VARIOUS SORTS OF ARMS.
Arms are not only granted to individuals and families, but also to cities, corporate bodies, and learned societies. They may therefore be classed as follows:—
Arms of DOMINION, PRETENSION, CONCESSION.
COMMUNITY, PATRONAGE, FAMILY.
ALLIANCE, AND SUCCESSION.
Arms of Dominion or Sovereignty are properly the arms of the kings or sovereigns of the territories they govern, which are also regarded as the arms of the State. Thus the Lions of England and the Russian Eagle are the arms of the Kings of England and the Emperors of Russia, and cannot properly be altered by a change of dynasty.
Arms of Pretension are those of kingdoms, provinces, or territories to which a prince or lord has some claim, and which he adds to his own, though the kingdoms or territories are governed by a foreign king or lord: thus the Kings of England for many ages quartered the arms of France in their escutcheon as the descendants of Edward III., who claimed that kingdom, in right of his mother, a French princess.
Arms of Concession are arms granted by sovereigns as the reward of virtue, valour, or extraordinary service. All arms granted to subjects were originally conceded by the Sovereign.
Arms of Community are those of bishoprics, cities, universities, academies, societies, and corporate bodies.
Arms of Patronage are such as governors of provinces, lords of manors, add to their family arms as a token of their superiority, right, and jurisdiction.
Arms of Family , or paternal arms, are such as are hereditary and belong to one particular family, which none others have a right to assume, nor can they do so without rendering themselves guilty of a breach of the laws of honour punishable by the Earl Marshal and the Kings at Arms. The assumption of arms has however become so common that little notice is taken of it at the present time.
Arms of Alliance are those gained by marriage.
Arms of Succession are such as are taken up by those who inherit certain estates by bequest, entail, or donation.
SHIELDS, TINCTURES, FURS, &c.
The Shield contains the field or ground whereon are represented the charges or figures that form a coat of arms. These were painted on the shield before they were placed on banners, standards, and coat armour; and wherever they appear at the present time they are painted on a plane or superficies resembling a shield.
Shields in Heraldic language are called Escutcheons or Scutcheons, from the Latin word scutum . The forms of the shield or field upon which arms are emblazoned are varied according to the taste of the painter. The Norman pointed shield is generally used in Heraldic paintings in ecclesiastical
buildings: the escutcheons of maiden ladies and widows are painted on a lozenge-shaped shield. Armorists distinguish several points in the escutcheon in order to determine exactly the position of the bearings or charges. They are denoted in the annexed diagram, by the first nine letters of the alphabet ranged in the following manner:
A , the dexter chief.
B , the precise middle chief.
C , the sinister chief.
D , the honour point.
E , the fess point.
F , the nombril point.
G , the dexter base.
H , the precise middle base.
I , the sinister base.
The dexter side of the escutcheon answers to the left hand, and the sinister side to the right hand of the person that looks at it.
By the term Tincture is meant that variable hue which is given to shields and their bearings; they are divided into colours and furs.
The colours or metals used in emblazoning arms are—
These colours are denoted in engravings by various lines or dots, as follows:
OR , which signifies gold , and in colour yellow, is expressed by dots.
ARGENT signifies silver or white : it is left quite plain.
GULES signifies red : it is expressed by lines drawn from the chief to the base of the shield.
AZURE signifies blue : it is represented by lines drawn from the dexter to the sinister side of the shield, parallel to the chief.
VERT signifies green : it is represented by slanting lines, drawn from the dexter to the sinister side of the shield.
PURPURE , or purple , is expressed by diagonal lines, drawn from the sinister to the dexter side of the shield.
SABLE , or black , is expressed by horizontal and perpendicular lines crossing each other.
TENNE , which is tawny , or orange colour, is marked by diagonal lines drawn from the sinister to the dexter side of the shield, traversed by perpendicular lines from the chief.
SANGUINE is dark red , or murrey colour; it is represented by diagonal lines crossing each other.
In addition to the foregoing tinctures, there are nine roundlets or balls used in Armory, the names of which are sufficient to denote their colour without expressing the same.
||BEZANT , Or .
||PLATE , Argent .
HURTS , Azure .
TORTEAUX , Gules .
GOLPE , Purpure .
PELLET , Sable .
ORANGE , Tenne .
GUZES , Sanguine .
POMEIS , Vert .
Furs are used to ornament garments of state and denote dignity: ther are used in Heraldry, not only for the lining of mantles and other ornaments of the shield, but also as bearings on escutcheons.
WHITE , represented by a plain shield, like argent.
ERMINE —white powdered with black tufts.
ERMINES —field sable, powdering argent.
ERMINOIS —field or, powdering sable.
PEAN —field sable; powdering or.
ERMYNITES —Argent, powdered sable, with the addition of a single red hair on each side the sable tufts. This fur is seldom seen in English heraldry; and it is impossible to give an example without using colour.
VAIR —argent and azure. It is represented by small bells, part reversed, ranged in lines in such a manner, that the base argent is opposite to the base azure.
COUNTER-VAIR , is when the bells are placed base against base, and point against point.
POTENT —an obsolete word for a crutch: it is so called in Chaucer's description of Old Age.
"So eld she was that she ne went
A foote, but it were by potent."
The field is filled with small potents, ranged in lines, azure and argent.
POTENT COUNTER-POTENT .
The heads of the crutches or potents touch each other in the centre of the shield.
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