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The Primitive Flag of the Empire of Brazil

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 03.04.13
flag of Brazil (Debret)


The period of reflection is concluded, following our first analysis of the proposition attributed to Debret for the Imperial flag of Brazil. We were able to solve some doubtful points and add new contributions, allowing us to be very optimistic about the results. Before the publication itself, still to decide on what form, extension and venue, we will need to guarantee a proper support to what remains to be accomplished in this endeavour; it is not always easy to find a convenient sponsor. Notwithstanding it is possible to put forward some generic information, maybe useful for those that are interested in this subject. 

Although this is not our first vexillological incursion, the Brazilian flag deserves here a special tribute: it is the most modern manifestation of parophony found to this day, dating from the beginning of the 19th century. Note that the primitive version was never fully used and most of the original characteristics were lost. Strangely enough, the republican version only kept those elements referring the former Brazilian sovereigns.

It is even more puzzling to know from the analysis of this flag's design, that we may almost guess the imminent independence of the country. Of course, some of the elements have already been used before as the wyvern, the armillary sphere and the Cross of the Order of Christ, but they are now imparted to this new representation, including a number of parophonies.

“Vert, a lozenge throughout or, charged with an arch of nineteen five-pointed stars azure, the one at the top bigger, encircling a branch of sugar cane and another of tobacco both proper, held by a wyvern tergiant vert, wings displayed and the tail passing through the lower opening of the arch, all surrounding a Cross of the Order of Christ, its limbs debruised by an armillary sphere of the second, in chief a royal crown partially covering the upper point of the bigger star”


Semantic levels - sixteen:

1 - The green colour: sovereign [75]. 

2 - The lozenge: consort [208].

3 - The lozenge throughout: territory [1].

4 - The yellow colour of the lozenge: consort [7].

5 - The arch of stars: capital [232].

5 - The colour of the stars: capital (complementary).

6 - The lower opening of the arch: residence [207].

7 - The position of the stars: regions [0].

7 - The number of stars: regions (complementary).

8 - The branches of sugar cane and tobacco: capital [437].

9 - The wyvern: status [37].

10 - The royal crown: heir [0].

11 - The biggest star: heir [0].

12 - The position of the biggest star: address [0].

13 - The armillary sphere: hydronym [0].

14 - The Cross of the Order of Christ: territory (by transmission).

15 - The red colour of the Cross: ethnonym [31].

16 - The whole: address [161].

Discretion indexes - mostly slim and null.

Verbalization - predominantly hybrid.

Vexillological plot - agricultural.

Geographical origin of the parophonies - autochthonous.

Overall assessment of credibility - excellent.

Cyphers: above, between brackets [].

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Published at 21:54

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

Kings of Jerusalem: Disposition of the Crosslets (4/5)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 19.10.12
Kings of Jerusalem

Once we justified the presence of the crosslets, it's time now to determine the reason for their configuration and better define the respective number. The sources show various quantities along time; it's reasonable to suppose that no strict and universal instruction was available for the parophonies. However we were able to derive arrangement and number from the Tower of David.


Phasael's Tower was thought to be in the citadel of King David and named after him, through this misunderstanding, as Tower of David. Godfrey of Bouillon used the Tower as his palace and this situation remained until 1104, when the Dome of the Rock became the royal residence; both would appear in numismatic pieces. The Dome was given to the Knights Templar by 1119 and the kings moved again to a new palace in the vicinity of the Tower of David.


Accordingly, the pairing denominant ~ designant is established with: en Tur (fra. in Tower) ~ entur (fra. around). The preposition en was employed instead of dans la (Tur) or en la (Tur) because it was meant to refer a state or situation, rather than a location inside the aforementioned building. This can be further exemplified by en prison and dans la prison. In fact the Tower of David refers equally the tower and the citadel where the third palace of the Kings of Jerusalem was built.


It may have acted accessorily as a heraldic tribute to Godfrey in later years, but prevails the concept of residence in a quarter called Tower of David where the first King to bear those arms lived. Thus, we may not infer from this heraldic representation of the Tower that the arms were conceived during the life of the Protector of the Holy Sepulchre, unless conclusive documentation appears to prove the opposite. Even after loosing its first regal condition, the building was still seen for a long time in the coins of Godfrey's successors. The study of the sixth level will support the reinforcement of this relationship.


