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Kings of Jerusalem: Cross Potent (5/5)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 05.11.12
Kings of Jerusalem

Besides the denomination given for residence itself, parophony uses demonyms or gentilics - naming residents as such - a common way to change the referent into another word, transformable into images. The Kings of Jerusalem lived in their capital and were thus considered Hierosolymitans: it would be reasonable to verify its inclusion in the corresponding coat of arms in the capacity of a referent's metonymy. Remember that we've already exemplified this parophonic behaviour before, the demonyms Aquincenses (lat. Budans), identifying the capital of Hungary, and J'Wincestrin (ano. I Wintonian), in association with the former capital of England.

After these considerations we arrived at the following parophony: Hierosolimitains (fra. Hierosolymitans) ~ Hirauts sols limitants (fra. Heralds sole bounds). Quite an extensive denominant, which generates a consequent long designant, but despite that it was possible to arrive at a feasible discretion index k = 0.41. The combination of words is hardly replicable by any other assumptions and suggests that either the solution is acceptable or no substitute exists considering the same basic premises.

Hirauts (fra. heralds) is rich in meaning, defining a simple polysemy able to produce no less than four different heraldic traces. In representation of the Evangelists it's responsible for the books of John, Luke, Mark and Matthew, therefore defining the number four. From these we derive the rectangular shape, opportunistically understood as squares to fit the cantons of the main cross already in place. Written documents used parchment those days and tincture argent was a proper coloration for the squares admitting the simplest cover possible. Finally, Gospels were often adorned with crosses and the crosslets at the centre of the squares suit perfectly their condition: a simplistic illumination of the sacred writings.

The usual monosemic behaviour reappears for the remaining components of the designant. Sols (fra. sole) denotes quantity and say that no more crosslets are allowed than those belonging to the symbology of the four Gospels. Limitants (fra. bounds) declares that the four books obey the instructions given before by entur (fra. around) and are displayed surrounding the cross, pronounced by “between”, gone for a while in the present semantic level. Probably the other versions of the arms including many crosslets were envisaged at this statement, as they encircle the main charge too. An alternative version sols imitants (fra. sole imitators), a redundancy of imitants × cions, could be used. But then the parophony would lose some strength; the end of the first word merges with the beginning of the second and sounds like [z] instead of being silent.

It could also happen that the books and their crosslets may have taken closer parts in the exequial plot, and carved the stone aside the cross. That interpretation integrates both levels into only one subject, the epitaph, or simply transforms them into a new artefact, perhaps a seal, if we follow the suggestion of Matthew 27: 66 “So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard”.

Following the thread of our plot, it may appear that the importance of the deceased would enforce a link with the heralds. Who were the heralds of Jesus?  Necessarily they represented an echo of his teachings; he wasn't available to be heard anymore. It seems useful to divide the initial contiguities into two distinct paths. Although the Gospel isn't at the very end of the main initial path, this word will help to define everything else. For the sake of space we don't always mention other most discernible transformations. The first and major metonymization goes from herald to message, converging into a different one that departs from Jesus towards His message, because “Evangel” or “Gospel” could be translated as an “announcement of good news”:

herald > messenger > message

Jesus > preacher > Gospel > message


Quantities derive independently from two simple metonymies, acknowledging the agreed variety of four Gospels and using “sole” like a restrainer of additional crosslets:


Gospel > Evangelists > four

sole > four or less


Shape follows from the elementary geometrical properties of the object in consideration:


Gospel > book > rectangular > square


The already existing crosslets will assume the character of illuminated symbolic drawings:


Gospel > preacher > Jesus > cross(lets)


Colour will depend on the material used for the book cover; we could conjecture either a bare or rich binding, although only the first remains:


Gospel > book > parchment > whitish

Gospel > book > ivory > whitish

Gospel > book > silver > silvery


The books were placed overlapping the Greek cross so that a cross potent appears before the eyes of the observer. The reason why the arms authors have chosen this partial obstruction seems clear: an effort to put the Gospels in evidence despite the chromatic camouflage. The final disposition allows the visibility of all four edges of every square. They are white, the colour of the Gospels, over white, mimicking the stone of the Sepulchre, if conjoined at the cantons of a Greek cross those would simply vanish. In spite of such clever arrangement, maybe due to the cultural influence of the Jerusalem cross, it's still difficult for most observers to detect the squares at once.


We may compare the said disposition and the Portuguese lineage of Evangelho (por. Evangel) bearing the following: azure a cross or cantoned by four plates charged with an eagle, an angel, an ox and a lion. It's ignored if they took any inspiration from the heraldic representation of Jerusalem but at least it shows that the idea was perfectly natural, combining the four books of Gospel and the four limbs (and cantons) of a cross.


