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In
heraldry Heraldry () is a broad term, encompassing the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank and genealogy, pedigree. Armory, the best ...
, an attitude is the ''position'' in which an animal, bird, fish, human or human-like being is emblazoned as a charge,
supporter In heraldry Heraldry () is a broad term, encompassing the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank and genealogy, pedigre ...
or crest. It always precedes any reference to the tincture of that being or its various parts. Many attitudes apply only to predatory beasts and are exemplified by the beast most frequently found in heraldry—the heraldic lion. Some other terms apply only to docile animals, such as the doe (usually blazoned as "hind"). Other attitudes, such as ''volant'', describe the positions of birds, mostly exemplified by the bird most frequently found in heraldry—the heraldic eagle. The term ''naiant'' (swimming) is usually reserved for fish but may also apply to swans, ducks or geese. Birds are often further described by the position of their wings. The term ''segreant'' is usually applied to the
griffin The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into ...
, but this approximation of ''rampant'' which is more appropriate for them has also been applied to the
dragon A dragon is a large, snake, serpentine, legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. Beliefs about dragons vary considerably through regions, but European dragon, dragons in western cultures since the High Midd ...

dragon
. Additionally, there are positions applying to direction of the head, to indicate variations from the presumed position of a given charge: animals and animal-like creatures are presumed to be shown in profile, facing dexter (the viewer's left), and humans and human-like beings are presumed to be shown ''affronté'' (facing the viewer), but the
blazon In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image. The verb ''to blazon'' means to create such a description. The visual ...
may specify all other possibilities.


Positions indicating direction

Animals and animal-like creatures are presumed to be shown in profile facing ''dexter''. This attitude is standard unless otherwise stated in the blazon. As a warrior will usually carry a shield in the left hand, the animal shown on the shield will then face toward the knight's body. Humans and human-like beings are presumed to be shown ''affronté''. Note that the heraldic terms ''dexter'' ('right') and ''sinister'' ('left') represent the shield bearer's perspective, not the viewer's. * To dexter or the viewer's left is the direction animals are presumed to face. This position is thus not specified unless necessary for clarity, as when a human or human-like being is depicted (the default position for these is "affronté") or when an animal's head and body are not turned in the same direction. * To sinister or contourné is said of a creature facing the viewer's right. * Affronté ) (also affrontee, affronted, or affrontant) is said of a creature (or other heraldic component such as a helm or the face of a man) that faces the viewer (e.g., of a lion, "affronté-sejant") * En Arrière is said of a creature positioned with its back to the viewer. It is most common used of birds and insects, where the understanding is of an overhead view of the animal with its wings spread (most commonly, "volant en arrière", said of bees). However, also see "recursant" below. * Guardant or In Full Aspect indicates an animal with a body positioned sideways but with its head turned to face the viewer. * Regardant indicates an animal with its head turned backward, as if looking over its shoulder. Unless other instructions are given, the body will face "to dexter", making the head's direction "to sinister". (e.g., "passant reg rdant", "rampant reg rdant", where the first term describes the animal's body position and the second describes the position of its head). * In Trian Aspect (a rare, later 16th and 17th century heraldry term) is an animal's head at a 3/4 view and gives the appearance of depth, with the head viewed at an angle somewhere between profile and straight-on.


Attitudes of beasts

Many attitudes commonly met with in heraldic rolls apply specifically to predatory beasts, while others may be better suited to the docile animals. These will each be discussed in detail below. Also worth note is that a lion or other beast may additionally be described in terms of the position of its head, differently coloured parts (such as teeth, claws, tongue, etc.), or by the shape or position of its tail. A beast may be "armed" (horns, teeth and claws) or "langued" (tongue) of a tincture, while a stag may be "attired" (antlers) or "unguled" (hooves) of a tincture. The tail may be forked (''queue fourchée'') or doubled (''double-queued''). In addition to the below, there may be rare or arguably, not entirely standard attitudes, such as ''a snorting bison''.