Metonymies are mainly needed when the meaning of the designant is visually unsuitable or the stage of specification is impotent to decide on the options at hand.  No metonymizations occur here; the concept of “around” is more than sufficient for the purpose of heraldic tracing: we just have to consider the pieces already at our disposal. The designant entur, therefore, refers that some things, interpreted as the crosslets, must surround another thing, understood as the cross. There are no more figurations present and the reverse would be unfeasible.


“Between” is just a clumsy but smart word, in the limited vocabulary of emblazonment, declaring that the crosslets should be placed amidst each two adjacent limbs of the cross. It leaves the rest of the composition for heraldic complementation in order to achieve the end result.


The above feature and the current illusive contact between all five elements is possibly not a primitive semantic construction but a consequence of other fundamental needs that will only appear in the fifth level. We're already aware that in the first known versions the crosslets do not touch the big cross, instead they are orderly scattered throughout the cantons. At this stage we may see the crosslets adjacent to the cross but at the final blazon the aspect changes: the four small figurations are situated in the middle of the cantons of a cross potent.


Regarding other more straightforward complements: filling will be governed by the size of the crosslets and the space left in the cantons, symmetry, for its part, depends on the diagonals that pass through the intersection of the central limbs and similarly on the cross itself. The centre of the shield rules centrality for the group of crosslets as it does for the cross, organizing a sort of square within the cross.


We must distinguish now three different circumstances for the complementary character of the crosslets. The first was already treated in the last semantic level where orientation and symmetry referred to the inner components of each crosslet. The second deals with its situation alone regarding the surrounding space. A third considers how all the crosslets relate as a whole with other elements and the shield. There is a fourth situation with an extra component in disguise that will be known subsequently.


For semantic clarity it's better to detach placement and disposition from emblazonment as displayed in the table below. Disposition is embodied in the meaning of “between” while concurrently the four minor elements are interposed by the main piece. The emblazonment shouldn't allow describing the situation as “two and two”, meant for repetitive contiguity. As a consequence, we devised an alternative description that would suit this event by adding “+” or “plus” whenever there is a larger space or other elements inserted between identical pieces aligned horizontally. Therefore, the present arrangement would be described for short as “one plus one and one plus one” or “1 + 1 & 1 + 1”.


We saw that until now there was no need to substantiate a precise number of crosslets in the blazon and indeed they have arisen disparately in early documents. As we ignore the exact aspect of the very first description for the arms of Jerusalem, it is possible that a posterior comprehension ascribed meaning to those dissimilar quantities, or either conform a coherent arrangement including an additional reference, or even leave it all to pragmatic assessments that didn't interfere parophonically with the corresponding heraldic traces.


The lower limit for the quantity of crosslets has been extended at this time. Whereas cions guaranteed at least two elements, entur adds two more units to this boundary. The cross has four openings between all adjacent arms and each must be provided with one crosslet at least, just enough to accomplish an “entourage”. We thus reached the number seen in the classical representation we study now, and maybe feel tempted to abandon all other quantities as unjustifiable.


In the beginning, the notion of “offspring” ignited the appearance of other versions for the coat of arms of Jerusalem, with as many as fourteen or fifteen crosslets. We could imagine such numbers as the three later Evangelists plus the twelve Apostles, including John and Matthias, or counting only eleven Disciples at the death of Christ in the case of fourteen crosslets. Maybe the initial idea wasn't so specific and counted the mentioned quantities indistinctily as a multitude, the Church. Further, it wouldn't be hard to imagine the crosslets disposed around the Master's cross as followers hearing his words, but it's our assumption that He is symbolized in the visual plot as a corpse.


The reunion of the formal concepts generated by the first four parophonies Ézéchias ~ Exequies, Jérusalem ~ Je ruse la haine, Sion ~ Cions and en Tur ~ entur is present in most known varieties of the arms of Jerusalem: a cross surrounded by smaller crosses. The levels that will follow were eventually added after some time or constituted an alternative disposition of elements that partially disregarded previous characteristics. Next, we will justify four and only four crosslets and simultaneously shape the drawing of the typical cross potent we all used to know.



