Heralds' Point
The Occasional Journal for the College of Heralds of Atlantia

Volume 4, Issue 4 -- July/August 2007 (A.S. XLII)

Artwork credit: Maestra Julianna Fiorentini

Unto those who dedicate themselves to heraldic customer service, does Triton send greetings!


 Pennsic is upon us and with Pennsic, come many, many cool heraldic things! If you were wondering what you, a herald, could do at Pennsic, well, just take a gander at this list!


1.     Heraldic Consultation Table! One of the largest consultation tables in the Knowne World occurs at Pennsic! Whether you need to submit something for yourself or a submitter, get some additional help with a submission you are working on, or even, volunteer to spend some of your own time helping others, this is the place to be! The consultation table will be open per the following schedule: http://www.pennsicwar.org/penn36/GENERAL/heralds.html


2.     Town Criers - Volunteers are always needed to make announcements throughout Pennsic and it’s a great way to see areas you wouldn’t normally have visited! Town Criers are needed beginning August 4th and throughout the rest of the war. If you have a day you can offer, it would make Atlantia proud!  See THL Michael Langley in the Crier’s Point at the Town Hall tent (across from the camp store) to sign up.


3.     Atlantian Cool Heraldic Thing at Pennsic Photo Contest! Remember, I will be offering a prize for the niftiest photo of something heraldic or heraldically related. Photos need to be posted to a photo or individual website, and the link thereto forwarded to the Atlantian Heralds group no later than August 22 to qualify. 


4.     Atlantian Heraldic Walking Tour! We will be reviving the Heraldic Walking Tour as soon as I can get a guide. This is a tour of selected encampments to view their heraldic display and usually, we give out tokens to recognize their efforts! Whether it’ll be Herveus, Michael or some other senior herald who leads the charge, I can guarantee they’ll pick a really great route so you can see a lot of ideas for heraldic display and some unusual heraldry! Time and date to be announced on the heralds list and Merry Rose!


5.     Knowne World Heraldic Party! Sunday, August 5 from 8:00-10:00 at Herald’s Point - Even if you are just starting out, cruise by and see those legendary heralds you hear about! It’s a great place to network, or even just to see how silly senior heralds can get!


7.     Laurel Road Show! Monday, August 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (at Herald’s Point, I assume...) - Want to know how Laurel decides on names and devices? Well, this is the place to learn! Laurel and various commenting members of the College of Arms will go through a kingdom letter of intent (or two) and make the decisions right there on the spot!


8.     Courts, courts and more courts! If nothing else, court junkies can certainly get their fill of court at Pennsic. Atlantian court is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 8th. And just because it’s not an Atlantian court doesn’t mean you can’t attend! Check the official schedule to see who is holding a court and cruise over to see how those other guys do it! Plus, there’s a Great Court on Friday, August 10th at 7:00. That’s a big, joint court with all the kingdoms in attendance at the war!


9.     And of course, CLASSES! Pennsic abounds with classes! And quite a few will qualify to fulfill your heraldic class requirement for the year! Naturally, I will accept any class that is specifically on heraldry, but I also accept MoL classes, scribal classes and some of those “culture” classes, since knowing something about the culture will help you know how to design heraldry for that culture. So, if you see a class that you think you can utilize to help you with heraldic pursuits, take it! And list it on your quarterly report!


Now, you’ve got no excuse to say there was nothing available for heralds at Pennsic, eh?


Speaking of quarterly reports, the 2nd quarter report is now due (Apr-Jun) before July 31st. Since last quarter’s response rate wasn’t exactly stellar, I’d suggest everyone get theirs in early! Remember, we have that nifty online form at http://herald.atlantia.sca.org/reports/


And as a final gentle reminder, to any primary group heralds who have been in office four years or longer... You have until September 1st to have your replacement in place. You are more than welcome to retain an at-large warrant, but you need to let me know, and you need to let somebody else have a turn at the golden ring. There are only a handful of groups affected by this policy, which is intended to encourage heraldic growth and development.


