Bärenschnitt Badge

I stumbled upon this armorial design while doing some research into obscure field divisions and decided to add it to my collection of badges.

Per bend sinister argent and gules, issuant from the line of division a bear’s head and a bear’s head inverted contourny counterchanged.

The illustration is adapted from a woodcut by Hans Burgkmair the Elder of his arms, 1516. Burgkmair was a painter and engraver who became a master woodcut printmaker.

His arms feature two bears, interlocked at the jaws, Or and sable. In German armorials this type of design is blazoned “Bärenschnitt” which we might translate as “bear-cut.”

The rendition used in the submission is taken from an emblazon by Madboy74 posted to Wikimedia Commons and released into the public domain.

This badge was registered on the January 2019 Letter of Acceptances and Returns with this commentary:

As noted in registering the device for Sigrothr Melrakki in March 2018:

A rare but notable practice in German heraldry was to have charges issuant symmetrically from either side of a line of division, forming the appearance of a complex line of division. When formed of animal’s heads, the jaws of each head would frequently interlock in the center of the line of division. The practice appears to always have the same type of charge repeated on each side of the division, rather than different charges on each side. For SCA purposes, each submission following this pattern should be treated as two separate charges, each issuant from the line of division, with the type of field division (per bend, per fess, per pale, etc.) dictating the angle of the charges issuant therefrom.

This is one of the rare cases in SCA heraldry where we will allow animate charges inverted.

Name and Device for Hrotger the Tervingi

Hrotger had been using his name for many years without registering it, but was inspired to do so when he encountered my post of simple field-only armory.

In comparison to the simplicity of his chosen armory, researching his chosen name was significantly more difficult, because documentary sources for Germanic peoples in the period immediately following the collapse of the Roman Empire are somewhat limited, and it is not a culture with which I have much familiarity — an interesting challenge, and a good learning opportunity.

Per chevron inverted sable and azure.

Hrotger the Tervingi” is an Eastern Germanic name that might be borne by a Goth somewhere around the fourth century.

Hrotger is a Germanic male given name.

Hrotger appears as the name of a Saxon bishop during A.D. 909-916 in “The bishoprics of Saxony in the first century after Christianization” by Christopher Carroll, published in the August 1999 issue of Early Medieval Europe.

The name Hrotger is given as a witness to a real-estate transaction during the reign of abbot Adalgar (AD 822-875) on pages 50 and 57 of “Traditiones Corbeienses“, an 1843 re-publication by Paul Wigand of a document copied in 1479 from an eleventh-century manuscript which was itself copied from parchment rolls recorded at the time of the original transactions.

“Hroðgar” is given as the name of a Danish king who ruled shortly after 500 AD, according to the Old English poem “Widsith,” which was first composed in the seventh century, although our oldest copy of it was written down in the tenth century.

Tervingi” is a Eastern Germanic demonym used to refer to some Gothic tribes.

The “Theruingi” people are mentioned in “Res Gestae” by Ammianus Marcellinus, written circa 385 AD, as well as their nation, “Theruingorum natio,” and their leader, “Athanarichus Theruingorum iudex.”

If “Tervingi” is ruled unregistrable, or too far removed in time from documentable sources for “Hrotger”, client would accept “Hrotger the Goth.”

Name and Device for Arthur von Eschenbach

Arthur had already selected a name and armory in consultation with another herald, Francesco Gaetano Grèco d’Edessa, so preparing his submission forms was a simple matter of illustration and onomastic research.

Per fess argent and sable, a cross gules and in chief two fleurs de lys sable.

Arthur” is an English masculine given name. It is attested to the sixteenth century, appearing in “The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources” (S.L. Uckelman, ed. 2018).

English given names may be borrowed into sixteenth-century German names under the terms of the February 2015 cover letter.

von Eschenbach” is a Germanic locative byname indicating an origin in a town of Eschenbach. It is attested to the sixteenth century, appearing in “Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen vnd Voelckeren Chronick wirdiger thaaten beschreybung” (by Johannes Stumpf, 1548).

Page 184 of “Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen vnd Voelckeren Chronick wirdiger thaaten beschreybung,” by Johannes Stumpf, 1548.

Frequency of Last Names

Following up on my recent post with the most common first names in the Society’s armorial, here’s a list of the hundred most common last names registered to date.

It’s no surprise that last names are more diverse than first names, so this round up of the most popular bynames in the Society doesn’t have  anything that rises to the level of Bill, Bob, Mike, and Tom found in my recent post.

