[ANSTHRLD] Device question (please bare with me)

charles armitage charlesarmitage at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 21 07:57:46 PDT 2011

Wow I'm so thankful for all the insight, it's been quiet enlightening for sure, 
I think I'm pretty much heading back to the drawing board on this one. The 
phoenix is very important to me as an icon, I myself was pretty much reborn 
through trial by fire and feel it really speaks to me; I will review all of this 
information and come back with a new picture and design. I don't mind repainting 
my shield; it's something I enjoy anyways :)
Can a charge be "set a blaze" or on fire?
If I were to call it a falcon
I know of other charges that have been on fire but I don't think I've seen an 
animal charge in such a way...
Ld Kylan Ulfgierrson mka Charles
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than 
half of you half as well as you deserve." 

From: Jennifer Smith <jds at randomgang.com>
To: "Heralds List, Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." 
<heralds at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Wed, April 20, 2011 8:06:31 PM
Subject: Re: [ANSTHRLD] Device question (please bare with me)

A lot of very good answers and comments have already been made. I'll
add a few more. :)

On Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM, Charles Armitage
<charlesarmitage at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I would like to first thank anyone taking the time to read this! :)
> I have been going over my device on facebook lol and it was suggested that I 
>should send this to the heralds for review / enlightenment.

Thank you for coming to ask!  We like to solve problems before they
become, er, problems. And heraldic education in general is what this
list is all about.

> Sable a Phoenix rampant gules armed rising (wings displayed and addorsed)

Wings can be displayed (spread out to either side, seeing the
underside of each, as in the American eagle on the quarter), or
addorsed (back to back, where you see the underside of one and part of
the upperside of the other). They really can't be both at the same

> The phoenix would be outlined in gold but not real sure how to say that....

The word you're looking for is "fimbriated", but as has already been
pointed out, a phoenix is far too complex of a charge to fimbriate.
Which drops the gold outlining back to just artistic detail; there's
nothing that says the outline of a charge has to be black, after all,
especially with charges that are themselves rather dark. It's not at
all unusual to outline a black charge in white, for example, so you
can see the internal detailing.

> Question one: I'm not sure rampant is needed if I say armed or if rampant can 
>be used to describe a Phoenix.

Only quadrupeds can be rampant. Birds are displayed, close,
rising/striking, volant... a few others that are specific to certain
types of birds (cranes are "in their vigilance", for example). The
closest posture to what you have there is "rising".
http://heraldry.sca.org/primer/birds.html is a great webpage to
double-check bird postures.

> Question two: normally you see Phoenix rising from ash/flame, can it be just 
>rising, as in flight?

Always. In medieval heraldic art, a phoenix is defined by its flames;
without the flames, it's just an eagle. What you have depicted is more
along the lines of "a [bird of some type] of flames", which isn't a
heraldic-style design at all, unfortunately. (It does look very cool,

> Question three: I have looked and do not see many devices with Phoenix on them, 
>that say armed, meaning to have talons showing, is it possible to? Are there 
>rule against it?

As the flames cover the lower half of an heraldic phoenix, you're not
going to be able to see any talons. The term "armed" in blazon would
be followed by a tincture, as it's used to specify what color the
arming is. In this case, uh, "[bird] gules armed gules". Technically,
I believe 'armed' applies to any weapons on a beasty, so thus could
also apply to its beak, although we more typically use "beaked" to
specify a color there.

You have a really neat looking picture that is, however, entirely
modern in appearance and style. If you want to take a gander at read
period heraldry, I strongly recommend browsing through the links at
http://coblaith.net/Heraldry/Armorials/default.html. Coblaith has
organized that page by region, and gives a sample image or two from
the book. I believe the vast majority are scanned books over at the
Bavarian State Library. It's just fantastic to browse through.

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