Kings of Jerusalem - Disposition
Domanial R Kings of Jerusalem
Residence M in Tower (of David)
Language of Conquest V French
Denominant A en Tur
Graphemization A  E  |  N  |    |  T  |  U  |  R 
Phonemization A  ã  |  t  |  u  |  R\ 
Pairing A  ã  |  t  |  u  |  R\ 
A  ã  |  t  |  u  |  R\ 
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 |0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of character A 0.0 |0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of position A 0.0 |0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Addends A 0.0 |0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Discretion index A k = 0.0
Phonemization A  ã  |  t  |  u  |  R\ 
Graphemization A E | N | T | U | R
Designant A entur
Geometry E around
Simple monosemy S between
S entur
Tincture H Argent
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H potent
Placement H cross' cantons between
Symmetry C radial diagonals
Filling C cantons' area
Disposition H around (1 + 1 & 1 + 1)
Symmetry C cross
Centrality C fess point
Number H four
Figuration H crosslets
Tincture H or


(next article in this series is V/XII)

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Published at 23:28

Kings of Jerusalem: Crosslets (3/5)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 12.10.12
Kings of Jerusalem

The homophonic pair Sion (fra. Zion) ~ Cions (fra. offspring) is among the best parophonies found within the Arms of Jerusalem. It is a bit disturbing to find that such an evident connection to the Kingdom, translating into equally obvious visual components, has never raised the attention of heraldists in order to declare these as canting arms. Maybe we're not being fair and somewhere somebody wrote on this association.


We didn't know if the referent's metonymy Sion, contiguous to the King of Jerusalem, was referring to Zion, that is the city of Jerusalem, or to the Mount Zion at the south of the citadel. There was some confusion on the true location of the Mount and its relation with the royal palace of the crusaders and this reflected in the research of the meaning for the word used to develop the components of the blazon.


Once the answer was found, we had to increase the number of semantic levels from ten to twelve, by adding the royal residence, being now clear for us that the denominant Sion stands for the city of Jerusalem. Coming back to our previous denominant Jérusalem, which we also ignored if it was linked to the Kingdom or to the city, now we know for certain that this was a referent's metonymy of the territorial type.


A Greek cross was a better organizer for symmetry and the simplest possible shape within that class of figures. The crosslets share the formal aspect with the main figuration but in a smaller scale, almost like a fractal pattern. It would allow a fit of its copies in all four quarters indifferently. Contrastingly, a Latin cross would fit perfectly well its clones in the longer lower quarters but not in the square upper quarters, or the other way round, depending on their relative size.


The diagonals of each quarter help to centre the placement of the crosslets, but such complementary aspect of heraldry isn't the main motive behind the disposition, it will be thoroughly justified with the next article. Regarding the same question we stress the fundamental fact that a Greek (G) crosslet remains the same at each rotation of 90º around its centre or reflected through each limbs direction or through the bisecting diagonal axes, leaving the set of points invariant and defining a group of eight symmetries in a plane. A Latin (L) crosslet remains the same for the identity permutation and for a reflection through the vertical limbs. The consequence is that only the first charge is able to ensure a harmonious symmetric arrangement of several elements, as we will realize in the next post.


G L - rotation of 0º clockwise (identity)

G - rotation of 90º clockwise

G - rotation of 180º clockwise

G - rotation of 270º clockwise

G - reflection through the horizontal limbs

G L - reflection through the vertical limbs

G - reflection through the axis at 45º

G - reflection through the axis at 315º


However, any type of cross is still admissible in this scheme as long as they all share the same shape and keep radial symmetry. Like in any replication, we must be prepared to accept that a few surviving depictions were different to the primitive intentions and didn't follow the parophonic guidance established at first. Furthermore, we aren't aware if the bearer always or ever knew these parophonic rules. Issuing coins and seals based on a written description like “argent a cross potent between four crosslets or” could have lead to unfortunate misinterpretations, discreetly ruining crucial parts of meaning.


There is a similar and curious heraldic example where coincidence of shape is involved but in the opposite direction, a meaning that appears from forms in a blazon as a pragmatic development. For the arms of Jerusalem we deduced similarity departing from parophony. In the case of the third quarter of the modern arms of Aragon, depicting four Moor heads, we believe that the similarity of these figurations were the main reason for describing the naturals of Aragon as maños (ara. brothers). Other examples of territorial symbols being used for nicknames are available in our dissertation at Pragmatics and Justifications.


Considering the plural form cions, will indicate more than one element, whereas its translation as “offspring” won't. That's another kind of problem we must face. Intended meaning is certainly unique, but not the method used to convey it. Moreover, we know that even for the same language the passage of years provided most words with different lexical forms or significations. When researchers apply an entirely distinct language to mimic the initial conditions it's not always feasible to maintain all the subtleties of the semantics involved.


