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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Fri 06 Aug, 2010 5:50 am    Post subject: Military Orders and Their 'Heraldry': From Shield to Surcoat         Reply with quote

Hi,
I've been trying to do a few sketches of various kits I'd one day like to aquire, but then it struck me, the 'coat of arms' doesn't seem to match.
I have noted that, for example, a Hospitaller surcoat is black with a white 'spikey' cross on the left side, yet their 'banner' is a white cross on a red background. I have no idea if their shield design was different.
So my question is this: What 'orders' or units had what 'arms'?
My main area of interest is 12thC.-Late 13thC. Europe, but anything on either side or anywhere of that would be great too! Laughing Out Loud
And a bonus question: If you could help me by using the correct terminology, that'd be swell (as "... white 'spikey' cross on the left side..." doesn't sound all that good Laughing Out Loud ).
Oh, and pictures are greatly appreciated, primary or otherwise.



 Attachment: 218.78 KB
MS M.730 fol. 53r.jpg
And a picture for your time :P

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.


Last edited by Sam Gordon Campbell on Fri 06 Aug, 2010 7:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Aug, 2010 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The correct term for "heraldy" is "arms" or "coat of arms". The official coat of arms for the Knights Hospitaller is a white cross on a red field, or "gules, a cross argent" (at least since 1189 or so, long before they started wearing red surcoats).

It is not known what the Hospitallers had on their shields. There are many interpretations. See this thread. I even asked some experts but they don't know either. In the end, our reenactment group chose to use red shields with a white cross, matching their banner.

Also interesting in that topic is the pictures of the arms of the Templars. It's not a white field with a red cross but a white field with the upper part black. Sometimes you see a small white cross in the center of that black bar (see the fresco in Perugia). That banner is called the Beauseant.

As for the cross shapes, have a look at this website. They have a nice overview of all the possible shapes and their names. In the interpretation of our reenactment group we assume that the change from a simple greek cross to the maltese cross was very gradual and that multiple shapes were used at the same time. Our group uses the Cross Formee and the Formee Branchee for 1250.

I don't know much about the other orders. The Teutonic knights are usually depicted with a black cross on a white field, and the order of St. Lazarus with a green cross on a white field. But this may be just as wrong as the image of Templars and Hospitallers in popular media.
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Fri 06 Aug, 2010 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, merci Sander.
Now I'll have to re edit my opening question to fix up my errors. Confused
So, on that note, do you think that Templars and Hospitalliars shield and banners are interchangeable to a degree?
Being a visual learner and wanting to build up references and all that.
Oh, and thanks for the technical terms Happy



 Attachment: 201.69 KB
plate28.jpg
The fresco in Perugia.
Thanks Sander :D


Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Aug, 2010 7:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
So, on that note, do you think that Templars and Hospitalliars shield and banners are interchangeable to a degree?


I'm afraid I don't understand your question :\ What do you mean by interchangeable? The various orders copied a lot of practices off each other back in the day. So, if you can't find something specific to the order you are researching, it makes sense to look at what the other orders did at the same time. But it always remains an assumption.

That's what out group did with the Hospitaller shields. There are no known images of Hospitallers carrying shields from before 1259 (when their surcoats turned red). So, we looked at the Templars. We found that the Templars had different surcoats and arms, just like the Hospitaller. And we found that the Templars put the icons from their arms on their shield, not the icons from their surcoat. So we assume the Hospitallers did the same. But it's just an assumption.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Aug, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander...

You are right that the Templar banner, the Beausant, is a black field over a white field. It is still in use today by the modern Templar orders. The cross patee does not appear on the ancient banner, only on the shields and surcoats, at least in most representations.

The Templars, being an order of warrior monks, did not go in for a lot of flashy stuff.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Aug, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander: you answered my question anyway Wink
Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
You are right that the Templar banner, the Beausant, is a black field over a white field. It is still in use today by the modern Templar orders. The cross patee does not appear on the ancient banner, only on the shields and surcoats, at least in most representations.


Probably. I haven't researched the Templars all that much, except at points where I could not find something specific to the Hospitallers. But the fresco posted by Sam above does seem to show the cross on the banner (or is it a standard?).
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