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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Wolves in 13th c. heraldry Reply to topic
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Baard H




Location: Norway
Joined: 13 Mar 2013

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 12:25 pm    Post subject: Wolves in 13th c. heraldry         Reply with quote

Hello, I am trying to put together a personal coat of arms for a northern european of the 13th c.

I want to use a wolf rampant as the arms beast, but I'm unable to find any depictions of a wolf (in any form) from the 13th century. Does anyone know where to find one? I have seen examples of other beasts changing their form over the centuries as art fashion changes so if anyone know of a contemporary wolf (rampant obviously preferred, but any stance is highly appreciated) I would be very grateful.

Thanks in advance!
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Joined: 06 Feb 2012
Likes: 22 pages

Posts: 338

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm a wolf man myself. This one may be a bit later than you prefer, but it's certainly a beautiful piece, though not particularly rampant.
from:
Raymond's Quiet Press:
https://www.quietpress.com
Under Raymond's Middle Ages pendants section.
captioned:
Quote:
Designed from a heraldic Wolf's head cabossed

I own numerous pendants from Quiet Press, all well made in bronze. Perhaps you could contact him about any additional wolves.
Jon



 Attachment: 9.17 KB
wolf.JPG


A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My family's arms have a wolf passant (below), though I don't really have a clue how old the arms are. I did come up with some lions in similar poses from the Zuricher Wappenrole, which is 14th c.

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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


c. 1230, British Library MS BL Royal 12 F XIII, folio 29r.

Wolves are depicted in most bestiaries.
http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beastgallery180.htm

This looks like a suitable 13th century profile.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agoult.svg

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Alan Schiff
Industry Professional



Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The thing with heraldry, especially early on such as in the 13th century, is that there were no standards for how the coat was drawn. The blazon is far more important. As long as the charge looks like a wolf it would be acceptable. Not all artists were equal, and some arms were quite crudely drawn.

Hope that helps,
Alan
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Baard H




Location: Norway
Joined: 13 Mar 2013

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply's people!

That is a nice wolfshead Hargis, i might have to order one of those.

I envy you Hohl, I'd love to find a family coat of arms in my lineage. The wolf's shape does look like it's early (at least from my point of view, but that is nowhere close of being an expert...).

Thanks for the links Shearer that Bestiary had a lot of good pictures! The stance of the wikimedia picture does have similarities with a couple of rampant lions I know from the century, thanks!

Schiff, good point on the early rules (or lack of them), I knew the Norwegian rules (I'm Norwegian by the way) were and still are as good as non-existent, but I didn't know the rest of Europe still hadn't developed further in the 13th century.

At kveldi skal dag leyfa,
konu, er brennd er,
mæki, er reyndr er,
mey, er gefin er,
ís, er yfir kemr,
öl, er drukkit er.
-Hávamál, vísa 81
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Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wolves do appear on heraldic achievements of this period:

Robert Lovett (granted under Edward 1st - 13thC) - three black wolves passant on a white shield (I'll use the vernacular for the colours!)

Sir John Le Low of Buckinghamshire (Edward II Roll - 14thC) - three red wolves heads & 2 bars on a white shield

Nichole Le Low (Henry III Roll - 13thC) - two white wolves passant on a red shield

My dictionary of heraldry says wolves are particularly associated (later on) with the Scots Stroan/Robertson arms and also, strangely, with Spanish heraldry....

Not found a wolf rampant yet, but all sources I've read say they may have been indistinguishable from lions, (leo)pards etc. to the untrained eye (and medieval scribbler!).

Julian
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Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seek, and ye shall find......

After posting the above, I googled the earliest reference (Le Low) and came up with this very helpful site on the Lowe crest, full of heraldic wolves.

Low being a wordplay on Loup (the early French for Wolf, of course).

Enjoy:

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry....rests.html
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Joined: 06 Feb 2012
Likes: 22 pages

Posts: 338

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Baard:

Quote:
That is a nice wolfshead Hargis, I might have to order one of those.

I used a strip of black, buck type leather on mine, looks very nice. Be sure to check out Raymond's other items. I especially like his Viking work, but alas, no wolves in that section.

Regards, Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if you'd decide to make up your own image, i feel that heraldic images should be 'stylized' or simplified. with a detailed image (from a distance) its not as easy to make out the character. which i think you would want to be seen from far off with some nice color.

what i also found as interesting, is you can look up symbolism of the time period and add things that reference your family, or in particular yourself as this is yours. you may have a wolf as the central theme, and can add things around it that will hold meaning to you.
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Baard H




Location: Norway
Joined: 13 Mar 2013

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the names and the link Reynolds, it looks like it will be very useful! I've only had time to skim through it, but I particularly liked what the link said the wolf in heraldry symbolized:

"The crest of a wolf has been granted to valiant captains who served loyally through long sieges or hard enterprises. It signifies valor and guardianship. Wolves were viewed as ferocious and merciless and it was thought that they could paralyze their enemies with a look before destroying them. The bearer of this symbol was one who was dangerous to assail or thwart and a deadly enemy to have."