If you are a warranted herald and haven't signed up on the AtlantianHeralds list at www.yahoogroups.com, please do so! We discuss a lot of heraldic procedure and policy, as well as doing conflict checking and searching for name documentation. There is a vast amount you can learn just from being on this group!


Rhiannon, Triton


A Word from the Newsletter Editor


Greetings unto all to whom these presents come from Lady Patricia of Trakai!

As I write this note, it's early July and many of us are starting that big pre-Pennsic rush, so I'll keep things brief. If you're going to War, I hope that Mistress Rhiannon's message has gotten you all fired up for Pennsic heraldry! If you need any further incentive, consider that the Heralds' Point coordinator for Pennsic 36 will be another Atlantian, Dame Gwenllian ferch Maredudd, so it would be great to have a really strong showing by the Atlantian heraldic team.

Also in this issue: a detailed description of the position of Golden Dolphin Herald, which will become available in January 2008, and an article by Dom Pedro de Alcazar on "Abatements and Augmentations of Honor." The article is reprinted (with Dom Pedro's kind permission) from his Web site.


Finally, please remember: Whether you are crying the camps, coloring device submission forms, or scouring the Serengeti for Cool Heraldic Things, drink WATER early and often!

Lady Patricia, Editor

Abatements and Augmentations of Honor

By Dom Pedro de Alcazar

This page is about abatements and augmentations of honor. Abatements and augmentations of honor are certain special charges that were placed on someone's coat of arms to either reward or punish that person for that person's good or bad deeds. I'm interested in abatements and augmentations of honor because this part of the art of heraldry, more than any other, shows how heraldry was connected to other parts of medieval life, especially law, ethics, and the code of chivalry. I hope to share my interest and the things I've learned with you.

I'm going to begin with the abatements, because, frankly, there's less to be said about them. Abatements appear in both the theory and the practice of heraldry in the fourteenth century. The first mention of abatements in a manual of heraldry was made by Iohannes de Bado Aureo, who wrote his Tractatus de Armis at the request of Anne, Richard II's queen. Iohannes wrote that if a person was to break his promise, showed cowardice, or acted in a grossly unworthy manner, he was to be brought on trial, and, if he was found guilty, his coat of arms were to be displayed upside down, or reversed. This is the first, and direst, abatement.

There were many reported instances of the use of the first abatement. Nearly every account of the execution of a traitor describes his being led to the headsman's block in a tabard of his reversed coat of arms. Also, the first abatement was used when a prisoner, released on parole, refused to pay his ransom. You see, in medieval wars, a prisoner was not taken to a POW camp, and held until the end of the war. Instead, he was the prisoner of his captor, and his captor could hold him until his ransom -- usually about a year's income from his estates -- was paid.

However, one normally doesn't carry such sums around in one's purse, and so it was the custom for captors to send their prisoners back home on parole to fetch their ransom money. For the most part, parolees were true to their words and came back with the money, but, as one might expect, as soon as a few arrived home, they conveniently forgot any promises they made on the battlefield or in the enemy camp. The captors would go to their own country's court of chivalry, to sue out a case against their faithless prisoners.

To our ears, the idea of a man suing a soldier of another country in a court of his own country, while the foreigner wasn't there, sounds highly unjust. However, soldiering was not the profession that it is today. Chivalry was meta-national, in much the same way as being in holy orders is, so that a court of chivalry, like a canon law court, was run not by the laws of each country, but by a separate code: the laws of arms, a subset of the civil law derived from the Romans that all the Christian countries considered part of their cultural heritage. Wherever anyone connected with the pursuit of war went, be he a herald or a warrior, the laws that governed him in his profession were the same in every place. So, as you might expect, there are French trials of Englishmen, English trials of Frenchmen, and, in fact, it didn't always go to the person who sued.

