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Kings of Jerusalem: Tincture Argent (1/5)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 24.09.12
Kings of Jerusalem

After leaving five analyses of attributed heraldry behind us, we start now a new chapter introducing these domanial arms of the medieval Kingdom of Jerusalem. By domanial arms we understand any heraldic arms that represent a personal transmissible domain of a secular territory, accommodating lordships, counties, duchies, kingdoms and empires among others of the same kind.


We've found the surprising number of twelve semantic levels, which seem to act differently according to each primitive appreciation of the arms. More than quantity, what astounds us is geometrical simplicity, able to produce such an opulent semantic result. Besides that, not only the traces may be explained in more than one manner, but also they suggest that the levels were present in disparate amounts along time, if we trust the sources. This large number of organized meanings will be difficult to surpass in the future for single primitive coats of arms.


Although incorporating two dissimilar references - one for Jerusalem and another for Cyprus - we preferred to aknowledge them as a unique representation and keep the conventional title, mentioning the arms only as those of the Kings of Jerusalem. Apparently the change was smooth and conserved most of the initial semantic values.


They appear earlier by mid 13th century in Matthew Paris' Historia Anglorum, where an ordinary white cross is seen against a yellow background remembering the death in 1237 of John of Brienne, Consort King of Jerusalem[1]. His wife Queen Maria died in 1212 and John left the crown for their infant daughter Isabella, in order to reign at the Latin Empire. This author also admits for John the said cross and colours but cantoned by four, four, three and three crosslets[2][3]. The chromatic inconsistence of the thin brown crosslets may be explained by the need of making them small, using the writing pen that delineated shields and other shapes. Moreover the use of white for the castle of Castile in the same page arises the suspicion of some negligence for the tinctures employed.


Other armorials present variations on the main theme, the number of crosslets varies and the central cross, with different shapes, may even exchange tinctures with the field. To simplify the organization of this article we will adopt the traditional coat of arms of the Kings of Jerusalem: argent a cross potent between four crosslets or. It seems to be the interpretation that gives better use for most semantic levels in discussion. Other designs may be regarded as partial versions, dealt in the body of the text whenever opportune.


May we suppose these as the true arms of the Kingdom and credit the sources entirely, even as secondary or tertiary? This is not our task; we only propose solutions for the parophonic inception of shapes and colours seen in blazons. Nevertheless it will be seen that the simplified compositions mentioned above might accommodate comfortably in the heraldic plot recognized by us.


Numismatics could appear to be more illustrative as we know coins of some previous kings of Jerusalem with the advantage of a contemporary identification. Unfortunately those pictorial habits seem to be distinct from those used in heraldry. On the other hand it won't imply that parophony is absent, being attested as early as in the first pieces ever produced by man. We realize this wasn't a systematic practice, it coexisted with inscriptions, monograms, effigies, images of buildings and other symbols. Referents and metonymies probably vary and these matters will need a thorough verification for proper understanding.


Regarding our subject, the Tower of David and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre appear at the reverse of coins whereas a cross, maybe with a generic and undifferentiated use, is always seen at the other side[4]. The kings of Cyprus and Jerusalem used the lion of Lusignan or a cross potent. We will try to appreciate at due time how heraldry and numismatics may converge and assist our enquiry.


French would be an obvious choice for the verbalization step as a language of conquest. The crusaders were mainly francophones, and most rulers who established their power in the Holy Land belonged to the same linguistic sphere. Again, Latin could be hypothetically used as a general verbalizing instrument but no reasonable parophony was found in order to fit the present heraldic traces.


We start our work with an artificial hydronym made by a former king of Jerusalem, the Hezekiah's Tunnel. It transfers water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, crossing the underground of the oldest part of the city, as there are no rivers there[5]. This produces the parophony Ézéchias (fra. Hezekiah) ~ Exequies (fra. obsequies) strangely linking a source of life, to the rituals of death.


Regarding the need of a hydronym for the metonymization of the referent, this wasn't a starting proposition from our work, but rather a bewildering evidence that arised after the inspection of many coats of arms. We already saw the Danube in the blazon of Sagremor and the river Itchen in the attributed shield of Edward the Confessor. Other representations may show more obvious hydronymic connections to the respective heraldic traces as the arms of the County of Werdenberg (river Tobel), the County of Burgundy (river Saône), the Duchy of Bavaria (river Regen) and the Viscounty of Rochechouart (river Vayres)[6]. We can't be sure about when and where this started but it seems to be a heraldic peculiarity, not yet seen in coins, early seals or anything that may have preceded coats of arms. Maybe in the future we will distinguish better why hydronyms emerged in heraldry.


The designant exequies needs to be transformed into colour or shape using the concept of obsequies, maybe too open to be drawn straightforward. We believe that this transformation wasn't decided alone, but together with other semantic levels considered as feasible by the creator of the arms. For this purpose a metonymization takes place and selects only the conclusive idea of obsequies, the entombment and its objective representation, a grave, then its stony material, zooming from the complete event to the detail of texture:


obsequies > tomb > stone > white


White and yellow may be considered as immanences of stone as seen in a great number of researched subjects. Grey, pink and brown could also be conjectured but we must abide by the chromatic codes of heraldry. Maybe yellow, instead of white was considered as an alternative choice for the tombstone we see now. Let us know first who the dead person was, for meaning will be better perceived in its full implementation.


