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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)

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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

St Edward the Confessor: Martlets (2/6)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 10.08.12
Edward the Confessor - Attributed Arms

This second part of our analysis will try to justify the existence of birds in the shield of St Edward the Confessor. As with the cross, the drawing has been influenced by the previous numismatic representation, which included only four birds looking like doves. There should be some reason for adding an extra figuration to the shield.


Despite the heraldic arrangement with an implied space under the cross, able to explain the five birds, this could be easily changed by the extension of the lower limb, keeping the original quantity. According to the analysis made in St Edward the Confessor: C(e) roi ~ Crois, only a plain cross is needed, whether it would be Greek, adequate to the circular symmetry of a coin, or Latin, fit to the triangular shape of the shield. Something happened meanwhile, which forced the growth in number. The motivation, however, will only be completely understood with the following article.


Edward, our referent, almost certainly would be metonymized through his own name. All the examples we observed in medieval coins used this resource as a parophonic tool, conjectured to be an unsuspicious source of inspiration for the development of the heraldic language, along with seals. By inheriting this semantic feature the arms also inherited the corresponding language of verbalization, Old French, in particular the French spoken in Normandy. We see therefore the King-Saint shaped by the parophony Edouard (fra. Edward) ~ Et due harde (fra. and corresponding flock). The denominant, at the first part, has no particular difficulty but the designant, at the second, deserves a few comments.


We've already spotted a first parophony so it wouldn't be unreasonable to get both together in a phrasal sequence: Crois et due harde, or even to mix the denominant with the designant: Ce roi et due harde. The function of et (fra. and) is merely additive, connecting the pair of parophonies and justifying its existence. Although the word due, (fra. corresponding) doesn't keep its meaning in modern French but quite specifically, could indeed be interpreted in the past as: “due”, “respective” or “corresponding”. Therefore, a link is made between the cross (or the king) and harde (fra. flock). This last word also has lost some of its older meaning; still, we are only interested in medieval times where, without any hesitation thanks to many examples, it had the meaning of a flock of birds.


In conclusion, the phrase “cross and corresponding flock of birds” appears to be perfectly consistent with the images seen in the coins of Edward the Confessor. It doesn't mean that we don't need to investigate the consistency in the opposite direction, among other things, nor that other alternatives or maybe better solutions couldn't exist, which we very much doubt. We still refer the impossibility of developments like ait un harde or et du harde because harde was a feminine substantive in French.


The semantic convergence of a generic flock of animals into a particular flock of birds is achieved by a metonymization, emulating the designer's choice. A flock of sheep could have been preferred instead but the reason for the drawing choice would be due to the relative size of the four animals to the cross. A flock of quadrupeds, even smaller than sheep, would demand a huge cross, excluding any conventional artefacts, whereas a flock of birds would imply an acceptable dimension, as for a processional cross. Then, a second metonymization transforms the birds into martlets by request of the designant “flock”, which doesn't specify any particular species but recurrent in heraldry:


flock of animals > flock of birds

birds > martlets


What would be the reason for the birds to be doves initially, or equivalent, and later being transformed into martlets? The answer is given by the time gap between the representations. Whereas the coin took indifferently a common gregarious bird, the arms abode by the heraldic rules already in force, adopting a figuration that would represent birds generally: the martlet.


Thus we may see the second modification of the original design, after the introduction of flory endings at the cross limbs. These recalled the royal condition of Edward.  Would it be possible to attach a specific meaning for the martlets? We think otherwise; they would be only due to the need of consistency in the armorial language. It's also unfeasible to ascribe any connection with the sanctity of the king, subsequent to the coining, or with his royalty, already stressed by the cross flory. Furthermore, as the dove symbolizes the Holy Ghost, it is quite likely that the sole presence of a cross would be enough to inspire the resort to that figuration, but the presence of four birds dissuades taking them with such semantic specifity.


A point deserving our attention is the attitude of the birds. Even though we didn't reach the stage of chromatic analysis, it's patent that the field where the birds rest is blue. It would be comfortable to assume a sky as an appropriate background either for the martlets or the cross. There is a detail that undermines this reasoning: the birds fold their wings in the coin and in the shield, indicating that they couldn't be flying, at least in a strict interpretation.