Note that the designant cions doesn't specify where to put the crosslets. We just know they are more than one, due to the suffix, and all alike, but smaller than the central cross. Nothing more specific is said about their quantity and where they should be placed, regarding the main figuration and the field. Despite all arguments, a proper interpretation could well be two crosslets on top of the cross, at least as things are now. Of course, if nothing more existed in parophony to help us compose the figurations, other heraldic complementary rules would assist us to provide a proper result, maybe including the representation we see at the top of this page.


Finally, the word Cion is a noun but it doesn't assert anything concrete that could materialize over the shield we have before us, due to the symbolic character of its larger emulator. The usual meaning that survived today in French, scion, has the semantic idea of a thin shoot or twig whereas the genealogical denotation of “scion” as an heir or descendent in English, although late, preserves best the roots of its meaning.


We may deduce two metonymizations from all that was said. Quantities are not decisively involved at this point, as we may justify two scarce crosslets. It looks strange as “offspring” contains the idea of multiplication but we must stick to the original word scions. This is not a case of imitation, which is a trace complement without a parophonic correspondence upstream; a good example of this phenomenon is the fitchy cross that appears in the attributed arms for Jerusalem of the Zürcher Wappenrolle.


An opposition defined by “big × small” may be considered but with no consequence in the heraldic traces, which derive their relative size from the designant. All we can define at this level is how the small crosses appear as shape and size, emerging from cions through a pair of simple metonymies:


offspring > children > brothers > alike

offspring > children > small


The link with the “obsequies” seems to have vanished now, but the next levels will show that the crosslets are incorporated into a wider meaning, which will conclude with the feasibility of the complete scene intended for the arms. There is a passage in the Gospel that could help to support an earlier role of the crosslets as a component of the plot:


1 Corinthians 12:12,27 - For as the body is one and has many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body: So also is Christ ... Now you are the body of Christ and members of member


They don't introduce anything radically new as a shape but to consider the crosslets as extensions of the body of Christ, already represented by the main charge. Probably they convey such a meaning by touching the personification of Christ as a cross with the terminations of each small figuration. In any event we don't consider this a compelling arrangement; other acceptable and consistent representations for Jerusalem include isolated croslets.


We must not conclude that the crosslets belong to the epitaph carved in the stone together with the cross. They aren't only different in size, number and position but also are another kind of artefact and material. Cross and crosslets don't have their tinctures yet, they will appear just at the last level regarding Jerusalem. The difference is that a proper embodiment for the former is already made, the cross works as an epitaph on a tombstone, whereas the crosslets will reach their full material meaning at the sixth level. For the moment they are plain symbolic crosses that repeat the second level with no obvious visible connection with the whole exequial plot. 



Kings of Jerusalem - Crosslets
Domanial R Kings of Jerusalem
Capital M Jerusalem
Language of Conquest V French
Denominant A Sion
Graphemization A  S  |  I  |  O  |  N 
Phonemization A  s  |  j  |  Õ 
Pairing A  s  |  j  |  Õ 
A  s  |  j  |  Õ 
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of character A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of position A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Addends A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Discretion index A k = 0.0
Phonemization A  s  |  j  |  Õ 
Graphemization A C | I | | O | N | S
Designant A Cions
Human E offspring
Simple monosemy S crosslets
S cions
Tincture H Argent
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H potent
Placement H between
Number H four
Simple metonymy S offspring > children > brothers > alike
Simple metonymy S offspring > children > small
Figuration H offspring crosslets
Symmetry C radial
Orientation C immanence
Tincture H or


(next article in this series is IV/XII)

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

Published at 16:41

Kings of Jerusalem: Cross (2/5)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 02.10.12
Kings of Jerusalem

The representation chosen to figure in this second level - the central cross - probably was the first element to appear in the arms, not a cross potent but a plain cross. We don't really know much about similar signs used as a Christian allusion to the Holy City before heraldic times. It is quite possible that crosses were involved in this eventual illustration but we doubt that parophony, at least as described below, played any part there. Maybe Jesus and the four Evangelists or the Five Holy Wounds could explain them on other grounds; indeed they are frequently appointed as reasonable motivations for the extant coat of arms.


Meaning departs from the parophony: Jérusalem (fra. Jerusalem) ~ Je ruse la haine (fra. I repel hate). The denotation of ruser/reuser has changed over the years. Now it means “to trick” or “to deceive” but, at that time and ambiance, ruse should be interpreted as repel, reject or push back. Further, the intransitivity of ruse doesn't allow, as much as we can tell, Je ruse a la haine and is conditioned by the aspired character of the starting h, preventing Je ruse l'haine


A new typology is defined with the specification phase (E). This time we don't see nouns, actions, quantities or qualities isolated but a sentence that should be translated visually as a whole. This works as a quotation or, taking into account the obsequial environment already established in Ézéchias ~ Exequies, as an epitaph. For the moment we will classify this kind of specification into “other”, waiting for more occurrences to merit a class of its own.


