Welsh, Gladdon, Gladwyn, Camminiad, Llys hychgryg y glosia. - French, Fleur de lys, or de luce, Flambe aquatique. - German, Schwertel, Iris. - Italian, Iride. - Spanish, Iris. - Illyric, Perunika, Bogista, Sabljica, Csmin, Macsinac (I. Germanica).
Speaking of coronary herbs, Gwillim says: "But of all others the flower de lis is of most esteem (in heraldry), having been from the first bearing, the charge of a Regall escocheon, originally borne by the French Kings, though tract of time hath made the bearing of them more vulgar: even as purple was in ancient times a wearing only for Princes, which hath now lost that prerogative thro' costome * * * This flower is in Latin called Iris, for that it somewhat resembleth the color of the rainbow. Some of the French confound this with the lily; as he did, who doubting the validity of the Salique law to debarre the females from the crowne of France, would make it sure out of a stronger law; because (forsooth) lilia non laborent neque nent, 'the lilies neither labour nor spin;' which reason excludes as well a laborious Hercules as a spinning Omphale." This last idea, however incomprehensible, is by no means so singular as Gwillim appears to believe, as we have the authority of M. Henri de Thilleville, "Referendaire au Sceau de France,"* for saying that, "Suivant la plupart des heraldistes, cette devise fait allusion a la loi sa-lique," though in what way the supposed allusion is to be explained he does not say.
It is usual amongst historians to refer the adoption of this flower as the royal arms of France to St. Louis, the ninth king of that name, who began to reign in the year 1226, but there is evidence to shew that the device was borne by Louis VII., surnamed Le Jeune, who began to reign in the year 1137, and was, perhaps, the first to adopt it, as it is generally stated that no shield, seal, or other article impressed with it, as a real heraldic device, exists previous to his reign, in which the scientific heraldry of France first commenced; and it is supposed that the first assumption of the device by this monarch dates during the second crusade, which commenced in the year 1145. Nor was it before his time on the royal standard of France. This was, till then, the celebrated oriflamme of St. Denis, with the painted image of St. Martin, the right to bear which had been acquired by Philippe I. between the years 1060 and 1108.† Some of the French heralds maintain that the kings of France, until the death of St. Louis, bore the shield, azure irregularly the middle of the twelfth century, though generally-thought to be much later.
* "Armorial Historique de la Noblesse de France." † This oriflamme had been before borne in battle and crusade by the kings of France, but Philippe I. having contracted an obligation to protect the Abbey of St. Denis, in exchange for the right of bearing its oriflamme in battle, legalised, as it seme, with numberless fleurs de luce, or fleurs de lys, like the escutcheon gules of the Vicomtes de Chateaubriand, which was granted to Geof-froy, the fifth baron, by this monarch, after the battle of La Massoure in 1250; and that Philippe III., surnamed Le Hardi, the successor of St. Louis, or, according to others, a later monarch, perhaps Charles V., reduced them to three, disposing them, as at present borne, in two and one. It is, however, well known that three toads were borne as the French device, and disposed in like manner in two and one, long before the arrangement of the fleur de lys was adopted; and they are still borne by Meulan and several other small towns of France. They are said to have continued in use till the reign of Louis IV.; and are supposed by some antiquaries to have been afterwards altered into, or exchanged for, the more comely lilies. The shield of Clovis is, therefore, represented at Inspruck bearing three toads.
But the modification of the toads into fleurs de lys is highly improbable, as the latter, or at least a similar device, had been long used as an ornament on royal crowns, swords, and other objects; and it is not impossible that the introduction of the fleurs de lys semees may date from the time of the new dynasty of Hugues Capet, A.D. 987. In any case they cannot come under the head of armorial bearings before these had been brought into use; which is said by some to have been in the reign of Louis VII., in were, its adoption as the banner of France. The oriflamme only ceased to be used in the reign of Charles VIII.
There is a well known figure in the Cathedral of St. Julien (now transferred to the museum) at Mans, said to represent Geoffrey Plantagenet (the father of our Henry II.), who died in 1150, bearing devices on its shield which are supposed to be heraldic; in the mosaics of S. Lorenzo, at Rome, of the time of Pope Honorius III., about 1220, real arms on shields, banners, and housings, having a bend separating two lions passant, are borne by two men on horseback; and the kings of England adopted the three lions in the time of Richard I., or, perhaps, of Henry II. And we have already seen that the present arms of the Chateaubriand family were granted in 1250. There are, therefore, instances of heraldic bearings before the time of our Edward I. (1272-1303), when the first instance of quartering is supposed to have occurred; and though those devices said to have been borne by Hugues Capet, and other early personages, were not really heraldic, coats of arms appear to have been hereditary earlier than 1150 in France, and 1170 in England, which are the periods assigned by some authorities for their institution.