Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour office.
Being a small organization still in the start-up years is a two-edged sword. This is evident in the College of Arms probably as much or more than anywhere else within the SMA. On the upside, being small means we do not get very many heraldic submissions each month… which means we have the opportunity to work the finer details of a submission, communicate with the clients and their consulting heralds for even the smallest issues, and fix a lot of administrative problems without having to return submissions for correction. On the downside, being small means we do not have a lot of volunteers for heraldic support and the some of the ones we do have are novices in evaluating names and armoury. Thus, we have a lot of “sole sources” – one person who is the only one who can answer a particular question or who knows where to go for documentation. It also means that we don’t have any experts in several areas of research – names in particular.
On average we have been pretty steady at between 10 and 20 elements to consider each month since opening for new submission. Most of these are names in a language understood by at least one of our staff members and/or arms with a style that matches one of the better documented European countries. As our membership grows, the workload for heraldic submissions will increase – both at the local level for consulting and design and at the College level with the decision meetings. Therefore, I am asking for two things:
First, if you have any herald experience at all, or even if you just have an interest in learning more about heraldry, volunteer. Become a local or regional herald. Sit in on the decision meetings and lend your opinions to the decisions that will shape the future of SMA heraldry. I’ve been studying heraldry since I was 8 years old and have served at every level of herald in reenactment groups over the last 41 years. It’s been both fun and rewarding.
Second, if you are a client, please seek out a consulting herald. If you can’t find one in your local area, please be familiar with the rules for submission. We have had numerous submissions over the last 15 months that did not meet the technical requirements for being considered or registered. The staff put in some herculean effort to avoid having to kick most of them back administratively. However, as things progress, that will become untenable. We will either have time to fill in the blanks or time to process submissions, but probably not both. When we reach that point, administrative returns will become inevitable. As an example, I am currently looking at a name, arms, and populace badge submission for a new local group. The badge does not meet the definition in the Rules for Submission and none of the elements have the required petition signed by the majority of paid members within the group. I am hoping to resolve both issues through email and phone calls over the next three weeks to avoid a return next month.
This month we have 1 return and no pends. See below for the details.
1. Álendia, Kingdom of – New Award
This award is given at the discretion of the Crown to recognize outstanding heraldic display.
2. Álendian Leather Workers Guild – New Guild Badge
(Fieldless) A wooden handled awl argent hafted proper.
3. Álendian Metal Artisans Guild – New Guild Badge
(Fieldless) A hammer argent hafted proper maintaining on its head a flame gules.
4. Cnoc Fraochán, Marche of – New Heraldic Title
A hurt in heraldry is a roundel azure. The Marche arms have three hurts as the central charges. This title uses the pattern of heraldic titles stemming from heraldic charges.
5. Daniel mac Thámhais – New Badge
(Fieldless) A sword azure.
6. Dracones Castellum – New Castle Name, New Castle Arms
Per bend sinister gules and azure, a dragon dormant Or.
Submitted as Dracones Castrum, the language was corrected to imply the type of structure the client was wishing to emulate – a stronghold (castellum) vs. a temporary fortification (castrum). The client approved the change.
The Muskatour staff wishes to compliment the outstanding rendition of dormant in this submission.
7. Dún air an Loch Mhór – New Castle Name, New Castle Arms
Barry wavy argent and azure, on a chief sable three thistles argent.
8. Valka stórráða Eðvarðardottir – New Name
8. Wodewic – New Castle Name, New Castle Arms
Per pale embattled Or and gules, a boar and a bear combatant counterchanged.
- Antonio Niccolo Di Giorgio – New Name, New Arms
Vert, a unicorn head couped within and between the horns of a crescent argent.
The name was submitted without documentation or explanation other than indicating the client wanted a 14th century Sicilian name. Following the submission, the Muskatour staff received indication that the preferred name may in fact be Antonio di Niccolo di Giorgio, again without explanation or documentation.
The Muskatour staff was able to document both Antonio and Niccolo as given names. Giorgio is also documentable as a given name. In the submitted form, the name essentially means “Anthony Nicholas, the son of George.” We were not able to locate documentation of multiple given names in 14th century Sicily. Thus, this name would not be authentic for the location and time the client indicated. Antonio di Niccolo di Giorgio effectively translates to “Anthony, the son of Nicholas, who is in turn the son of George.” Again, the Muskatour staff was unable to locate documentation of a double patronymic in 14th century Sicily.
The Muskatour staff was able to find one castle in Italy simply called “Giorgio”, making it possible to define Giorgio as a geographic location or as a surname or family name. We were also able to find several locations in Italy named “San Giorgio” after the saint – slightly different from the submitted form. We believe the correct form of indicating that someone is from a geographic location would use the article ‘da’ rather than ‘di’. However, both ‘di’ and ‘da’ appear to have been used in southern Italy and therefore may have been used in Sicily as well.
The name was originally pended to allow the Muskatour staff to do additional research, to allow the client the opportunity to clarify what form of the name he actually wants, and to allow both the client and the consulting herald to provide documentation. Multiple attempts to reach the client and the consulting herald were not answered. Therefore, we must return the name.
Because arms cannot be registered without a valid name, the arms are also returned. In addition, some commenters had difficulty determining if the two charges in the central charge group are intended to be independent of each other or conjoined. The Muskatour staff offered new artwork to the client for their approval but received no response.