Name and Arms for Badr al-Abyārī

Badr is a rattan fighter in our province and had been working towards registering a name and device for some time. Along with with some of the other heralds on Facebook’s SCA Heraldry Chat group, I was glad to provide support as he worked through the process of selecting and combining name and armory elements.


Sable, the moon in her plenitude argent and on a chief Or a dragon passant gules.

Badr already had the outlines of his desired design worked out, and just needed a bit of support to find a combination of his favored elements that was registrable and clear of conflict.

The dragon image here comes from the Viking Answer Lady’s SVG Images for Heralds, while the moon image comes from Bruce Draconarius’ Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry.


Badr al-Abyārī is the name of an Arabic-speaking man living along the Silk Road in the 13-14th century.

Badr is an Arabic masculine given name, or “ism.” The name “Badr” appears in Juliana de Luna’s “Andalusian Names: Arabs in Spain” (2001) under “Men’s given names that were found at least twice in these name lists.”

SENA Appendix A states that Arabic names may take an locative byname, using al- and the adjectival form of a place name. This type of name element is known as a “nisba,” and is often of the form al-<place>i.

Al-Abyārī is a locative byname in Arabic, meaning “from the wells”. (Abyār is used as the name of many places in the Arabic world where wells are found.) The name “al-Abyārī” appears in Juliana de Luna’s “Arabic Names from al-Andalus: Nickbynames by type” (2008).

Names and Arms for Sara and Giuseppe Sala di Paruta

Sara and Giuseppe live in our neighboring barony of Dragonship Haven. Her name and arms had been registered but she wanted to tweak them, while his were being registered for the first time.


Per pale sable and vert, a poodle salient contourny Or, collared and langued gules, and in sinister canton a bezant.

Sara already had similar arms registered, but with a talbot sejant, which she wanted to swap for a poodle salient.

Poodles are documented as period, being known from at least the fifteenth century. The poodle illustration is adapted from the submissions of Briana Heron of Caid, using the period shearing for water dogs without ornamental pompoms.


Per pale sable and vert, two sprigs of rue and a covered salt-cellar shedding salt Or.

Giuseppe wanted his arms to share a common field with his wife’s, but wasn’t sure what charges it should bear.

After a bit of brainstorming, I came up with a cant on the household name “Salaparuta” or “Sala di Paruta” using the medieval name for a covered salt shaker, and the Italian/Latin word for common rue: “above a salte, a pair of rutas.”

Canting arms, using rebuses, puns, and alliteration, were very common in medieval heraldry, being well adapted to a society with low literacy but a taste for symbolism and wordplay.


Sara Sala di Paruta

Sara is an Italian form of the common female name Sarah, attested in Sicily in the 15th C.

S.n. Sara, “… Ma può risalire direttamente alla forma ebraica Sārāh; cfr. Sara mulier iudea uxor quondam Buxacce, a.1400.” Found in “Dizionario Onomastico della Sicilia”, Caracausi, G., 1994, Palermo. Translation by Maridonna Benvenuti: “But it can be directly traced to the Jewish Sārāh form; cfr. Sara mulier iudea uxor quondam Buxacce, year 1400.”

SENA Appendix A states that Italian names may take an unmarked locative byname. Sala di Paruta was the medieval name of a village and associated castle in Sicily that is currently known as Salaparuta.


Giuseppe Sala di Paruta

Giuseppe is an Italian form of the common male name Joseph, attested as the name of a Sicilian living in Rome during the 16th C.

“Giuseppe Sicilano” is one of many men named Giuseppe listed in “Names of Jews in Rome In the 1550’s” by Yehoshua ben Haim haYerushalmi, drawn from Nota Ebrei, a 16th C. rabbinical archive.

SENA Appendix A states that Italian names may take an unmarked locative byname. Sala di Paruta was the medieval name of a village and associated castle in Sicily that is currently known as Salaparuta.


Sala di Paruta

Sala di Paruta was the name of a village and an associated castle in medieval Sicily.

When the first tower of the castle was built in 1296, it and the village were known as “Sala Della Donna” (“Hall of the Lady”). The castle became the seat of a barony known as Baronia Sala Della Donna (“Barony of the Hall of the Lady”).

In 1462 it became the feudal lands of the Paruta family, and shortly after 1500 they renamed the castle and the associated barony “Sala di Paruta” (“Hall of the Parutas”).