Another possibility is to assign blue to water, where the five little birds would drift. But it's obvious that they aren't any water birds and that the cross, eventually considered in wood and allowed to float, already has the metallic elements of the Crown of St Edward, so that the remainder is also assumed in the same material. It would then be expected that the cross was in gold and that the condition of our referent as a saint would require a more glorifying plot, including the escorting figurations. Once again we must postpone the answer to our inquiries, this time in what refers the analysis of the blue tincture, provided with a semantic level of its own and conditioned by a particular referent's metonymy.


The syntactical arrangements were conditioned by the presence of the cross, allowing the necessary space for the introduction of four birds. It's not easy to tell which of the two numismatic parophonies was conceived first. Edward, through the martlets, is more obvious as a determinative linguistic expression. As to the cross, generated by his royal capacity, adjusts better to the visual practices usually reproduced in coins. Anyway, the gathering of the two ideas could only be consistently exhibited as it is. The introduction of a supplementary martlet, implied to maintain the Greek cross, as already seen, fitting the fifth figuration in the space between the lower limb of the cross and the end of the shield. A virtual square outline is defined by the cross, very well adapted to the sides and top edge of the shield, leaving the base as only possible region to place the said martlet.


Agreeing that there is in fact an association of the number of martlets with the cross, it is quite obvious that the quantity is determined upstream, not by the four slots of the cross but by the specification provided by “flock”. If hypothetically the parophony described the designant as two or three it would only be needed to make the corresponding adjustments. Nevertheless, by stating a flock, we couldn't imagine only two or even three birds. Maybe four is a feasible quantity, if we remember “cuadrilla”, a similar idea, embodying this number in its etymology. It constitutes what we may call a third metonymization, simple as the others - flock > four (five) birds - assisting the change from a nebulous numerical concept into a precise specification, in spite of two distinct versions of four and five units, by the additional influence of distinct semantic levels.


Centralities are harder to define. The drawing of each martlet is entirely asymmetrical preventing the homogeneity of the residual spaces, even with the eventual correct location of the geometrical centres. On top of this the five birds are turned to the dexter of the shield, impairing the axial symmetries regarding the cross and the shield, despite a strict compliance to the implicit rules demanded by the emblazonment. We must look after a balance among the shapes of all figurations and the corresponding spaces in-between; this will vary from one interpreter to another, ourselves included. Besides, this will contribute little or nothing to the semantic subjects that interest us primarily.


 Edward the Confessor - Flock
Attributed Arms R Edward the Confessor
Anthroponym M Edward
Language of Influence V French
Denominant A Edouard
Graphemization A  E |  D  |  O  |  U  |  A  |  R  |  D 
Phonemization A e  |  d  |  u  |  a  |  R  |  d 
Pairing A e  |  d  |  u  |  a  |  R  |  d 
A e  |  d  |  y  |  a  |  R  |  d 
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0
Coefficient of character A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of position A 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Addends A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Discretion index A k = 0.17
Phonemization A e | d | y | a | R | d
Graphemization A E | T | | D | U | E | | H | A | R | D | E
Designant A et due harde
Zoology E and corresponding flock
Simple monosemy S flock
S martlets
Tincture H Azure
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H flory
Placement H at the quarters cantoned with
Number H 4 four
Simple metonymy S flock of animals > flock of birds
Simple metonymy S birds > martlets
Figuration H flock martlets
Orientation C turned to the dexter
Disposition C 2 and 2
Centrality C shape balance
Connective H martlets + martlet and
Simple metonymy S flock > 5 (4) birds
Number H 1 another
Placement H under the lower limb of the cross in base
Orientation C turned to the dexter
Symmetry C halfway the martlets at each side
Centrality C halfway the placement
Tincture H or


(next article in this series is III/VI)

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Published at 17:50

St Edward the Confessor: Cross (1/6)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 21.07.12
Edward the Confessor - Attributed Arms

Undoubtedly, this is one of the most respected and known examples among attributed arms. There are many good reasons: their use with actual arms, the mythical figure of England's patron before St George, the survival of artefacts referring his name as the throne, sceptre and crown of the English monarchs or the high esteem that heraldic matters had and still have in the British Isles. A sign of this importance is the apparent care put in the drawing of the arms attributed to him. It totals six semantic levels, each one holding a distinct metonymization for the same referent - Edward the Confessor - a rare thing to see in heraldic parophony. They appeared near the end of the 14th century incorporated in the arms of Richard II, probably inspired on a coin minted at the time of the King-Saint[1].


