[ANSTHRLD] Re: Question about medallions

tmcd@panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Fri Jul 18 10:03:28 PDT 2003

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> Please reply directly to my e-mail address, as I'm not a subscriber
> to the Heralds list.  
> Thanks, Hillary Greenslade
> hillaryrg at yahoo.com


Hillary Greenslade <hillaryrg at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I am charged with making a Canton medalion for our upcoming Champion
> of Westgate and my question is:
> Should the champion's medalion include the laurel wreath of the
> branch?  (I'm thinking 'yes', as it's part of the overall branch
> blazon.)


In reality, 95% of the people won't notice or care, and varying
numbers of the rest may be at most mildly peeved or think "what a
bunch of goobers".  Still, it's nice to Get It Right.

Unfortunately, that's a deep philosophical tarpit you've stumbled
into, and it's not at all clear what "Right" is here.

Suppose it were a barony.  It's long-established that nobody else can
*register* the undifferenced arms of the barony.  There was the Jan w
Orzeldom augmentation fuss: he tried to register an augmentation of
Bjornsborg and Laurel bounced it because laurel wreaths is a reserved
charge registerable only by SCA branches, and also because his
augmentation looked like arms of pretense claiming to be the current
ruling baron of Bjornsborg.  Much political mess.  So for a barony or
kingdom, I wouldn't use the undifferenced arms without anything else,
because there are one or two people who have the right to display
those arms as of right and you aren't them.

Suppose it's a new design -- a lion maintaining a laurel wreath, say,
with the lion symbolizing prowess, but that's nothing like the arms of
Westgate.  I'd say "no" again, because the laurel wreath is a reserved
charge in registration and should therefore also be generally avoided
in unregistered armory.

Suppose it's just the arms of Westgate on a shield.  That's the deeper
philosophical question: who has the right to display the undifferenced
arms of an SCA group that doesn't have a ceremonial head?  Some say
that only the shire pavillion or shire gate or shire site or other
all-the-shire activity should display it.  (Read "canton" for "shire"
throughout, in your case.)  Some say the shire seneschal only can
display it, but I disagree, because it makes it look like he's the
ceremonial head and owner of the shire, and he's not.  Some say any
shire member is equal and therefore any shire member can display it.
The philosophical problem is worse for a canton, because while the
canton as a canton doesn't have a ceremonial head, it's associated
with and under a barony that does.  Maybe some would say only the
baron and baroness could?  My personal inclination is to treat it like
the arms of any body corporate: it's used only for functions of the
body corporate.  For a real-world analogy: the portcullis badge is
used by the House of Commons in the UK, I believe.  It's not
restricted to the Speaker of the House, or the Prime Minister, or the
Queen, or used by each and every member of the Commons.  I believe
it's used for the House of Commons as a body.  The Pepsi logo is used
for Pepsi things, not just the CEO of Pepsi, not for the company that
owns Pepsi.

One thing that some people do is use the arms of the group but
omitting the laurel wreath.  That's just heraldically wrong.  The
arms-without-a-laurel-wreath is not registered to the group.  OK,
except for the few groups that did register that exact design -- the
point is, that's not the branch arms and it isn't registered to the
branch unless they actually took the trouble to register it.  In my
insufficiently humble opinion, you shouldn't do a display of
unregistered armory.

You could finesse away the entire issue if you can think of a really
spiffy design that avoids any question of the arms of Westgate or a
laurel wreath.

Otherwise ... hmmm ... I think you're philosophically safe if you
stick to something allegorical.  Suppose you made a medallion of a
lion rampant wearing an Ansteorran populace tabard and bearing a sword
and a shield of Westgate.  As a symbolic picture (here's
Everystickjock striding past the Slough of Defeat and ascending to the
Tower of Protection of the People, that sort of Piers Plowman crap),
I think that few could quibble.

Perhaps he could be seen as a kind of "officer" of the group and
therfore wear it as a body corporate function?

It would probably help me greatly in my dithering to know what sort of
design you were thinking of.

Daniel de Lincolia
Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com; tmcd at us.ibm.com is my work address

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