tmcd@panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Sun Aug 13 14:51:30 PDT 2006

On Sun, 13 Aug 2006, Mike Wyvill <wyvillmike at hotmail.com> wrote:
> The fact that its been 17 years since one passed (not been
> submitted. I would be interested to know if any have been submitted
> since)

*slaps forehead* I didn't even think to check for a precedent.  Thanks
for the reminder.  And indeed there is one, from the Feb. 2002 LoAR.
(See www.morsulus.org for searches.)

    Zubaydah az-Zahra. Name and device. Gules, in pale a scimitar fesswise
    reversed blade to chief argent and a panda bear rampant contourny

        ... By current precedent, it is not acceptable to use a
        species of flora or fauna in armory which was not known to
        Europeans in period: "The primary charge is the leaf of a
        vanillaleaf plant (genus Achlys). Europeans did not discover
        it until the 18th century so [it] cannot be used in SCA
        armory" (LoAR February 2000). The most recent precedent
        explicitly concerning pandas notes in pertinent part that the
        panda was not known to Europeans in period: "Lanner provided
        some distinct evidence that the panda was not seen by an
        European until this century and that its furs were not known
        to Europeans until the last century" (LoAR December 1989). The
        panda is therefore not acceptable for registration.

> would indicate to me that its hard if not impossible to document a
> panda as a medieval charge, much like an armadillo or pronghorn
> antelope.

The Rules for Submission part VII, Compatible Armorial Content, starts

    Every element in a piece of Society armory must be compatible with
    period armorial practices, as is required by General Principle
    I.1.a of these rules.  This section defines the categories of
    elements that the College of Arms has generally found to be

The SCA doesn't insist that a proposed charge be a medieval CHARGE.
There are examples of people in period using charges based on
newly-discovered fauna and flora or various artifacts.  So we allow
other known-to-period fauna, flora, and artifacts to be used in our
armory, even if we don't have specific evidence that they were used in
armory in period (or out).  Hence one of the categories is RfS VII.4:

    4. Period Flora and Fauna - Flora and fauna that were known in the
       period and domain of the Society may be registered in armory.

If it had been the intent that only documented period CHARGES could be
used, there would be no need for this RfS VII.4 -- it would have
fallen under RfS VII.1, the most obvious way of showing compatibility:

    1. Period Charges - Ordinaries and other charges used in period
       armory may be registered.

As for showing whether a wee beastie was "known in the period and
domain of the Society": note Amra's evidence in re armadillos.
It's possible that Spaniards saw and published about pronghorns too,
for all I know.  The only continent that at present we entirely rule
out is Australia.  We can rule out pandas only because we know the
history of its revelation to the West, including the first scientific
description in the 1800s.

Danyell de Lyncoln
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

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