Hearsay Heresy

Hearsay Heresy

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 2 February 22, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

(ed. Note that this was written a while ago and some rules of SCA Heraldry may have changed. Consult your local herald.)

Myths and misconceptions among the general populous are widespread enough about heraldry in the SCA. You hear that some things are well known facts. Some stem from bygone ages of SCA heraldry from times when rocks were still soft. There was a time when the furs were considered neither metal nor colour and so gules on counter-ermine was quite all right. (Or so I have heard and I’ve seen registered devices that indicate this the case.) However this is not about the myths and legends of SCA heraldry. It is about something perhaps more important.

Oft times a discussion will grow up about a topic and there will be different points of view coming up. One person will make a statement and someone will respond to it either backing it or contradicting it. This is all fine and good. But sometimes people have different styles of saying things. Sometimes when one person says: “I think ‘A’ is ‘B’.” they mean that they have found research that backs that statement up which would in most circles be considered proof. Other people would say “I think ‘A’ is ‘B’.” when they have heard something somewhere about it but are not 100% sure of the facts while others would phrase it like that if they just guess it would be the case. Different people would interpret the same statement based on their interpretation of the statement. So someone asks a question and someone answers, then someone agrees with that answer and another and another, and the person who asked the question starts to think they have a definitive answer. But then someone answers with something that contradicts that first answer and nobody backs them up. The person who asked the question might wonder what is up, but since more people went with the first answer they figure that is the better answer.

But what if that first person was just guessing and the second one also guessed and the third liked the second and just wanted to back them up. The last one who contradicted them actually had heard something about the case, but couldn’t remember where they had come across the answer.

I think it can be very important to say where your facts came from and just which things are facts and which are guesses and what things you remember hearing, but can’t recall where from when answering someone’s request. It is important not to post an answer simply to agree with someone if you really don’t know. It can give a false sense of surety to an answer which might not have much basis in fact to support it. Perhaps this is where some of those myths get started?

Someone guesses something. It is repeated as something someone heard or read somewhere. It gets quoted as coming from a reliable source. It becomes commonly quoted and then something well known enough that nobody has to quote its source.

If nobody can answer, perhaps then a guess might be the best bet, but state outright that it is a guess. If you can’t remember the source state that directly and perhaps whatever you can remember as to the possible source. Perhaps it might remind someone of where the actual information came from and spur someone to be able to find the actual source. But best if you know it, include where you know the fact from and tell where someone else can find the same information as best as possible. Make it possible for someone else to retrace the steps needed to find that gem of knowledge.

Remember that someone listening to you might believe you to be an expert on a subject that you know little about and they will quote verbatim what they hear you say.

The Heretical Herald is an independent Publication not associated with the SCA Inc.
or any College of Arms or College of Heraldry either in the SCA or elsewhere.
It will be published on an irregular basis as material warrants.
H. Herald editor

-© 2004 by H Herald.
Creators of original content included in
The Heretical Herald retain copyright.

Norse Code

Norse Code

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 2 February 22, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

(ed. Note that this was written a while ago and some rules of SCA Heraldry may have changed. Consult your local herald.)

Borre-style gripping beast; Lisbjerg gripping-beast; Norse Jelling-beast; Norse Serpent; Norse Sun Cross; Sable and Gules, Iron and Blood; and probably some other things I’ve missed are all things people would like to use in their devices. Some of these things simply aren’t allowed any more. They’ve been determined to be incompatible with SCA heraldry though you will see some of these things in devices registered in the past you wouldn’t be able to get them passed today. Many of them come under the term “zoomorphic beast” which has not been allowed since October 1998. Some people feel it unfairly restricts the expression of their persona’s culture in their heraldic design. This is true because lines must be drawn somewhere. But it need not necessarily restrict the expression of their persona’s culture in their heraldic display!

One creative bit of heraldry which you might be able to find somewhere in An Tir is a person who wanted to have a Celtic unicorn as one of their charges. Unfortunately such beasts were not registerable at that time if they ever were. After trying unsuccessfully an elegant solution was found. They simply registered their charge as a Unicorn and used artistic license when depicting the unicorn to do so in a Celtic style. It was simple. The client is happy with a Celtic unicorn on their banner, the College of Arms is happy without having to bend the rules to allow for a charge that doesn’t fit. The Heretical Herald is happy that people are happy. Though indeed this is not his solution he is happy to use it and recommend it as necessary.