The contribution of this level to the visual signification of the blazon isn't limited to tincture. In addition it helps to define the fundamental lines of the heraldic plot. A funeral is a rich visual concept, requesting a ceremony that ends in the tomb we see depicted in the arms. Being so it also demands the deceased person and a contingential epitaph, which will be the argument of our next semantic level. We still don't know the meaning of the remainder but the entire set of crosses could be regarded as belonging to the obsequies in a general sense.


In other restrained conditions it would be plain to derive the personality of Christ from the mentioned obsequies. For the crusaders there would be no doubt: the most meaningful funeral ever in Jerusalem was the one that buried Jesus. Still, the semantic possibilities of this coat of arms are so rich that the name of the deceased will be declared in another dedicated layer. And this is eventually the reason why we never see a plain white shield as an ultimate simplification of the arms of Jerusalem: a cross is always present.


Our methodological perception of [ch] as a [k] in Ézéchias repeats the homographic heterophony found in Itchen ~ I chenne. It's equally possible that the dialects of northern France influenced the linguistic uses or that the Latin accent prevailed, avoiding palatalization since the beginning. It's unknown to us the precise spelling and pronounce of French in Jerusalem at that time but all we need to do is to be fair enough and decide if our parophonies may be admitted or not[7].


The discretion index is much bigger than we've been accustomed before as k = 0.6, yet if we listen naively to the sound of Ézéchias ~ Exequies, the impression is of an acceptable similarity. This helps to explain why we had to appreciate our scale of parophonies more as an admissibility index than as a gradual qualification. The size of the comparable sounds, five phonetic units, surely doesn't help to decrease the estimate, and even if we apply the correction for small extensions as done in Itchen ~ I chenne, it will only give us a slightly lower value: k = 0.56.


These irregularities in the evaluation of discretion indexes are a fact we must admit with the adoption of a heuristic modelling. Just a physical model based on the correspondence of acoustic characteristics could produce a better result. However, we must remember that a great deal of our parophonies is connected with writing, partially weakening this attempt of improvement.


Whoever the dead person was, his condition will be maintained within the arms. In the special case of Christ no other alternative than resurrection after the third day was possible in a Christian environment. We must then consider the heraldic plot to take place between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It shouldn't necessarily compel us to include figurations as wounds in our interpretation. The only primitive sources of inspiration considered were parophonies that resulted from referent's metonymies. Everything else seen in all heraldic traces, even the most obvious complements, shouldn't contradict them.


It's also worth to mention the importance attributed to the Holy Sepulchre in medieval times, one of the main motives for the conquest of Jerusalem. Godfrey of Bouillon, the first ruler of the crusaders, was declared Protector of the Holy Sepulchre and buried at its church that saw crownings and other royal events after that. May we link Jesus with the obsequies stated by the white tincture? We will see it next.


[1] DE VRIES, Hubert - Jerusalem - De Rode Leeuw  - 2011 : Accessed 23 September 2012, available here.


[2] PARISIENSIS, Matthaei; MADDEN, Frederic (ed.) - Historia Anglorum - London: Longman, 1866-1869 : Accessed 23 September 2012, available here.


[3] PARISIENSIS, Matthaei - Historia Anglorum - (manuscript), 1250-1259 : Accessed 23 September 2012, available here.


[4] WIELAND, Simon; RUTTEN, Lars; BEYELER, Markus - Medieval and Modern Coin Search Engine - - 2012 : Accessed 23 September 2012, available here.


[5] CITY OF DAVID - Hezekiah’s Tunnel(video), s. d. : Accessed 23 September 2012, available here.


[6] DA FONTE, Carlos - Semântica Primitiva das Armas Nacionais e alguns dos seus Aspectos Sintácticos e Pragmáticos - Porto: FEUP, 2009 : Accessed 23 September 2012, available here.


[7] BETTENS, Olivier - Chantez-vous Français? - 1996-2012 : Accessed 23 September 2012, available here.



Kings of Jerusalem - Argent
Domanial R Kings of Jerusalem
Hydronym M Hezekiah's Tunnel
Language of Conquest V French
Denominant A Ézéchias
Graphemization A  É  |  Z  |  É  |  C  |  H  |  I  |  A  |  S 
Phonemization A  e  |  z  |  e  |  k  |  iA 
Pairing A  e  |  z  |  e  |  k  |  iA 
A  E  | gz |  e  |  k  |  i 
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of character A 0.5 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 
Coefficient of position A 1.5 | 1.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 
Addends A 0.8 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.3 
Discretion index A k = 0.60
Homographic heterophony A (Ézé)ch(ias) > [(eze)S(iA)]
A (Ézé)ch(ias) > [(eze)k(iA)]
Phonemization A  E  |  gz  |  e  |  k  |  i 
Graphemization A E | X | E | Q | U | I | E | S
Designant A exequies
Other nouns E obsequies
Simple monosemy S argent
S exequies
Simple metonymy S obsequies > tomb > stone > white
Tincture H whitish Argent
Immanence C stone
Contrast C or
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H potent
Placement H between
Number H four
Figuration H crosslets
Tincture H or


(next article in this series is II/XII)

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

Published at 12:09

St Edward the Confessor: Tincture Azure (5/6)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 05.09.12
Edward the Confessor - Attributed Arms

The fifth semantic level present in the arms of St Edward the Confessor repeats the geographic inspiration of the previous referent's metonymy: Wincestrin. Besides the direct allusion to Winchester we may see now the verbal depiction of its river Itchen. Similarly, in an older analysis, we had applied the river Danube as a contiguity to Sagremor and Buda. It was impossible to find an Anglo-Norman name for this hydronym, therefore we used the English equivalent as a denominant. We don't even know if a specific Anglo-Norman word existed but seemingly it wouldn't be much more different than Itchen.


