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

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 19.10.12
Kings of Jerusalem

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


(next article in this series is V/XII)

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Published at 23:28

Kings of Jerusalem: Crosslets (3/5)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 12.10.12
Kings of Jerusalem

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


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


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


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


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


G L - rotation of 0º clockwise (identity)

G - rotation of 90º clockwise

G - rotation of 180º clockwise

G - rotation of 270º clockwise

G - reflection through the horizontal limbs

G L - reflection through the vertical limbs

G - reflection through the axis at 45º

G - reflection through the axis at 315º


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


offspring > children > brothers > alike

offspring > children > small


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


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


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


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



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


(next article in this series is IV/XII)

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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

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