There are other places where such solutions can be applied. For instance any animal where there is a Celtic variation on a Heraldic or Natural plant or animal. Likely there are other cultures such as the Norse, which this could be applied to as well. In a pinch, I suspect you could figure a way to do a “Lisbjerg gripping-beast” even. Now to my relatively untrained eye the Lisbjerg gripping-beast appears to be a smiling man lying on his side with right hand gripping left wrist and right foot grasping his neck. (The image I have seen shows his head to sinister so I have reversed right and left for one with the head to dexter as is more conventional with charges) It might be a bit of a stretch, but could you blazon a “smiling man lying on his right side grasping his left wrist with his right leg bent so his foot reaches his neck”. Simpler would be a Norse Serpent or Jelling-beast which could be described as the closest serpent or other animal and then once more just rendered appropriately with artistic license once registered.

I’d even recommend such artistic styling even without any desire for an oddness to a charge just to make the heraldic display more suited to the person carrying it. Many cultures did not use standard European heraldry, so even though this heraldry does add so much to the SCA pageantry why not take that “C” for “creative” and add some cultural flare to it. I’ve seen some interesting examples particularly with some Japanese persona bearing devices much like Japanese “Mon” and Norse Warrior types carrying shields with devices with definite Norse flare to their design. I have even seen some definite Imperial Roman style on some early Roman Britain devices.

But do remember, not to overstep. Please don’t go registering a “mole hill” and render it artistically into a “mountain” and thus conflict with someone else’s device. So don’t register a “boar” but have it painted as a “bear” just because a “bear” would have conflicted with someone.

Powerful tools can be dangerous so use them with care!

The Heretical Herald Rides Again!

Aside

The badge of the SCA Herald

The badge of the SCA Herald (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greetings, I’m dusting off the old table and gathering up fresh parchment, for I am going to try another go at publishing “The Heretical Herald” once more! I hope that any conservative heralds do not cringe at the thought of a heretical herald, for I am quite conservative… just a bit creative.

My goal is to educate and share the creativity that can be a part of heraldry. I try for a lighthearted approach to make heraldry fun. Sure there are a lot of rules and regulations, but there is also the Art of Heraldry! There is the humour of “cants”. (Not “can’t, but “cant”.)

Good heraldry actually has a lot in common with good website design and good graphic art design. You would be surprised perhaps at how much these things have in common with heraldry. (Just try to read dark blue writing on a black background in the small print on the back of an item in the grocery store.)

antirfldsmll

Populous Badge for the population of the SCA Kingdom of Antir.

Iwill be writing from the point of view of a herald residing in the SCA Kingdom of An Tir. Be aware that there may be biases towards the way we do things up here.

I plan to contribute to this site on a regular basis, though I did in the past as well. LOL

Enjoy the ride!

 

H.H.

 

Hark the Heretical Herald V1:2

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 2 February 22, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

Hark the Heretical Herald.

T

Coat of Arms in Metal

Coat of Arms in Metal (Photo credit: Looking for a Lighthouse)

his is the second issue of the Herald, I hope that you enjoyed the first and find this one equally informative and even more enjoyable. With a little luck and work any teething problems that haven’t been dealt with yet will be soon. Let us know if you see any room for improvement. We might not act on your recommendation, but be assured that we will listen.

If you are wondering why you are seeing the premier issue appearing at the same time as this issue it is because I wanted there to be a slightly larger body of work available when we first made our appearance. Also before the formal announcement of the whole project I had more ideas for articles and such which I did not wish to overburden the first issue with.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this and I hope you find it useful and entertaining.

H. Herald editor

Hello world!

Cambridge University Heraldry--horizontal array

Cambridge University Heraldry–horizontal array (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

In 2004 I was very active in Heraldry in The Society for Creative Anachronism Inc. — SCA Inc. — and prided myself with finding solutions that made my clients — as a Herald Extraordinaire — quite happy. I did realize there were interesting problems that people didn’t have solutions for… but I could find unconventional solutions for. On the other hand, I found that often, more conservative solutions, once explained suited better.

Often it was a matter of misunderstandings of just why certain rules were in place, and sometime it wasn’t a matter of rule at all, but rumour and memory of past mistake in application of rules. I decided to set forth in a slightly light hearted — masked hero — manner to come to the rescue and thus the Heretical Herald was born!

My thought was to somehow publish a slightly humorous publication to educate and entertain both seasoned herald and novice alike in the area of heraldry. This was a tall order being that many many heralds were senior to me. However I was one to sit at the feet of giants and actually listen and more so to ask questions.

An so my original website “The Heretical Herald” was born back 8 years ago.

It is my plan to bring back the articles I printed in the short run of that publication as well as to add to it. This format makes for less work in the publication — something that really bogged down the original. So if you knew the original, you will recognize some of the work. I also plan on new material including articles that will teach heraldry to the novice and beginner.

The articles will be published in this column. I only can wish for readers.

HH.