[ANSTHRLD] [Fwd: Heraldry announcement for Commentary]

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Thu Jul 10 08:04:12 PDT 2008

Tostig asked:

> Not being a member of the CoA, can anyone provide a summary
> of the argument(s) in favor of eliminating the Laurel Wreath from 
> Territorial Arms?

Well, I'm not a member of the College of Arms, either, but the basic 
argument is fairly straightforward:

Requiring a Laurel wreath is a non-heraldic, non-historical, non-authentic 
bureaucratic requirement that usually forces more complex (and therefore 
worse) heraldry.  It makes it harder for new groups to design armory, and 
harder for people to create banners and other heraldic bearings.

It is, in every relevant way, a violation of the College's charge to 
encourage good, authentic armory.

English baronies don't have to use Lions.  French shires don't have to use 
fleurs-de-lys.  Castilian cities don't have to use castles.

It doesn't serve the people, or the branches, or the CoA, or the 
corporation, in any relevant way.

Sometimes we allow non-period options, as in the Mundane Name Allowance, to 
serve the people of the SCA.  Sometimes we require non-period restrictions, 
like unique names, for bureaucratic simplicity.  But there's no reason to 
force a non-period restriction that gets in people's way, makes good 
heraldry *harder* to design, and serves no actual purpose.

The only argument in favor of requiring a Laurel wreath is that it marks 
our branches as SCA branches.  That's true.  "Look --bad, overly complex, 
non-period heraldry -- it must be the SCA!"

I'm all in favor of striking down this useless holdover rule from the 
1960s, when the SCA registered Elvish names and stars as place-names.

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin 

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