However, the second part of our parophony, the designant, keeps using Anglo-Norman and this type of language mix is usually called linguistic hybridization. In parophonies it results frequently from the ignorance on how to express both components adopting just one language, as it was the case here. But it may also appear with local words surviving in the vocabulary of a lingua franca. In Portuguese, for example, Gothic and Arabic terms arise simultaneously with Latin in order to build designants.


This parophony is built with Itchen ~ I chenne (ano. one pitcher), but the last component needs to be adjusted before we could compare all its phonemes with those appearing in the denominant. A first metonymy diverges from a common writing symbol “I”, easy to be acknowledged and sustained by other occurrences in our researching work. It's responsible for the transformation of “I” from a letter “i into a Roman numeral that stands for one.


I(chenne) < I (letter i) < I

I (chenne) < I (number 1) < I


Moreover, we observe the use of a pair of graphemes “ch with two possible sounds, conveniently adapted to assist the parophony. The first instance when Itchen must be compared with the similar sound of chenne, where “ch sounds as [S]. The second instance occurs when meaning is built and we need the word that signifies “one pitcher, that is, chenne, and “ch now sounds as [k], like other known forms - cane and canne - very near or equal to the modern pronunciation in French. A similar example takes place in the arms of the first kings of Portugal for their capital Coimbra. To denote that the same group of letters shape different sounds we baptized this recurring phenomenon a homographic heterophony.


ch(enne) > [k(@n)]

ch(enne) < [S(@n)]


After the conclusion of accommodation and pairing we calculate a discretion index, k = 0.19. The procedure had to apply a longer formula, used to compensate the scarce number of phonemes and consequent unbalance (see Formula 3.1 at p. 51 in the thesis). To obtain it we additionally considered the total number of transformations (j = 1) divided by the square of the maximum value between the denominant and designant, max (D, d)2 = max (4, 4)2 = (4)2 = 16. Therefore we subtracted 1/16 = 0.0625 from our main formula to produce 0.250 - 0.0625 and the value of k = 0.19.


A second metonymy will justify the blue in the heraldic plot of St Edward's arms. We had already mentioned that the application of the said tincture wasn't compatible with a sky, in this blazon at least. It's a fact that crosses and birds would fit perfectly in such a background but it's again a fact that the martlets aren't flying in the shield of St Edward. Blue is doubtlessly used for water in heraldry; however, five martlets floating around a sinking cross seem an appalling concept. What then?


The designant chenne (ano. pitcher) was also understood as a measure of capacity for liquids, a meaning reinforced by the Roman numeral I that precedes it. A measure largely employed with water and wine and with bulk solids likewise. The next transformation uses whatever could be inside the pitcher as a defining idea, instead of the pitcher itself. In a similar but reversed manner we say: “I've drank a glass of milk and not “I've drank the contents of a glass of milk. But the contents we're talking about are effectively water for a few good reasons.


The most obvious motivation should be that azure is the colour of water in heraldry, whereas purpure would be proper for wine, argent for milk and so on. Secondly, the relatively small quantity of a pitcher was just enough to “wet the field, allowing the birds and the cross to be supported by the ground. Thirdly, although being represented by blue, water is transparent and if used on top of everything no staining would be perceived. Fourthly, we could say that, to begin with, it also represents a river, no need to mention what is it made of. Finally, we must answer the question - What kind of liquid would be respectable enough to match the five birds representing the sanctity of Edward and the symbol of Christ Himself? It shouldn't spoil, foul or in any way desecrate the plot already organized.


The answer could only be holy water, a perfect match for the sanctified flock of birds and for the cross. Incidentally it's commonly spread by aspersion, meaning that maybe it rests on top of all charges, still considering the aforesaid transparency. Note that the expression in Anglo-Norman is euwe benette, but it may be easily admitted for the end of the 14th century that English could affect the metonymy. But it wouldn't even be needed in its strictest form, due to the extended religious environment of the blazon. Without a doubt the whole is influenced by the status of Edward as a saint. Formally, we have another converging metonymization:


Edward > St Edward > saint > holy

one pitcher > contents > holy water > holy


Furthermore we need to justify the blue convention for water. The perception of this colour in shallow extensions is normally seen as caused by reflection and scattering of sky light, but it doesn't suit well a generalization. Supplementary the sea is intrinsically blue even during a thunderstorm when the sky has tones of grey. This blue is faintly seen in snow and ice, all resulting from the same physical phenomenon. Those were probably the shades of blue inspiring heraldry and also many other representations of water too. Still, as oceans are its most powerful, large and majestic expression, the mechanism of sublimation emerged to paint any form or amount of water blue; a triple converging metonymy:


sea > bluish

seawater > bluish

any water > bluish


That should end our comments on the arms of St Edward the Confessor, but we just happened to find a sixth semantic level, so this series isn't finishing now as stated before. Luckily enough it won't harm the sequence of presentation within the prior levels; instead it's more like a complement enclosing everything we've already said.



