Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour staff.
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Joyous Yule. Blessed Solstice. Happy Bodhi Day. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Zarathosht Diso. Merry Saturnalia. Happy Boxing Day. Happy Wright Brothers Day. Happy Bill of Rights Day. In short – whatever celebration occupies your time in the month of December, the Muskatour staff hopes you have an enjoyable time.
There were no contentious issues this month.
There is one new precedent from this month’s meeting.
The addition of a definite article between the given name and the surname that serves the purpose of redefining a modern surname into an historically accurate occupational or epithetical byname satisfies the restrictions in the Rules for Submission sections II.A and II.C preventing any persona/impression name from being identical to the client’s modern legal name with the following caveats:
• Indefinite articles do not meet this standard
• The definite article must be clearly used as such in the language in which the name is presented (e.g., some family or clan names – such as those using Mac or O where the article has become an inseparable element of the byname – might not meet this standard)
• Use of the definite article to differentiate legal from impression names must be consistent with the use of such an article in the period naming practice documented in the submission
• Any such submission will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis
This month we have one return of a previous pend and no new pends. See below for the details.
1. Society of the Middle Ages, Inc. – New Reserved Regalia
Order of Vigilance
A garter per pale azure billety argent and paly gules and argent.
This award is intended to recognize those who work to start, grow, and sustain new geographic branches in the kingdom at a level well above and beyond that normally expected of a founder.
Note that this is not an armorial registration but will be entered in the Armorial so as to avoid future conflicts. This is an establishment of an item of regalia that is reserved for use by members of the Order of Vigilance. This reservation will be posted in the applicable appendices of the College of Arms governing documents.
- Justin the Fletcher – New Name, New Arms
Or, a cock hardi gules and in base a feather and an arrow in saltire sable.
At first glance, the name submission violates RfS II.A.5 which allows for a single element from a client’s legal name to be included in their registered impression name without additional documentation. The submitted name includes two elements from the client’s legal name. However, under RfS II.C.3, two names are considered substantially different if they have both a difference in pronunciation and a difference in spelling. The Muskatour staff also considered the following precedent:
“The issue with having one’s legal name and persona name be identical affects both the game side and the legal side. On the game side, being yourself in the Middle Ages smacks of a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court rather than the medieval ambience for which we strive – a minor point to be sure but a point nonetheless. The real issue comes from the corporate side. Signing one’s name seems simple enough but signing one’s legal name has ramifications in the real world. When the legal name and the persona name are identical, this can have unintended consequences that the organization would rather not risk, Thus, pending a formal change to RfS II.A.5, the legal name allowance will restrict any client from using their legal name for more than a single name element of their persona name, and the legal name and persona name cannot be identical – even if both elements can be documented in period.” [Blayne Dutton, 06/22]
After much discussion, the staff members present agreed that the inclusion of the definite article met the criteria for a change in spelling and pronunciation as well as changing the context of the modern surname to an historically accurate occupational byname. The original artwork was submitted with an arrow inverted and a feather which presented a unity of orientation issue in violation of RfS IV.C.5.c which states in part, “Separate charges within a charge group must be depicted in identical postures/orientations or in a standard heraldic arrangement that includes posture/orientation”. With the client’s approval, we turned the arrow to its default orientation (tip to base) to bring the design into compliance.
- Medbh O Domhnaill – New Name, New Arms
Argent, in pale, a linden branch fesswise sustaining a raven contourny regardant proper.
1. Ælfflæd Wealhtheowsdotter of Brisinger – New Name, New Arms
Azure, a serpent erect Or between in fess two flames proper and in chief a cloud argent.
This submission was pended last month for the reasons stated below. As of the posting of this letter, we have had no reply from the client regarding the issues cited or the recommendations for resolution. As it has been the Muskatour office procedure since this past summer to not leave pended submissions languishing, we are returning both the name and the arms. Note that the arms had no style issues and no conflicts, but cannot be registered without a registerable name.
Ælfflæd is a well-documented given name from Saxon England prior to the 11th century.
Wealhtheowsdotter is a constructed matronymic. However, the sole documentation available for the given name Wealhtheow is a character in the saga of Beowulf. The character is a queen. Since the Muskatour staff could find no other usage of the name – either in other literature or in the records of names in use by the general populace of the time – the consensus was that the name in matronymic form was a tacit claim to royal lineage and thus presumptuous.
of Brisinger is a constructed byname in the locative format. However, no documentation for the byname construction was provided and the Muskatour staff could not find evidence of any placename on which the locative could be based. Brisinger as a surname does not show up in the records prior to the late 16th century – more than a hundred years outside our period. Additionally, it can only be found in Germany and is not compatible with pre-12th century Anglo-Saxon. We then looked at Brisinger as an epithetical byname, but could find no evidence of this construct either. The closest the staff could find was Brisingr in modern Swedish meaning “gentle breeze”, which was considered unsuitable for an epithetical byname and was more than 500 years outside our period. Referencing the documentation provided by the client, we determined that Brising is a reference to a race of dwarves in Old Norse mythology that dwelt below ground and worked with forges. Thus, the relationship term ‘Brisinger’ is a claim to non-human ancestry. The client had stated that ‘brising’ was an Old Norse term for flame or fire and was intended to be a reference to her red hair. Documentable terminology for such an epithetical byname uses a number of Old Norse and/or Saxon terms to indicate red hair, none of which use any form of bris, brising, or brisinger as the descriptive term. However, we are willing to consider the benefit of the doubt in this case as epithetical bynames enjoy a somewhat less restrictive documentation requirement than other forms of byname. We offer several options for the client’s consideration:
a. Old Norse is rife with prepended bynames
– a style of byname where the adjective or epithet appears before the given name with a hyphen or other diacritical mark separating the two. Old Norse is also compatible with Anglo-Saxon prior to the start of the 12th century. In this case, given the examples of bris- being used as a prepended descriptive for various inanimate objects, we feel that bris-Ælfflæd would be an acceptable and registerable form of byname-given name for this time period and location.
b. Rēadhǣr… per the best Anglo-Saxon language and grammar asset the staff has available (https://www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk/), Rēadhǣr would be considered a suitable constructed epithetical byname in the same region and time period as the given name.
c. Returning to Old Norse prior to the 12th century, we can reasonably construct the byname hin Rauða – “the red” – made famous by Erik the Red. hinn Rauði is the feminine form. This construction and the male variant can be found in “Bynames of the Viking Age Runic Inscriptions” by Lindorm Eriksson; https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/lindorm/runicbynames/body.htm#start, originally published in KWHSS Proceedings 1999. Also found in FJ, p. 216.