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William Allen Seymour

Registration number 20080913B

This certifies that the heraldic arms of William Allen Seymour are registered as an original design and described by the blazon below

Arms: Per pale, 1st Argent, a decrescent Azure; 2nd Azure, a decrescent accompanied at the horns with two crosses humetty in fess Or; a chief Sable, semé of billets and quadrates Argent, representing a stylised image of a computer keyboard.
Crest: On a Wreath Argent and Azure, issuant out of flames proper, a phœnix Sable feathered Argent.
Motto Above: Ave, Mundus
Motto Below: Computo Ergo Sum

Biographical information

C and C++ programmer with the U. S. Postal service. Currently serving on ANSI and ISO standards committees for the C and C++ programming languages.

Design rationale

"C” and “C++” are computer programming languages. Unfortunately, it’s Really Bad Form to put text on a shield since it can’t be read easily in the heat of battle. Luckily, the crescent moon is a recognized heraldic device; and with the horns pointing to sinister, it suggests the letter C. Also, a cross is an honourable ordinary; and drawn humetty, it looks just like a plus sign.

Azure charging Argent is intended to suggest the blue-on-white “C” on the cover of Kernighan & Ritchie’s The C Programming Language. It’s hoped that Or charging Azure suggests the yellow-green on mostly blue cover of Stroustrup’s The C++ Programming Language, although that might be a bit of a stretch.

I’m a wires-and-pliers guy by training and early vocation; but about thirty years ago, I discovered that I was pretty good at coding; so I began a new life as a programmer. That’s the phœnix; but you probably already guessed that. It’s explicitly blazoned “Sable feathered Argent” to make it possible for the emblazon to pay homage to the O’Reilly animal books, some of which have also been a source of information for me.

The motto above the crest is an allusion to the first sample program in K&R which writes “Hello, World” on the user’s terminal. This has become iconic for one’s first program.

The primary motto is taken from Descartes’ famous line. Luckily, “computo” is a real Latin verb that has approximately the meaning that a native English speaker would expect. I actually prefer “codeo ergo sum” after the recent English verb, to code (to write a computer program); but it has been suggested that, because it might seem that I’m trying to make a verb out of “codex”, someone looking only at the Latin might think that I’m a blockhead.

Registered by



Personal, Original, US, S

Roll of Arms