KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 28  1909  page 369

Sybill Arms at Little Mote, Eynsford By George C. Druce continued

which is more especially tested when we deprive it of all its whelps, which are always very numerous. They are seized by the hunter, who lies in wait for them, being provided with the fleetest horse he can possibly obtain, and which he frequently changes for a fresh one. As soon as the female finds her lair empty—for the male takes no care whatever of his offspring—headlong she darts forth, and traces them by the smell. Her approach is made known by her cries, upon which the hunter throws down one of the wheips; this she snatches up with her teeth, and more swiftly even, under the weight, returns to her lair, then again sets out in pursuit; and this she continues to do until the hunter has reached his vessel, while the animal vainly vents her fury upon the shore."*
   There is no indication here for what purpose the cubs were required, but that there was a demand for tigers in Rome for show purposes we learn from various sources. Pliny tells us (Book VIII., ch. 25) that a tame tiger was first exhibited in the arena by the Emperor Augustus, and that 

the Emperor Claudius exhibited four at one time. Martial also mentions them as being exhibited by Domitian.
   It will be seen that for heraldic purposes only a part of the subject, the Tiger and the Mirror, was taken. The Mermaid or Syren affords another instance, the accessories being dropped. Mr. Hill gives the full blazon of the Sybill coat as: "Argent, a tiger statant reguardant coward gules at a mirror on the ground azure, handled or." I append a drawing of a crest of the fifteenth century for which I am indebted to Mr. Oswald Barrori, F.S.A., as it illustrates the Sybill coat with the exception of the tail "coward," but I am unfortunately unable to give any particulars of the family to which it belongs.
  The employment in heraldry of these subjects from the Medieval Bestiaries was of less importance than the influence they had on ecclesiastical architecture. They were drawn upon extensively for decorative details for doorways,
   * Bohn’s Trans,

Page 369

Previous page       Back to Page listings       Next page

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society click here

Back the Contents page    To Arch. Cant. List    To Publications On-line    To Research Page    To Homepage

Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society 2003

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received
so that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too