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Glossary

barry

barry

A shield which is described as being patterned `barry' is divided into six or eight horizontal stripes of alternating tinctures, in most cases a colour and a metal. A common example which frequently appears in European heraldry is the shield `barry of six argent and gules'.

bear

bear

The bear appears in many canting arms, an association made because of the similarity between it and bearers's names. According to medieval bestiaries, the bear licked its cubs into shape, thus signifying the Church's conversion of pagans. It signifies strength, resilience and perseverance.

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bend

bend

The bend represents a diagonal stripe or band drawn from the upper right corner of the shield (dexter chief) to the lower left corner.

bendy

bendy

When a shield is described as `bendy', the pattern of stripes of alternating colours and metals is arranged diagonally. A shield `bendy' can be either `bendy sinister' or `dexter', depending on the orientation of the pattern.

bezant

bezant

Depicted as a gold or yellow variant of the roundel, the besant was a gold currency which had been mentioned in the Old Testament and later used in the Byzantine empire. It signified wealth, prosperity and trust.

billets

billets

The billet a simple rectangular shape in the centre of a shield, which does not however usually appear alone as a charge. It was meant to represent a folded letter, and therefore suggested loyalty, trust, credibility and faith.

boar

The boar, although not an extremely frequent charge in heraldry, was admired by medieval writers for its strength and prowess. It symbolized courage in battle, warrior spirit and resolution.

bordure

bordure

A stripe or band which surrounds the edges of a shield, the bordure is always of a contrasting tincture to the rest of the field. It can itself create a new field on which different charges may be added.

bourdon or pilgrim's staff

bourdon or pilgrim's staff

This type of staff appears frequently in medieval iconography and in heraldry, and is a sign of the penitential pilgrimage. In this quality, it symbolized piety, self-sacrifice and atonement for one's sins.

buckles

buckles

Another element of warrior paraphernalia, the buckle in heraldry could take various shapes and stood for honour, fidelity and victory.

bull

bull

The bull is an extremely ancient figure in European mythology. Bulls appeared in Paleolithic cave art. Young men and women vaulted over bulls in Minoan Crete three and a half millennia ago. Zeus took the form of a bull to carry off Europa, the maiden who gave her name to Europe. Germanic tribes sacrificed bulls to Odin. The bull was worshiped for its fertility, strength and vitality. In heraldry, bulls appear most commonly cabossed and affronté, but can also appear passant, rampant and salient. The arms of the 1st Baron de Mauley show three bulls passant. Calves are also common, but cows and oxen are rare (though an ox fording a stream appears in the arms for the City of Oxford). Calves usually appear in groups, as with the three calves passant in the arms for John Henry Metcalfe. Bulls appear as charges, crests, or supporters. Bulls usually appear as a solid color, though they occasionally appear as pied, as in the arms for the Marquis of Abergavenny. The bull represents a dedicated father, male fertility, a fiery temperament, kingly power, true magnanimity, and valour.

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0.4.6855.32674 (10/8/2018 6:09:08 PM)