Rampant

A beast rampant (
Old French Old French (, , ; French language, Modern French: ) was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. Rather than a unified Dialect#Dialect or language, language, Old French was really a Linkage (linguistics), ...
: "rearing up") is depicted in profile standing erect with forepaws raised. The position of the hind legs varies according to local custom: the lion may stand on both hind legs, braced wide apart, or on only one, with the other also raised to strike; the word ''rampant'' is sometimes omitted, especially in early blazon, as this is the most usual position of a carnivorous quadruped. ''Note:'' the term ''segreant'' denotes the same position, but implies a particular wing position and is only used in reference to winged quadrupeds such as
griffin The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into ...
s and dragons. Rampant is the most frequent attitude of quadrupeds, and as
supporters In heraldry Heraldry () is a broad term, encompassing the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank and genealogy, pedigre ...
they are rarely seen in any other attitude. Forcené is the term for this position when applied to horses or
unicorn The unicorn is a legendary creature A legendary or mythological creature, also called fabulous creature and fabulous beast, is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.htt ...
s. File:Lion Rampant.svg, Lion Rampant File:Lion Rampant Guardant.svg, Lion Rampant Guardant File:Lion Rampant Regaurdant.svg, Lion Rampant Regardant


Passant

A beast passant (
Old French Old French (, , ; French language, Modern French: ) was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. Rather than a unified Dialect#Dialect or language, language, Old French was really a Linkage (linguistics), ...
: "striding") walks toward dexter (the viewer's left) with the right forepaw raised and all others on the ground. Early heralds held that any lion in a walking position must necessarily be a "leopard", and this distinction persists in French heraldry; however, this use of the term ''leopard'' has long since been abandoned by English heralds. A "Lion of England" denotes a ''lion passant guardant Or'', used as an augmentation. features a dragon passant. For stags and other deer-like beasts of chase, the term trippant is used instead of passant. File:Lion Passant.svg, Lion Passant File:Lion Passant Guardant.svg, Lion Passant Guardant File:Lion Passant Reguardant.svg, Lion Passant Regardant


Sejant

A beast sejant or sejeant (
Middle French Middle French (french: moyen français) is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from the 14th to the 16th century. It is a period of transition during which: * the French language became clearly distinguished from the ...
: ''seant'', "sitting") sits on his haunches, with both forepaws on the ground. A beast sejant erect is seated on its haunches, but with its body erect and both forepaws raised in the "rampant" position (this is sometimes termed "sejant-rampant"). File:Lion Sejant.svg, Lion Sejant File:Lion Sejant Erect.svg, Lion Sejant Erect


Couchant

A beast couchant (
Old French Old French (, , ; French language, Modern French: ) was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. Rather than a unified Dialect#Dialect or language, language, Old French was really a Linkage (linguistics), ...
: "lying down") is lying down, but with the head raised. Lodged is the term for this position when applied to the 'docile' (''i.e.'' herbivore, herbivorous) animals. File:Lion Couchant.svg, Lion Couchant


Courant

A beast courant (French: "running"; also at speed or in full chase) is running, depicted at full stride with all four legs in the air. File:Lion Courant.svg, Lion Courant


Coward

A lion coward carries the tail between its hind legs and is otherwise shown rampant to dexter; "coward" takes no other modifiers such as "reguardant" or "sejant". File:Lion Coward.svg, Lion Coward


Dormant

A beast dormant (French language, French: "sleeping") is lying down with his head lowered, resting upon the forepaws, as if asleep. (However, perhaps counterintuitively, some sources would have the lion dormant with the eyes open.) File:Lion Dormant.svg, Lion Dormant


Salient

A beast salient (Latin: ''saliēns'', "leaping") (also springing) is leaping, with both hind legs together on the ground and both forelegs together in the air. This is a very rare position for a lion, but is also used of other heraldic beasts. The stag and other docile animals in this position are often termed springing. Certain smaller animals are sometimes blazoned as saltant rather than salient. File:Lion Salient.svg, Lion Salient


Statant

A beast statant (
Old French Old French (, , ; French language, Modern French: ) was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. Rather than a unified Dialect#Dialect or language, language, Old French was really a Linkage (linguistics), ...
: "standing") is "standing" (in profile toward dexter), all four feet on the ground, usually with the forepaws together. This posture is more frequent in crest (heraldry), crests than in charges on shields. In certain animals, such as bears, this may refer to an upright, bipedal position (though this position may also be referred to as statant erect), though bears blazoned as 'statant' can also be found with all four feet firmly on the ground (''e.g.'' i
the arms
of the former borough council of Berwick-upon-Tweed (borough), Berwick-upon-Tweed). While ''statant'' is used in reference to predatory beasts, the more docile animals when in this position may be called at bay, while such creatures ''statant guardant'' are said to be at gaze. This is particularly true of stags (harts). File:Lion Statant.svg, Statant File:Lion Statant Guardant.svg, Statant Guardant