In 1561, following the death of Giovanni Matteo Paruta, who had been Baron of Sala di Paruta, his daughter and only heir, Fiammetta Paruta, wed Giuseppe Alliata, who became Baron Sala di Paruta. (Their son was later named Duke Sala di Paruta.)

Throughout this period, the village that surrounded the castle was known by the same name, Sala di Paruta, but during the eighteenth century, the name was combined into a single word, “Salaparuta”, which is its modern name.

Below are three references in history books attesting to the existence of the territory, castle, and/or barony named Sala di Paruta.

Pervenuta veidesi finalmente questa gran Baronia in potere di Giolamo Paruta, il quale nel 1503, accrebbe di novelle fabbriche l’Abitato della vassalla Popolazione esistente in quella, che oltre più d’ un secolo traeva la fua forma (a: Amico Lexic. Topograph., Sic. Vol Mazar. V. Sala Paruta), e però ove fi disse nella mia Sicilia Nobile, essere stata ella edificata da Antonio Paruta nel 1507, fu uno de i sbagli, che mi fece prendere l’ autore genealogico, da cui ne fu cavata la notizia (b: Mugnos Fam. Paruta t. 3. f. 15. ma il millesimo citato del 1507, che volea dire 1503, fu error di stampa, poiché nel mio manuseritto originale 1503. cosi segnato leggesi.) Dalla Famiglia di Paruta cominició ad appellarsi la detta Terra col novello nome di Sala di Paruta, suppressovi l’antico di Sala di Madonna Alvira, e dalli Signori di Paruta fece passaggio ne i Signori Agliati.

— From “Della Sicilia Nobile“, by Francesco Maria Emanuele e Gaetani, 1775, p 263, citing “Lexicon Topographicum Siculum”, by Vito Amico, 1759.

English translation of key passage: “From [1503] the Paruta family began to call this land by the new name Paruta Hall, dropping the old name Hall of Lady Alvira…”

Alvira Giano Andrea suo primogenito, che a’investi Onofrio ed avo dell’ultima dei Paruta, la Fiammetta, con la quale passava di direitto nel 1561 nella casa Alliata la baronia sposando essa Fiammetta un Giuseppe Alliata: la quale baronia già sotto di Girolamo dopo il 1507 aveva preso nome di Sala di Paruta, o Salae Parutarum, sostituito al primo di Sala donne o Sala di Madona Alvira.

— From “Archivio Storico Siciliano“, published by “Scoieta Siciliana Per La Storia Patria” with “Scuola di paleografia di Palermo”, 1889, p 272.

English translation of key passage: “The barony had already under Girolomo from 1507 taken the name of Paruta Hall, or Salae Parutarum, replacing the earlier Hall of the Lady or Hall of Lady Alvira.”

Giuseppe Alliata… Sposó Donna Fiammetta Paruta, figlia di Giovanni Matteo, Barone della Sala di Paruta. Dotali in Notar Giacomo Scavuzzo di Palermo, li 6 maggio 1561; il matrimoni fu celebrato nela Parrocchia di San Giacomo la Marina di Palermo, li 8 successivo.

— From “The History of Feuds and Noble Titles of Sicily From Their Origins To Our Days, Volume Nine”, by Francesco San Martino De Spucches and Mario Gregorio, 1940, p. 292.

English translation: “Giuseppe Alliata… Wed Lady Fiammetta Paruta, daughter of Giovanni Matteo, Baron of Paruta Hall. Dowry recorded by Giacomo Scavuzzo of Palermo, May 6, 1561; the wedding was celebrated in the Parish of St. James the Mariner of Palermo on the 8th.”

Name and Arms for Lady Angelica di Nova Lipa

Lady Angelica is an established member of the society, serving as the chatelaine of the Canton of Whyt Whey, but had never registered her name or arms, an oversight I was pleased to help correct.


Gules, eight fleurs de lys in annulo Or.

In our first round of consultation, Angelica identified red and gold as her preferred colors, and the Florentine fleur de lys as her desired primary charge, but pinning down the optimum arrangement required multiple iterations before this design emerged as the favorite.


Angelica di Nova Lipa is the name of a Northern Italian woman during the Renaissance whose family hails from the Slavic village of “New Linden” on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.

Angelica appears as a woman’s name in many parts of Europe during the late medieval period, including in northern Italy and adjacent areas of central Europe.

“Angelica” is a Florentine woman’s name dated to 1427. (In “A Listing of all Women’s Given Names from the Condado Section of the Florence Catasto of 1427” by Juliana de Luna.)

