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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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