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Heraldry and the Crusades, part 5. The Seals of Richard I

SEAL OF RICHARD I The two seals of Richard the Lionheart contain emblems that have a special connection to the Crusades. The first seal contains two crescent moons, each surmounted by a star-shaped object. The crescent moon referred to King Richard’s vocation as a crusader. It was the ancient symbol of Byzantium, connected with its presiding goddess, who had saved the city from a night assault by Philip of Macedonia by making the moon shine with unexpected brilliance. A popular theory holds that the badge on Richard’s seal represents the Star of Bethlehem in ascendancy over the half-moon of the infidel is false, as the crescent was not yet the symbol of the Turks. The medieval writer , Geoffrey de Vinsauf,...

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Heraldry and The Crusades, part 4. Richard the Lionheart

Islington, a borough of North London, recalls in its Coat of Arms its ancient association with the crusaders through the Knights of St. John, who once held the manor of Highbury, the gold cross potent on a red field in the first quarter of the borough shield being taken from that of the Arms of Jerusalem. Hackney’s Arms include a quartering divided horizontally in black and white ( like the Templars’ banner) and containing an eight pointed cross, white on the black half of the ground and red on the white half, in token that the Manor was once held by the Templars, and afterward by the Hospitallers. The nails of the Cross also appear in early Heraldry. The Anstruthers...

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Heraldry and The Crusades, part 3. The Arms of Jerusalem

QUEENS COLLEGE ARMS No Coat of Arms from the time of the Crusades are more reverently regarded than those of the crusader’s Kingdom of Jerusalem, which consists of five crosses. The central one is a large cross ‘potent”, or crutch shaped, and it is surrounded by four small plain crosses, one in each corner of the shield. All crosses are gold upon a silver shield which is one of the rare exceptions to the rule in Heraldry whereby a metal object may not lay upon a metal field in the Coat of Arms. It is thought that the violation was intentional due to the specials sacredness of the Arms of Jerusalem. There are various schools of thought as to the...

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