Friday, November 18, 2011

E is for Enfield

The enfield is a mythological beast most commonly (when seen at all) used in European heraldry especially in England and Ireland. It is most famously used in the heraldry of the London Borough of Enfield.

The enfield it has the head of a fox, the chest of a greyhound, the body of a lion, the hindquarters and tail of a wolf, and forelegs like an eagle's talons. The enfield is a creature of Celtic cultures, which has given meaning to the various parts: the head of the fox represents craftiness or cleverness. The chest of a greyhound suggests swiftness and endurance. The body of a lion means royalty and bravery. The hindquarters of a wolf implies fraternity and loyalty to family. Finally, the forelegs of an eagle's talons conveys strength, nobility and hunting prowess.

The creature had a role in legends as being a guardian of chieftains or leaders who had fallen in battle. The Celts believed strongly in making sure that their honored members and loved ones received what they considered to be proper funeral rites so that their spirits could rest in peace. Enemies would try to carry away bodies, especially of enemy leaders, so that they could tear them apart and use them to demoralize the enemy and serve as a warning. This was distressing to Celtic peoples and they believed the spirit of people debased in this way would haunt the world of the living until they were avenged.

Exerpted from Squidoo

*Gotta admit I struggled with this one… it's taken days and I really had to force it along in the end. Pretty happy overall, but only a scratch on the surface of where I initially wanted to go with it.

1 comment:

Isaac said...

That's really nice — cool to see them "in their habitat," and not just in heraldic poses.

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