RfS X.2, "DIFFERENCE OF PRIMARY CHARGES"

by: Daniel de Lincolia (Tim McDaniel), (c) 6 July 1998

Rules for Submission X.2, an armory difference rule, causes a fair amount of puzzlement, even for those with some commentary experience. I strongly suggest that any armory commenter read RfS X.2 and the Glossary of Terms, and understand the many examples under X.2. I can't list all the examples here, for space reasons if nothing else.

X.2: Difference of Primary Charges - Simple armory does not conflict with other simple armory if the type of every primary charge is substantially changed. This type of change was normally seen between complete strangers in blood, and wasn't usually used to indicate any form of cadency.

First, note that this says that they do not conflict, period. In particular, the CD count doesn't matter. Two coats might be only one CD apart and this rule (if it applies) clears the conflict. RfS X.1, "Addition [or Deletion] of Primary Charges", works the same way. Thus, an easier way to conflict check can be to first see if either of RfS X.1 or X.2 applies, and only do the CD count if they don't.

(OK, I lied a bit. RfS X.5, "Visual Test", trumps all the rest of the conflict rules, even X.1 and X.2.)

There are four terms in this rule that need defining: "simple", "type", "primary charge", and "substantially changed".

Finding the primary charge group is something I discuss in another article. Briefly, from the Glossary of Terms (the draft with the May, 1996, LoAR):

Primary Charge Group - The most important group of charges in a piece of armory. In blazons, the primary charge group is usually mentioned immediately after the field. (A strewn charge group is not primary when it is blazoned before a central charge group.) The primary charge is usually the central ordinary lying entirely on the field, if one is present. If there is no such central ordinary, then the primary charge group is the set of charges of the same size that lie in the center of the design and directly on the field. In any piece of armory with charges there will always be a primary charge group, unless the only charges are peripheral. There cannot be more than one primary charge group in any given design.

"Type" is also defined in the Glossary of Terms. For X.2, tincture, posture and orientation, number, and arrangement don't matter -- only type.

Type - A kind of charge in a piece of armory. The device "Gules, a chevron between two candles and a lantern Or" has three types of charges: chevrons, candles, and lanterns. "Argent, on a pale purpure between two lions combattant gules three lions passant Or" has two types of charges: pales, and lions in two different postures.

"Simple" is defined in the three subparts of X.2. Note that this is "simple" as defined for X.2 alone; "simple" is defined differently within and for RfS X.4.j.ii. The three "X.2-simple" classes are defined as follows:

The word "charge" [in this rule] refers both to charged and uncharged charges unless it is specifically qualified; a group of charges may contain one or more charges.
a. Armory that has only a primary group of identical charges ...
b. Armory that has only a group of uncharged primary charges ... [implying that there are different types of charges in the same primary group, or X.2.a would apply]
c. Armory that has only a primary group of identical charges, accompanied only by a [single] secondary group of identical charges ...

From X.2.b: "'Azure, two escallops and a heart argent, each charged with a rose gules' [is not simple], because the primary charges ... are neither identical nor uncharged." Note that X.2 says that both pieces of armory, the submission and the registered one, must be X.2 "simple". Since this example isn't "X.2 simple", X.2 can therefore never be used to clear conflicts of this example versus any other coat.

"Substantial difference" is the last term. From X.2.a: "'Argent, a fess sable' does not conflict with 'Argent, a lion rampant sable'." Both devices are X.2-simple, and the types of their primary charges are substantially different. "'Gules, on a pale argent three roses proper' does not conflict with 'Gules, on a bend argent three roses proper.' ... 'Sable, a chevron Or' does conflict with 'Sable, a chevron embattled Or,' because the type of the primary charge group has not been substantially changed."

From X.2.b: "'Per chevron gules and argent, three oak trees counterchanged' does conflict with 'Per chevron gules and argent, three fir trees counterchanged,' because the type of charge has not been substantially changed ...". Although rounded trees get a CD from conifers (Duncan Alaric MacDonald, Laurel LoAR for July, 1992; in Bruce Draconarius's precedents under "Tree"), they're all trees, so there's not substantial difference. More briefly, there's difference, but not enough for X.2 -- "substantial" difference is stronger than CD difference (RfS X.4.e).

X.2 says that all of the charges have to be substantially changed. Both of the last examples also conflict "with 'Per chevron gules and argent, two mullets and a fir tree counterchanged' because not all of the charges have been substantially changed.".

Most cases are clear-cut. A rock is substantially different from a lion. Two roses are substantially different from two owls. Three crescents are substantially different from three roundels.

Beasts? "[Three bear's heads erased] Rule X.2 applies between most types of beast head, just as it does between most types of beast. This is clear of such armories as [three buck's heads erased].": see Damon the Grim, LoAR of October, 1992, in Bruce Draconarius's precedents under "DIFFERENCE -- Armory, Substantial". Unicorn and dragon? Substantial difference: Joanna Sparhawke, LoAR of October, 1992, same precedents.

But what about a wingless wyvern versus a dragon? Not substantially different: Lindorm Ericksson Blad, LoAR of June, 1994, in Da'ud's third precedents under "Difference (Substantial)". (Removal of wings alone is not "substantial".) Chevron versus chevron inverted? Substantial: Alienor Llanfair, LoAR of April, 1994, same precedents. (Orientation apparently can affect type for ordinaries; see pale versus bend above.) Unicorns and wolves, yes; sea-unicorns and sea-wolves, no: Aifric Ní Fhaoláin, LoAR of March, 1994, same precedents.

There's just no help for it. For doubtful cases, it's necessary to have Da'ud ibn Auda's and Bruce Draconarius's precedents. (Order them from Free Trumpet Press; an order form sometimes appears in the Gazette, and can also be found via http://www.sca.org/heraldry). Getting the electronic copy of the latter's precedents is wonderfully helpful, because you can do a word search. Having the electronic LoARs is helpful for the same reason. Sometimes, there simply is no precedent. When commenting, you sometimes have to give your best guess, and suggest that the possible conflict be mentioned in the external Letter of Intent for the College of Arms and Laurel to judge.

(By the way: RfS X.4.j.ii, under "Changes to Charges on Charges", uses a different definition of "simple". However, it uses the same definition of "substantial", giving a CD for "in simple cases substantially changing the type of all of a group of identical charges placed entirely on other charges".)

To go back and summarize: RfS X.2 starts

Simple armory does not conflict with other simple armory if the type of every primary charge is substantially changed.

To determine if X.2 can clear conflict between two coats, you must do these steps:

  1. Identify the primary charge group in both arms. (If one or both pieces of armory have no primary charge group, X.2 cannot give difference.)

  2. Determine the types of the primary charges on both arms.

  3. Are both designs X.2 simple, using any of the three types of simpleness defined by X.2? If none of the three types apply to just one of the coats, X.2 cannot give difference between the two.

  4. Are all primaries on one piece of armory substantially different in type from all the primary charges on the other? Note substantial and all. If not, X.2 cannot give difference.

If X.2 gives difference, you're done; they're clear of conflict. If X.2 does not give difference, you're not done. They might still be clear by RfS X.1 or X.4, so check them.

 


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