Morne

Or mortine, a lion depicted with neither claws, teeth, nor tongue, in the rampant position. File:Lion morne.svg, Morne


Baillone

A lion ''baillone'' is show in the rampant position holding a baton in its teeth. File:Baillone.svg, Baillone


Defamed

Also called diffame, infamed, and defame, a lion shown in the rampant position without its tail. File:defamed.svg, Defamed


Disjointed

A lion shown with its paws and head (but not its tail) detached from its body is called "disjointed" (i.e., "torn away at the joints"), and it is always shown in the rampant position. File:Lion Disjointed.svg, Disjointed


Tricorporated

A lion ''tricorporated'' is shown having three bodies combined with one head, with the main/ central lion facing "rampant guardant" (i.e., with its face towards the viewer and with body upright facing to dexter). File:Lion Tricorporated.svg, Tricorporated


Pascuant

Herbivores can be shown as ''pascuant''; that is, "grazing", ("peaceful") with head lowered to the same level as their four legs, as the head of a cow would be when eating grass. File:Blason ville fr Ladevèze (Gers).svg


Attitudes of birds

Some attitudes describe the positioning of birds. The eagle is so often found ''displayed'' in early heraldry that this position came to be presumed of the eagle unless some other attitude is specified in the blazon. The terms ''Expanded'' and ''Elevated'' or ''Abaissé'' and ''Inverted'' are similar terms often used interchangeably in heraldry but have specific meanings. There is also sometimes confusion between a ''Rising'' bird with ''Displayed'' wings and a ''Displayed'' bird. The difference is that ''Rising'' birds face either to the ''dexter'' or ''in trian aspect'' and have their feet on the ground. ''Displayed'' birds face the viewer, have their legs splayed out, and the tail is completely visible. Several terms refer to the particular position of the wings, rather than the attitude of the bird itself. A bird in nearly any attitude, except ''overt'', may have its wings ''displayed'' or ''addorsed''. * Wings displayed means the bird's right wing is extended forward and its left wing extended rearward, turned so that the undersides of both wings are fully shown. ** displayed and Expanded or ''Espanie'' / ''Épandre'' ("expanded") are spread with the wing tips pointing upward. ** displayed and Lowered or ''Abaissé'' ("lowered") are spread with the wing tips pointing downward. * Wings addorsed means the wings are raised and spread behind it back-to-back as if about to take flight, so that only the top of the bird's right wing shows behind the fully displayed left wing. ** addorsed and elevated are raised with the wing tips pointing upward. ** addorsed and inverted are raised with the wing tips pointing downward.


Displayed

A bird displayed is shown ''affronté'' with its head turned to dexter and wings spread to the sides to fill the area of the field. This position is presumed of the eagle, and the symbolic use of eagles in this position was well established even before the development of heraldry, going back to Charlemagne.


Overt

A bird Overt ("open") or disclosed has wings open and pointing downward.


Close

Close ("closed"), the bird's equivalent of ''Statant'', is shown in profile and at rest with its feet flat on the ground and its wings folded at its sides. Trussed is the term used for domestic or game birds, implying the bird is tied up or caught in a net respectively, and is not applied to predator birds like the Eagle and Hawk. Perched is ''Overt'' while sitting atop a Charge. If a bird's attitude is not blazoned, it is assumed to be ''Close''; the exception is the eagle, whose default attitude is ''Displayed''.


Issuant

Used to describe a Phoenix (mythology), phoenix, though potentially other birds as well, when depicted arising from, for example, a line of flames.


Rising

A bird rising, rizant or ''rousant'' faces dexter with its head upturned, wings raised, and standing on the tips of its feet as if about to take flight. A bird rising may have its wings described as either ''displayed'' or ''addorsed'', and the wings may be further described as ''elevated'' or ''inverted''.


Volant

A bird volant faces the Dexter (heraldry), ''dexter'' with its wings spread in flight (usually shown ''addorsed'' and ''elevated'') and its legs tucked under its body. ''Volant En Arrière'' is when the bird is shown from a top-down perspective with the head facing straight ahead, its back to the viewer, and the wings spread in flight (usually shown ''displayed'' and ''inverted''). A bird ''volant'' is considered ''in bend'' ("diagonal") as it is flying from the lower Sinister (heraldry), ''sinister'' to the upper Dexter (heraldry), ''dexter'' of the field.


Recursant

An eagle or hawk shown ''recursant'' has its back towards the viewer, e.g., "An eagle volant recursant descendant in pale" is an eagle flying downward in the vertical center of the shield with its back towards the viewer.


