Emmet (heraldry)

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The arms of Multia, Finland, a rare example of the use of a simple emmet (or ant) in heraldry

The Emmet, also called the ant and the pismire, is an heraldic charge in European heraldry, particularly in British and German heraldry.

Significance[edit]

The emmet might be understood as a symbol of hard work and of wisdom, although symbolism in heraldry always has to be approached with a certain skepticism, as the arms might be canting, or the symbolism might not apply in a particular case. In his A Display of Heraldrie (1610), John Guillim of the English College of Arms says:

"By the Emmet or Pismire may be signified a Man of great Labour, Wisdom, and Providence in all his Affairs, and of a pregnant and ready Memory."[1]

Attitude (position)[edit]

The emmet is very frequently shown as tergiant, or with his back to the viewer, as if he were being seen from above, from the air.

Examples from Britain[edit]

  • Massy: argent a bend azure between three emmets sable[2]

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ John Guillim, A Display of Heraldry, 1724 edition, p. 202
  2. ^ Thomas Robson, The British herald; or, Cabinet of armorial bearings of the nobility & gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, from the earliest to the present time (1830), p. 228