Helping the application of our parophonies to the final visual effect, we had to alter the initial description of the blazon (a). Emblazonments are intended to ease the reproduction of arms using only text but they didn't always preserve the original ideas. To be fair, a Greek cross should appear instead of a cross potent, but this would complicate matters even further, so we just adapted the end of the phrase and replaced “between” with other adequate words that reflect better correspondence at the semantic genesis of all heraldic traces (b).


(a) Argent a cross potent between four crosslets or.


(b) Argent a cross potent or, conjoined at the cantons with four squares of the first, each charged with a crosslet of the second.


The disposition differs a bit from what was seen in the last semantic level, described as: 1 + 1 & 1 + 1. Now the four squares are conjoined with the cross, meaning that they touch their edges at the cantons. There is no simple available abbreviation so we also devised a codification that would be declared as: 1 | (1) | 1 & 1 | (1) | 1, reading: “one joins oner joins one and one joins oner joins one”.  The bars “|” designate each conjoinment of individual pieces “1” (each square) with a different piece inside a parenthesis “(1)” indicating that this is the same instance of the piece (the main cross) whenever it shows repeatedly for convenience. Although useless in medieval heraldry, we intend the approach to be applied in other visual occurrences that share the same fundamental ideas, already functioning many hundreds of years ago.


Naturally, leather, metal, wood or any suitable materials could bind the book covers but we just considered those justifying a white or silvery colour. The metallic solution seems to us less feasible for it implies a golden cross, which would contradict the results presented in the next semantic level. The set of choices seems large and anyone may be curious on the motivation to avoid contrastingly tinctures and spreading the books atop the cross. Was the camouflage intentional? It's hard to tell.


The arms of the Kings of Cyprus and Jerusalem, at the second part of this study, will be explained within the last six semantic levels. As both representations are just the same it could happen that one version “accommodated” to fit the other and the coloration of the Gospels is precisely one of the few heraldic traces that allow some freedom of choice in these armories. It's obvious, we don't know when the two versions were created and advancing the proposition of a simultaneous birth would seem at least premature. However, in what respects the coat of arms of Jerusalem, the concluding chromatic considerations will be treated in the next article that analyses the possible reasons for the infringement of the “rule of tinctures”.



Kings of Jerusalem - Gospel
Domanial R Kings of Jerusalem
Demonym M Hierosolymitans
Language of Conquest V French
Denominant A Hierosolimitains
Graphemization A H|I|E|R|O|S|O|L|I|M|I|T|A|I|N|S
Phonemization A je | R\ | o | z | o | l | i | m | i | t | Ẽ
Pairing A je | R\ | o | z | o | l | i | m | i | t | Ẽ
A i | R\ | o | s | o | l | i | m | i | t | Ã
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0
Coefficient of character A 1.0|0.0|0.0|0.5|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.5
Coefficient of position A 1.5|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.5
Addends A 1.5|0.0|0.0|0.5|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.3
Discretion index A k = 0.41
Phonemization A i | R\ | o | s | o | l | i | m | i | t | Ã
Graphemization A H|I|R|A|U|T|S| |S|O|L|S| |L|I|M|I|T|A|N|T|S
Designant A Hirauts sols limitants
Notoriety E heralds
Converging metonymy S herald > messenger > message
S Jesus > preacher > Gospel > message
Numeral E sole
Geometry E bounds
Simple polysemy S four + squares + argent + crosslets
S hirauts
Compound monosemy S four | (between)
S sols | limitants
Tincture H Argent
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H potent
Tincture H or
Disposition H 1 | (1) | 1 & 1 | (1) | 1 conjoined
Placement H to define a cross potent at the cantons
Connective H squares + cross with
Number H John, Luke, Mark, Matthew four
Simple metonymy S Gospel > Evangelists > four
Simple metonymy S sole > four or less
Figuration H rectangular squares
Immanence C book
Overlapping C Greek cross
Orientation C immanence of book
Simple metonymy S Gospel > book > rectangular > square
Tincture H whitish of the first
Immanence C parchment
Contrast C or, argent
Simple metonymy S Gospel > book > parchment > white
Number H 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 each
Placement H Gospel charged
Centrality C square diagonals
Connective H squares + crosslets with
Number H 1 a
Simple metonymy S Gospel > preacher > Jesus > cross(let)
Figuration H crosslet
Tincture H of the second

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Published at 11:06

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