Wallace, we seem to share an opinion. I want to make a proper coat of arms that I can use as a symbol both in reenactment/living history and in "real life" (whatever that is...). As I'm going to put this on a shield at some point it needs to be fairly simple as you points out, yet detailed enough to be distinguished as a wolf as opposed to another beast like a lion. Wich considering the similarities between some of the wolves in Shearer's link compared to the lions on the insignias of King Erik Magnusson could be a problem if I'm not careful: http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil:Kong_Eirik_M..._VII_2.jpg
http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil:Kong_Eirik_M...VIII_2.jpg

On the subject of other details in the arms to make it more personal, I was thinking of adding two fairly simple crosses to either side of the wolf. As I want to keep it fairly simple with an early feel to it, I think adding too much more to the shield part of the arms would make it look a bit too complex and modern.

At kveldi skal dag leyfa,
konu, er brennd er,
mæki, er reyndr er,
mey, er gefin er,
ís, er yfir kemr,
öl, er drukkit er.
-Hávamál, vísa 81
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Baard H




Location: Norway
Joined: 13 Mar 2013

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the blazon of what I have in mind might be something like:

Azure, a wolf rampant Argent, between two crosses Or.


Does anyone have any input on this blazon or should I just go ahead? If anyone know of a coat of arms that look too similar to this, please let me know.

At kveldi skal dag leyfa,
konu, er brennd er,
mæki, er reyndr er,
mey, er gefin er,
ís, er yfir kemr,
öl, er drukkit er.
-Hávamál, vísa 81
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sat 27 Jul, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i like the idea your coming up with - the two crosses - even there, you can depict different crosses that can mean different things. obviously a set of Maltese crosses or what's consider an iron cross or a carbuncle cross can mean different things. a red Maltese cross would mean pilgrimage epically where it is worn (not Crusade this is more of a modern term epically when applied to the first Crusade). pilgrimage, can be applied to symbolize that your on a journey of some kind (secular in nature) even inwardly spiritual, having the cross facing forward would mean that you are currently on that journey. on the back, means that you have completed that journey.

change the color or the cross to black, and it means something totally different (at least in my area of the world) as long as it isn't a tattoo and used in a historical sense it is a safe image.

carbuncle crosses also have a special meaning, i can not remember if i have the exact meaning - but it explains the trinity.

to help you on your animal - the full body images that have been shown here - many of them do have a stance of the lion. one option could be to just have the bust of the animal depicted in profile. in this way, the long nose and pointy ears can be more recognizable. or, if you do want a full body image, look for an aggressive stance of the animal and apply that. the natural stance of a wolf i would think is different than a lion - and this will help identify the animal when compared to the lion's depiction.
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Baard H




Location: Norway
Joined: 13 Mar 2013

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jul, 2013 1:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips. I Have read around a little and I think I'll go for a "Cross Cléchée" (http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil:Verdal_komm.svg). In Norwegian tradition, that cross is associated with the 11th century king Olav the Holy. According to the 13th century saga writer Snorre Sturlason, Olav and his men used a yellow (or golden) cross on a white field as their shield symbol. On an altarpiece (dated around 1300) in the Nidaros Cathedral a Cross Cléchée like the one above is apparently depicted (haven't seen it myself unfortunately).

As for the wolf, I'd really like to have a rampant one. However, I'm probably going to put this symbol on a long and somewhat thin shield so it might be necessary to have the stance very similar to the lions I linked to earlier. But If so I'll make sure to follow your advice on the distinguishing features.


So to sum up symbolism in this Coat of Arms (so far).

Blue field: The same colour as in my home municipality's coat of arms. The colour also appears in the arms of my home county. Besides the fact that I like the colour.
Silver wolf: The most personal part of the arms (in my oppioppinion) as the wolf has almost always been the symbol I relate most to.
Golden St. Olav cross: Both a personal symbol and a symbol of Norway's patron saint.


Unless someone has something to add or a good reason why this setup would be ill-adviadviced, I think I only need to find someone who actually posses the ability to draw...

Thanks for all the help people!

At kveldi skal dag leyfa,
konu, er brennd er,
mæki, er reyndr er,
mey, er gefin er,
ís, er yfir kemr,
öl, er drukkit er.
-Hávamál, vísa 81
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