ARMORIAL GOLD HERALDRY SYMBOLISM LIBRARY
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DAGGER (dirk, rapier, and skean, or skene): A symbol of power, justice, valour and military honour. The heraldic dagger may symbolically suggest the bearer had come courageously close to his enemy. Roman soldiers used a dagger, called the pugio, doubling as an offensive weapon and status symbol. As a stabbing weapon, the dagger can also symbolize death. The dagger is also used as canting arms for such names as Daggett, Daguet and the like.
DANCETTÉ (or Dancetty): A zigzag line of partition, differing from indented only in the indentations being larger in size. Denotes water and may signify an important sea voyage.
DANISH HATCHET: Symbol of the execution of military duty. See Axe.
DECRESCENT: One who has been honoured by the sovereign; hope of greater glory (a crescent with horns to the sinister).
DELF (SQUARE): Popular in German heraldry. To some ancients, the square was the earth, as opposed to the heavens. Because of its geometric perfection it denoted honesty and straightforwardness, equity, morality and integrity.
DESTRIER: The Knight's warhorse. This most valuable of the Knight's horses was bred exclusively for fighting, were almost twice the weight of a normal horse, very strong and extremely fierce; it is said they often used their hooves or teeth in battle. They were trained to walk rather than trot and would charge at a canter rather than at a gallop. A knight would only mount his Destrier for battle or tournament. For more casual use, the knight would ride his 'courser' for wayfaring journeys, and his 'palfrey' when leisure was the undertaking; preparedness for martial encounter; a valiant defender of the sovereign.
DICE (cubes, gads): Falls right however they be cast; emblems of constancy and equity.
DOLPHIN: In the times of heraldry the Dolphin was known as the king of fish. It is said that those who used it as a symbol had a fondness for music and that the emblem was one of charity and affection towards children and kindred. Often referred to as "The Sailor's Friend", Dolphins were judged from ancient times to be intelligent, skilful and devoted to saving lives. Romans used the Dolphin to signify the soul's journey across the sea of death to the Blessed Isles. The Christians began to use the image of the Dolphin as a specific symbol of Christ, the 'guide' of souls across the waters of death. The Dolphin was associated with many mythological gods including Eros (shown riding a Dolphin), Aphrodite (as well, riding a Dolphin), and Taras of Tarentum (shown on a Dolphin). Greek mythology abounds with tales revolving around the Dolphin, man's guiding light of the sea. The Dauphin of France used the Dolphin as his icon to represent protection for his fleet and salvation for his country.
DOVE: A symbol of innocence, gentleness, and affection and in art and in the Scriptures, the symbol of the Holy Ghost. Ever since the Dove returned to Noah's ark carrying the olive branch, it has been considered the messenger of peace and a harbinger of good tidings. In church windows the seven rays proceeding from the Dove signify the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. It also symbolises the human soul, and as such is represented coming out of the mouth of saints at death. The Slavs and Greeks pictured the human soul as a Dove, which helps to explain why Doves are found on some pagan monuments. Doves with human heads are also found on Greek tombs. Since the Dove was believed to be incapable of malice towards any creature, it is said that Jesus sent His disciples into the world after instructing them to "Be as wise as serpents and harmless as Doves". Over the centuries, the Dove has been used to represent many things. It is the emblem of temperance, the symbol of innocence, the token of inspiration, and the ensign of peace. The Dove also represents fidelity in marriage, chastity and patience in suffering.
DRAGON: Its head is that of a serpent, with a forked tongue and ears. The body is that of a lion, but it is represented scaled, and the large wings are webbed and pointed, and resemble those of a bat. The legs are also scaled, and the feet are represented with webbed talons. The dragon is the most valiant of all living creatures because of his sharpness of sight and therefore it symbolizes the defender of treasure and worldliness. The Anglo-Saxon word "dragon" is derived from the Greek, "to see clearly", hinting at the Dragon's gift of prophecy. Although Dragons were often born out of destruction and chaos, the dragon to some cultures was an emblem of good fortune & perfection. Found in many cultures it became a symbol for volatility, the search for secret knowledge, finding your way through all things, Alchemy, the elements, eternal change, discovery of hidden treasures and the protector of all you possess.
DROPS (Guttees): One who has endured torrents of liquids in battle depending upon the colour of the liquid; sometimes used for the purpose of differencing.
DRUM: Symbols of war, wealth and power, the drum has stood as the talisman of victory and the symbol of royal and military might in many cultures.
DUCK (the drake, sheldrake, wild duck, teal, mallard): A person of many resources with the ability to deal with a difficult or troublesome situations effectively. The Celts, considered ducks as symbols of honesty and simplicity, and to the Chinese they were symbols of conjugal affection and fidelity. As a popular game bird they were also a symbols of hospitality.