We may at last present an example of the transposition of phonemes during accommodation (A); it's included in the pairing of [ZeryzalEm] ~ [Z@R\yzlaEn]. This is a very important parophonic tool consenting the creator to use only similar or equal sounds that exchange places when strictly necessary. Note that for calculation purposes we first must proceed with the transposition [al] ~ [la] and its associated penalty, the coefficient of transposition t = 1. Then we apply all the remaining penalties, that is, the modifications in the character of sounds with their coefficients of character c, according to their positions inside the word, measured by the corresponding coefficients of position p.


The discrepancies between phonemes [e ~ @], [r ~ R\] and [m ~ n] are relatively mild and perhaps again they can't be justified with the medium-high discretion index of k = 0.50. As long as the model isn't replaced with a better measuring instrument we will have to bear such deviations. The appraisal of the penalties is rough and nearly arbitrary but their combination keeps an efficient dichotomic effect that helps our task.


We must be prepared now to answer the question - Who's dead? As every human eventually dies, we must look for someone whose death was relevant enough to tradition or history in order to be remembered by the crusaders and by anyone looking at the arms of the Kings of Jerusalem. The phenomenon of sublimation, when only the representation with the highest status takes the meaning, should be recalled here too. This happens with the generic feline of Katzenelnbogen, duly transformed into a powerful lion. We look then for a most eminent individual.


Jerusalem must be involved somehow in the “obsequies” and such personality wouldn't oppose the Christian side, as there are no visual motivations in the blazon to assert the contrary. It may look like a heraldic inconsistency but we exemplify with the Portuguese coat of arms: the escutcheons disposed in cross is commonly perceived as standing for five enemy Moor kings defeated by D. Afonso Henriques. It remains to be said that the visual result of the second level must combine satisfactorily with the first level: a tomb in stone.


Concerning the present semantic level, Je (fra. I) could either embody the person who died or the shield itself as a canting individuality, like the one seen in Danubius ~ Da nubis. It's clear to us that the second option isn't possible here. Hence, the phrase would represent, at worst, somebody known to reproduce the meaning of Je ruse la haine while alive. Most appropriately to our plot, the sentence should be associated with his or her grave, by means of an unreal but plausible epitaph, describing the deeds of an entire existence.


We have an implicit opposition in Je ruse la haine where hate is confronted by something interpreted as its contrary, love, which in turn is personified by someone yet unknown. This opposition doesn't appear explicitly in the heraldic traces (H) nonetheless. As a result, the cloud of associations {obsequies, Jerusalem, Christian, most eminent, tomb, epitaph, opposed to hate} would produce one and only one man: Jesus Christ. In fact, the Gospel stresses the importance of this concept in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another”. 


Note that we didn't need to apply the strong identification of the cross in all this reasoning. On the side of the creators of the arms they didn't have any heraldic commitment to adopt a cross in their depiction, nothing more than a mere consequence of parophony. This doesn't imply it should be dispensed as a hint by us interpreters that rely on the reverse path of creation. Actually it shouldn't, but this approach works well didactically for other situations.


Metonymies emerge to acknowledge the conversion of our inspiring sentence into a cross. This is not as simple as may seem, despite all the arguments we already advanced. Instead of a loose collection of concepts as above, what we need now is an ordered sequence of ideas that will attach the structure of sematization (S) firmly. Only unequivocal words, like the numeral generated by Seint ~ Cinc, are able to provide an immediate transcription into heraldic traces. This is not the case here.


Jesus was seen as the Lamb of God without sin, sacrificed on the cross for the love of men. The convergence into a heraldic cross is found through the composition of two metonymies that include the opposite ideas of love and hate, respectively implicit and explicit in Je ruse la haine:


Jesus > love > die > sacrifice > cross

sin > hate > kill > punishment > cross


Another compound converging metonymy will be linked with the first semantic level, allowing a bond between both steps. It starts with the previous theme, the obsequies and a tomb, working then with the substitution of the designant as an epitaph - Je ruse la haine - finally symbolized by a cross, a common allegory in Christian gravestones. On the other side we see the cross immediately as Jesus, an effective cultural association. It would seem next to redundant to referr it but we must be aware that in the arms of Jerusalem this metonymy is specific for the representation of Jesus Himself and not a comprehensive allusion to the tomb of a Christian. 


obsequies > tomb > epitaph > cross

Jesus > cross


We must now address the complementary representativeness of these symbols and their supposed foundations. The meanings we've found conflict with the crusaders fight? First of all, we don't know precisely when in time the arms were imagined so that we are able to detect all specific sources of inspiration. But it's true that aggressive or defensive war, and consequently violence, was a constant aspect during the ephemeral life of the Kingdom. How did the crusaders reconcile this with the peaceful teaching of the Nazarene?


