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Beyond Basics : Getting a name | Heraldry | Personas | Who is Who | Helping out
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The Necessities
Your First Event
Beyond the Basics
Pennsic Guide

Devices, Badges and Arms, Oh My

One of the most confusing areas for most newcomers and one of the things most want to rush right into is the creation of their own set of "arms". You will go to events and see the brightly colored designs on shields, banners, clothing, or personal items. They are what people call their "device" or "arms". They are part of what the SCA considers heraldry( the others being name and then of course court and voice heralds)

To many people this is what identifies them. In medieval times, when a knights personal "arms" designated who he was, it also allowed him to be identified from greater distances. Today the same is true, looking across a field it is easier to identify a fighter by the markings on their sheild than by their armor. The same is true for banners, they are used to identify groups, households and individual people. Recently the analogy was made that your device is like your social security number, its your best idenifier without knowing your name.

A device is a term used to describe any heraldic emblem used by an individua. It is most commonly found on banners, sheild and sometimes on tents and clothing.. A badge is a simpler device that is generally used on tokens or other smaller items in which a device would not be suitable. When a person becomes an "armiger" ( or earns an award that allows you to "bear arms"), the heraldic device is called then called "arms".

Just like with names, a person can simply put anything they would like on a banner or sheild and call it their own. They do not have to fallow the rules for heraldic devices in the SCA..but if they want to make it exclusively theirs, so no one else can use that exact design, then you must register them with the College of Heralds.

There are hundreds of web sites out there that discusses how to design your device..and resources to help you do so. They also explain how to consult with a herald to help you through the decision process. Again, like names, registering your device takes along time..and if you change will take just as long the next time around, so work with what you pick, make sure you can reproduce it. Hang it on your fridge and look at it every it what you truly want?

Below are links to the main Society sites that deal with heraldic devices and how to submit them

SCA Heraldry ~

Rules and Regulation : SCA College of Arms ~

Modar's Heraldry Pages ~

Glossary of Terms ~

Period Style Heraldry ~

Animals in Heraldry ~

East Kingdom Heraldry Page ~

East Kingdom Submission Forms~

Disclaimer: This is the Newcomers Page for the Shire of Hartshorn-dale of the East Kingdom of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.  The maintainer of this page is Lee Ann Posavad.  It is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. and does not delineate SCA policies. In cases of conflict with printed versions of material presented on this page or its links, the dispute will be decided in favor of the printed version.
This page last modified March 21, 2003.