Still, there are clearly some entries here that are relatively common, and it’s an interesting mix of types, including locative, patronymic, descriptive, and occupational bynames.

of York 89
MacLeod 83
d’Avignon 75
the Wanderer 69
MacGregor 63
Rose 55
the Red 50
Morgan 46
of Skye 46
MacDonald 45
da Firenze 44
de Lyon 44
MacPherson 42
Stewart 41
du Bois 39
Drake 38
Cameron 34
ap Rhys 33
Sinclair 33
the Black 32
Bjarnarson 32
Campbell 32
Fletcher 32
of Kent 32
de la Mer 30
Grey 30
Gunnarsson 30
von Bremen 29
d’Anjou 29
da Venezia 28
Haraldsson 27
Fraser 26
de la Croix 26
de Lacy 26
de Montfort 26
Ragnarsson 26
of Atenveldt 25
de Leon 25
de Navarra 25
Archer 24
Buchanan 24
de Calais 24
Ruadh 24
the Silent 24
du Lac 24
Gordon 23
Thorne 23
O’Connor 23
Dragon 22
Einarsson 22
Gunn 22
de Luna 22
Ulfsson 21
Dubh 21
MacLachlan 21
Magnusson 21
Montgomery 21
of Canterbury 21
of Warwick 21
de Grey 21
de Navarre 21
de Lorraine 20
di Firenze 20
Hrafnsson 20
the Archer 20
the Grey 20
von Regensburg 20
of Anglesey 20
of Glastonbury 20
of the Isles 20
Olafsson 20
MacKay 19
MacRae 19
al-Zarqa’ 19
ap Morgan 19
Blackthorne 19
the Mad 19
von Baden 19
the Fair 18
the Quiet 18
Tremayne 18
Tryggvason 18
Winter 18
Wolf 18
MacKenzie 18
O’Neill 18
Peregrine 18
Hawkwood 18
de la Vega 18
de Lyons 18
dei Medici 18
della Luna 18
de Beaumont 17
de Clare 17
de la Rose 17
de Valencia 17
MacFarlane 17
Martel 17
Noir 17
von Brandenburg 17

(You’ll notice that I am grouping articles and prepositions with the words they accompany, which affects the rankings, as “Grey”, “de Grey” and “the Grey” are considered separate names, and people with bynames like “of the Endless Sea” and “of Tree Girt Sea” are counted separately rather than as sharing the common last name “Sea.”)

(And as with the previous batch, note that “last names” are not synonymous with “bynames,” both because of the pattern seen in some languages of double bynames, and because of the differing word order found in East Asian names where the personal given name often appears after the inherited family name or other bynames.)

Frequency of First Names

With over fifty thousand personal names registered in the Society’s armorial database, it comes as no surprise that a number of name elements are reused numerous times, while others are rare or unique.

I recently looked at the frequency of name elements by their position in a name, which allowed me to pull together the below list of the one hundred most common first names.

William 426
Robert 341
Michael 270
Thomas 264
John 258
James 242
Elizabeth 238
Richard 219
Anne 198
Morgan 171
Katherine 159
Anna 154
Edward 152
David 147
Duncan 137
Geoffrey 136
Catherine 135
Wilhelm 128
Alexander 114
Isabella 113
Eleanor 109
Ian 108
Brian 106
Margaret 106
Sorcha 100
Angus 100
Jean 99
Cassandra 98
Charles 98
Juliana 97
Elspeth 96
Marcus 96
Sean 95
Eric 94
Daniel 94
Genevieve 91
Mary 91
Maria 89
Rhiannon 86
Stephen 85
Andrew 84
Bjorn 83
Magnus 83
Elena 83
Karl 83
Emma 81
Isabel 81
Gareth 79
Deirdre 78
Marie 78
Anastasia 75
Christopher 75
Rose 73
Edmund 70
Katerina 68
Robin 68
Seamus 68
Ulrich 68
Tristan 66
Alaric 66
Alexandra 66
Colin 65
Simon 64
Caitlin 63
Isabeau 63
Gabriel 62
Johannes 62
Alessandra 62
Arthur 61
Dafydd 61
Diana 61
Fiona 61
Helena 61
Sarah 61
Sebastian 61
Martin 61
Connor 60
Roland 60
Francesca 59
Erik 58
Guillaume 58
Wolfgang 58
Rowan 57
Eoin 57
Johann 57
Áine 56
Giovanni 55
Magdalena 55
Gavin 54
Vladimir 53
Bran 53
Constance 53
Galen 52
Konrad 52
Malcolm 52
Owen 52
Gabrielle 51
Gillian 51
Gwyneth 51
Ivan 51

(Note that “first names” are not synonymous with “given names,” both because of the pattern seen in some languages of double given names, and because of the differing word order found in East Asian names where the personal given name often appears after the inherited family name or other bynames.)

