Since the early fourteenth century, medieval theologians used to ‘sign’ the most important lectures of their curriculum (mainly the principia to their lectures on the Bible and on the Sentences) with the choice of a biblical verse that implicitly or explicitly referred to their proper name. In his famous article on ‘Augustinian Theology’, Damasus Trapp called these (commonly quite sophisticated) allusions ‘Heraldic Mystifications’,1 and while Trapp already recognized the playful side of these gimmicks, it was Katherine Tachau who emphasized that not every text had to be taken seriously only because it was written by a medieval scholastic.2

In order to account for the humorous parts of an otherwise so grave scholastic business, this site aims at a collection of known heraldic puns in medieval principia. And since medieval principia gain more and more attention in present research on scholasticism, the site also hosts a general list of Themata in medieval principia (i.e. including non-heraldic stuff), as well as a bibliography of secondary literature on principia and puns. Suggestions and hints both on further heraldic allusions and on missing bibliographic items are more than welcome! Please submit them to »the site’s creator (or, as I should say, Ex 21, 24).

1 Damasus Trapp: «Augustinian Theology of the 14th Century : Notes on Editions, Marginalia, Opinions and Booklore», in Augustiniana 6 (1956), pp. 146–274, at p. 269

2 Katherine H. Tachau: «Looking Gravely at Dominican Puns : the ‘Sermons’ of Robert Holcot and Ralph Friseby», in Traditio 46 (1991), pp. 337–345