Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour office.
Organizations have rules and guidelines to ensure a certain continuity and consistency in their practices and products. The problem is that the small group of people writing the rules can never think of all the possibilities coming from the hundreds… even thousands of people making use of their services. Thus, it is often necessary to adjust the rules and guidelines either to cover previously unforeseen circumstances or to clarify intent. After all, most people will admit that they knew what they were thinking when they wrote the guidelines, but maybe what they were thinking did not come across as intended when read by others.
The College of Arms has multiple intents for the guidelines we have in place. First and foremost, we want armoury within the SMA to be as authentic as possible in style and design when compared with actual armoury from the periods and regions we study. Secondly, we want to ensure that no individual impinges on another with respect to their names or armoury. Thirdly, we want to ensure that no modern individual impinges on real-world names/armoury of historical people famous enough to be known to a modern populace. This is made all the more difficult because our time period of study covers 11 centuries over which style and design changed and throughout which hundreds of still-famous people assumed arms. It is also difficult because our area of study covers all of Europe and parts of North Africa and the Middle East – all of which had different practices, styles, and rules/guidelines when it comes to personal armorial practices. Thus, our rules and guidelines must be tight enough to maximize authenticity while remaining loose enough to accommodate patterns from a wide and diverse range of cultures. This dichotomy played into the evaluation of a couple of submissions this month.
This month we have one return and one pend. See below for the details.
1. Álendian Leather Workers Guild – New Guild Name
2. Álendian Metal Artisans Guild – New Guild Name
3. Daniel mac Thámhais – Resub Arms
Per chevron argent and azure, three swords counterchanged.
The previous submission, Azure, seven swords in annulo points to center argent, in chief argent three harps proper, was returned for non-period style. The Muskatour staff was unable to find examples within our period of any set of charges being arranged in a circle with tips or points to center other than one example of peacock feathers. Because this sole example is unique as well as being in our gray period, it was deemed not to be a period motif. This was a complete redesign.
4. Madoc Arundel – New Castle Name, New Civic Arms
Or, three oak leaves conjoined in pall vert.
5. Susane Loup-blanc – New Arms
Azure, a wolf’s head erased contourny and in chief three fleurs-de-lis argent.
- Zanobi da Milano – New Alternate Name
The client indicated that they wished to register this name as an alternate persona. The client already has a registered name (Þórgrímr Haukarson). Therefore, this name is returned for violation of the Administrative Handbook of the College of Arms, paragraph II.A.1 which states in part, “Each individual may register a single persona name. The name must meet the criteria laid out in the rules for submission.”
While the name is being returned under the current guidelines, there was a lively discussion regarding the rule itself. Other organizations allow multiple name registrations while limited individuals to a single set of arms. The question was, does the College of Arms or the Society in general have a compelling interest in limiting individuals to a single name registration? Several possible issues were raised with discussion centering around the ability to mitigate any or all of them. In the end, the Muskatour staff came to a consensus that this was not an issue that could be resolved within the College Arms. The Muskatour King of Arms will be proposing to a council of Society-level officers the pros and cons of this particular rule and request a consensus on whether any of the cons represent a compelling interest.
The staff also felt that it was inappropriate to pend the submission for the duration of the discussion as it is likely to go well beyond the single month we use for pended items. Should the client wish to abandon their currently registered name and register this name in place of it, the decision on the submission could be made as early as December. If a consensus of Society officers eventually determines that there is no compelling reason to retain the rule, the client may resubmit at their earliest convenience. Until then, the name is returned for the rule stated.
- 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, more research is required to determine if this is true in Sicily as it is in northern Italy.
The name is 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 all both the client and the consulting herald to provide documentation.
Because arms cannot be registered without a valid name, the arms are also pended. 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 will be providing new artwork to the client for their approval.