“Angelica” is a Roman woman’s name dated to 1527. (On p. 87 in “Sac de Rome,” by Jacques Bonaparte, 1830. Image)

“Angelica” is a Venetian woman’s name dated to 1615. (In “Names from Sixteenth Century Venice” by Juliana de Luna.)

“Angelica” is a Hungarian woman’s name dated to 1230/1356. (In “Nıi neveink az Árpád-korban” by Edina V. Jurkó, at University of Debrecen’s Department of Hungarian Linguistics.)

di <placename> is a rare but attested form for northern Italian names. (SENA Appendix A states “Locative bynames in the northern and central areas normally take the form da X, but de X and di X are rarely found.”)

Italian and South Slavic name elements may be used together for the period of 1100-1600, according to SENA Appendix C.

Nova Lipa is a village between Vinica and Črnomelj in the White Carniola region, adjacent to the historic Venetian province of Istria, now part of modern Slovenia. In the Slovene language, the name means “new linden” (like the tree) and is distinguished from Stara Lipa (“old linden”), another village centered one mile to the north. (There are also paired adjacent villages named Nova Lipa and Stara Lipa a hundred miles to the east, in modern Croatia.)

While we haven’t been able to find a period source that refers to the village by this exact name prior to 1600, we believe it has been continuously occupied for more than a thousand years, and has been known by this name for more than four hundred years, as shown below.

The area of the village has been inhabited for thousands of years, and was previously the location of a Roman-era settlement. (Archeological site identified in 2006; Image.)

The area of Nova Lipa and Stara Lipa are listed together in fourteenth and fifteenth-century German-language texts as Linten, Linden, Lindenn, Lynden, or Lindenn, with references such as “dacz der Linten”, 1334, and “czu der Lindenn,” 1463, both found under the heading “Nova Lipa, pri Vinici v Beli krajini” (or in English, “Nova Lipa, near Vinica in White Carniola”), in “Historična topografija Kranjske (do 1500)” by Miha Kosi, Matjaž Bizjak, Miha Seručnik, and Jurij Šilc, at the Milka Kosa Historical Institute. (Image)

The linkage of these historical listings to the modern location of Nova Lipa is justified by an accompanying note: “Lokalizacija glede na [Urb. Nemškega viteškega reda, f. 216] iz 1490, kjer gre očitno za Staro in Novo Lipo” (or in English, “located via page 216 of the ‘Estate Records of the Teutonic Knights of 1490,’ where it is clearly for Stara Lipa and Nova Lipa”), citing “Urbar Nemškega viteškega reda za posest v okolici Ljubljane, Metlike, Črnomlja in Velike Nedelje 1490,” Codex 164 at the Central Archive of the Teutonic Knights in Vienna, which provides a listing of properties owned by Teutonic Knights in the vicinity of Črnomelj.

These listings of Linden are recorded in German, the language of the ruling Habsburg family and other elites, but local farmers in the fourteenth century would have spoken a Slavic language, a predecessor of modern Slovene, in which the village name would have been “Lipa.” For example “de Lipa” appears as a locative byname for numerous Czech men in 1310–1404. (Including “Heinrecus de Lipa 1383-1386” p. 43, and “Wenceslaus pernář de Lipa 1404” p.171 in “Registrik jmen osobnich”, a registry of personal names, by Wacslaw Wladiwoj Tomek, 1875; Image, Image.)

Although all of the residences in the area were originally considered to be a single village, some of the homes eventually formed a separate cluster on the southern side of the valley as residents shifted buildings to the hillsides to preserve open land for farming. (A sociological survey of patterns of town organization in the local area states that “Vas Nova Lipa (Bela krajina) je zato, da bi se ohranila rodovitna zemlja v bližnjem podolju, pomaknjena na višji, močno vrtačast svet, kjer hiše stojijo med vrtačami ali tik ob njih.” or in English, “New Lipa village (White Carniola), in order to maintain fertile soil in a nearby valley, moved higher, to an area of karst depressions where houses stand between sinkholes or adjacent to them.” In “Morfologija Vaških Naselij v Sloveniji” by Vladimir Drozg, 1995; Image.)

This southern group of buildings was soon recognized as a distinct place known as “Nova Lipa,” growing large enough by the 1600s to justify construction of its own church, the “Nova Lipa Church of the Holy Spirit.” (“Nova Lipa Cerkev sv. Duha,” dated to the 17th century by the Slovenian Cultural Ministry; Image.)

