A portcullis is a heavy vertically-closing gate found in Medieval fortifications, consisting of a latticed grille made of wood, metal, or a combination of the two, which slides down grooves inset within each jamb of the gateway. Portcullises fortified the entrances to many medieval castles, securely closing off the castle during time of attack or siege; every portcullis was mounted in vertical grooves in the walls of the castle and could be raised or lowered by means of chains or ropes attached to an internal winch. Two portcullises to the main entrance would be used; the one closer to the inside would be closed first, the one farther away. This was used to trap the enemy, burning wood or fire-heated sand would be dropped onto them from the roof or murder-holes. Hot oil, was not used in this manner, contrary to popular belief, since oil was expensive. Arrowslits in the sides of the walls enabled archers and crossbowmen to eliminate the trapped group of attackers. In England, working portcullises survive at the Tower of London, Monk Bar and Hever Castle, Kent and at the hotel conversion, Amberley Castle.

The portcullis was the heraldic badge of the House of Beaufort, the first Tudor king, Henry VII, of matrilineal Beaufort descent, adapted both the portcullis and the Tudor rose into Royal badges of the House of Tudor. Since the portcullis has been a moderately common motif of English heraldry that heraldry dating from the Tudor period; the heraldic office of Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary, a junior officer of arms in the College of Arms at London, dates from this period. It is through Lord Charles Somerset, son of the 5th Duke of Beaufort, that the portcullis has found its way into several South African coats of arms. Somerset established several towns during his governorship at the Cape Colony and named them for his family; these include Somerset West, Fort Beaufort and Beaufort West. Institutions that derive the portcullis from these arms include a school, chamber of commerce and a rugby club. Other South African coats of arms that include a portcullis are not related to either Lord Somerset or any of the town named for and by him.

Although the Palace of Westminster served as the official royal residence for both Henry VII and Henry VIII until 1530, the current use of the portcullis as a symbol of the Palace and of Parliament does not date from that time. Rather, the symbol was developed as part of Sir Charles Barry's plans for the rebuilt Palace after the original burned down on 16 October 1834. A portcullis—fitted well with the scheme. Since the portcullis has become the primary symbol of Parliament. During the 20th century, use of the portcullis as a symbol of Parliament spread beyond Britain and to the other Commonwealth realms. A portcullis was found on the British one penny coin and on the pre-decimal thrupenny bit; the badge of the Canada Border Services Agency bore a portcullis, symbolising the agency's role as "gatekeeper" of goods into Canada. It was featured in the now-defunct HM Customs and Excise in the United Kingdom and still appears in the rank insignia for the various grades of commissioner in the Australian Border Force.

The portcullis may appear: as a charge in its own right, as in the arms of the London Borough of Richmond: Ermine, a portcullis chained or, a bordure gules charged with eight fleurs-de-lys or with nail heads shown in a contrasting colour, as in the arms of Wallingford Town Council: Gules, a portcullis or studded sable, chained Argent, ensigned with an ancient crown of the second, all within an orle of bezants with spikes of a contrasting colour, as in the crest of Tendring District Council:...a portcullis or, nailed and spiked azure in the gateways of castles lowered or part raised, as in the arms of Winchester City Council:...five castles triple towered in saltire argent masoned proper the portcullis of each part-raised or.... It is shown with chains attached when the blazon does not mention them. Arrow slit Castle Hoarding Machicolation Murder-hole Sally port Yett Kaufmann, J. E.. W.. The Medieval Fortress: Castles and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages. Greenhill Books. ISBN 1-85367-455-9

Vladimir Lavrov

Vladimir Sergeyevich Lavrov was a Soviet diplomat and ambassador. Lavrov graduated from the Moscow Power Engineering Institute and Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and defended a habilitation in historical sciences, he took the following diplomatic positions: 1947–1952 – official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1952–1953 – First Secretary of the Soviet Embassy to the United Kingdom 1953–1956 – assistant to the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union 1956–1959 – adviser at the Soviet Embassy to the United States 1959–1960 – curator of Soviet-Yemen relations 1960–1964 – senior official at the European division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1964–1967 – Ambassador of the Soviet Union to Kenya 1967–1973 – Ambassador of the Soviet Union to the Netherlands 1973–1977 – director of the Personnel Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1977–1983 – Ambassador of the Soviet Union to Switzerland 1983–1987 – Ambassador of the Soviet Union to Turkey

