The four main devices (symbols) in the Rome blazon are the rose, fleur-de-lis, thistle and lion passant. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.1The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
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) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 6A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. The rose is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It has long been present in English heraldry, and as a badge and symbol played an enormous in English history throughout the conflict between rival dynasties known as the War of the Roses. In addition to these familial uses, Wade suggests that red roses signify “beauty and grace” and the white represents “love and faith”. 7The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132-133
The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. 8Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”9The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134 and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms 10A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489
The thistle as a symbol is inevitably associated with Scotland, although more often as a badge rather than appearing as an item upon a shield. 11A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270 Despite its prickly reputation the images of this flowering plant are very striking and they are usually shown with leaves to either side in quite an accurate representation. 12A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:thistle