Re: King Clovis and irises...
In a message dated 96-12-25 20:34:56 EST, you write:
<< This was taken from the book, `Irises, A Romantic History with a
Guide to Cultivation', by Susan Berry. (p. 17)
The Clovis legend of the fleur-de-lis is lovely, but probably just that, i.e.
a legend. There is an excellent article by Ethel Anson S. Peckham (who also
compiled the AIS 1939 Check List) in the October, 1934 AIS Bulletin, entitled
"Servant of the Rainbow." In this article, Mrs. Peckham wrote at length
about the origins of the fleur-de-lis.
She rather convincingly shows that the fleur-de-lis predated Clovis, and in
fact was the symbol of the Roman Curule Aedile. The Curule Aedile was the
second highest office in imperial Rome, and the person holding the office had
control over grain crops. His "fleur-de-lis" symbol was actual a
representation of three heads of grain tied together. Mrs. Peckam points out
that the Procounsul for Gaul was a Curule Aedile, and his symbol, i.e. the
"fleur de lis" was almost certainly the basis for the arms design adoped by
Clovis, who expelled the last of the Romans from Gaul.
By the time of the Renaissance it had become common to refer to the "lilies
of France" in reference to the fleur-de-lis, and subsequently to the iris.
Early herbals call the iris the "Fleur de Luce", another name for
fleur-de-lis. Certainly, the fleur-de-lis could be a stylized iris, but a
rather unusual one. Still, the iris is a far lovelier symbol than wheat...so
I do not think the legend of Clovis and the iris is in any danger of
disappearing. Fleur-de-lis on a field of blue is the design of the Bosnian
Rebublic. Clarence Mahan in VA