If the case went the captor's way, he would hang his faithless prisoner's coat of arms in as many public places as he could, even hanging them on a horse's hindquarters. It may sound surprising now, but people took this seriously. Just the threat of it would sometimes be enough to squeeze the money from an otherwise obstinate parolee.

The other abatements were for lesser offenses, and there's not as much documentation for them: in fact, the first evidence we have for them comes from heraldic manuals written during the reign of Elizabeth the Great. By the time she came to the English throne, the advance of military technology and the birth of national armies had reduced the appearance of heraldry to tourneys, stained glass, tombs, seals, and coach panels. Abatements wouldn't have had the same effect then as they would have had in her grandfather's day, because heraldry wasn't seen as much.

They also are more specific, as each abatement is matched up with an offense at arms, and less drastic to the treatment of the coat of arms: instead of turning the entire coat of arms upside down, specific charges were placed on the coat of arms. Also, the abatements, which, were they in metals or colors, were rare but otherwise not unusual charges, were tinctured in the two stains: sanguine, better known as wine-color or murrey, and tenne or orange.

Sanguine and tenne, supposedly, were never used in anything else other than abatements. Like the metals and colors, the stains also can be referred to in gemstone and planetary blazon. Sanguine's gemstone is sardonyx, and tenne's is jacinth. Their planets are, in fact, not really planets. Instead, they are the two nodes of the Moon's orbit -- the dragon's head (tenne) and the dragon's tail (sanguine) -- which supposedly were the parts of the dragon that ate the Sun or Moon during an eclipse, thus implying that the person's honor, the visible representation of which was his coat of arms, was eclipsed by his misdeed.

There were eight of these "new" abatements. The first was a point dexter tenne, for one who boasted of a deed he never did. The second was a point champaine tenne, for killing one's prisoner out of hand. The third was a plain point (a base) sanguine for a liar before his commander. The fourth was a point pointed for cowardice. The fifth is a dexter gusset sanguine for drunkenness, and the sinister gusset sanguine was for lechery. A gore sinister tenne was also for cowardice. A delf tenne was for one who revoked a challenge, and the eighth was an inescutcheon reversed sanguine was for one who discourteously treated women, or fled from the king's banner in battle. Also, the heralds said that a charge could be removed from a coat of arms by the Court of Chivalry as a form of abatement, but, naturally, this might lead to confusion with arms that were otherwise identical, but for a different number of identical charges.

Since coats of arms are visible displays of hereditary honor, as later scholars have noted, it seems highly unlikely that many examples of abated arms would exist, and, indeed, aside from the various examples of reversed arms that are out there, no other abated arms from the Middle Ages can be shown to have been displayed.

Given the present state of Courts of Chivalry, I find it unlikely that we will revive this practice.

The flip side of abating, augmenting, has a longer and more detailed history. Naturally, anyone would prefer to display "new and improved" arms, and since augmentations are hereditary, medieval augmented arms are still to be seen today.

The oldest augmentation is a twelfth-century augmentation from the Holy Roman Empire, consisting of adding an imperial eagle to the arms of the recipient, one Julio Maroni. Later imperial augmentations of honor, especially in Italy, usually were so-called "imperial chiefs," being the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire on a chief.

This practice was a way for the emperors to reward their faithful followers in Italy, the Ghibelline party. The Papacy and the French house of Anjou, both supporters of the Guelfs, would grant augmentations of arms as well. The Angevins would grant chiefs of Anjou (France differenced with a label gules) and the Popes would grant chiefs of the Papal arms (gules, a tiara and in base two keys crossed in saltire or). Sometimes, the Papal ombrellino -- basically a parasol -- would be added in overall.

In the rest of Europe, augmentation practices differed. In Castile, the augmentation would often be a bordure of gules, semy of castles or, or a bordure gobony argent a lion rampant purpure and gules a castle or. In Scotland, the usual practice was to grant the royal tressure, that is, the double tressure flory counterflory. The king of Portugal added an inescutcheon of Portugal to Da Gama's coat of arms as a reward for his successful voyage to the Orient.

