Heraldry

Heralds facilitate a variety of activities vital to the SCA culture.  Voice heralds conduct court and make announcements at events while enhancing the ambience. Heralds provide coaching on name and device research and administer registration.  Heraldry also involves the rules, jargon and display of pageantry.  

Vocal Heraldry Name Research  Name & Device Registration Device Creation
 
Vocal Heraldry

This type of heraldry can be very formal or very spontaneous and informal.  Examples of formal voice heraldry are being the herald who oversees court and tournament honors and announcements.  The more spontaneous vocal heraldry includes boasts and "town crier" broadcasts.

A voice herald needs to learn to speak loudly and project.  We don't have microphones. 

Field Heraldry
The most common type of field heraldry is best likened to the emcee of an other event.  They announce combatants on the field, make general announcements and a good one is also entertaining.  A comprehensive resource can be found here.

Court Heraldry

For many in the SCA, court is the moment then the mundane world is left behind, as well as a joy to see deserving people receive recognition.  A little flair can go a long way to bring the pageantry of the Middle Ages to life.  A brief introduction to court heraldry can be found here.
Silent Heraldry
Silent Heraldry is the specialize branch of voice heraldry that allows the hearing impaired to participate. This can be one on one or to a large group.  Some excellent examples can be found here.
Name Research

Picking a name is one of the first and sometimes most difficult parts of building a persona.  There is no right or wrong way to go about it, but here are a couple tips.

1.  There is no rush.  While the question will come up, don't worry about it.  You want to make sure your name is something you can grow with.  The interests you start with may not be the same ones you have six months or a year down the road. On the other hand, you don't want to wait so long that people get used to calling you by your mundane name and you can't make the transition. 

2.   It's okay to test drive a name.  Make sure you and other people can pronounce it.  Names sound different from across camp than they do in a book.  

3.  Actual historical figures are not available for your persona.  You can have their name but you can't be them.  A distinction is probably best.  While it's true that there would have been non-historical people of the same name, it may lead to confusion on who you are.

4.  Historical accuracy is important.  The majority of modern first names do not have medieval roots.  The more "traditional" names likely had an older spelling or are derivatives of even older names.  A little bit of research can go a long way but not all sources are equal.

5.  That is where a herald comes in. They can point you toward resources and give general advice.  Feel free to ask questions of  Baroness Jaquemine or our chatelaines, Lady Freydis and Lord Jewel.

Name and Device Registration

While registration of your name or device is an optional part of playing in the SCA, there are a couple things to keep in mind.  First, a particular name or device can only be registered to one person.  If another member has registered the name you have chosen, they have the right to require you to stop using it.  Second, it's a fun way to take your game to the next level.

Below are the links to the forms to be completed. 

Name Submission Form Device Submission Form Badge Submission Form Fieldless Badge Submission Form
Device Creation

The study of device heraldry encompasses a wealth of information.  This is only the basics to get you started. The heraldic design commonly displayed on shields and flags are called an emblazon.   The terms and jargon used to describe the picture is the blazon.  Here are some basic definitions and rules.

Field:  the background
Charge: the objects placed on the field

Basic Tinctures (or hues): Mouse over for samples.

Metals*: called the lights
    Argent 
    Or

*Represented by a solid color

Colors: called the darks
    Azure
    Gules
    Purpure
    Sable
    Vert

So why are these distinctions important?

A device needs to be noticeable.  One of the easiest ways to do that is through contrast.  A light colored field should have a dark charge and vice versa. So no metal on metal or color on color.  But that doesn't mean your limited to solid colors.  Additionally, you can divide the field in a multitude of ways, both directionally and with a different types of lines (straight, wavy and zigzag to name a few). There are too many patterns and divisions to go into on a basics page.  Our herald can answer any questions.

Charges: 

Simply put a charge is the thing or things on a device.  The only limit to what you can use as a charge is that it has to have been a known object from period; therefore, no penguins or space shuttles but you can have beasts from period mythology.  Here's one more definition you may need to know.

Proper: an object in its natural colors and/or position; the charge's default. The College of Heralds has a specific definition of proper for certain object so be sure to check with our herald to ensure you are properly using proper.

    Example: a crow is black with red beak and feet, standing with it's wings at rest along it's side.

The Complexity Rule of Thumb:

Simple is better.  Again it's about contrast; it's hard to pick out details from something that's busy. So the rule of thumb is the total of tinctures, charges, and divisions should not exceed 10.

A quick example:

The Tinctures are Argent, Or and Sable.

The Field is Argent. (While there are two background colors it's the primary one.)

The Charges are a rapier, a laurel wreath, Tudor roses and the Sable part of the shield is called a chief.  We used a specific shaped line for the division.

Rule of thumb count: 8

The complete blazon is: Argent, a rapier within a laurel wreath and on a chief embattled Sable three roses Or

As you can tell from the above blazon, the language of heraldry is somewhat complicated so you should always consult a herald before submitting any device.