Dominique de Roux

Dominique de Roux was a French writer and publisher. Dominique de Roux was born in a Languedoc noble family, close to monarchist circles. While attached to his Charente land, Dominique de Roux showed an early independence and the desire to devote himself to literature. In 1960 he married daughter of Gaullist deputy Max Brusset, their son Pierre-Guillaume Roux was born in 1963 and became a publisher. In the late 1950s de Roux created several language courses in Germany and England. Upon his return to France, he founded with several friends the mimeographed bulletin L'Herne, where he published his "Confidences to Guillaume", a chronicle of lyrical cynicism addressed to his geranium, he served in the French military. In 1960 he published his first novel, Mademoiselle Anicet, redeveloped his review in the final form of the Cahiers de l'Herne, a collection of monographs devoted to ignored or cursed literary figures, including articles and unpublished texts. After volumes on René-Guy Cadou and Georges Bernanos, he penned books about Borges, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Ezra Pound, Witold Gombrowicz and Pierre Jean Jouve.

He directed books devoted to Burroughs, Pélieu, Henri Michaux, Louis Massignon, Lewis Carroll, H. P. Lovecraft, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Julien Gracq, Karl Kraus, Gustav Meyrink, Thomas Mann, Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, Arthur Koestler and Raymond Abellio, who imposed L'Herne on the French literary scene. In 1966, the publication of his essay La Mort de L.-F. Céline inaugurated the publishing house that he co-founded with Christian Bourgois, named after the latter. Meanwhile, L'Herne added publishing to its activities. At thirty, de Roux became a prominent figure of French literature and rough in his polemics against the Tel Quel group. After listening to poets and writers of the beat generation and meeting with Gombrowicz, to whom he devoted an essay and a book of interviews, he revealed the possibility to leave Paris. Two traumatic events happened: the censorship of his collection of aphorisms Immédiatement at the request of Roland Barthes and Maurice Genevoix and the takeover of L'Herne by Constantin Tacou in favor of financial maneuvers in 1973.

Dominique de Roux began a life of wandering and settled in Lisbon and in Geneva. Under these conditions he started his new magazine Exil and launched a new book series, Dossiers H, in Éditions L'Âge d'Homme, he published pamphlets and devoted considerable to journalism and television, working as a correspondent in the Portuguese world at the times of implosion and war in its colonies. De Roux networked in the lusophone world serving the SDECE and because of his adherence to a "political transcendentalism" inspired by reading Raymond Abellio with whom his relations were intensifying at the time; this is embodied in his utopia of a "Gaullist International" and in his idea that Portugal represented the assumption of a universal civilization. In April 1974, at the time of the Carnation Revolution, de Roux was the only French journalist present at Lisbon, one of the foreigners with the most direct access to General Spínola, he devoted years to assist the Angolan opposition leader Jonas Savimbi to deal with international press and foreign ministries, as well as to conduct guerrilla warfare.

This contribution gave impetus to his final works: Le Cinquième Empire published two weeks before his sudden death at age 41, of a heart attack linked to Marfan syndrome, the posthumous La Jeune fille au ballon rouge et Le Livre nègre. NovelsMademoiselle Anicet, Julliard, 1960. Le Rocher, 1998 L'Harmonika-Zug, La Table Ronde, 1963. Folio-Gallimard, 1983 Maison jaune, Bourgois, 1969, 1989 Le Cinquième empire, Belfond, 1977. Le Rocher, 1997 La Jeune fille au ballon rouge, Bourgois, 1978. Le Rocher, 2001 Le Livre nègre, Le Rocher, 1997PoetryLe Gravier des vies perdues, Lettera Amorosa, 1974. Céline, Petite Vermillon, réed. La Table ronde, 2007 La Mort de L.-F. Céline, Bourgois, 1966, réed. 1994 L'Écriture de Charles de Gaulle, Éditions universitaires, 1967. Le Rocher, 1994 L'Ouverture de la chasse, L'Âge d'homme, 1968. Le Rocher, 2005 Contre Servan-Schreiber, Balland, 1970 Gombrowicz, 10/18, 1971. Bourgois, 1996 Immédiatement, Bourgois, 1972. La Table ronde, 1995 et 2009 Ne traversez pas le Zambèze, La Proue, 1973 La France de Jean Yanne, Calmann-Lévy, 1974 Gamal Abdel Nasser, L'Âge d'homme, 2002 Il faut partir: Correspondances inédites, Fayard, 2007 La Société des Lecteurs de Dominique de Roux Video about Dominique de Roux