For the first time we may see the status of the bearer of the arms - king - as the referent's metonymy. On the one hand the cause must have been the importance of the responsibilities assumed by Edward, on the other hand the possible intentional adaptation from the sovereign's currency. It's unreasonable to guarantee that the piece was itself “canting”, as we have observed in other early numismatic and sigillographic specimens[2].


As a matter of fact it seems entirely credible: the thinness of the bars is repeated in the coat of arms, the addition of the fleurs-de-lis is specific to the heraldic language, the ornithological figurations are well diversified being only four birds initially. Such complementarities will be clearer in the next posts. Admitting the mentioned supposition we must infer the use of Old French for the parophonic coins, which isn't too hard to conceive knowing that Edward lived many years in Normandy. He took back some locals with him to England and his own mother was a Norman[3].


Indeed, Latin won't be used in verbalization now but French, or rather Anglo-Norman if the imitation of the coins can't be accepted, contrarily to what we believe, in any case the difference will be minor. It follows from our proposition that the verbalization was made with a language of influence, still not used in the court as it would be later while a language of conquest:


Ce roi (fra. this king) ~ Crois (fra. cross)[4].


Both components to compare - Ce roi and Crois - generate an absolute homophony and a null discretion index after the fortunate intervention of a metonymy. Thus, the alteration of the phoneme /s/ into /k/ happens in accordance with a diverging metonymization:


ce (roi) > ce (this) > [se]

c(roi) < c (letter c) < [se]


This metonymy is divergent for, departing from the same phonetical elements it supplies two distinct interpretations: the change into [se] of both the word ce and the letter “c”. They are together in the denominant, /s/ upstream and /k/ downstream, artificially producing the meaningless croi, only useful for a phonetical pairing with crois. Note that the phonemes' metonymy, being a semantic change, occurs during sematization, not during accommodation, which is fundamentally phonetic in nature.


Ce (fra. this) fulfils an important task during the parophonic process but only sets an elementary monosemy. It refers redundantly that this king is the king we're talking about and that he will be depicted in the parophonized arms. The sematization of the cross is even simpler as we don't have to use any tricks. The cross in the designant furnishes the heraldic trace of a cross, period.


A cross made of gold, bronze, wood or anything yellowish is perfectly adequate. In fact, tinctures agree frequently with materials that are suitable for its figurations, especially when assigned to attributed arms, usually described by “proper”, a term not always adopted. In this particular case, however, colorations result from two distinct and specific semantic levels: one for the azure in the field and another for the or in the charges, as we will see later. That's the reason to include only an outline of the cross in the corresponding picture below.


The customary implicit complements remain the same except regarding the orientation of the cross; exhaustively conformed by our culture, it is plainly obvious that a cross in the generic sense can only stand with two arms parallel to the visual horizon. It is not so for St Andrew's cross but it becomes necessary to specify its name. Crosses bear a strong cultural immanence embedded within their heraldic trace of orientation and in the very word.


It would still be necessary to justify the presence of the fleurs-de-lis ending the cross' arms. There is a huge variety of crosses in heraldry, different by thickness, shape, number, extension but, above all, by the ending of their limbs. Will it be possible that each shape may link to a semantic justification through the referent?


We can't answer the question; this example will keep us occupied for now but all the proposals put forward in the future will authorize an answer for every attribution. Arguments don't always stem from an absolute wish for meaning, they could be a mere complementation but, distinctly from a superficial ornament, they are allowed to connect with the heraldic plot, even if weakly.


