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Objection I - The Clustered Plates

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 24.02.12

Q: Wouldn't the occurrence of plates, clustered as in a pinecone during the same period studied in the thesis, refute your proposition?

A: These escutcheons, compared to grapes or pinecones by Baron Pinoteau, appear as an agglomeration of plates inside the escutcheon, in a much larger quantity than the typical eleven. The fact that they do exist is inconsistent with the solution given in the thesis, I concede, disagreeing, however, on its refutation. As these studies don't belong to the field of exact sciences but instead to human sciences, other factors must be taken into consideration, inevitably.

I believe that during the initial establishment of those symbols some indecision may have transformed the main idea. Either because the referents' metonymy has changed, as I suspect it has occurred with the carbuncle - still recalling Guimarães - or because the referent had a different motivation, as in the maravedis of Sancho I - celebrating the census paid to the Holy See - or even because the verbal accommodation leaded to an alternative perception, as it seems to be the case for the cluster of plates. Another factor to influence that hesitation, patent in the design of the seals, must have been the early birth of the Portuguese coat of arms. As there wasn't a harmonic regulation, embodied later in the institution of the officers of arms, it would still be acceptable to exhibit distinct versions for the same referent. Moreover they seem to appear first in the remote Flanders where triangular Portuguese escutcheons were documented, for example.

Those representations, although keeping the denominant in the parophony Mondeci ~ Undecim, would not produce the usual eleven plates or beads. The designant changed and, consequently, the heraldic trace also has changed, this time using Mondeci ~ M Undecim (lat. one thousand and eleven). As it was unfeasible to draw such a number explicitly, a figurative metonymy was applied: the cluster of plates. Calling it a semé, as proposed by the Marquis of Abrantes, would mean the same: an uncountable quantity.

See about this subject:


PINOTEAU, H. - Nouvelles Recherches sur les Origines des Armes de Portugal - in Genealogia e Heráldica: Actas do 17º Congresso Internacional das Ciências Genealógica e Heráldica , Lisbon: Instituto Português de Heráldica, 1989 , Vol. II, pp. 421–442.


TÁVORA, L. G. de Lancastre e - Apontamentos de Armaria Medieval Portuguesa VII: Da Origem das Armas de Portugal (à Guisa de Recensão) - Armas e Troféus, Instituto Português de Heráldica, Lisbon, V Série - Tomos III e IV, pp. 49–97, 1982–1983.

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