 Edward the Confessor - Azul
Attributed Arms R Edward the Confessor
Hydronym M River Itchen
Linguistic Hybridization V English ~ Anglo-Norman
Denominant A Itchen
Graphemization A  I  |  T  |  C  |  H  |  E  |  N 
Phonemization A i  |  tS  |  @  |  n
Pairing A i  |  tS  |  @  |  n
A i  |  S  |  @  |  n
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of character A 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of position A 0.0 | 1.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Addends A 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Discretion index A k = 0.19
Homographic heterophony A ch(enne) > [k(@n)]
A ch(enne) < [S(@n)]
Phonemization A i | S | @ | n
Graphemization A I | | C | H | E | N | N | E
Designant A I chenne
Other nouns E une chenne
Diverging metonymy S I(chenne) < I (letter i) < I
S I (chenne) < I (number 1) < I
Simple monosemy S azure
S I chenne
Converging metonymy S Edward > St Edward > saint > holy
S 1 pitcher > contents > holy water > holy
Tincture H bluish Azure
Immanence C water
Contrast C or
Converging metonymy, Sublimation S sea > bluish
S seawater > bluish
S any water > bluish
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H flory
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 VI/VI)

Autoria e outros dados (tags, etc)

Published at 00:24

St Edward the Confessor: Tincture Or (4/6)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 23.08.12
Edward the Confessor - Attributed Arms

We finally arrived at the point where tinctures are considered. How sure are we that this kind of colourful parophonic supposition is reasonable enough to be accepted? Why tinctures aren't always attributed to a natural property of the entities we see outlined in blazons? Well, unfortunately things are not that simple. Nobody can be sure that such or such representation is canting, for example. Even “obvious” representations as the arms used by the King of León (Argent a lion purpure) have been denied their canting status. Some authors say that this lion may well represent the strength and character of the king, instead of a pun that remembers the name of the kingdom: Llion ~ llion (leo. lion). It's a matter of personal interpretation, which will coincide or not with the primitive intentions.


It is perfectly admissible that colours may be canting, even in a conservative view. They normally arise as plain tinctures like in Rossi ~ Rossi (ita. reds), where the full red of the shield turns this evidence into an unavoidable explanation. The parophonic methodology allows a richer domain of interpretation, even explaining small chromatic details, otherwise disdained. Contrarily, what seems to be a natural and well-behaved blue tincture may hide a surprising unsuspected signification, as the blue field used in the arms of the kings of France. Of course, most of the time figurations show their proper colours in heraldry.


What makes the denial of this kind of phenomenon somewhat unreasonable is that canting arms are perceived as a general and acknowledged manifestation in heraldry. Therefore, if it occurs in other instances, it should occur in this particular case too. The same may be said about parophony, with the difference that here the circumscribed universe is much larger. It may reach every aspect of emblazonment: figurations, separations, attitudes, tinctures, etc.


There is almost nothing left for an arbitrary choice, each heraldic trace seem to be prone to a deliberate parophonic intention or result from an immanence of the other elements already represented. But if you see blue lions, pink eagles or green skies, believe me, there is more than simple aesthetical choice there. Medievals were not fools or naïve, as some may comfortably like to think, perhaps to justify the insanity and senselessness of our own time.


But we must leave our generalizations and recall the cross and birds of St Edward. We noted before that “or” could be an appropriate tincture for our cross. Wood, gold, brass or bronze suited perfectly the artefact and could indeed be the reason behind the colour. Besides, we already proposed that the four fleurs-de-lis at the limbs would be the same present in St Edward's Crown. Couldn't it be assumed that the rest of the material of the cross was gold, a sort of yellow - case closed - or maybe not? Yes and no. We do accept that the cross appearing in the arms of St Edward was made in gold. But we shouldn't refuse other contributions from parophonies encompassing this property of the heraldic cross as long as they don't conflict. That's precisely the case and we'll see it next.


After these considerations on the cross we must now turn our attention to the birds. Martlets were inspired on swallows, a well known gregarious bird, with a small beak and tiny legs, so that we hardly can't see them, both in real life and in the simplified drawings of heraldry. Still, there are no yellow swallows and even birds with this full colour are hard to find in Europe.


The fact that martlets stand for birds in general doesn't help much, they appear in all available tinctures. The attributed arms of Sussex that include six of them - three, two and one - appear in late documents and it's difficult to draw definite conclusion from there. It looks like they were inspired by the attributed arms studied in this post, and we mention the parophony Sussex ~ Suos (lat. his) sex (lat. six), that seems to refer someone in particular. Maybe the author didn't know or ignored the parophony - Seint ~ Cinc - applied to Edward and conveniently admitted six birds in the flock, using Latin as an archaising tool. Agreeing with this inspiration, these arms should be created after the end of the 14th century. The remaining aspects we must leave for further research.


For the general case we could admit that brown swallows were transformed into gold, a pertinent assumption, or that the glow of the cross in gold would tint the martlets. This could also be understood by some to derive from a cruciform nimbus at the circular rim around the coin and the cross, the whole spreading its light to the doves; but there are no colours in coins and Edward wasn't recognized as a saint at this time.