Frequency of Branch Designators

As the herald of the Crown Province of Østgarðr, I am well aware that it is the only branch in the Society to bear that particular designator — a result of its curious history as the home territory of the earliest royalty of the East Kingdom — and became curious as to what other unusual branch designators were to be found in the catacombs of the Society’s armorial database.

A bit of data extraction produced the following table:

584 Shire (or Schire, Scir)
297 Canton (or Kanton)
187 Barony (or Baronnie)
93 College (or Collegium, Université)
20 Kingdom
20 March (or Marche)
19 Stronghold (or Fortaleza)
11 Province
9 Principality
8 Riding
2 Hamlet
2 Bailiwick
2 Borough
2 Port
1 Barony-Marche
1 Dominion
1 Crown Province

I’ve grouped spelling variations and translations into different languages together.

The most common cases are the standard organizational units of the Society:

  • Kingdoms are the highest level of the hierarchy, with all other branches contained within a kingdom.
  • Principalities are large regions of a kingdom with their own royalty.
  • Shires are independent groups, and the most common type of branch in the Society.
  • Baronies are regions with landed nobility.
  • Cantons are subgroups within a barony.
  • Provinces are equivalent to baronies but do not have landed nobility.
  • Ridings are subgroups within a province.
  • Colleges are groups associated with a university or other educational institution.
  • Strongholds are groups associated with a military base.

The term March seems to be used by groups that are organizationally equivalent to shires or cantons.

Although listed in the Armorial as a Principality, Tir Mara is considered a “Crown Principality,” which is an organizational structure for a group that is on a path towards becoming a Principality, as described in the Cunnan wiki.

I dug a little deeper into the least-common designators to see when they were issued:

  • Crown Province: Østgarðr (1973, but shown as 1984 in the O&A)
  • Barony-Marche: Debatable Lands (1975)
  • Dominion: Myrkfaelinn (1975)
  • Bailiwicks: Ivyeinrust (1981), Broken Bridges (1984)
  • Boroughs: Southe Banke (1981), Duncorlach (1988)
  • Ports: Crickstow-on-Sea (1998), Curragh Mor (1995)
  • Hamlets: Gildenwick (2018), Wildmoor (2018)

Most of these unusual designators are associated with submissions from the East Kingdom, although the Debatable Lands and Myrkfaelinn are now part of Æthelmearc.

The first three date from the era of Alfgar the Sententious’s role as Brigantia Herald (1970–77). All three are still active. Østgarðr and Debatable Lands function as baronies, while Myrkfaelinn is organizationally equivalent to a shire but has a unique schtick.

Both Bailiwicks were organized as cantons, one within the Debatable Lands and the other within Bhakhail. Broken Bridges dissolved within a few years, but Ivyeinrust remains active in and around the University of Pennsylvania.

Boroughs appear to have been initially thought of as an incipient  form for college groups. Neither of these groups is still active. The concept of Boroughs seem to have been an invention of Carolingia.  Subsequent attempts to register the Borough of Haven’s End and the Borough of Felding as branches were returned, although they were allowed to register as households.

Ports are branches associated with ships or naval bases; for example, Curragh Mor was a branch aboard the aircraft carrier USS NimitzCurragh Mor dissolved years ago, and the last visible activity in Crickstow-on-Sea was around 2007.

The only one of these uncommon designators that is in active use for new registrations is “Hamlet,” a term used in Lochac and Drachenwald, first registered in April 2018.

Provincial Awards Missing From the Kingdom Order of Precedence

The East Kingdom Order of Precedence site, generally referred to as “the EK OP”, records tens of thousands of kingdom and baronial awards issued over the East’s fifty-year history.

It’s an impressive feat of data collection, given the all-volunteer nature of our Society, but it is not flawless. The reporting process involves repeated transcription of unfamiliar names, and I am given to understand that the web interface used to enter and update data in the system is not particularly easy to use, so a number of errors and omissions have accumulated over time and it can take a while to correct them.

Back in 2017, I worked to identify a number of people who had been issued awards by the Crown Province of Østgarðr that were missing from the OP, and got those omissions corrected.

However since then another backlog has accumulated, as none of our recent court reports have been incorporated into the OP.