The incidental religious aspects of this heraldic genesis must not deceive us; they represented the political rulers of Jerusalem by chance. Moreover, medieval war was widely understood and accepted as a necessity and even a duty for Christians, including the Papacy. Within this framework, ruse (fra. repel) could be additionally conceived as fighting or banishing the enemies of the Kings of Jerusalem, therefore hostile to any Christians. The conflict with our proposal for the parophonic statement just shows that the inception and the evolution of meaning are two different things, not always permeable to each other in every aspect.


Additionally, the verb is in the present form - I repel hate - connoting the resurrection and eternal life of Christ. This also doesn't contradict our previous statement on the maintenance of His condition as deceased within the heraldic plot. We were referring then the direct parophonic suggestion of all visual traces. Obviously, a multitude of connotations and semantic developments are possible departing from there. But some of them, which we feel compelled to quote, are more immediate and adequate than others.


We use a Greek cross instead of a plain cross in our exemplification for this is the better way to show the conjectured evolution of the signs displayed by the Kings of Jerusalem. There is no special reason to believe that a plain cross would have a different meaning than a Greek cross. The former effectively appears in armorials during a period when geometrical compositions were favoured in heraldry. A plain cross is simpler and would likely be a permanent choice if other components didn't affect its shape later. This honourable ordinary must have acted as a symbol for Christ and not as an artefact, noticeably during the initial years. We will be acquainted with a second understanding, used by the Kings of Cyprus, that favoured a detached cross.


Feasible and inclusive inspirations of a different kind could be the copy of an elongated True Cross drawn as a Latin Cross or simply mimicking a slab on a grave. The latter would almost necessarily be affected by the cover of the Holy Sepulchre, said to be in a poor condition back in the 11th century. We presume that the original stone was replaced or subsequently hidden after the modifications inside the aedicule.


Complementary traces (C) govern those characteristics that aren't justified by any semantic propositions. For the main cross we see the usual incidence of centrality at the fess point, together with the horizontal-vertical orientation and the radial symmetry that are cross immanences in varying degrees. The width of the limbs should also be assisted with complementary traces. Besides the natural conservation of the same thickness along all four arms, the relative proportions should be sufficient to admit, for example, a number of crosslets in the space left empty. There are more comments to be made on the mutual interference of other semantic levels that will be better treated at their proper place.



Kings of Jerusalem - Cross
Domanial R Kings of Jerusalem
Territorial M Jerusalem
Language of Conquest V French
Denominant A Jérusalem
Graphemization A  J  |  E  |  R  |  U  |  S  |  A  |  L  |  E  |  M 
Phonemization A  Z  |  e  |  r  |  y  |  z  |  a  |  l  |  E  |  m 
Pairing A  Z  |  e  |  r  |  y  |  z  |  a  |  l  |  E  |  m 
A  Z  |  @  |  R\  |  y  |  z  |  l  |  a  |  E  |  n 
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of character A 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 
Coefficient of position A 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 
Addends A 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.3 
Discretion index A k = 0.50
Phonemization A  Z  |  @  |  R\  |  y  |  z  |  l  |  a  |  E  |  n 
Graphemization A J | E | | R | U | S | E | | L | A | | H | A | I | N | E
Designant A je ruse la haine
Other E I repel hate
Simple monosemy S cross
S je ruse la haine
Tincture H Argent
Number H 1 a
Converging metonymy S obsequies > tomb > epitaph > cross
S Jesus > cross
Converging metonymy S Jesus > love > die > sacrifice > cross
S sin > hate > kill > punishment > cross
Figuration H Jesus cross
Symmetry C radial
Orientation C immanence
Centrality C fess point
Aspect H potent
Placement H between
Number H four
Figuration H crosslets
Tincture H or


(next article in this series is III/XII)

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Published at 17:35

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© Carlos Carvalho da Fonte 2009-2017




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