Slogan (heraldry)

The slogan CREAG AN TUIRC appears on the crest badge of a member of Clan MacLaren.

A slogan is used in Scottish heraldry as a heraldic motto or a secondary motto. It usually appears above the crest on a coat of arms, though sometimes it appears as a secondary motto beneath the shield.[1] The word slogan dates from 1513, though it is a variant of the earlier slogorn, which was an Anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm.[2]

Mottoes and heraldry

The word slogan dates from 1513. It is a variant of the earlier slogorn, which was an Anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm (sluagh "army", "host" + gairm "cry").[2] Slogans are used in heraldry, most notably in Scottish heraldry. In Scottish heraldry slogans are used as mottoes, or secondary mottoes. Slogans usually appear above the crest on a coat of arms, though sometimes they appear as a secondary motto beneath the shield. There may be several possible origins for mottoes used in heraldry, however slogans are considered[by whom?] to have originated from battle cries or war cries. There are several notable heraldic mottoes which are thought to originate from a war cries. For example, the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom contains the motto DIEU ET MON DROIT ("God and my right") which has been thought to originated as a war cry. As has the motto MONTJOYE SAINT-DENIS which appeared on the former French coat of arms (this motto is refers to the oriflamme, the royal standard of the kings of France, which was kept in the Basilique Saint-Denis). Several mottoes found in Irish heraldry, which end in a boo, are also thought to have originated as war cries. Examples of such Irish mottoes are CROM A BOO of the Fitzgerald earls of Leinster; and SHANET A BOO of the Fitzgerald earls of Desmond.[1][3]

Not all slogans are actually authentic war cries though. Many slogans pertaining to Scottish clan chiefs have been registered relatively recently at the Court of the Lord Lyon. Sometimes slogans are merely a name, such as A HOME A HOME A HOME of the Homes, others refer to a rallying point for the clan, like CRUACHAN of the Campbells, some slogans refer to a prominent clansman like the Maclean Fear eile airson Eachuinn ("Another for Hector"). In at least one case, a patron saint is used as a slogan, as in St Bennet and Set On of the Setons.[1][4] The arms of Grant use two slogans (or mottoes): CRAIG ELACHAIDH (which appears above the crest), and STANDFAST (which appears beneath on a scroll beneath the shield).[1] Sometimes a clan chief's slogan appears on his crest badge and in consequence on the crest badges worn by his clan members. In some cases the chief's slogan also appears on his standard, guidon and pinsel.[5]