Finally we must introduce the definition of aspect, a concept related with figurations, mainly those that own a geometrical character. It's similar to the classic notion of attitude designating the stance of animals. The aspect is the part of a figuration, which consistently distinguishes it from other similar figurations. Other than an independent figuration itself, the aspect helps to identify various models or types within the same shape. Blades and bows of keys, petals and thorns of flowers, ears and ribs of scallops, wavy or indented fesses will suffice to exemplify.


We come back to our need for justification. Although roi textually describes the king, the association of this concept with the sight of a simple Greek cross is far from being apparent. Furthermore, most of the already studied royal parophonizations verify the application of such heterogeneous analogies between language and image. The easier way to designate a king through an artefact is to use a separate crown; otherwise we rarely see the trace of aspect characterized by the inclusion of one or more crowns.


Singularly for the king in discussion we may find a relevant historical illustration: St Edward's Crown[5]. The existing artefact is a jewel of the British Crown, copied from an older one perhaps used by the referent. If this actually happened it's not too important to know, only that the author of the arms should have been convinced of the crown's authenticity or representability. As St Edward's Crown has four fleurs-de-lis around its circumference, they must complete the heraldic cross abiding by the metonymization:


king > crown > St Edward's Crown > four fleurs-de-lis

king > Edward > St Edward's Crown > four fleurs-de-lis


The metonymy is convergent, meaning a composition of two semantic contiguities that arrive at the same idea. It also happened in Salernum ~ Sal eremum regarding the sun. Additionally, fleurs-de-lis are frequent and characteristic elements of crowns and even if the said artefact didn't exist it would be possible to establish a connection; certainly with less expressive flair. The figuration we now study also appears under the form of a cross patonce, with concave arms growing outwards and shorter flowers, the external petals confined by the boundary. There is no reason to change our analysis but we may comment that, in this circumstance, each flower could be seen as an oversimplified crown, beyond the most obvious fleurs-de-lis.


[1] HERALDIC TIMES - The Arms of Edward the Confessor - s. d. : Accessed 18 July 2012, (now unavailable).


[2] MICHELSEN, Mike - The Coat of Arms of Edward the Confessor - Mikes passing Thoughts Blog - 2010 : Accessed 18 July 2012, available here.


[3] LUARD, Henry H. (ed.) - Lives of Edward the Confessor. La Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei. Vita Beati Edvardi Regis et Confessoris. Vita Aeduuardi Regis qui apud Westmonasterium requiescit - London: Longman, 1858 : Accessed 18 July 2012, available here.


[4] GODEFROY, Frédéric - Dictionnaire de l'Ancienne Langue Française et de tous ses Dialectes du IXème au XVème Siècle - Paris, 1880-1895 : Accessed 18 July 2012, available here.


[5] SIDDONS, Michael - Regalia et Cérémonies du Royaume-Uni - Bulletin du Centre de Recherche du Château de Versailles, nº 2 - 2005 : Accessed 18 July 2012, available here.


 Edward the Confessor - Cross  
Attributed Arms R Edward the Confessor
Status M King
Language of influence V French
Denominant A ce roi
Redundancy S ce
S this one depicted here
Simple monosemy S this king
S this king depicted here
Diverging metonymy S ce (roi) > ce (this) > [se]
S c(roi) < c (letter c) < [se]
Graphemization A C | R | O | I
Phonemization A k | R | w | a
Pairing A k | R | w | a
A k | R | w | a
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 k | R | w | a
Graphemization A C | R | O | I | S
Designant A crois
Artefact E cross
Simple monosemy S cross
S cross
Tincture H Azure
Number H 1 a
Figuration H cross cross
Symmetry C radial
Orientation C immanence
Centrality C fess point
Converging metonymy S king > crown > St Edward's Crown > 4 fleurs-de-lis
S king > Edward > St Edward's Crown > 4 fleurs-de-lis
Aspect H king flory
Placement C ending each arm of the cross
Orientation C bottoms inwards
Symmetry C = cross
Placement H cantoned with
Number H four
Figuration H martlets
Connective H and
Number H another
Placement H in base
Tincture H or


