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Guernsey - Canting Level

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 06.05.17

In accordance with our methodological approach, we report the development of a new semantic proposition for the canting level in the arms of Guernsey: gules, three leopards or, armed an langued azure”.


Semantic level: canting.
Denominant's verbalization: English.
Designant's verbalization: English.
Canting plot: ethological.
Canting syntax: article + noun + verb + noun.
Canting trace: shield » aspect & coloration » langued azure.
Number of graphemes: 8 ~ 15.
Primary onset: 0.
Cypher: 863.
Credibility: excellent.
Difficulty: difficult.

Have a look at the methodology


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Published at 10:10

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

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 heatgules
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

Portucalis: Door & Bezant

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 14.04.12


This shield is mentioned in the Zurich Roll of Arms (Zürcher Wappenrolle) dating from mid 14th century, along with several other attributed arms. For our analysis it has the benefit of being consensually recognized as canting, at least in the first half referring a door (porta). The authors of the text and illustrations seem to be the same person, inferring a simultaneous execution. It also contains some text additions with a distinct calligraphy of the 16th century, including the arms we are studying now. The reading of the corresponding legend would be Portugal rex[1], in Latin, or according to others Portegalien[2], indeed Germanised but uncertain. We favour the first version, in spite of the difficult interpretation; in any case there are few or no doubts that this shield is related to Portugal.


Further than any palaeographic appreciation, some of the said supplementary writing appear in a Latinised form: Hispania, Britania, Arragon, whereas others are decidedly Germanic: Schotten, Rom or Frankreich[3]. Anyway, as a late addition, it would hardly influence the reasoning behind the construction of a denominant. Neither the language used would be decisive in an eventual genuine textual legend, given that the emblazonment could be a copy of an earlier armorial or alternatively its own creation. It wouldn't imply that the verbalization of the referent's metonym followed necessarily the text. The use of Latin seems to be rare for attributed arms, but we believe to occur here.


The comparison with other rolls of arms shows common or quite similar attributed arms as for the shields of Jerusalem, Ruthenia and Satrapy. In the same document we could still attempt an analogy with the entries of Navarre, England and Denmark, which are incomplete or inaccurate, but this is worthless, as they are, probably, new attributed arms. We repeat the question of the first article: Did the author ignore the true blazon of the Portuguese king? The answer must be the same; maybe there was even a bigger unawareness because we can't, in any respect, assert the association of the blue tincture and the bezant of this blazon with the Portuguese coat of arms.


The denominant seems to derive from the referent Portugal as a territory, if we accept the text near to other entries of the Armorial. Next we turn to a lingua franca, Latin, now classified as an imaginary language, modifying Portucalis into a denominant[4]. The solution found for the pair denominant-designant: Portucalis ~ porta cales, is not a perfect parophony as the previous one Portingale ~ porte ingal, treated in Portugal - Attributed Arms II, providing a discretion index k=0,30. We improved, nevertheless, the proposition introduced in the thesis: Portegalien ~ porta galla; not only taking into account our criterion of evaluation, the index k, but due also to the hybridism German-Latin put forward initially and to the lack of integration with the remaining traces of the shield.


Next we detail the calculation sequence starting by pairing the words, in order to verify coherently the comparable sounds, finding a total of n=10 phonemes for each. We already know that identical corresponding phonemes have a null penalty, and in this case they will not provide any addends for the summation, carried out character by character. Similarly we didn't find any phonetical transpositions and the related coefficient is null for all pairs of phonemes. There are only two transformations. The first, most obvious, from /u/ into /a/, will be penalized with a coefficient of character c=1.0; the second, inconspicuous, from /i/ into /e/, assumes the penalty c=0.5. Regarding the place occupied by the phonemes along the word they imply the same coefficient of position p=1.0 because both transformations are internal. We multiply each member and sum, obtaining the intermediate value 1.0 x 1.0 + 0.5 x 1.0 = 1.50, which is multiplied by the quotient 2/max(10,10) = 2/10 = 0.2, resulting 1.50 x 0.2 and k=0.3. As the discretion index k is lower than 1 we may accept the proposition Portucalis ~ porta cales as an heraldic parophony.


The designant porta (lat. door) cales (lat. to be hot) builds a compound monosemy as it articulates two different meanings and produces the same number of distinct heraldic traces, still semantically integrated by means of a metonymic composition. The door is fully apparent in the heraldic trace without any difficulty. The second word, cales, in association with the environment established by porta, will metonymize through to be  hot > hot place. We should then answer the question - How we call a hot place provided with a door? It would seem acceptable to proceed with the metonymization with to be hot > hot place > Hell. This solution shows a nice agreement with the other part of the compound metonymy, converging through the designant into door > address > Hell.