Let us remark one more thing about our parophonic methodology. The vast majority of the referent's metonymies are geographical and we still haven't applied none. Why is that? Probably because the arms were based on a numismatic representation and these would demand a different inspiration. Remember that the three metonymies we've already found were based on anthroponymy - Edouard ~ Et due harde - and status - Seint ~ Cinc along with C(e) roi ~ Crois. This is decidedly puzzling compared to the average, the more so if no additional parophonies existed and any geographical metonymies weren't allowed consequently.


The capital of Edward the Confessor was Winchester and only later with the Norman rule it would move to London. We saw in the arms of Sagremor - Aquincenses ~ Ac quini sentes - that demonyms may play a part in translating the referent into pictures. This is also the case for King Edward, not in the plural form used for the fictive Hungarian knight but as another circumstance of his life: someone that lived in Winchester. Notice that Edward wasn't born there; the parophony is linked to the city as the capital of the Kingdom, not as the King's birthplace.


The parophony is built using J' Wincestrin (ano. I Wintonian) ~ Juints cestrins (ano. together lemon yellow). We weren't able to find this specific Anglo-Norman word Wincestrin, or any other, for the inhabitants of Winchester. It is possible, however, to find Wincestre for the name of the city and then compare it with other known demonyms like Parisin, and infer the necessary conclusions. “Together” refers to anything that can be counted inside the shield, obviously excluding the uncountable field, needed for contrast, moreover.


Also note that Je (ano. I) is transformed into J' when preceding vocalic sounds but even before consonants in the oral practice and that the plural endings in “s” are silent. The pronunciation of the first syllable of Wincestrin could well be [win] instead of [wẼ], according to the local nature of the word. The discretion index would be slightly changed from k = 0.0 to k = 0.30, nothing to be alarmed, but we preferred to accompany the obvious intention to equalize sounds, maybe being a bit too much enthusiastic on the Frenchy aspects of Anglo-Norman.


Both the denominant and the designant see their meaning limited by metonymization. The former as two converging metonymies:


I > the coat of arms > the bearer > Edward

Wintonian > living in Winchester > the king > Edward


The latter as two simple distinct metonymies:


together > everything > figurations > cross and martlets

lemon yellow > yellowish > or


We might have classified the last metonymy as a sublimation, where the golden tone would reflect the most flattering choice among any yellow hues. But note that we already have a chromatic pretext founded on the fleurs-de-lis and further that anything yellowish would inevitably be described as or. Therefore the colour of the cross and birds must be understood not as lemon yellow but as gold, transformed and described by the emblazonment practices. This doesn't happen always, some figurations do need to keep their yellow identity in order to improve consistency. Chromatic metonymizations don't take place then, contrarily to their description in blazoning, a conventional language.


But we also need to justify why the birds are gold in the plot of the arms as a drawing. It seems insufficient to state that their colour derive from the lemon yellow parophony. This coherence keeps the whole together and helps us to assert that it would be quite difficult to emerge from other reason than intention. Cestrin is often linked with the description of precious stones. At that period, all that we could imagine would be some gems set on the cross, but they are not. Additionally, there was to technical capacity to manufacture the cross or the martlets as entirely cut from such stones.


We must look for another explanation. Let's come back to the identification of these five martlets with the sanctity of Edward through their number, Seint ~ Cinc and condition as a flock, Edouard ~ Et due harde. It's legitimate to think that the colour could be associated with this condition. They shouldn't reflect then the glow of the golden cross, as guessed before, but an inner glow of sanctity.


The glow is conventionally represented by a halo around the heads of saints when depicted as human figures. Regarding birds, the dove of the Holy Ghost normally appears as entirely white with a yellow splendour around it which comes from within. We will learn in the fifth semantic level that also the blue tincture is “holy” so there was no semantic advantage to mingle the field with a halo. That would appear an odd technique for the emblazonment of this period anyway. What happened is that the author of the blazon just simplified the glowing halo through the tincture of the martlets changed from inside. In the same manner a star was covered by a cloud and changed from yellow to black in the arms of Sagremor. A realistic technique would paint all the cloud white, but that wouldn't carry the hidden semantic component, ignoring the presence of the star. All we need is a feasible construction, that may “excuse” the determinative aspects of the parophony upwards, unusual as it may be, deriving from chance.


 Edward the Confessor - Flock
Attributed Arms R Edward the Confessor
Demonym M Wintonian
Language of Conquest V Anglo-Norman
Denominant A j' Wincestrin
Converging metonymy S I > the coat of arms > the bearer > Edward
S Wintonian > lives in Winchester > king > Edward
Graphemization A  J'  |    |  W  |  I  |  N  |  C  |  E  |  S  |  T  |  R  |  I  |  N 
Phonemization A Z  |  w  |  Ẽ  |  s  |  E  |  s  |  t |  R\  |  Ẽ
Pairing A Z  |  w  |  Ẽ  |  s  |  E  |  s  |  t |  R\  |  Ẽ
A Z  |  w  |  Ẽ  |  s  |  E  |  s  |  t |  R\  |  Ẽ
Coefficient of transposition A 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|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0
Coefficient of position A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0
Addends A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0
Discretion index A k = 0.0
Phonemization A Z | w | Ẽ | s | E | s | t | R\ | Ẽ
Graphemization A J | U | I | N | T | S | | C | E | S | T | R | I | N | S
Designant A juints cestrins
Coloration E lemon yellow
Simple monosemy S or
S lemon yellow
Tincture H Azure
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H flory
Placement H cantoned with
Number H four
Figuration H martlets
Connective H and
Number H another
Placement H in base
Simple metonymy S together > everything > figurations > cross & martlets
Simple metonymy, Redundancy S lemon yellow > yellowish > or
Tincture H lemon yellow or
Immanence, Redundancy C gold (fleurs-de-lis)
Contrast C azure


