; and Rounded; and Miscellaneous, or Other. Miscellaneous, or Other.

28 The pointed complex lines of division include such lines as: The pointed complex lines of division include such lines as: Indented; Indented; Dancetty; Dancetty; Engrailed; Engrailed; Invected; and Invected; and Rayonny Rayonny

29 In the early days of heraldry, indented and dancetty described slightly different things. Indented described a single line of division – either on the field or the edge of a one-sided subordinary like a chief or a bordure – or a specific type of two-sided ordinary whose bumps were not in synch with each other. Dancetty described only two-sided ordinaries which zig- zagged, or danced across the field.

30 By the 17th Century, however, the difference between the two terms became one only of degree. Both were zig-zag lines; indented described a line with smaller, more numerous zig-zags, and dancetty described a line with larger, fewer zig-zags. Indented Dancetty

31 Here is a coat of arms using the dancetty line of division in both the old and the new definitions. The primary charge here is blazoned as a fess dancetty or, more simply, a dance.

32 Animate Charges Probably the single most common animate charge is the king of beasts: the lion. Lions are found mostly in two postures: rampant, or fiercely attacking; and passant, walking.

33 Another very popular flower charge is the fleur- de-lis. It is believed to derive from the iris flower. It is not solely a French charge, being found in arms from all across Europe. The examples here come from Germany, Italy, and Sweden, respectively. Of course, its use in the French royal arms (and its name) leads us to think of it primarily as French.

34 BLAZON 102 Blazon 102 is subtitled The Grammar of Blazon. It is a graphical discussion of how the word description of a coat of arms, the blazon, actually works to build the picture of a coat of arms, the emblazon.

35 How To Build A Blazon Blazons, like houses, are built in a particular order. In general, they are built from the field up and from the center out.

36 From the field up Think of it like layers of paint. The first layer of paint that goes on the wood or metal of the shield is the field, the bottommost layer. Here, the field, the bottommost layer, is Or, or yellow.

37 Second come the charges which lie directly on the field. Here, the second layer, the charges which lie directly on the field, are azure (blue) and gules (red).

38 Finally comes the charges which lie on top of the charges which are already on the field. Here, the third layer, the charge which lies entirely on another charge, is also Or (gold).

39 If we were to look at the various layers of the coat of arms we just finished from the top edge, it would look something like the illustration below right, with the field, the bottommost layer, being Or; the second layer, the charges on the field, being azure and gules; and the third layer, the charge on top of another charge, Or.

40 Gules

41 Gules, in pale

42 Gules, in pale three lions* * Lions are rampant by default. That is, unless their posture is otherwise specified, they will be rampant, as here.

43 Gules, in pale three lions passant

44 Gules, in pale three lions passant guardant

45 Gules, in pale three lions passant guardant Or.

46 BLAZON 200 Blazon 200 discusses early heraldic style – what the underlying principles of early heraldic style are: simplicity, contrast, balance, static design, and so on, with examples demonstrating each element.

47 The Philosophical Basis of Period Style The philosophical roots of heraldry can be found in the attitudes of medieval life. One of these is the belief that the proper order of the world is fixed and static. God is in His Heaven, the King rules on earth. Duty and obligation are part of a great chain from the lowest to the highest, and one's place in that social ladder is one's proper place.

48 Simplicity One of the most fundamental of the underlying principles of early heraldry is that same one as much of human life in general, which has been summed up into a single acronym: KISS, for Keep It Simple, Stupid). One of the reasons for this is what has been called the raison d'être of heraldry: rapid, if not instant, identification.

49 Balance Early period armory, and even much of later armory, usually places the primary elements of the design in a static arrangement, such as a single charge in the center of the field or three identical charges on the field.

50 Contrast At its simplest, the Rule of Contrast is frequently described as No color on color, no metal on metal. The modern-day application of this rule is found on every street corner and highway in the country. For example, stop signs are argent (a metal) on gules (a color).

51 This gives a greater contrast and allows for easier visibility (and identifiability). What if stop signs had black letters on red? Green on red? Blue on green? How easy would it be to read at dusk? At dawn? At night? Under oblique light? A lot more difficult to discern, don't you think?

52 Identifiability As heraldry is a means of identification, its motifs should be drawn large and easily visible. Or, put another way, "big, bold and butch". For example, complex lines of division, such as embattled, running horizontally across the shield need have only three or four bumps. A complex line of division running vertically or diagonally across the shield need have but perhaps five or possibly six projections. By reducing the number of bumps, each can be drawn larger, making them all more easily and quickly identifiable.

53 A period-style line of division will not look as if it were cut with a pair of pinking shears!

54 To go back to our traffic sign analogy, many traffic signs can be determined simply by their shape, and the shape of sign is a part of the identification process. In the United States, stop signs are always octagonal; yield signs are always triangular; railroad crossing signs are always an X or a round sign. In each case, the shape of the sign aids in the identification.

55 So, too, charges in period armory were generally drawn in their "most easily recognizable" aspect. For example, bull's heads were drawn facing, or nearly facing, the viewer, so their horns, as one of their greatest identifying characteristics, could be seen, rather than the more standard posture with the head in profile. Stags heads, too, appear this way.

56 BLAZON 205 This program discusses the heraldry of the Mamluk dynasties of Egypt and Syria in the Middle Ages. While not true heraldry as understood by Europeans, the Mamluks had a system of armorial insignia which resembled heraldry in many ways. This PowerPoint TM was designed as an introduction to this unusual armorial system.

57 Shi'ar (charges) may be classified into several general categories. The first is that of animals. Though rare in Muslim heraldry, three animals do appear. They are: the lion passant guardant (the emblem of Baybars, mentioned before); the eagle (or falcon) displayed wings inverted; and the horse passant.

58 Cup Penbox Sword Pellet Bow Sari Dawadar Silahdar Bunduqdar (Cup- (Secretary) (Armor-bearer) (Bowman) Bearer)

59 That these charges could be emblazoned in a number of variants may be demonstrated by one of the most common, the penbox. This armorial charge is based on the interior of the actual object.

60 In its typical form, it consists of four elements: the first, containing the ink-pot; the second, the sand-pot and the starch paste pot; the third, a receptacle for thread (used for cleaning pens); and the fourth, two (or three) receptacles for reed pens. [Any resemblance to a dorsal view of Star Treks USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, A, B, C or D, is purely coincidental. I think.]

61 Through the course of the 15th Century C.E., the early extremely simple coats gave way to those more complex. Here are a couple of the simplest.

62 Eventually, things became quite complex: On a fess between in chief a napkin and in base a cup, a cup charged with a penbox between 'trousers of nobility' and On a fess between in chief a napkin and in base a cup, a cup charged with a penbox surmounted by an axe between 'trousers of nobility'.

63 We hope that the samples shown here of these programs have been of interest to you. If you should desire additional information or wish to purchase any of the programs sampled here, please visit us on the web at: Or write us at: Appleton Studios 1014 Georgeland Drive Duncanville, TX Or us at:


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