In heraldry the term “Armed” is generally used to denote the color of a beast’s natural weapons. It is less often used to denote that a charge is “maintaining arms”, usually in the case of human charges or supporters.
Kip Kay @ Heraldry on History Road ©2008-2011
Armed, (fr. armé): when any beast of prey has teeth and claws, or any beast of chase(except stags, &c.) horns and hoofs, or any bird of prey beak and talons, of a tincture different from its body, it is said to be armed of such a tincture, though, as regards hoofs, hoofed, or unguled (fr. onglé), is the more accurate term. The lion is usually langued of the same tincture. The application to beasts and birds of prey is because their talons are to them weapons of defense.
Argent, three bars azure, over all an eagle with two heads gules, armed or–Speke, Cornwall.
When the term is applied to arrows it refers to their iron points: and when a Man is said to be armed at all points it signifies that he is entirely covered with armour except his face.
A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry; Parker & Company (1894).
Armed – (1) Furnished with arms. (2) Adding to anything that which will give it greater strength or efficiency. (3) The term armed of applies to a beast of prey when his teeth and claws are differently colored from the rest of his body. It applies also to predatory birds when their talons and beaks are differently colored from the rest of the body. (4) Armed at all points, in days gone by, meant a man covered with armor except his face.
Pimbley’s Dictionary of Heraldry; Arthur Pimbley (1908).
ARMED. This word is used to express the horns, hoofs, beak, or talons of any beast or bird of prey, when borne of a different tincture from those of their bodies.
Ex. Crest, a demi-griffin armed, gules.
Manual of Heraldry; Virtue & Company (1846).
“Sable, on a chevron argent, three spear-heads gules, in chief two unicorns’ heads erased argent, armed and maned or, in base on a pile of the last, issuant from the chevron, a unicorn’s head erased of the field.” The Arms of Wright.
A Complete Guide to Heraldry; Arthur Charles Fox-Davies (1909).
Armed, Heraldry. Having natural weapons of offence, &c. A lion is armed of his claws and teeth, a bull of his horns, &c.
An Illustrated Dictionary of words used in Art and Archaeology; J.W Mollett (1883).
Armed. All. birds which have talons and bills that aid them to seize and rend their prey, are in blazon said to be armed when those weapons differ in tincture from their bodies. But to swans, wild geese, and other birds without talons, the word armed does not apply. They, in like case, are termed beaked and membered. Beasts are also described as armed, when their horns or hoofs are of another colour than their bodies.
The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; Sir Bernard Burke C.B. Ulster King of Arms. (1884).
Originally posted 2010-12-22 11:49:40.