To facilitate ongoing recommendations, I am posting my notes on awards that are not listed in the OP. Hopefully they will be added to the main repository eventually…

Order of the Seahorse
• Aurora ffolkes, 10/21/2017 (Goat’s Tavern)
• Arnora Ketilsdottir, 1/13/2018 (Deck the Halls of Valhalla)
• Arnbiorg Helga Niálsdóttir, 2/10/2018 (King’s and Queen’s A&S and Bardic Championships)

Order of the Sea Dog of Østgarðr
• Oliver de Bainbridge, 10/21/2017 (Goat’s Tavern)
• Jenna Childslayer, 10/21/2017 (Goat’s Tavern)
• Phillip the First, 10/21/2017 (Goat’s Tavern)
• Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin, 10/21/2017 (Goat’s Tavern)
• Brandr Aronsson, 1/13/2018 (Deck the Halls of Valhalla)
• Godiva de la Mer, 1/13/2018 (Deck the Halls of Valhalla)
• Francesco Gaetano Greco d’Edessa, 4/21/2018 (Lions Awaken)

Order Of The Silver Sea-Lion
• Mongu Chinua, 9/8/2018 (The Feast of John Barleycorn)

Order of the Silver Lantern
• Þórfinnr Hróðgeirsson, 4/14/2018 (Brew U)
• Anneke Walmarsdotter, 4/21/2018 (Lions Awaken)

Order of the Sea-Urchin of Østgarðr (New)
• Benjamin of Northpass, 9/8/2018 (The Feast of John Barleycorn)
• Alaxandair Morda mac Matha, 9/8/2018 (The Feast of John Barleycorn)

April’s Traceable Art

There’ve been 120 new illustrations added to the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art since February, bringing us to a total of 2,600 items.

This batch includes a depiction of a belladona flower and a number of other images by Nicholas de Estleche, as well as two caps — a bycocket and a cap of maintenance — and some everyday items found in medieval households, including a grater, a funnel, and a hand mirror.

Below is a summary of the new entries; each includes a single illustration unless a number is provided in parentheses, and represents a new heading unless marked as an addition.

  • Lines: Nebuly Line (1 additional)
  • Field Divisions: Per Bend Nebuly (1 additional), Per Chevron Ployé Flory at the Point (1 additional), Per Fess Nebuly (1 additional), Per Fess Potenty, Per Pale Potenty
  • Ordinaries: Chief Engrailed, Chief Invected, Chief Potenty, Fess Engrailed, Fess Fusilly, Fess Invected, Fess Potenty, Pale Fusilly, Pale Potenty, Pile (1 additional), Pile Cotised, 3 Piles Inverted Palewise
  • Shapes & Symbols: Cross Moline (1 additional), Lozenge Ployé (1 additional), Lozenge Pometty, Masculyn, Mitsutomoe (2 additional), Zule
  • The World: Crescent (1 additional), Gurges (3 additional), Stone (1 additional)
  • Plants: Acorn Slipped & Leaved (1 additional), Beladona Flower Slipped and Leaved, Lotus Flower Affronty (1 additional), Palm Tree, Pine Tree (1 additional), Rose (1 additional), Sexfoil, Sprig of Tobacco
  • Invertebrates: Butterfly (2 additional), Scorpion (1 additional), Spider (1 additional), Wasp (1 additional)
  • Birds: Bird Volant Addorsed, Duck Enraged, Eagle (1 additional), Eagle, Double-Headed (1 additional), Pelican In Its Piety (1 additional)
  • Beasts: Anteater Rampant, Badger’s Head Cabossed, Badger’s Head Erased (1 additional), Bagwyn Rampant Guardant, Beaver Rampant Vorant of a Fish (1 additional), Beaver Salient (2 additional), Beaver Salient Vorant of a Fish, Beaver Statant (2 additional), Beaver Statant Vorant of a Fish, Boar’s Head Issuant From a Bowl, Dog Passant (1 additional), Genet Passant, Horse Passant (1 additional), Ibex’s Horn (1 additional), Lion Passant Guardant (1 additional), Lion Queue Forchy (1 additional), Mouse Dormant, Mouse Sejant Erect, Tyger Statant, Wolf Passant (1 additional), Yale Rampant (2 additional)
  • People: Arm Vested Fesswise Maintaining a Gemmed Ring, Moor’s Head (2 additional)
  • Objects: Ark of the Covenant (2), Bellows (1 additional), Besom (1 additional), Brooch, Closed (2 additional), Buckle (1 additional), Bycocket, Candlestick (3), Cap, Cap of Maintenance (2), Carriage Frame, Chest, Cog-Wheel (1 additional), Comb, Hair, Drill, Folding Fan (1 additional), Winnowing Fan, Fork, Funnel, Furison (2 additional), French-Cut Gemstone In Profile, Hexagonal Gemstone, Grater, Heckle, Hood, Knife (1 additional), Ladle, Lymphad with Oars Shipped (1 additional), Hand Mirror, Wall Mirror, Phial (1 additional), Bookbinding Press, Rapier (1 additional), Scroll, Open (1 additional), Shacklebolt, Shoe (1 additional), Spoon (1 additional), Tambourine, Tassel (1 additional), Triangular Trivet