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Revised Aug 8, 2015 3:39 pm.

Compass roses are put on maps to indicate direction/s and are a period motif - a multi-pointed star inscribed within an annulet, with the addition of a North mark.

"Compass-star," is the term invented for the very common Society charge of "a mullet of four greater and four lesser points." (KFW, 30 Jun 79 [25], p. 59) Compass stars are a Step-From-Period Practice and are found under Mullet in the Ordinary.

A compass is a tool for drawing circles and curves - found under Caliper in the Ordinary. A compass is also a tool for finding magnetic north.


Illustrations from period sources:
A compass rose from a Catalan atlas (1375) has an arrowhead and a star at north.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_Atlas
Compass_rose_from_Catalan_Atlas_(1375).jpg
Compass rose from 1375 Catalan atlas

Map by Pedro Reinel, c. 1504, with various compass roses - northpoints with a fleur-de-lys, ermine spots (?), and a cross.
"His Atlantic Chart of c. 1504 is the earliest known nautical chart with a scale of latitudes, and the first to depict a wind rose with a clearly drawn fleur-de-lys." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Reinel
CompassRoses_1535_pedro_reinel_atlantic_nord.jpg
Map by Pedro Reinel c. 1504 with various compass roses



Pictorial Dictionary of SCA Heraldry (3rd edition):



Pennsic Traceable Art Project:
Compass rose

SENA Appendix G: Some Specific Elements that are a Step from Period Practice

http://heraldry.sca.org/sena.html#AppendixG
As discussed in A.2.B armorial designs documented under the Core Style rules may only have a single step from period practice. This is a list of some specific items that are a step from period practice. In general, types of charges and motifs similar to these are likely to be ruled a step from period practice. However, if they can be demonstrated as being used as period charges in European heraldry, they will no longer be considered a step from period practice.

A. Charges: The following charges have been ruled a step from period practice:
  • compass star

Precedents:

Precedents of the SCA College of Arms - http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/precedents.html
Morsulus Heralds Website - http://www.morsulus.org/ (to search the LoARs and Precedents)
Restatement Wiki - http://yehudaheraldry.com/restatement/index.php?title=Main_Page (restatements of Precedents)
Use the above links to be sure any precedents listed below haven't been superseded by newer precedents.


Definition:


From July 1987 LoAR:
A compass star is too complex a charge to fimbriate. (LoAR 26 Jul 87, p. 9)
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/alisoun/AMEC1.html

From the June 1985 LoAR:
The specific form of an SCA compass rose was defined in July 1981, in the arms of ALEXANDRE SUR LA MER. While a certain amount of variation is possible, the basic shape -- a multi-pointed star inscribed within an annulet, with the addition of a North mark -- should be preserved. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.5]
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/baldwin.html

From July 1981 LoAR:
He has established that this sort of symbol is in period. By default a compass rose has a fleur-de-lys in chief to point to north. WVS [48] [LoAR 29 Jul 81] [Overturning "Compass roses and Mariner's Roses are too complex to be used in the SCA. WVS [30] [LoAR 28 Nov 80], p. 7"]
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/wilhelm/atoc.html

From June 1979 LoAR:
We have already passed several "compass-stars," a term invented for the very common Society charge of "a mullet of four greater and four lesser points." (KFW, 30 Jun 79 [25], p. 59)
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/karina/atof.html


Registerability:

(Restricted, Reserved, SFPP, OOP)

From the August 2014 Cover Letter:
From Wreath: Compass stars elongated to base
Previous precedent, from the October 2013 Cover Letter, declared mullets elongated palewise to be unregisterable:
  • We had two submissions this month that featured a mullet elongated palewise. We have no evidence that such artistic treatment of a mullet was ever done in period armory at all, and we grant no difference between a mullet and a mullet elongated palewise.
  • However, we do have period evidence of mullets elongated to base (i.e., only the basemost ray is stretched out), but those appear to be a variant of a comet, not normal mullet. An example of such a comet can be seen in the 16th century Italian armorial Insignia Nobilium Patavinorum, BSB Cod.icon. 275, on f.65r (found at http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/bsb00001422/image_137).
  • Therefore, as we would like to avoid confusion between comets and mullets, mullets elongated pale wise will no longer be registerable after the April 2014 decision meetings.
Per that precedent, mullets elongated to base are considered to be a variant of comets, and will be blazoned as comets. However, these variants are constructed from mullets, and not compass stars. Barring period evidence of compass stars elongated to base, that charge will not be registerable after the March 2015 decision meeting.
http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2014/08/14-08cl.html

From the October 2011 LoAR:
Muirgheal inghean Dubhghaill. Device. Per saltire azure and argent, on a chief Or three compass stars gules.
There is a step from period practice for the use of compass stars.
http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2011/10/11-10lar.html

Compass Rose Precedents of Elsbeth Ann Roth (2000):
  • Inverting a compass rose is registerable, but a weirdness. [Tane Verloren, 05/00, A-Ansteorra]
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/elsbeth/armory.html#COMPASSROSE

Selected Compass Star Precedents of Elsbeth Ann Roth (1999-2001):
  • Current precedent is that we only allow the piercing of charges on fieldless badges when those charges were found pierced in period armory (thus disallowing omni-tinctured tertiary charges). While a compass star is closely related to a mullet, it is nevertheless a different charge, one not found in period armory. Therefore we are not inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt and allow it to be pierced as we would a mullet or spur rowel. [Eridana Ambra Dragotta, 01/00, R-Caid]
  • [... a compass star pierced within a bordure Or] While we are blazoning this as pierced, this does not mean that we will allow compass stars to be pierced on fieldless badges. In this case, it is simply shorthand for on a compass star a roundel per saltire azure and gules. [Alwyn of Kittisford, 07/00, A-Outlands]
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/elsbeth/armory.html#COMPASSSTAR

