Arms of Louis X of France

Louis X

In use 1314 – 1316

Blazon: Azure semé de lis or (France ancien) dimidiated with gules a chain in saltire, cross, and orle or, charged in the center with a pomme (Navarre)

I do want to briefly talk about some variations of the French national arms before we revisit the various regions and major cities. I wanted to touch on this particular coat not just because Louis X has a really excellent epithet (Louis the Stubborn!), but also because it’s a not-very-common example of dimidiation. Dimidiation is often used in the same circumstances as impalement or quartering – in this case, Louis inherited the kingdom of Navarre from his mother in 1305, and that of France from his father in 1314. The distinction there is that while both impalement and quartering keep both sets of original arms intact, dimidiation literally cuts them in half and reforms them into a single coat. Sometimes, like in this example, it works pretty well, and both arms are still easily identifiable. More often, though, dimidiation yields confusing or just plain weird results, so it’s understandable why it’s not used very often. (I’ve seen theories that badly planned dimidiation is where we get griffins, but they’re blatantly wrong; griffins predate heraldry by a good couple of millennia.)


Arms of Charles II of Evreux


King of Navarre, Count of Angoulême, Evereux, and Beaumont-le-Roger (1332-1387)

Blazon: Per quarterly I and IV gules a chain in saltire, cross, and orle or, charged in the center with a pomme (Navarre), II and III azure seme des lis or, a bendlet compony argent and gules


Roundels are one of the simplest charges, being only circles of different colors. They may be borne alone, in groups, or upon other charges, as well as having charges placed upon them. In English heraldry, each color has a different name (much like the gutté patterns):

Or- bezant (gold coin)
Argent- plate
Gules- torteau (little cake)
Azure- hurt (from hurtle or whortle-berry)
Sable- pellet, gunstone, or ogress (though there seems to be no special meaning attached to the last)
Vert- pomme or pomeis (apple)
Purpre- golpe (wound
Tenné- orange
Sanguine- guze (from the Turkish for eye)

There is one other roundel which is worth mentioning: the fountain, which is a roundel barry wavy of six argent and azure, as below:


It is commonly borne by families named Wells due to its resemblance to a spring of water.

Please note that these terms are only widely used in English heraldry. French heraldry will always name the color, terming the charge a roundel, torteau, ogress, or other appellation without regard for the color. The French “fountaine” refers to a stone fountain with a jet of water.