(next article in this series is II/VI)

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Published at 13:44

Sagremor: Mullets (1/3)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 02.07.12
Sagremor - Attributed Arms

Being the imaginary arms of a character that equally doesn't belong to the domain of tangible persons, historical considerations won't be as important as in real circumstances; this doesn't mean that they should be entirely arbitrary. There are distinct versions describing Sagremor, we will only retain the most consensual, seeming to correspond to the arms seen above, certainly inspired in the legend. Sagremor, known as “the Desirous”[1], “of Hungary” or “of Constantinople” was one of the Knights of the Round Table, son of the king of Hungary and Wallachia, who arrived at the court of King Arthur to join his widowed mother, Indranes, daughter of Adrian, emperor of Constantinople, now married with the king Brangore[2]. This short biography is sufficient to inspire our analysis, especially since the parophonic methodology must, above all, determine quite well the geographical residence at the birth of a blazon. Besides, Sagremor was used by us as a paradigm to establish a comparison boundary, in order to measure the discretion index[3]. So, this study wasn't chosen to make our task easier, a supplementary advantage.


Latin should be the language of choice to activate the process of verbalization ahead of us. We mistrust the aptitude of the author of the arms to understand Hungarian and, again, we may verify how distant he was from the theme of the drawing, possibly living within the Anglo-Norman or French influence. The referent's metonymy in this second semantic level uses the Latin gentilic of those born in the Hungarian capital by the time of King Arthur, Aquincum, at the modern city of Buda, although their continuity may not be verified. Nevertheless, the plot of the Arthurian legends is typically contemporary to their medieval authors. Then Aquincum must refer Buda as a translation into Latin, not the very Aquincum. I believe Aquincenses doesn't describe the Hungarian subjects of that city but, particularly, the familiar roots of Sagremor. It would be viable to use the singular, Aquincensis, to better focus the individuality inspiring us.


The calculation of the discretion index doesn't bring anything new. We won't get into any details this time, the previous analyses will suffice to understand the procedures used. Note that the final value, k = 0,31, is perfectly credible, allowing us to consider the parophonic hypothesis. Once obtained: Aquincenses ~ Ac quini sentes, we may then analyse each component.


The additive conjunction ac (lat. and) is not a mere parophonic trick. As a matter of fact it makes the whole ac quini sentes depend from other semantic levels that may eventually appear. In this respect it is a redundancy for, in reality, heraldic traces rely upon their own sematization. Let us say that we don't know the original sequence by which these traces were formed. It's perfectly possible that, in general, it was an iterative process, gradually adjusting towards a satisfactory solution. The component quini (lat. five each) denotes the number not only as a quantity but also that it refers to more than one figuration. Inherently it suggests that these five sub-elements must be included in an arrangement, interpreted as a star polygon. After the establishment of a numeral and a conjunction we would need more concision at the third component, allowing the determination of something more substantive for the drawing of the blazon. These considerations induced us to prefer sentes (lat. thorns, briars) instead of sentis (lat. feel, understand) or the declined sentus/sentis (lat. thorny) or even replacing the parophonic censes (lat. count, assess).


A simple monosemy emerges in the sematization stage but it's not immediately apparent. Only the metonymy: five thornsfive pointsmullet will build a clear association between the designant and the heraldic trace. The choice of a geometrical or astronomical subject instead of a branch, a pierced mullet or a caltrop, may raise the suspicion of an extreme simplification, often seen in older armorials. Without entirely discarding this influence, we must stress that the third semantic level, to be studied in the next post, demands a sidereal theme.


Despite simplicity we need to acknowledge the effect of all complementary agents, intrinsic to the formation of our heraldic traces. As we may see, the mullets' rays are symmetric and oriented according to a horizontal stability, in the only position available where there is simultaneous “support” of two points. Furthermore, each placement depends fundamentally from the situation of the black mullet. It appears at the centre of the quarter and restricts the position of the second mullet, aligned with the first and at the same distance from the border. The third should rest at the vertical axis, also obeying to the homogeneity of distances. The disposition “two and one” follows the general shape of the shield and, for the very same reason, it's always favoured for the arrangement of three figurations, unnecessary to declare in the emblazonment. Dimensional harmony is kept by the proportionate occupation of the field and an absolute equivalence of all figurations.


