August 1st, 2006

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Symbolism in Heraldry?

A quick double-check, lest I stick my foot in my mouth.

We got a question on the SCA Questions List, from a fellow who is looking into his family crest, and is trying to understand the symbolism of the positions of the beasts. He says that it has, eg, a crouching dragon and two boars with their snouts raised, and wants to know what that *means*.

My gut reaction is that it doesn't necessarily mean anything -- that the notion of specific symbolism for specific positions is a modern notion that's been imputed to period heraldry. But I Am Not A Herald, and I know a couple of the people here, so I wanted to make sure that I'm correct...
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A really *good* examination of the mess

Thanks to siderea for pointing out this excellent analysis of the Middle Eastern situation from osewalrus. While the post does have a particular prescription (arguing why Israel should seek a ceasefire), it is mainly a cool-headed examination of the psychology, rationales, calculations and misunderstandings on all sides. It avoids assigning blame, save to point up that all sides have different agendas (often subtler agendas than they make out publically), and all have managed to miscalculate each others' reactions in the current morass. Long, but well worth the read -- the week since he posted hasn't really changed the fundamental facts much...