(next article in this series is V/VI)

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Published at 16:53

Sagremor: Tincture Gules (3/3)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 13.07.12
Sagremor - Attributed Arms

We end the study of Sagremor's arms with the first semantic level, the appropriate order to show their organization. This doesn't mean that the author of the blazon has adopted any predetermined sequence. On the contrary, he must have tried several possibilities before completing his work. The parophony is described by Ungaria (lat. Hungary) ~ Ungo (lat. smear with oil) area (lat. area), maybe the most obvious of all three parophonies due to the nickname of Sagremor: the Hungarian. Its visual consequence is rather simple, nearly demanding other components to fill the excessive modesty of a plain shield in red. It must be added that a low discretion index was found: k = 0.25, quite reasonable as before. During the evaluation of this indicator we used the diphthongation of oa inside ungo area, pairing with Ungaria to be transformed into Ungoarea.


The theme of this parophony seems to avoid the habits acquired in Aquincenses ~ Ac quini sentes and in Danubius ~ Da nubis. The indirect composition of the “sky” is took for granted in the background of the stars and the cloud. This disengagement is true regarding the parophony's sematization but not in its enactment itself. A red sky is perfectly feasible during twilight. The occasion will also admit the sight of a cloud and any brighter stars or planets. Nonetheless, ungo is first applied to the surface of the shield specified with area, only then it can be assigned to the heavens as a natural consequence of an admittedly coherent visual structure. The sematization establishes the metonymy:


area > field > shield's field > shield.


We may find a quote of an “anointed” shield in the Second Book of Samuel: “... For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more ...”[1]. A shield made of wood and covered with leather, as in medieval times, demanded a good maintenance and a periodical protection. But it's not the oil that will colour the artefact used by Sagremor but the implicit idea of being made or coated in leather, therefore with a reddish or brownish coloration, likely to inspire the red tincture of a heraldic shield.


The chromatic configuration seems to be arbitrary but this impression disappears after examining our former analyses in depth. A selection of convenient natural colours for the stars outside the quarter will give yellow, white or blue. Likewise the cloud could be white or black, whereas the shield in tanned leather would only allow red. Regarding the covered star it would consent black or maybe white as a “bleaching” of the other stellar tincture, eventually a representation of darkness or fading. A few possibilities exist, we dispose the colours by order: stars + field + quarter + star in the quarter.


Azure + Gules + Sable + Argent (no)
Azure + Gules + Sable + Sable (no)
Azure + Gules + Argent + Argent (no)
Azure + Gules + Argent + Sable (no)
Or + Gules + Sable + Argent (no)
Or + Gules + Sable + Sable (no)
Or + Gules + Argent + Argent (no)
Or + Gules + Argent + Sable (yes)
Argent + Gules + Sable + Argent (no)
Argent + Gules + Sable + Sable (no)
Argent + Gules + Argent + Argent (no)
Argent + Gules + Argent + Sable (yes)


We may see that only two of the twelve hypotheses are completely acceptable. Most of the options are rejected with the application of the law of contrasts. Two other will be at the limit of acceptability due to the inclusion of a black cloud, which we deem less adequate. Besides they show red next to black, although sometimes these tinctures may be found together in heraldry. Finally, two successful combinations remain of which one repeats the same colour in the cloud and in the paired stars. The eighth arrangement is semantically richer, not surprisingly coincident with the actual blazon of Sagremor.


We may be tempted to associate ungo with the ointment used in a royal coronation, as Sagremor descended from the marriage of the king of Hungary with the daughter of the emperor of Constantinople. Even so, the experience advises us to keep the semantic levels of parophony apart from this strict biographical level, yet if only imaginary. The accomplishment of the drawing is isolated from any personal affinity except those established by the metonymization of the referent. In cases where the choice of several heraldic traces is allowed we've noticed a preference for the stylish tendencies of the time, instead of the personal life of an individual. Note that this doesn't happen with evocative arms.


Despite that, we considered the very name of Sagremor with a solution like Sagremor ~ Sacre (fra. coronation) en or (fra. in gold), abiding by the usual procedures, nevertheless. At least this time the anointing would be linked with the enthronement of his ancestors and we could imagine the stars as spots of oil on the royal clothing in red, a colour already used in medieval ceremonies. The component en or would concern the objects needed to keep and apply the ointment, also described by early sources. This solution conflicts with the semantic level proposed before, which favours ungo as an ordinary utilitarian action. Further, we would have to explain the quarter and the black star, a problem unlikely to be solved. It's preferable to imagine here an entirely textual interpretation, redundant with our exposition, not at all attached to the visual semantics. We must wait for more research on the Knights of the Round Table to decide on the presence of a common pattern including the names of the bearers of the arms.


