EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
It seems there has been a great deal of discussion and consternation over the symbolism of the fleur de lis, and which has been a topic in a couple of concurrent threads. It is good to have this thread to discuss the broader symbolic and historic values of the FDL (fluer de lis) without major detraction from the central topics of the other threads.
While it is of course most commonly recognized that the fleur de lis is readily acknowledged as the most prevalent symbol of France, it seems that it has been present in many other symbolic and heraldic contexts outside France.
For our purposes, one of the key factors bringing our attention to the FDL, has been how it applies to presence on weaponry as motif or other markings. While the history is of course intriguing, in the instances of weapons being examined, its more immediate parlance is more pertinent than the broader history of the FDL. For example its use on English blades.
What has been shown in discussions is that the mark of the FDL on a blade need not signify it is necessarily French, though that instance may be of course compelling.
With that in mind, the case of the FDL symbolically may also well have religious connotation rather than national, as in Christian symbolism, the FDL often is referring to the Virgin Mary, and the three petals the Holy Trinity. This context is well shown by Ibrahiim in his entry (#3).
We have seen that the FDL symbolically is seen in heraldic context in many countries beyond France including the Balkans, Italy and Portugal. With the deeper antiquity of the symbol quite unclear, it seems that mostly medieval period representations and apocryphal lore leave mostly clouded perspective on the development or earliest use of the FDL.
These factors as noted, suggest that the presence of the FDL on a weapon, there are certainly other mitigating elements which must be considered beyond the FDL itself, such as well shown in the example of the architectural context shown by Madnum in the previous post.