[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re: Documentation help needed

Poster: Dick Eney <dickeney@access.digex.net>

Tamar the Gypsy responding ...

On Thu, 4 Sep 1997, Robert J Welenc <rjwelenc@erols.com> wrote:
> 9/4/97 Nancy Davis <nancyad@mindspring.com> wrote:
> >9/3/97 Cecil Jones <roland2@mindspring.com> wrote:
> >  <snip>
> >>  I am looking for any period example of a minotaur.
> ><snip>
> >> I need to try and find some sort of documentation.
> >><snip> Bestiaries were listings of various
> >creatures, I believe including those from mythology, and should be a
> >a possible reference for documentation.
> Documentation is not the problem with minotaurs.  *Description* is.  From
> the Rules of Submission: -------------------------------
> VII.7.b.   Reconstruction Requirement - Elements must be reconstructible in
> a recognizable form from a competent blazon.
> 	 Any element used in Society armory must be describable in standard
> heraldic terms so that a competent heraldic artist can reproduce the armory
> solely from the blazon.  Elements that cannot be described in such a way
> that the depiction of the armory will remain consistent may not be used,
> even if they are identifiable design motifs that were used before 1600.  
> ------------------------------------------
> There is no *standard* representation of a minotaur such that a "competent
> heraldic artist" can look at just the blazon (the description) and
> reproduce exactly the same creature.  <snip>
> What does a minotaur look like?  Is it something like a centaur but with a
> bull's body and horns on the human head?  Or is it a  man with the head of
> a bull? I have seen both depictions in mundane art, and if given the blazon:
> "Gules, a minotaur statant argent"
> I would not know what to draw.

This is perfectly true; both depictions were used in medieval art as well. 
But the minotaur was definitely known and used in period.  Symbols of the
legend of Theseus and the Minotaur were routinely placed in the center of
mosaic labyrinths in Roman times and the custom continued when labyrinths
had their "boom" in the twelfth century.  It is reported that the
labyrinth at Chartres originally had a depiction of the minotaur at its
center, and many of the labyrinths in medieval manuscripts had the
minotaur drawn at the center.  (Kern's _Labyrinthe_ is an encyclopedic
listing with photos, engravings, and drawings of over 600 of the known
labyrinths of the world.)

As a former pursuivant, I believe it would be acceptable to blazon it
either "a bull-headed, human-bodied minotaur" or "a human-headed,
bull-bodied minotaur", depending on what he wants.  In modern mythology
books that I have read, the bull-headed version is the default form. 

> So, if your friend wants 'a bull-headed man', that is a registerable,
> reproducible charge without the need for documentation.  This would come
> under the 'new monster' clause above. And more than likely, anyone seeing
> it would say, "Oh, cool, a minotaur."
> If what he _really_ wants is that _term_ 'minotaur', then the circumstances
> change. There are no minotaurs listed in the SCA Ordinary, so this would be
> a defining registration, one that specifically states "Minotaurs are men
> with the heads of bulls".    *Consistent* period descriptions or
> illustrations that indicate minotaurs are normally depicted as this kind of
> creature would be a very Good Thing, but are likely hard to come by.

The period illustrations in Kern almost always show a bull-headed man;
man-headed bulls are considered to be the result of confusion with
centaurs.  However, specifying the parts (Typical Scadian Heraldry
anyway) should take care of it and still let him use the term.

=Tamar the Gypsy, former Bell Pursuivant, EK 
 (sharing account dickeney@access.digex.net)

List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://sca.wayfarer.org/merryrose/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org