[1] 2 Sm 1, 21.



Attributed Arms R Sagremor
Territory M Hungary
Imaginary Language V Ungaria (latim)
Denominant A Ungaria
Graphemization A U | N | G | A | R | I | A
Phonemization A u | N | G | a | 4 | i | a
Pairing A u | N | G | a | 4 | i | a
A u | N | G | oa | 4 | e | a
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0
Coefficient of character A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0
Coefficient of position A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 0.0
Addends A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0
Discretion index A k = 0.25
Phonemization A u | N | G | o | | a | 4 | e | a
Graphemization A U | N | G | O | | A | R | E | A
Designant A ungo | area
Action + Geometry E smear with oil + area
Simple monosemy S red
S smear the shield with oil
Simple metonymy S area > field > shield's field > shield
Tincture H reddish Gules
Immanence C leather
Contrast C or, argent
Number H two
Figuration H mullets (of five points)
Tincture H or
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 (the three mullets)
Disposition H (set two and one)


(next analysis in this blog is here)

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Published at 17:35

Salerno: Sun & Tincture Argent

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 15.06.12
Salerno - Attributed Arms



Arms described in the Wijnbergen Roll, a French armorial from the end of the 13th century[1]. They appear to be consensual canting arms but the reason never seemed to be sufficiently explained. It must be related with the magnificence of the solar representation at the centre of the shield, duly surrounded with the sixteen rays of the heraldic rule[2]. This would determine the semantic logic for the interpretation Salerno ~ Solerno, as usual leaving the remainder to be explained: either the suffix rno or the argent background. We may suspect a connection with the local domain of the Hohenstaufen due to the same tincture on both fields but we can't recall any such suspictions from someone else. Typically, it is possible that all the attention was given to the immediately intelligible visual elements.


We've tried a thorough approach during the thesis' research period but only recently we have achieved better and sustainable results. During that first analysis we'd chosen the now abandoned parophony: Salerno ~ Sole (ita. Sun) + ernia (ita. hernia) with a few inconsistencies. The first refers to the language of verbalization concerning the choice of the Italian Sole. Despite the Wijnbergen Roll being the first document where these arms appear they are not guaranteed to be an original representation; if so French or Latin should have been chosen instead. In addition, there are no prior or even contemporary Italian armorials and it would be difficult to admit one of the many medieval peninsular linguistic variants. Besides, the semantic integration of the “sun” and the “hernia” is inadequate, although justifying the visual association. Regarding the absurd of a “herniated sun”, this wouldn't be any real problem. We may witness a hybrid of a goat and a cock, two chopped hands hovering over a castle and three gigantic mirrors each one stick on a mountain,[3] all included in the class of arms generally recognized as canting and available in the thesis. We were certainly influenced by the already known conventional interpretations, which lent an important role to the Sun, forcing a transformation Sale/Sole. The remainder of the parophony: rno, is irreparably harmed on account of the same reasons we've mentioned. It remains to acknowledge that the white or argent tincture of the shield was also left unexplained.


The denominant we use now: Salernum (lat. Salerno), is the name of the city and eventually the name of the territory, presumably the homonymous Principality, despite the factual integration in the Kingdom of Sicily and the mention of a fabulous King of Salerno in the text, as expected. Once again Latin appears as the language of verbalization, consequently classified as an attributed language like in Portucalis ~ Porta cales. We can't tell if it was “chosen” as a general elitist language or resulting from a natural association with the Latin territory of Campania.


Regarding the designant: Sal eremum, it's a compound polysemy because the two textual components generate more than two heraldic traces, even if implicitly. The literal translation of each word alone: salt and uninhabited or desert, may be joined as “salt at the desert” and extended somewhat liberally as a “salt desert”. Although the nearer such desert is located in Northern Africa, as far as we know, we'll find again possible inspirations in the Bible: … terram fructiferam in salsuginem, a malitia inhabitantium in ea // Il à changé le sol le plus fécond en un terrain aussi sec que si l'on y avoit semé du sel, et tout cela pour punir la méchanceté des habitants[4]. However, it is through the semiotic analysis that we may be convinced of the accuracy of our conclusions.


Apparently, this integration within the scope of parophony can't be guided by strict clause rules, difficult to apply as the verb is frequently absent. Moreover they were conditioned by the entirely accidental building of the designant. This integration would help to metamorphose words, starting by taking each separate signification and only then looking for the composition of a meaning, in order to obtain one or more images. In parophonies, declinations and all the inflexions in general work more as enabling the identity of words than as semantic modifiers. Clearly, more examples are needed to acquire confidence on this type of generalizations.


