Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
The fleur de lis ... in a wider spectrum
I would like to show here a little statue; aledgedly one of the most original sculptoric representatins of the XIV century and the most notable representation of a medieval warrior of the Gothic period in Portugal.
It depicts a knight with a lowered visor helm, armed with a mace of arms, a solid armour with a chain shirt, spurs, sheathed sword and shield, mounting a horse, duly prepaired for both combat and joust.
The knight is Domingos Joannes who, having gone to battle in France during the XIII century, later returned to his home village, having a chapel built to lodge his and his wife tombs. It is in this chapel that the little statue, 72 cms. tall, is located; a sculpture made some time around half XIV century by Master Pero, emigrated to Portugal (probably) from Aragon. As we may see, the heraldry shown in the knight's shield is a Saint Andrew cross with four fleur de lis.
If in one hand we know that the fleur de lis had a great predominance in France, in the other, is not less true that its symbolic roots are lost in time. It is in the chronicles (Mirande Bruce-Mitford) that the fleur de lis being symbolicaly identified with the iris and the lily, had its actual name created when Luis VII the young (1147) was the first king to adopt it for his emblem, using it to seal his patent-letters and, as in the period Luis was written Loys or Louis, such name would have evoluted from “fleur-de-louis” (Louis flower) to “fleur-de-lis”, represented with its three petals Faith, Wisdom and Value.
Notheworthy Sir Baden Powel, the founder of Scouts and a free mason, would have elected the fleur de lis from Masonry symbolism and made it the Scouts universal symbol.
However such symbol was known since earlier times by Portuguese Monarchs and princes, once practically since King Dom Afoso Henriques and specially as from the the end of XIII cenrury, the lily converted or stylized appears in force in Portuguese coats of arms, with all symbolism and inherent substract; such caused by the Arab influence, whose had imported this symbolic figure from Egipt, taking to Mauritania (the country of moors), and then coming to impose it in the Iberin Peninsula, practically since the VIII century, when the conqueror Tarik invaded it.