This version of the arms of Sagremor strictly follows the rule of the tinctures[4]. This law will help us to understand later why such tinctures were chosen. For now we will only emphasize the connection of the stars' golden metal with a luminous source, a common correlation that appears recurrently in the analyses made in the past. It's also possible that the figurations were taken for planets, given their apparent magnitude and brightness, which tends to be yellowish. An emblazonment describes: “de gueules à 2 planètes d'or, au franc-canton d'argent à une planète de sable[2].


It would be feasible to use other tinctures as argent or azure but the conjunction of all colours needed for the drawing wouldn't advice it. On the other side, the presence of a black star, unexplainable by its luminous immanence, is perfectly coherent if we let you know in advance that it represents an opposition: darkness. This darkening is semantically transitional and for this reason the second level must be represented by all three mullets or. Finally, we refer that from now on we will show some or all the traces of other semantic levels by using a dark khaki colour[5]; it will stress only the elements that belong to each discussion.


[1] Translation of desreezdérangé.


[2] MERLET, Lucien - Coutumes des Chevaliers de la Table Ronde - Mémoires de la Société Archéologique d'Eure-et-Loir - Vol. VI - Chartres - Petrot-Garnier Libraire - 1876.


[3] Based on the suggestion of Michel Pastoureau for the canting arms Sagremor ~ sycomore, at the edge of reasonableness in our view, becoming an adequate boundary for the acceptance or rejection of other parophonies: “Pour doter Sagremor d’armoiries la solution la plus simple aurait été de lui donner une figure parlante, en occurence un sycomore”, see Bibliographic References (PASTOUREAU, 1986, p. 25).


[4] See also another version, almost certainly misrepresented: SCOTT-GILES, Charles W. - Some Arthurian Coats of Arms - Coats of Arms - nº 64-65, 1965/1966 - Baldock: Visited 27th of June 2012, available in: <http://>, 2012.



[5] This colour will hardly appear in any blazon, avoiding ambiguities and providing enough contrast with heraldic tinctures.



Attributed Arms R Sagremor
Demonym M Budans
Imaginary language V Aquincenses (Latin)
Denominant A Aquincenses
Graphemization A  A  |  Q  |  U  |  I  |  N  |  C  |  E  |  N  |  S  |  E  |  S 
Phonemization A a  |  k  |  w  |  i  |  N  |  s  |  e |  N  |  s  |  e  |  s
Pairing A a  |  k  |  w  |  i  |  N  |  _  |  s  |  e |  N  |  s  |  e  |  s
A a  |  k |  w  |  i  |  N  |  e  |  s  |  e  |  N  |  t  |  e  |  s
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|0.0
Coefficient of character A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0
Coefficient of position A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0
Addends A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0
Discretion index A k = 0.31
Phonemization A a | k |  | k | w | i | N | i |  | s | e | N | t | e | s
Graphemization A A | C |  | Q | U | I | N | I |  | S | E | N | T | E | S
Designant A ac | quini | sentes
Qtty + Geometry + Geometry E and five + thorns + each
Redundancy S there are other semantic levels
S and
Simple monosemy S mullets
S five thorns
Tincture H Gules
Number H 3 -1 = 2 two
Simple metonymy S 5 thorns > 5 points > mullet
Figuration H 5 points mullets (of five points)
Immanence C star
Symmetry C radial
Orientation C stability
Placement C mullet sable
Tincture H light or
Immanence C star
Contrast C gules
Connective H and
Placement H on
Number H a
Separation H quarter
Tincture H argent
Number H a
Figuration H mullet
Tincture H sable
Number H each, 3 (the three mullets)
Disposition H 2 & 1 (set two and one)
Filling C shield's area
Symmetry C shield's axis
Centrality C fess point


(next article in this series is II/III)

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Published at 12:24

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