Let's calculate the discretion index.[5] After pairing the denominant with the designant: /s//s/, /a//a/, /l//l/, /E//e/, /r//4/, /_//e/, /n//m/, /u//u/, /m//m/, we may note that the quantity of phonemes is bigger in the last so: max(nD,nd) = max(8,9) = 9[6]. There are no transpositions, thus t = 0; we analyse then the rest of the phonetic transformations. These occur with the pairings: /E//e/, /r//4/, /_//e/, /n//m/ and only the pair /_//e/ is heterogeneous enough to allow c = 1,0; the other three, quite alike, give us c = 0.5. All the transformations are in the internal phonemes, requiring p = 1.0. The summation supplies: 0.5 × 1.0 + 0.5 × 1.0 + 1.0 × 1.0 + 0.5 × 1.0 = 0.5 + 0.5 + 1.0 + 0.5 = 2.5, obtaining k = (2.5 × 2)/max(8, 9) = 5.0/9 = 0.556; therefore, we may affirm the fairness of the parophony, knowing that k < 1. We ignore if it would be possible to include a phenomenon specific to this example in the formula used to find k. It happens that the sounds /E/r/ ~ /e/4/e/ hardly justify such a great influence in the value of the discretion index: about 80% of k . The pronunciation of both words betray some contraction among the central phonemes of the designant, tending to delete the second /e/, which would significantly decrease the value we've found for k. Despite that it seems premature to make such improvements in the mathematical model at this point.


The first element of the designant: salt, may easily be accepted as being represented in the white tincture of the shield. We've already found other perfectly identical examples of the same parophonic association. However seemingly unnecessary to mention, the semantic redundancy of the second element, eremum, reinforces the heraldic trace by filling the space around the Sun with a simple metonymy: desert > vast > solid field. Furthermore, as we know, salt may be obtained by the evaporative action of sunrays. Such a circumstance will articulate with the aridity associated with the desert through a compound metonymy. We have on the one hand the sequential metonymization: salt > evaporation > heat > Sun and on the other hand: desert > hot > heat > Sun, both converging to the same. Despite the dominance of the Sun in the drawing it's only a complement, more precisely a prop, never mentioned directly by the designant, as we thought previously.


Comparing the above with Portucalis ~ Porta cales, two distinct visual versions of the Sun emerge. The first is fairly simple: round and yellow; in reality it behaves as exclusively complementary, characterizing the blue of the field as Heaven and also feeding the heat of Hell. The second, we study now, shows the classic traces of a heraldic Sun with rays, occupying the largest advisable area of the field at the centre. The solar disc is golden in both, but a red tincture is added to the second, painting the surrounding rays. These colours may be based on the most elementary considerations about the nature of the Sun, perhaps we may call it a medieval conception: its heat seemed to disappear almost completely during the rigorous European winters but its light remained unchanged. Therefore, the fundamental nature of the Sun should have been understood more as a luminous radiance and less as a heating power. Maybe a consequence of the various associations of God with light, eventually inherited from former pagan beliefs. Contrastingly it would be possible to associate the heat of the Sun with Hell, although by divine authority, as we saw. The dichotomy light-heat is needed for the heraldic trace of Salerno because heat is an immanence both of the desert and the Sun, further metonymically linked with salt. Then yellow would relate to light whereas red would represent heat. Although we are aware that the Sun in splendour usually represents that star entirely in red[7], we remember that formal heraldic rules will appear only many years later.


[1] CLEMMENSEN, Steen - Armorial Wijnberghen - Farum: Accessed 13 June 2012, available in: <>, 2009.

[2] TIMMS, Brian - Heraldry - [s.l] : Accessed 13 June 2012, available in: <>, 2011.

[3] Respectively the counties of Ziegenhein, Antwerp and Spiegelberg.

[4] BERTHIER, Guillaume F. - Les Psaumes Traduites en François, avec des Réflexions - 3rd ed. Vol. IV - Adrien Le Clère - Paris - 1807.

[5] See the post Portucalis: Door & Bezant.

[6] We use, as before, the X-SAMPA alphabet.

[7] The translation refers to the Portuguese heraldic practice of a sun with sixteen rays, all in red, emblazoned as a “sombra de Sol”.



Attributed Arms R King of Salerno
Territorial M Salerno
Imaginary language V Salernum (Latin)
Denominant A Salernum
Graphemization A S | A | L | E | R | N | U | M
Phonemization A [ s | a | l | E | r | n | u | m ]
Pairing A [ s | a | l | E | r | _ | n | u | m ]
A [ s | a | l | e | 4 | e | m | u | m ]
Coefficient of transposition A 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|0.5|0.5|1.0|0.5|0.0|0.0
Coefficient of position A 0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|1.0|1.0|1.0|0.0|0.0
Addends A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.5|0.5|1.0|0.5|0.0|0.0
Discretion index A k = 0.56
Phonemization A [ s | a | l | _ | e | 4 | e | m | u | m ]
Graphemization A S | A | L | _ | E | R | E | M | U | M
Designant A sal | eremum
Compound polysemy S salt | desert
S salt | hot, vast, arid
Material + Toponymy E salt + desert
Tincture H whitish Argent
Immanence C salt
Contrast C gules
Separation H vastness (solid)
Immanence C desert
Simple metonymy S desert > vast > solid field
Number H 1 a
Compound metonymy 1/2 S desert > arid > hot > heat > Sun
Figuration H Sun Sun in splendour
Filling C shield's area
Centrality C fess point
Prop C source of heat
Tincture H heat gules
Immanence C Sun
Contrast C argent, or
Compound metonymy 2/2 S salt > evaporation > heat > Sun
Figuration H round pierced
Immanence C Sun
Tincture H light or
Immanence C Sun
Contrast C gules


(next analysis in this blog is here)

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Published at 17:46

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