The four main devices (symbols) in the Milton blazon are the cross flory, eagle, pomeis and chaplet. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, argent and gules .
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 2The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 4A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”5The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 6Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 8Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges 9Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross 10A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross flory is typical of these, having each arm end in something very similar to the fleur-de-lys.
Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period 11A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference 12A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!
The word Pomeis is a simple short-hand for the charge otherwise known as a roundle vert, and represented as a plain green circle. Its origin is obviously in the French word pomme, meaning “apple”. Indeed, Wade conflates the symbology of the “pomeis” with that of all fruit representations, being suggestive of “liberality, felicity and peace”.