English augmentations are another story. For one thing, bordures or chiefs of England, although present, were not the only forms of augmentation. Instead, English augmentations could be cantons, piles, inescutcheons, or flaunches, usually charged with the royal arms, or, in one case when an inescutcheon was used, a coat of arms derived from the royal arms: quarterly 1 and 4 azure a fleur de lys or, 2 and 3, gules a lion passant regardant or.

English augmentations could also be single charges added to the coat of arms, alluding to something which the armiger had done. One of the earliest of these augmentations, supposedly, is one made by Edward I to one Dodge -- the addition of a woman's breast distilling gouttes argent, for his efficient tax collecting and nourishing of the king's coffers. However, the facts surrounding this augmentation are iffy. A breast, or dug, would not be an unusual cant on Dodge. The record of the augmentation comes from a Tudor-era herald's visitation of the family, generations after Edward Longshanks was dead. The majority of heralds and scholars are inclined to doubt that the Dodge's coat of arms really was augmented.

Sometimes the augmentation was an entire coat of arms alluding to the deeds of the armiger. This was a use for the canton (or quarter) or the inescutcheon, because this new coat of arms had to be integrated in a fitting manner with the original coat. One example of quartering an augmentation is the Pelham augmentation, granted after a member of the family cut Jean I's saddle girths at Poitiers, enabling the English to capture him: One and four, Gules two pieces of belts palewise in fess argent buckles in chief Or, two and three, Azure three pelicans in their piety argent. An example of an inescutcheon is the so-called "Flodden augmentation" granted to Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey: Gules on a bend between six crosses crosslet argent an inescutcheon Or charged with a demi-lion vulned with an arrow within a double tressure flory-counterflory gules, which is also an example of metal on metal armory.

Some augmentations seem to have been a form of arms of office. When the Earl of Oxford was made Lord of Ireland -- at the time, one of the royal titles -- Richard II gave him an augmentation of the arms of dominion of Ireland. At the time, the Irish arms of dominion were neither the azure a harp or of the royal arms, nor the vert, a harp or of the Irish flag, nor even a grand quartering of the four Irish provinces, but yet another coat-azure, three crowns or within a bordure argent.

Yet other augmentations, especially some made by Richard II and Henry VIII, were made simply because the recipients were near to the king in blood. Richard II granted the attributed arms of Edward the Confessor to the dukes of Surrey, Norfolk, and Exeter. Henry VIII granted the inescutcheon mentioned above that was composed from elements of the then-royal coat to the Earl of Rutland. He also granted augmentations to his in-laws after his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

Augmentations were, like abatements, also given to armigers by princes other than their native lords. Crusaders who went to Castilla y Leon were sometimes awarded cantons or points pointed charged with the attributed arms of Grenada- argent, a pomegranate proper. Other crusaders who went east to the aid of Byzantium would occasionally come back with an imperial eagle on their coats of arms.

Augmentation seems to have been an inexpensive practice for rewarding knightly deeds -- far cheaper than, for example, enfeoffing the stout warrior, or giving him a gift of goods or cash. Also, because an augmentation directly represented what the recipient had done, they served as advertisements for others to emulate their deeds. Since most augmentations were inherited, it also acted as a sort of permanent memorial to the doer -- and enduring fame has always been an incitement for people to do their best.



Position Open: Golden Dolphin Herald

Both Kingdom Law and my own inclination dictate that I step down from the Golden Dolphin office at Twelfth Night in January, 2008, when I shall have served in that position for four years.

To allow for an orderly transition, anyone interested in serving as Golden Dolphin should apply by 15 September, 2007. Letters of application, including a Society resume and any supporting documentation (e.g., plans for the office, explanations of relevant Society or mundane experience that may not show on your resume, etc.) should be sent either by email or snail mail to Triton and myself at the addresses shown in Acorn.

