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Coat of Arms & Seal

The Great Seal

The Great Seal of Phi Delta Phi International is a circle centered with the illuminated symbols "C", "C" and "S" (Coke, Chitty and Story), which are enclosed in the circular band bearing the inscription "International Honor Society Phi Delta Phi 1869."

Coat of Arms


Gules, a death's head affronte debruising two femur bones crossed saltierwise argent, on a chief azure an owl (scops gin) erased with wings displayed or. The Shield surmounting two swords crossed salterwise proper.


On a wreath of the colors a human forearm proper holding aloft a Latin cross with end members debruised by mullets and supporting ornaments and balances to form a scale of Justice, all or.


Phi Delta Phi in upper and lower case Greek letters.

In describing any coat-of-arms, it is customary to first mention the tincture or metal of the field. In this case, it is gules or red. Gules or red is the color of courage - and courage is one of the fundamental attributes of the barrister. It is particularly appropriate that the field of Phi Delta Phi's escutcheon be tinctured red because the founders were courageous in pioneering in the field of professional Greek letter Fraternities, and to Phi Delta Phis it stands as a perpetual challenge to display the high courage necessary to live up to the highest standards of legal ethics and by their example contribute their share to the fearlessness and majesty of the law.

A death's head affronte is next mentioned because it is the principal charge on the field. It means a human skull, front view. This emblem reminds every member of Phi Delta Phi that life is fleeting and that we are all hastening toward a common estate in death. It teaches that we should so regulate our daily life and conduct as to be worthy of the esteem of our fellow men. To the members of Phi Delta Phi the meaning involves the admonition to evidence acts of kindness and courtesy to others as well as attributes of friendship to all Phi Delta Phi brothers and sisters. Sometimes we learn by antithesis and so by the use of the death's head with its sinister associations we learn of the beautiful things of life.

Affronte or Front View
Symbolizes the readiness in which Phi Delta Phis face facts squarely no matter how grave their import.

Debruising is a Heraldic word meaning placed over or upon- thus, the skull is placed over or upon.

Two Femur Bones Crossed Saltierwise
This further carries out the idea of the death's head described above. The two femur bones, however, refer to the two principal divisions of Phi Delta Phi, namely the students and barristers. The close and friendly relationship which exists between these two groups being indicated by the equal division formed by the diagonal or saltierwise crossing.

Argent (silver or white)
It is represented in monotone by a plain area with no marking as bones exposed to the elements become bleached and whitened. White is the color of purity and innocence. Its use in this connection is emblematic of the purity of motif in all of the dealings Phi Delta Phis have with each other and furthermore, that each should hold aloof from any questionable dealings and that their purpose should ever be to protect the innocent and see that Justice be done.

On a Chief
The third of the shield divided horizontally is known as the chief. In the old days that portion of the shield protected the chief parts of the Knight's person - the heart and head. The Heralds, always quick to interpret these things in appropriate symbolism, set this space aside for these symbols of great importance.

The Heraldic term for blue. There was but one shade of blue in Heraldry but here it represents the pearl blue of the Phi Delta Phi colors. Blue is the color of loyalty and friendship which is the basis of the Phi Delta Phi members's life and infused in the basic attributes of the group.

An Owl (Scops Gin)
The owl is sometimes known as scops gin. It is an ancient and revered symbol of learning and wisdom. It has become closely associated in the minds of men with the law because of this two fold symbolism. The law requires a perfection in learning for it is not only necessary to master the facts of a case but also to turn one's mind back into the pages of history to exhaust the statues and decisions of the ages; and the law required wisdom, a knowledge of psychology, and human nature which assures a correct interpretation of laws and an application of their mandates to the ends of Justice.

Only a part of the bird is shown.

With Wings Displayed
Describes the position of the wings as raised on either side. In this manner they cover most of the chief and produce an all encompassing affect thus alluding to the protective influence of learning and wisdom as exemplified in the administration of the law.

Or is the Heraldic term for yellow or gold. Gold is called the most noble of metals and its use her refers to the nobility and dignity of the legal calling as well as the golden opportunities which abound on all sides of the lawyer to serve humanity.

Two Crossed Swords
The one sword is symbolic of the force necessary at times to carry out the ends of justice, and the other is ever remindful of the seriousness of the Phi Delta Phi obligation.

The crest is only that part of the coat-of-arms embracing and extending above the torse or crest wreath.

On a Wreath of the Colors
This refers to the torse or crest wreath, a conventionalized twined ribbon consisting of six parts of divisions and alternating in color - blue and red. Many students of Heraldry believe that it is reminiscent of the wealth which was placed upon the helmet of the victorious Knight, and as such it is symbolic of the ultimate reward of all members of Phi Delta Phi who strive daily to promote the cause of Phi Delta Phi International.

The Human Forearm
The representation of the arm of Justice.

Shown in natural color values.

Three Mullets
The Three Mullets or five pointed stars indicate the three important historical dates to Phi Delta Phi, 1551, 1776, and 1779, the birth dates of the three great legal scholars, Coke, Chitty, and Story.

The Ornamental Work and Balances form a scale of Justice indicating the reverence for Justice and emphasizing the common interest in law and its administration.

The war cry or motto was usually placed on a scroll at the bottom of the coat-of-arms and so the Phi Delta Phi name "Friends of Justice and Wisdom" is displayed.