Historical Recreation in the Kingdom of Calontir


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Rex Deaver <[log in to unmask]>
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Historical Recreation in the Kingdom of Calontir <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 6 Jan 2019 08:36:31 -0600
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The Falcon Banner has posted a new item, 'How do I create a coat of arms?
Part one: inspiration.

Now that you have a useable name, you need some heraldry to go with it.

We’re lucky that we get to design our own coats of arms.  In period, you
would have been stuck with whatever your great-great-granddad decided to
slap on his shield the night before the big battle that made him famous.
So historical coats of arms did not have “deep personal meaning”, just
layers of family honor.   Period nobility had to resort to badges and
impressa when a new generation wanted add a personal stamp to their
heraldic identity.

Which brings up the question of devices vs arms vs badges.  Your device is
what you would put on your shield, your tabard and your banner in order to
say “I am here.  This is me.”  Your “device” magically becomes your “arms”
when you are given an “Award of Arms” by the Crown.

Your badge is used to mark your followers, children and your property in
order to say, “This is mine.”  (An impressa is an heraldic-ish design that
a late period noble would use to express “deep personal meaning” for
special events.)

It can be fun to have your heraldry match your persona (or your
great-great-grandad’s persona).   We now have lots of period armorials
(collections of coats-of-arms) on-line:  German, Italian, English, French,
Spanish, etc.  Here’s one place to start:
“An Annotated List of Period Armorials Available Online

Even if you don’t plan to match your heraldry to your persona, it’s great
to browse through period armorials for ideas.  (If you find a design you
like, it’s smart to write down where you found it.  Some period heraldry
“breaks the rules”, but we can get around that if you have the

You may notice that a lot of period arms are “canting arms”.  A “cant” is a
pun so, for example, the Talbot family had an image of a dog (a talbot) on
their coat of arms.  This is great for SCA heraldry, too.  Names in period
often have different meanings than we would assume, so that’s fun to

Be careful about resume heraldry.  You may be a brewer, a weaver, and a
fighter, but trying to work in a barrel, a loom and a rapier on your shield
will be messy.  Try to trim your “resume” to one main thing or get more
subtle.  Symbolize your fighting with an embattled bordure, or use yellow
on your shield to symbolize the mead that you brew.

You don’t have to follow the crowd.  Lots of archers have arrows on their
devices, but fewer have pheons (fancy arrowheads).  Why have a plain old
lion when you could have a panther breathing fire?  The Pictorial
Dictionary of SCA Heraldry
<> is a great
resource for the wide variety of charges that have been used in the SCA.
And using period documentation, we can register “new” ones!

As always, the heralds of Calontir stand ready to help.  (See “Heraldic
Bring your ideas to a Heraldic Consult Table at an event or try out the Virtual
Consult Table <>
and we’ll help flesh them out!

At your service,

Sofya la Rus, Habicht Herald

Calontir Heraldic Education Deputy

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