Although we do not have an exact date for the church’s construction, the village would have existed for a number of years prior to the building of the church, as churches were only erected in established population centers. Dr. Miha Kosi, a Slovenian historian with expertise in medieval geography of the region, believes the village was formed prior to 1600, during the Renaissance period: “When the village was divided, i.e. Nova Lipa was established, I don’t know, but obviously only after the middle ages, but before 17th c. (the building of the church of Holy Spirit).” (Personal communication, June 2017; Image.)

Badge for Lady Beatrice della Rocca

Lady Beatrice selected her badge in consultation with Erich Gutermuth, the deputy herald for Whyt Whey, and I was pleased to be able to assist them with the registration process.


A roundel counter-vair.

This design raised an interesting corner case where two of the SCA’s heraldic rules intersect:

Firstly, longstanding precedent holds that you can’t register a fieldless badge consisting of a shape which is a standard form for heraldic display, such as an escutcheon, billet, or roundel. The reason for this rule is that allowing such registrations would create the possibility for confusion; for example, when viewing a black and white square, one might wonder “is this a delf per pale sable and argent, or is it simple per pale sable and argent displayed on a rectangular object?”

Secondly, SENA A.3.E.3. states that you can’t register an undivided field such as simply “counter-vair” as that would be too simple; all registrations need to contain at least a charge or a field division.

Conveniently in this case those two rules work together in Beatrice’s favor: because you could not register an undivided, uncharged field of counter-vair, there is no potential for confusion: the image above can only legitimately be interpreted as a roundel counter-vair.

This ruling was described in the April 2002 LoAR:

We do not register fieldless badges which appear to be independent forms of armorial display. Charges such as lozenges, billets, and roundels are all both standard heraldic charges and “shield shapes” for armorial display. The SCA has never protected armory consisting of plain tinctures… If we do not protect, and have never protected, the arms Or, we should not be concerned about the possible appearance of a display of Or by using a single lozenge Or as a fieldless badge. … Therefore, a “shield shape” which is also a standard heraldic charge will be acceptable as as a fieldless badge in a plain tincture…

As all of the vairs are considered a single tincture, this badge should be registrable.

Name and Device for Alaxandair Mórda mac Matha

Alax is is my son, and wanted a name that reflected his mother’s Scottish ancestry, and a device suggestive of his primary interest in the society: youth combat.


Sable, an escutcheon within an orle Or.

Black and yellow are the colors of the martial offices, and after trying dozens of different designs he settled on these nested shield shapes.


Alaxandair is a Gaelic form of Alexander, first recorded as the name of a Scottish king born at the end of the 11th century (Alaxandair mac Mael Choluim), as well as two 13th century successors (Alaxandair mac Uilliam and Alaxandair mac Alaxandair), and then appearing more widely in records in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Pronounced “AH-lek-SAHN-dare.” Later variants include Alasdar, Alasdair, Alustar, and Alasdrann. The name comes from the Greek Ἀλέξανδρος (Aléxandros), which loosely translates to “defender of the people.”

Medieval Gaelic names could include both a descriptive and a patronymic byname. “Descriptive bynames were sometimes used in both Gaelic Scotland and Ireland. These bynames were usually adjectives describing concrete rather than fanciful characteristics… In Gaelic Scotland and Ireland, when descriptive adjective bynames were used they were often combined with simple patronymic bynames.” (Krossa)

Mórda is Gaelic for “great,” “exalted,” or “lofty.” Our original plan was to submit this as the related “Mórail,” which is modern Gaelic for “great,” “magnificent,” or “majestic,” but we were unable to document this to period, and a consulting herald at Pennsic helped us find Mórda instead.

mac is the standard Gaelic patronymic marker, meaning “son of.”

Matha is a Gaelic form of Matthew, his father’s given name. It appears in the Irish annals in 1258, and then repeatedly in the 1300s. (Mari) Pronounced “MA-tha” or perhaps “MA-ha.”

Thus, one can read Alaxandair Mórda mac Matha as “Alexander the Great, son of Matthew.” In addition to the obvious reference to Alexander the Great, the name is intended to allude to his size, as he’s exceptionally tall for his age.


Name and device submitted at Pennsic Heralds’ Point in August 2016 and accepted on the April 2017 LoAR published that June.

Device for Christophe de Frisselle

Azure, a pale checky sable and argent.