Vigilant

A crane (bird), crane standing on one leg (usually with a stone held in the other foot) may be called vigilant or ''in its vigilance'' (''e.g.'' Waverley Borough Council's ''Crane in its vigilance''). A stone is usually shown held in the claw of the raised leg. This is as per the bestiary myth that Cranes stayed awake by doing so. If it dozed, the Crane would supposedly drop the rock, waking itself up.


Vulning / In Her Piety

One peculiar attitude reserved only to the pelican, is the Pelican#Christianity, pelican in her piety. The heraldic pelican, one of the few female beasts in heraldry, is shown with a sharp stork-like beak, which it uses to ''vuln'' ("pierce or wound") her own breast. This is per the bestiary myth that a female pelican wounded herself thus to feed her chicks. This symbol of sacrifice carries a particular religious meaning (usually a reference to Christ's sacrifice), and became so popular in heraldry that pelicans rarely exist in heraldry in any other position. A distinction is sometimes observed, however, between a pelican "vulning" herself (alone, piercing her breast) versus "her piety" (surrounded by and feeding her chicks). The Pelican is shown exclusively in profile perched in her nest with her wings either ''Addorsed'' and ''Inverted'' (because it is not going to fly away) or ''Overt''.


Other attitudes

Few attitudes are reserved to the rarer classes of creatures, but these include ''segreant'', a term which can only apply to winged quadrupeds; ''naiant'' and ''hauriant'', terms applying principally to fish; ''glissant'' and ''nowed'', terms applying to serpents. Serpents also sometimes appear in a circular form, biting their own tail, but this symbol, called an Ouroboros, was imported ready-made into heraldry, and so it needs no term of attitude to describe it.


Segreant

A creature segreant has both forelegs raised in the air, as a beast ''rampant'', with wings ''addorsed'' and ''elevated''. This term is reserved to winged quadrupeds (such as griffins and dragons). It is of uncertain etymology; it is first recorded as ''sergreant'' in the 16th century.


Combatant or respectant

Creatures combatant (French, "fighting") are shown in profile facing each other in the ''rampant'' or ''segreant'' position, always paired and never appearing singly. Nearly any creature can be rendered combatant, although this term is usually applied to predatory beasts and mythical creatures; herbivorous animals in such a position are typically blazoned as respectant (Latin ''respectāns'', "watching").


Addorsed

Creatures or objects addorsed or endorsed (Latin ''ad''-, "to" and ''dorsum'', "back"; Middle English ''endosse'', Old French ''endosser'', influenced by Medieval Latin ''indorsare'') are shown facing ''away from'' each other. As with ''combatant'', charges addorsed can only appear in pairs. One also frequently finds keys addorsed (placed in parallel, wards facing outward).


Naiant

An animal or creature naiant is swimming. This term is typically applied to fish (when shown in a horizontal position), but may also apply to other sea creatures and, occasionally, water fowl (''i.e.'' swans, ducks or geese shown without legs). A dolphin blazoned as naiant is always shown as embowed, unlike any other sea creature or monster, even though the blazon may not specify this.


Hauriant

A fish, dolphin, or other sea creature hauriant (Latin ''hauriēns'', "drawing up") is in a vertical position with its head up.


Urinant

A fish, dolphin, or other sea creature urinant () (Latin ''ūrīnāns'', "diving") is in a vertical position with its head down.


Glissant

A serpent glissant is gliding horizontally in an undulant posture.


Nowed

Serpents, and the tails of other beasts and monsters, may be nowed ( (French ''noué'', "knotted")—often in a figure-eight knot. File:Heraldic figures - Griffin.svg, Griffin segreant or armed and langued gules File:Royal Arms of England (1189-1198).svg, Lions combatant or armed and langued azure File:Meuble héraldique Bars adossés.svg, Barbels addorsed or File:USS Tornado PC-14 COA.png, Arms of USS Tornado, USS ''Tornado'', with a dragon urinant File:037-Armored-Regiment-COA.png, Arms of the 37th Armor Regiment, featuring a wyvern glissant File:Dolphin naiant (heraldry).svg, Dolphin naiant or File:Complete Guide to Heraldry Fig480.png, Dolphin haurient argent File:Lion Rampant tail nowed.svg, Lion or armed argent, langued gules, tail nowed


See also

* List of heraldic charges


Notes


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * {{heraldry Heraldry