The Golden Dolphin Herald is responsible for all submissions processing within the Kingdom of Atlantia. Duties include preparation of a monthly Internal Letter of Intent circulated for commentary to internal commenters, a monthly External Letter of Intent to the College of Arms based on internal commentary and monthly responses to external commentary in defence of Atlantian submissions as well as the maintenance of all submissions files. Golden Dolphin or a designated surrogate must also send letters to all submitters notifying them of any acceptance, pend or return by the Golden Dolphin office and/or the Laurel office, post Letters of Acceptance and Return with the same information to the Atlantian Heralds' web page and publish the results of all submissions in the Acorn together with any changes of policy which directly impact submissions processing. Golden Dolphin is also responsible for organizing official kingdom heraldic consultation tables in Atlantia. Some of these duties such as consultation tables and notification letters can be delegated, but the central submissions processing duties may not.

Over the past three and a half years, the average time required for fulfillment of these duties, exclusive of attendance at events to run consultation tables, has typically run between 20 and 40 hours a month. (The high end occurs immediately after Pennsic where Atlantia generally receives >100 submission elements!) Based on experience, delegating the generation of notification letters and some fiscal duties of the office would probably lower that workload by no more than two or three hours a month and might actually increase it as information would have to be prepared and circulated to the relevant deputies.

Logistic requirements for the office include space to accommodate approximate five five-drawer file cabinets, two medium-sized bookshelves' worth of books, sundry boxes of current files and paperwork resources and the office's duplexing copier/scanner. A computer has been a minimum requirement for some years now, but the advent of the OSCAR system and the internal letter of intent system that is now official policy for Atlantia make reliable access to the internet and internet mail essential. I have been using Microsoft Office running on a Windows PC, but appropriate software on a Mac would also work. (If you are interested in the detailed logistics of the office, including the software used, etc., please contact me for technical information.

The knowledge and experience required in an applicant for Golden Dolphin Herald are a bit more difficult to quantify. Absolutely essential is a basic familiarity with book heraldry and the Society's Rules for Submissions and Administrative Handbook. (You cannot adequately evaluate the input from commenters or explain problems with submissions to submitters unless you have that familiarity!
) Equally essential is a demonstrated ability to process paperwork in a timely and orderly manner and clearly communicate the results of that processing to others. You do NOT need twenty years of experience in Society book heraldry, but at least some experience as an internal commenter and participant at Atlantian consultation tables is strongly recommended. You will have lots of help available from Triton, from other senior heralds and from me (I'll still be commenting internally and externally!), but you must be willing to commit a good chunk of your time to this largely "behind the scenes" office for at least two years.

Alisoun, Golden Dolphin

Point of Fact

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling did not invent the hippogriff; it's a fantastic beast that is infrequently used as a charge in heraldry. The hippogriff, a supposed offspring of a griffin and a mare, is mentioned in a 1516 poem by Ludovico Ariosto. The herald of the Barony of Three Rivers in the Kingdom of Calontir holds the title of
Hippogryph Pursuivant, and one of that barony's awards is the Order of the Hippogryph, given to the persons responsible for the inception, creation, and execution of entirely novel events.
A quick search of the online SCA O&A database returned 27 blazons containing "hippogriff."


Heraldry is an art as old as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and as young as the newest submission. I welcome you to join in exploring it with your colleagues, the heralds of Atlantia -- this is your journal. If you have always wanted to write an article that would be read by every Atlantian herald, or if you have a question you would like to ask of all the heralds of Atlantia, send me a message at Patoodle AT aol DOT com! I prefer that any articles or other messages come as plain text (ASCII), as opposed to HTML or some other format. Thank you!


In Service, 

Patricia of Trakai

Herald's Point is the newsletter for the members of the College of Heralds of Atlantia. Herald's Point is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) and does not delineate SCA policies. Herald's Point does delineate policies specific to the College of Heralds of the Kingdom of Atlantia. Copies of this newsletter are available from: Patricia of Trakai (Patty Daukantas), 7740 Lakecrest Drive, Greenbelt, MD 20770.