In this next entry in the series of designing a new coat of arms, we’ll explore how to use your professional career, military and civil service.
A person’s profession defines them as much as their name, sometimes even more so. It is no coincidence that in the Spanish language when saying what your profession is you use the verb “ser”, that relates to the essence of a person or object, instead of the verb “estar”, that relates to the state of a person or object.
Traditionally, it has been members of the military that have included some allusion or even direct representation of their service or accomplishment. However, alluding to one’s career is not the exclusive domain of those who have served their sovereign or country in uniform.
In any case, let’s begin with how someone who has had their military career define them would represent that in their arms.
images courtesy of Wikipedia
The images above show on the left the arms of Thomas Howard with an augmentation of honor (shown on the right) given him by King Henry VII for his participation in the battle of Flodden Field in 1513, where the English forces decisively beat the Scottish forces under King James IV. The augmentation is a modification of the arms of Scotland with an arrow piercing the lion.
Something such as what was used by Thomas Howard in the 16th century can be used by modern members of the military to allude to a significant victory in which they participated. Though, an addition such as this is best left to be granted by a heraldic authority or to be used by someone who was instrumental in the victory by being the leader of the efforts. For example, General Eisenhower referring to the Allied victory in Europe.
For most service members it may be best to use the main tools of their service. For example, a ship or anchor for those in the Navy, a rifle for those in the Infantry, a canon for those in the Artillery, an aircraft propeller or wings for those in the Air Force or a bulldog for those in Marines. Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list, they are only meant to serve as examples of what can be used. Each should use what they feel “speaks” to them more but, be aware that you shouldn’t use the emblem of your service or unit as is (like a copy & paste) as that would be highly improper and it may even be illegal.
In the same vein, careers in other fields can be represented in a new coat of arms. Every profession has its own symbolism, from cogs to wheels to animals to even the DNA double helix.
(image from the College of Arms)
The arms shown above are those of Baron Paul Drayson, Life Peer, using the DNA double helix as a charge to reflect his career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Another symbol that is very closely tied to the health sciences in general and medicine in particular is the rod of Asclepius. However, as this symbol is very popular and has been used so much, I would recommend the new armiger to choose something else so as to stand out from the crowd.
An idea, for a surgeon, would be to perhaps represent the barber’s pole (in centuries past barbers where the surgeons). A sample is show above with a blazon: Vert a pale bendy Argent Azure Argent Gules.
As with sample charges that can be used for service in the military mentioned above, I’ll list some examples that can be used for certain professions. Once again, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list and are only meant as suggestions:
- Law enforcement: A five pointed star (representing a sheriff’s badge) or a baton.
- Attorney or Judge: Scales of justice or a gavel.
- Engineer: A cog or a tool
- IT or Computer Professional: Usage of only the tinctures Sable and Argent (black and white) to represent binary notation.
- Business or Sales: A fox or a cog.
- Politician: Tinctures associated with their party or ideology. An alternative would be to use a symbol associated with the office held.
- Farmer: Farming tools or the crop farmed.
- Animal husbandry: The animal(s) tended to.
- Accountant: An abacus or perhaps books on scales (for balancing books).
- Writer: A quill or a book.
- Artist: A paintbrush.
- Musician: The instrument played.
- Professor: A book or a scroll.