In heraldry, gules (/ˈɡjuːlz/) is the tincture with the colour red. It is one of the class of five dark tinctures called "colours", the others being azure (blue), sable (black), vert (green) and purpure (purple).

In engraving, it is sometimes depicted by hatching of vertical lines. In "trick" or "tricking" (abbreviations written in areas to indicate their tinctures) it is marked with gu..

Non-heraldic equivalentRed
Monochromatic designations
Hatching pattern 
Tricking abbr.g., Gu.
Poetic designations
Heavenly bodyMars


The term gules derives from the Old French word goules, literally "throats" (related to the English gullet; modern French gueules), but also used to refer to a fur neckpiece, usually made of red fur.[1]

For many decades, heraldic authors have believed that the term may have arisen from the Persian word گل (gol, "rose") (coming to Europe via Muslim Spain or brought back by returning Crusaders), but according to Brault,[2] there is no evidence to support this derivation.


Maurice of Nassau arms
Different uses of the tincture gules shown in the quartered coat of arms of Nassau-Dillenburg (attributed to Otto II of Nassau, d. 1351):
 1. The lion of Nassau, Azure billetty or, a lion rampant of the last armed and langued gules;
 2. County of Katzenelnbogen, Or a lion rampant guardant gules, armed langued and crowned azure;
 3. County of Vianden, Gules, a fess argent;
 4. County of Dietz, Gules, two lions passants or armed and langued azure

Gules is the most widely used heraldic tincture. Through the sixteenth century, nearly half of all noble coats of arms in Poland had a field gules with one or more argent charges on them. Examples of coats of arms consisting of purely a red shield (blazoned gules plain) include those of: the d'Albret family, the Rossi family, the Swiss canton of Schwyz (prior to 1815), and the old coats of arms of the cities of Nîmes and Montpellier.

Henry III, King of England, coat of arms (Royal MS 14 C VII, 100r)

The Plantagenet coat of arms, gules three lions passants guardants or (Historia Anglorum c. 1250), origin of the Royal Arms of England

Schweiz Schloss Chillon Wandwappen

Coat of arms of the House of Savoy (Chillon Castle, c. 1500), gules a cross argent

Fl- 14v Livro do Armeiro-Mor, Rei da Escocia

The Royal Arms of Scotland (Livro de Armerio-Mor, c. 1509), Or a lion rampant Gules within a double tressure flory-counter-flory of the second

WAF im Landesmuseum Zürich 26

Coat of arms of Schwyz (stained glass, 1573), gules plain; the Juliusbanner with the Arma Christi inset is held by one of the supporters.

Villingen, Franziskanermuseum, Wappenscheibe mit dem österr. Bindenschild, 1567, Inv. 11858

The Austrian Bindenschild, gules a fess argent, originally the Babenberg coat of arms; below the Bindenschild is a small coat of arms of the city of Vienna, gules a cross argent (stained glass, 1567)

Wolleber Chorographia Mh6-1 0567 Wappen

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Poland (Chorographia Württemberg, 1591, attributed to Casimir III the Great), Gules, an eagle argent, crowned or

See also


  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "gules". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Brault, Gerard J. (1997). Early Blazon: Heraldic Terminology in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, (2nd ed.). Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-711-4.

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