Even if we considered these arguments as reasonable, it would be unreasonable to suppose that the hypothetical sole drawing of a red field with a door could be understood as the address of Satan. Consequently, there was a need to refine the arrangement, without disobeying the basic principle of simplification of the medieval emblazonment. We think the author resourced to oppose a Heaven to the Hell, so that this opposition could exclude any doubts on the theme shown. This heraldic trace was also complemented by the use of a single referent's metonym, disregarding, excessively laborious drawings, as it is advisable and appears insistently in the armorial of imaginary arms.


Hell can be partially seen in the red tincture of the doorway which, by its turn, represents itself in the designant door. The surrounding blue tincture represents Heaven, whereas the Sun, the main heavenly body, in this respect a bit redundant, is supposedly responsible for the heat of Hell, undoubtedly by the grace of God's Hand. The Sun is a simplification, transformed into a bezant or even a ball [5]. The fact that there are no rays goes against the heraldic uses, but this can be explained for its emergence during sematization. It is not a main component, enjoying an absolute semantic capacity, neither a wholly secondary feature displaying a senseless complementation.


As a prop, the Sun is an element necessary to understand the sematization of Heaven, a blue trace, and Hell's, a red trace, inspired accessorily by the solar heat. Notwithstanding, it admits simplification, immanence and contrast, its other attributes as a visual complementation. Some of these ideas may be inspired in numerous biblical passages available to the authors, a common influence at the time, as for example[6]: " ... And they came upon the breadth of the earth and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And there came down fire from God out of heaven and devoured them: and the devil, who seduced them, was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast and the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever ... ".


Complementation didn't modify the drawing except for minor details, mostly exceedingly superfluous, as the horizontal placement of the door, besides contrasts and immanences. Regarding the two leaves of the door, they are made necessary by the symmetry of the drawing. There is a semantic demand to show the red colour inside, leading to the heraldic trace of an open door, inevitably unbalanced with only one leaf. The tincture of the arch and the door is the same, justifiable by the rule of simplification but also coherent with the corresponding colours of stone and metal. Wood seems maladjusted to a burning Hell. As there are no walls the idea of a disguised or hidden location for the infernal abyss is reinforced. Lastly, we add that there is no chance of considering only the arch, that is, representing the Hell without a door. That would be, literally, to let the Devil on the loose ![7]


[1] RUNGE, Heinrich - Die Wappenrolle von Zürich - Ein Heraldisches Denkmal des Vierzehnten Jahrhunderts - Zurich: Antiquarischen Gesellschaft in Zürich, 1860.


[2] CLEMMENSEN, Steen - The Zürich Armorial (Wappenrolle von Zürich) - Farum: Accessed 31 January 2012, available at: <>, 2009.


[3] BIGALSKI, Gerrit - The Zürich Roll of Arms - Accessed 31 January 2012, available at: <>, [s.d.].


[4] The recurring sequence: referent - referent's metonym - verbalization - accommodation - sematization - specification - heraldic trace - complementation, is the same used in the first example and follows detailed in the adjoining table.


[5] Maybe because it seems to be supported by the door.


[6] Revelation 20, 9-10.


[7] We repeat, for convenience, the less obvious abbreviations shown in the table: Referent (R), Referent's Metonym (M), Verbalization (V), Accommodation (A), Sematization (S), Specification (E), Heraldic Trace (H) and Complementation (C).



Attributed Arms R Portugal
Territorial M Portugal
Imaginary language V Portucalis (Latin)
Denominant A Portucalis
Graphemization A P | O | R | T | U | C | A | L | I | S
Phonemization A [ p | O | r | t | u | k | a | l | i | s ]
Pairing A [ p | O | r | t | u | k | a | l | i | s ]
A [ p | O | r | t | a | k | a | l | e | s ]
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0|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|1.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.5|0.0
Coefficient of position A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0
Addends A 0.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|1.0|0.0|0.0|0.0|0.5|0.0
Discretion index A k = 0.30
Phonemization A [ p | O | r | t | a | _ | k | a | l | e | s ]
Graphemization A P | O | R | T | A | _ | C | A | L | E | S
Designant A porta | cales
Compound monosemy S door | to be hot
S door | hot place
Architecture + Notoriety E door + Hell
Tincture H sky Azure
Contrast C argent, or
Opposition S Hell x Heaven
Number H 1 a
Figuration H door door
Filling C shield's area
Symmetry C shield's axis
Orientation C placed horizontally
Centrality C fess point
Connective H door + leaves with
Number H 2 two
Figuration H halves leaves
Immanence C door + Hell
Symmetry C door
Aspect H showing Hell open reversed
Tincture H metallic argent
Contrast C azure, gules
Connective H door + gules the doorway
Compound metonymy 1/2 S door > address > Hell
Tincture H hot gules
Immanence C Hell
Contrast C argent
Compound metonymy 2/2 S to be hot > hot place > Hell
Disposition H 1, 1 surmounted by
Number H 1 a
Figuration H round bezant
Immanence C Sun
Simplification C without rays
Prop C day celestial body
Prop C source of heat
Tincture H golden(or)
Immanence C Sun
Contrast C azure


(next analysis in this blog is here)

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