From the October 1993 LoAR:
We grant no difference between mullets of six points and compass stars, nor between compass stars and suns, so all three are considered as variations on the same charge. Using them all in a single device is not acceptable style. (Isabella Julietta Diego y Vega, October, 1993, pg. 19)
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/bruce/C.html

From the September 1993 LoAR:
[A garden rose slipped and leaved and on a chief three garden rosebuds] There is a longstanding policy that one may not use two close variants of the same charge in one design. It creates visual confusion, where the whole purpose of heraldry is instant identification. The almost-but-not-quite identical charges need not be a single group; this is not related to our ban on "slot-machine heraldry." (We wouldn't allow, for example, a sun between three compass stars either.) If there's not a CD between the two charges, they should not be used together in the same design. (Joanna d'Oléron, September, 1993, pg. 24)
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/bruce/C.html


Conflict:


From the January 2003 LoAR:
"There is no difference between a mullet of four points and a compass star: 'By prior precedent there is not a CD between a compass star and a mullet of four points' (LoAR April 2001)."
January 2003 LoAR

Compass Rose Precedents of Elsbeth Ann Roth (2000):
There is no difference given between a compass rose and a compass star within an annulet. [Stephen macThomas, 06/00, R-Ansteorra]
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/elsbeth/armory.html#COMPASSROSE

Selected Compass Star Precedents of Elsbeth Ann Roth (1999-2001):
  • [(Fieldless) On a compass star gules a cross botonny argent] The badge conflicts with ... Argent upon a sun gules a dexter hand apaumy couped argent. There is only the CD for fieldlessness. [Implying no CD between a sun and a compass star and that suns/compass stars are not simple enough for X4.j(ii) to give a CD for type-only change of the tertiaries] [Dun Carraig, Barony of, 10/99, R-Atlantia]
  • [suns vs. mullets]... as suns and mullets are not substantially [different], there is nothing for changing the type... [Ursella of Rowantree, 11/99, R-Caid]
  • [a compass star pierced] After much thought, we decided that piercing is worth a CD when drawn large enough to be equivalent to adding a tertiary charge, as it is done here; i.e. when it is clearly visible and takes up much of the space available to it. [Sebastian of Dragon's Mist, 12/99, A-An Tir]
  • There is no difference given between a compass rose and a compass star within an annulet. [Stephen macThomas, 06/00, R-Ansteorra]
  • There is a CD between suns and estoiles but not the substantial difference needed for X.2 (Difference of Primary Charges) to apply. [Geneviève de la Loire, 07/00, R-Atlantia]
  • Current policy is to not grant different between mullets of six or more points... [Martin Diaz, 08/00, R-East]
  • As neither a compass star nor a mullet of four points are period charges, and they differ only by the addition of the lesser points, there is not a CD between a mullet of four points and a compass star... [William Killian, 01/01, R-Ansteorra]
  • There is not a CD between a compass star and a sun... [Taliesin de Morlet, 03/01, R-Caid]
  • By prior precedent there is not a CD between a compass star and a mullet of four points, nor is there a CD between a compass star and a riven star... [Artemisia da Quieto d'Arzenta, 04/01, R-Lochac]
  • [a compass star pierced vs a compass star] This is clear ... and a second [CD] for the addition of the piercing, which is large enough to be equivalent to a tertiary charge. [Eric of Clan Smith, 07/01, A-An Tir]
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/elsbeth/armory.html#COMPASSSTAR

From the September 1995 LoAR:
[a compass rose vs a compass star] [There is a CD] for the difference between a compass rose with its prominent annulet and a compass star. (Northshield, Principality of, 9/95 p. 15)
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/daud2/armm2q.html

From the October 1993 LoAR:
We grant no difference between mullets of six points and compass stars, nor between compass stars and suns, so all three are considered as variations on the same charge. Using them all in a single device is not acceptable style. (Isabella Julietta Diego y Vega, October, 1993, pg. 19)
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/bruce/C.html

From the June 1993 LoAR:
There's ...no difference between suns and multi-pointed mullets --- which includes compass stars. (Friedrich von Rabenstein, June, 1993, pg. 18)
http://heraldry.sca.org/precedents/bruce/C.html


Identifiability:



Collected Precedents:

2nd Tenure of Elisabeth de Rossignol (April 2011 - August 2011) - Collected Armory Precedents
Tenure of Elisabeth de Rossignol (May 2005 - July 2008) - COMPASS STAR and SUN
The 2nd Tenure of François la Flamme (October 2004 - May 2005) - COMPASS STAR and SUN
The Tenure of Shauna of Carrick Point (May 2004 - August 2004) - Collected Armory Precedents
The Tenure of François la Flamme (August 2001 - April 2004) - Collected Armory Precedents
The Tenure of Elsbeth Anne Roth (June 1999 - July 2001) - Collected Armory Precedents
The Tenure of Jaelle of Armida (June 1996 - June 1999) - Single HTML Document
The 2nd Tenure of Da'ud ibn Auda (November 1993 - June 1996) -
The Tenure of Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme (June 1992 - October 1993) - Collected precedents
The 1st Tenure of Da'ud ibn Auda (June 1990 - June 1992) -
The Tenure of Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane (September 1986 - June 1990) - Collected Precedents
The Tenure of Baldwin of Erebor (August 1984 - August 1986) - Single HTML Document
The Tenure of Wilhelm von Schlüssel (August 1979 - August 1984) - Collected Precedents
The Tenure of Karina of the Far West (December 1975 - June 1979) - Collected Precedents
The Early Days (June 1971 - June 1975) - Collected Precedents

In the Ordinary: