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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

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