Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour staff.
As has been previously stated, neither the Muskatour staff nor the Lion d’Or staff have sufficient volunteers to be able to fill in the work when administrative errors occur in heraldic submissions. The most common errors involve the forms:
- Missing forms (most commonly, the line art copy of armoury submissions)
- Missing information on the forms
- Legal and persona names
- Contact information
- Name and email address of the consulting herald
- Boxes left unchecked
- Missing or improper documentation – this is the most daunting issue, as the staff has less than 2 hours to review and decide on all submissions in any given month. When any submission lacks documentation or has references of questionable or no value for historical validation, most of that time is spent attempting to verify or validate that single submission rather than giving serious consideration to all submissions.
I have stated on multiple occasions that the Muskatour office will begin returning submissions that do not comply with the requirements laid out in the Rules for Submission or the Administrative Handbook. This month represents the first time that we have done that. Rather than return them outright, we have pended the submissions in the hopes that the client and/or their consulting herald will provide the missing items. Beginning with the July decision meeting, we will begin returning deficient submissions as they come in rather than waiting for the decision meeting to do so.
We have one precedent from this month’s meeting:
The Rules for Submission allow for a distinct difference between same charges whenever the orientation is changed. The only exception to this is what are called “compact charges” – charges that are roundish or squarish in their presentation so that a change of orientation provides no visual difference. The Bowen knot (also called the shield knot) is considered a compact charge, since it has a squarish appearance. However, it also has the appearance of a saltire because the loops of the knot extend outward as do the arms of a saltire. When rotated 45 degrees, the appearance is still squarish, but the arms now have the appearance of a cross. In fact, in post-period heraldry, a Bowen knot rotated 45 degrees is often blazoned as a Bowen cross. Thus, despite their status as compact charges, shield knots will receive a distinct difference from each other when one is in saltire (the default orientation) and the other is rotated to appear in cross.
This month we have one return and two pends. See below for the details.
- Álendia, Kingdom of – New Badge
For the Captain of the Royal Guard of Alendia
(Fieldless) A lion contourny Or maintaining a sprig of Angelica proper, both between and conjoined to in chief a crown Or and in base a sword fesswise proper.
- Álendia, Kingdom of – New Badge
For the Yeomen of the Royal Guard of Alendia
A lion contourny Or maintaining a sprig of Angelica proper, both conjoined to in chief a crown Or.
- Alexandra Notte Claire – New Badge
(Fieldless) A shield knot crosswise argent. Submitted as a Bowen knot, the Muskatour staff was able to date the charge to the SMA gray period (1530 AD) but was not able to document the name prior to 1629, named for James Bowen. “Shield knot” is the most accurate in-period term for this particular pattern.
The Bowen knot is protected in all tinctures as real-world presumptuous on the Bowen family badge (tinctureless, a Bowen knot). As the Bowen knot is considered a compact charge, this submission would have – under RfS E.6.h(2) – conflicted with the Bowen family. However, several commenters made the compelling argument that, despite its squarish shape, the Bowen knot has a very distinct outline reminiscent of a saltire. Given that other charges in cross and in saltire enjoy a distinct difference, Muskatour ruled that this knot should also receive a distinct difference for orientation.
- Saint Cyriacus, Guild of – New Name, New Arms
Vert, a chalice argent.
This is the name and arms of the Impressions Development group.
5. Jamison de Appleby – Resub Arms
Azure, a pale counter-compony argent and gules between a mullet argent and a rose Or.
The original submission, Azure, a rose Or within a mullet voided argent, was returned in the 08/2022 LoRR. “Period rolls of arms do have some instances of one charge appearing within another charge voided. For example, there are examples of an annulet (essentially a voided roundel) surrounding a central charge and at least one example of a mascle (a voided lozenge) doing so. However, in all cases involving this motif, the surrounding charge is a “named” charge separate and distinct from its “solid” cousin. The mullet does not enjoy this status. A mullet voided is blazoned as such rather than having a separate and distinct name by which it is called. As we were unable to find any examples of a central charge surrounded by a voided charge NOT identified as separate and distinct from its solid counterpart, we decline to register this motif at this time. If at some point in the future, evidence is provided that shows this motif in period heraldic design, we will revisit this precedent.”
This is a complete redesign.
- 1. Hárbarðr Kolviðurson – New Name
The sole documentation offered for the name Hárbarðr is an excerpt from one of the poetic eddas identifying Hárbarðr as a ferryman verbally harassing Thor on his return to Asgard. While literary references are permissible as documentation for naming practices, this particular edda identifies Hárbarðr as either Loki or Odin in disguise for the express purpose of causing Thor consternation. Additionally, several academic studies point to Hárbarðr (gray beard) as being one of Odin’s many surnames. Thus, we have two issues with the name. First, it is only documentable as an epithetical surname. Second, as the only reference is to the alternate identity of a deity, it is considered presumptuous. Therefore, we have no recourse but to return it to the client.The sole documentation offered for the patronymic was a Danish language wiki with no dated references. Muskatour staff was able to find a variation of the pater-name at the Viking Answer Lady, referencing Gierr Bassi, page 12: Kolfiðr. The correct patronymic formation would then be Kolfiðsson.
- Roscza Juhosz – New Name, New Arms
Vert, a stag trippant regardant and in chief four bees Or.
The client states that the name is a matronymic (daughter of Rosa) followed by an occupational surname (shepherd). This raised two issues. The first is that the name as submitted consists of two surnames and no given name. The second is that the spellings submitted include letter arrangements that did not exist in medieval Hungary. Specifically, the scz in Roscza and the sz in Juhosz did not enter the Hungarian lexicon until well into the 18th century.
The client was primarily concerned about the pronunciation of the first name element – RO-shah – which the Muskatour staff was unable to validate in medieval Hungary. The client was also concerned that the spelling of the name be intuitively pronounceable, eschewing the documented spelling of Rwsa as an option. The Muskatour staff was able to “back in” documentation for the spelling Rosa or Rusa using two 15th century names and the knowledge that unmarked matronymics existed in the 15th century. Thus, both Rosa and Rusa are possible as given names.
The correct spelling of the occupational byname would be Juhás.
The client has been contacted and the name is pended awaiting their response.
The arms are pended administratively, as the package was missing the required black-n-white line art copy.
- Scriptorum Titivilli – New Guild Name, New Guild Badge
(Fieldless) A dextrochère sustaining a pen argent.
This is the scribal arts guild.
The guild name alludes to the demon Titivillus, the patron demon of scribes. In medieval mythology, Titivillus is charged by Lucifer to record errors in scripts, in church services, and in prayers, and bring them in a sack to Hell where they can be counted against the transgressor on Judgement Day. It is said that Titivillus is the cause of all errors in scriptoria work. While the Muskatour staff found it humorous that a guild dedicated to scroll work would name itself for the cause of script errors, we had to consider the submission on the basis of medieval European practice. The staff could find no evidence of any medieval office, club, business, or household named for a demon or devil. Additionally, as one commenter pointed out, the bulk of scribal work was likely done in monasteries where an appeal to a demonic patron would have been doubly eschewed. We are pending the submission to allow the client to produce evidence that demonic names were used for any such entity.
There is no conflict with the submitted badge, but armoury cannot be registered without a name to associate it with. Thus, the badge is also pended.