Equilateral cross - symbolism

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Kevin Wood
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Equilateral cross - symbolism

Post by Kevin Wood » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:45 pm

Hello all,

Thanks to everyone who has replied to my earlier questions - I greatly appreciate it. I am working with a herald now on creating a coat, and am putting great thought into it, as it has something I have dreamed of for a long time and means a lot to me.

My herald came up with a beautiful design, and the central charge is an equilateral cross. I know that cross figures prominently in heraldry, but I am concerned whether it might send the wrong message, so I am wondering about symbolism specific to heraldry. I guess my biggest concern is that people who see it might think it means that I am a Christian, or share ideals with previous "Crusaders," and that is not the case. I am a deeply spiritual person, but not a "true Christian", and I wouldn't want my coat to convey that I am. Hopefully that makes sense.

I am curious what your opinions are on it. Would it send a message that isn't necessarily true? I appreciate your thoughts and insights on the topic.


~ Kevin

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Martin Goldstraw
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Re: Equilateral cross - symbolism

Post by Martin Goldstraw » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:06 am

Not exactly sure what, in heraldic terms an equilateral cross is except that if taken literally it would be a cross of equal dimensions. There is a list of heraldic crosses here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosses_in_heraldry

The basic heraldic cross (the default if there are no additional specifying words) has arms of roughly equal length, adapted to fit the particular shape of the shield, extending to the edges of the shield so perhaps your "heralds" description of an equilateral cross is actually the basic cross. Some crosses lend themselves to a Christian imagery and undoubtedly the basic cross used in the arms of London alludes to the cross of St.George however, this does not mean that everyone using a cross is a Christian.

The basic cross is often used as a division of the field allowing charges to be placed in the resulting quarters and perhaps this is what your "herald" is attempting to achieve. If you like the idea of such a field division but wish to avoid the allusion to Christianity, you could make the cross engrailed like the one in the second quarter of this image:

Image

I am particularly fond of the cross patonce and here is a version counterchanged and this could also be used to divide the field:

Image

There are lots of different crosses to consider.
Martin Goldstraw

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Michael F. McCartney
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Re: Equilateral cross - symbolism

Post by Michael F. McCartney » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:21 am

I suspect that "equilateral cross" is a so-called Greek cross - couped arms of equal length (thus "equilateral") that do not extend to or touch any of the sides of the shield.

Bit that's just my guess..
Mike~~
Fremont, California

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Martin Goldstraw
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Re: Equilateral cross - symbolism

Post by Martin Goldstraw » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:36 pm

Michael F. McCartney wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:21 am
I suspect that "equilateral cross" is a so-called Greek cross - couped arms of equal length (thus "equilateral") that do not extend to or touch any of the sides of the shield.

Bit that's just my guess..
It would help if the "herald" used heraldic terms!
Martin Goldstraw

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http://www.armorial-register.com

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Michael F. McCartney
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Re: Equilateral cross - symbolism

Post by Michael F. McCartney » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:04 pm

In the absence of push-button the emojis, :)
Mike~~
Fremont, California

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Michael F. McCartney
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Re: Equilateral cross - symbolism

Post by Michael F. McCartney » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:31 pm

Kevin - more seriously, it's rather hit & miss commenting without any context as to how many equilateral crosses, what other charges and how arranged etc. Of course you may not be free, or ready, to fully share your artist's ideas at this stage, which we respect; but to comment in a useful way, it would help if we knew just a bit more - is it one cross or several? Is it the main charge, or a minor charge or charges? We can practice patience as to the rest! :)
Mike~~
Fremont, California

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