For the past few weeks the world has been enthralled with the outbreak of the H1N1 or swine influenza. Just this week on April 29, the WHO (World Health Organization) elevated the status of the outbreak to a Phase 5 (out of a maximum of 6) on its pandemic scale.
Though this is serious and no laughing matter, I was thinking about presenting some heraldry with a swine or porcine bend.
The most common representative of the swine family is by far the boar. This animal is either depicted whole or just its head and has been in use since antiquity.
Above is some Roman symbolism with the depiction of a wild boar. Specifically, this is a roof tile showing the standard and emblem of the Legio XX Valeria Victrix. This legion was stationed in Hispania (Iberian peninsula), Illyricum (present day Albania & Croatia) and Germania before being sent to invade the British Isles.
We see the boar in the arms of many individuals and towns across Europe. It is especially popular with German towns where the animal is used as a cant on their name. The arms above are those of Eberbach (note: ‘eber’ is boar in German).
crest badge of the Scottish clan Campbell where a boar’s head is used.
However, the naturally more common pig is not common as a heraldic charge. Above is one of those rare examples of heraldry containing a normal pig. Though I don’t know for a fact why it is less common as a charge, I can only guess it is because the common pig has negative connotations and it is avoided.
No article covering pork would be complete without a mention of bacon. Since I couldn’t find arms with bacon as a charge, I decided to create attributed arms for Homer Simpson who is known for his love of bacon. The blazon is “Sable within an annulet Purpure semmee of barullets and pallets Gules, Azure and Vert, four barullets Gules Argent Gules Argent”. The arms above are what he would probably adopt, then proceed to eating them….
Links of interest:
(Note: all images except for Homer Simpson’s arms are from Wikipedia)