Mainelli – Coat of Arms Description
The Escutcheon’s two five-lobed cinquefoils signify the Italian family name ‘main’ (hand) ‘elli’, as ‘nimble-fingered’. Cinquefoils are ‘celtic’ or ‘pretzel’ knots, indicating Michael’s Irish and German ancestors, and German wife, Elisabeth. The resulting ‘star’ reflects the USA and Gresham College. Five tao symbols with plus & nought yin & yang symbolize philosophy and computation.
The central analemma traces the ‘equation of time’ used to determine the position of the sun, representing Michael’s digital cartography successes. Rendered as a mobius strip approximating a lemniscate, the analemma’s cyclic infinity mirrors Michael’s Long Finance movement (it also forms a lucky ‘ba’). Three arrows represent work in science & defence, stochastics & statistics, and accountancy & finance; his three children; and three lifelong themes of ‘tempus fugit’ (time flies, ‘like an arrow’), ‘sumus unus’ (we are one), and ‘carpe diem’ (seize the day).
The Crest features a ‘puffin on pipes’ standing on a ‘chancing the impossible’ loaded wooden die (think how one can see a five and a two on the die) balancing a World Traders’ money bag sealed with a love knot. The Irish pipebag sports a compass rose doubling as a ship’s wheel for his wife’s wheelwright family. As well as sailing and woodcarving, the family loves air, land, and sea travel, particularly in northern climes; the puffin does all three.
The Badge comprises a feather for writing, the analemma and mobius strip for eternity and time, and the statistical sigma for variance.
Red, black, and white colours reflect numerous institutions in his life such as Harvard, the London School of Economics & Political Science, Z/Yen, the City of London, and Thames barges, as well as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where his father and grandfather studied engineering. The green pipebag is self-explanatory, and blue/purple his favourite colour.
The motto is Ordo ex χάος, ‘order from chaos’, stressing his interest in the scientific method, eliciting knowledge from uncertainty, and discerning beauty in chaotic structures, while subversively suggesting emergent Latin order from Greek creativity.