Christophe was introduced to me through the East Kingdom’s “Ask a Herald” service. He already had a design in mind that was a good match for his 12th Century Sicilian Norman Crusader persona.

However, I soon discovered that, although visually distinct, it conflicted with the populace badge of the Shire of Caer Adamant, azure, a pale vert fimbriated Or, as the College of Arms does not consider fimbriation when calculating heraldic difference.

I contacted the shire’s herald, Don Simeon ben Iuçef de Alcaçar, and through him reached their seneschal, Baron Adolphus Benner, who consulted the local populace and officers and granted Christophe the necessary “permission to conflict” that would allow his arms to be registered.

[Update, Dec 2017: This device was accepted for registration.]

Arms and Badge for Lady Sofya Gianetta di Trieste

Or, a Florentine fleur-de-lys and on chief gules two mullets of eight points Or.

Lady Sofya came up with an initial design for her armory last year, but the submission paperwork was never finalized and she wanted to make a few tweaks.

Her persona resides in northern Italy and she’d previously selected the Florentine fleur-de-lys as her primary charge, as well as choosing red and gold as her personal colors. In the course of the design process she identified the eight-pointed star as a recurring theme in Italian heraldry and included that as well.


Or, a Florentine fleur-de-lys within an orle gules.

A second design which was developed during the consultation is being submitted as a personal badge. 

It’s very reminiscent of the arms of Florence, which are argent, a fleur-de-lys gules.


The fleur-de-lys charge used here comes from Gunnvôr silfrahárr’s “SVG Images for Heralds” collection, and is the distinctively-Florentine version with visible stamens between the petals. While at one time the SCA blazoned this charge a “fleur-de-lys Florencee,” that practice seems to have become less common, and these may wind up being registered as generic fleurs-de-lys, with the particular styling an artistic variation visible only in the emblazon.

[Update, Nov 2017: This armory was accepted for registration.]

Arms for Lady Magdelena Caminante

Per bend sinister purpure and vert, a bend sinister argent, overall an inverted triangle Or.

Lady Magdelena’s armory registration was returned for a redraw as the submitting herald had made the triangular charge “barely overall.” She liked the design, so we adjusted the proportions to address the issue by ensuring that all three corners of the triangle lie on the field rather than on the bend, and it is now being resubmitted.

Device and Populace Badge for the Canton of Whyt Whey

Argent, an apple gules slipped and leaved proper within a laurel wreath vert, and an orle sable.Argent, an apple gules slipped and leaved proper within a laurel wreath vert, and an orle sable.

Earlier this year, I worked with other members of the Canton of Whyt Whey, our local SCA branch here in Manhattan, to design a new set of branch arms. We went through innumerable drafts and proposals before settling on a device which gained unanimous consent.

As with many medieval devices, these are “canting arms”, featuring the city’s namesake big apple, along with the required laurel wreath and an elegant black stripe.


Argent, an apple gules slipped and leaved proper within an orle sable.

Argent, an apple gules slipped and leaved proper within an orle sable.

We’ve also submitted a design for a populace badge, which features the same design elements without the branch-marker laurel wreath.


Both designs have been submitted and will hopefully be approved and registered next summer.

(The branch’s previous device will be retained as our “ancient and honorable arms,” and perhaps be deployed as a battle standard to strike fear into the hearts of our foes.)

Device and Name for Zoya the Orphan

Purpure, three Arabian lamps argentPurpure, three Arabian lamps argent.

I worked with a local member of Østgarðr to refine their device design and document their preferred name for submission to the College of Heralds.

“Zoya” is a female baptismal name found in Paul Goldschmidt’s “Dictionary of Period Russian Names” as “Zoia”, attested to 1356 in “Levin, Eve. Calendar of Saints—12th-15th Century Novgorod” p. 20. In the original Cyrillic, this name would have been spelled Зоя (three letters, Ze-O-Ya), the last letter of which may be transliterated as Ia, Ja, or Ya. (Confirmed in personal communication with Paul Goldschmidt, who reports “Zoia, Zoja, or Zoya are all the exact same name.”)

The construction “given-name descriptive-byname” is found as a period construction for Russian names in the same “Dictionary of Period Russian Names,” which states “there are numerous cases of simply adding a common adjective onto a given name,” and gives “the Unkissed”, “the Unpredictable”, and “the Long-Nosed” as examples.

“The Orphan” is a descriptive byname rendered in English under the Lingua Anglica Allowance.