Heraldry
Overview
 
Heraldry is the profession
Profession
A profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain....

, study
Study
Study or studies may refer to:* Research* Study , a drawing or series of drawings done in preparation for a finished piece* Study , a room in a home used as an office or library* Observational study* Education...

, or art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 of creating, granting, and blazoning
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

 arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms
Officer of arms
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:*to control and initiate armorial matters*to arrange and participate in ceremonies of state...

. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman
Anglo-Norman language
Anglo-Norman is the name traditionally given to the kind of Old Norman used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period....

 herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander". The word, in its most general sense, encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms
Officer of arms
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:*to control and initiate armorial matters*to arrange and participate in ceremonies of state...

. To most, though, heraldry is the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 and heraldic badge
Heraldic badge
A heraldic badge is an emblem or personal device worn as a badge to indicate allegiance to or the property of an individual or family. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance...

s.

Historically, it has been variously described as "the shorthand of history" and "the floral border in the garden of history." The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmet
Helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

s.
Encyclopedia
Heraldry is the profession
Profession
A profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain....

, study
Study
Study or studies may refer to:* Research* Study , a drawing or series of drawings done in preparation for a finished piece* Study , a room in a home used as an office or library* Observational study* Education...

, or art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 of creating, granting, and blazoning
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

 arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms
Officer of arms
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:*to control and initiate armorial matters*to arrange and participate in ceremonies of state...

. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman
Anglo-Norman language
Anglo-Norman is the name traditionally given to the kind of Old Norman used in England and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period....

 herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander". The word, in its most general sense, encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms
Officer of arms
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:*to control and initiate armorial matters*to arrange and participate in ceremonies of state...

. To most, though, heraldry is the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 and heraldic badge
Heraldic badge
A heraldic badge is an emblem or personal device worn as a badge to indicate allegiance to or the property of an individual or family. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance...

s.

Historically, it has been variously described as "the shorthand of history" and "the floral border in the garden of history." The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmet
Helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

s. Eventually a formal system of rules developed into ever more complex forms of heraldry.

Blazon

To "blazon" arms means to describe them using the formal language of heraldry. This language has its own vocabulary and syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

, or rules governing word order, which becomes essential for comprehension when blasoning a complex coat of arms. The verb comes from the Middle English "blasoun," itself a derivative of the French "blason" meaning "shield." The system of blazon
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

ing arms used in English-speaking
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 countries today was developed by heraldic officers in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. The blazon includes a description of the armourials contained within the escutcheon or shield, the crest
Crest (heraldry)
A crest is a component of an heraldic display, so called because it stands on top of a helmet, as the crest of a jay stands on the bird's head....

, supporters where present, motto
Motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 and other insignia. Complex rules apply to the physical and artistic form of new creations of arms, such as the Rule of tincture
Rule of tincture
The first rule of heraldic design is the rule of tincture: metal should not be put on metal, nor colour on colour . This means that Or and argent may not be placed on each other; nor may any of the colours be placed on another colour...

. A thorough understanding of these rules is a key to the art of heraldry. In Europe originally the rules and terminology were broadly similar from kingdom to kingdom, but several national styles had developed by the end of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. Most aspects, however, remain in common.

Though heraldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still very much in use. Many cities and towns in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and around the world still make use of arms. Personal heraldry, both legally protected and lawfully assumed, has continued to be used around the world. Heraldic societies exist to promote education and understanding about the subject.

Predecessors

There are various conjectures as to the origins of heraldic arms. As early as predynastic Egypt
Predynastic Egypt
The Prehistory of Egypt spans the period of earliest human settlement to the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt in ca. 3100 BC, starting with King Menes/Narmer....

, an emblem known as a serekh
Serekh
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a serekh is a rectangular enclosure representing the niched or gated façade of a palace surmounted by the Horus falcon, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name...

was used to indicate the extent of influence of a particular regime, sometimes carved on ivory labels attached to trade goods, but also used to identify military allegiances and in a variety of other ways. It led to the development of the earliest hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were a formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logographic and alphabetic elements. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus and wood...

. This practice seems to have grown out of the use of animal mascots, whose pelts or bodies were literally affixed to staves or standards, as depicted on the earliest cosmetic palette
Cosmetic palette
The cosmetic palettes of middle to late predynastic Egypt are archaeological artifacts, originally used to grind and apply ingredients for facial or body cosmetics. The decorative palettes of the late 4th millennium BCE appear to have lost this function and became commemorative, ornamental, and...

s of the period. Some of the oldest serekhs consist of a striped or cross-hatched box, representing a palace or city, with a crane
Crane (bird)
Cranes are a family, Gruidae, of large, long-legged and long-necked birds in the order Gruiformes. There are fifteen species of crane in four genera. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back...

, scorpion
Scorpion
Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping claws and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger...

, or other animal drawn standing on top. Before long, a falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

 representing Horus
Horus
Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in the Ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists...

 became the norm as the animal on top, with the individual Pharaoh's symbol usually appearing in the box beneath the falcon, and above the stripes representing the palace.

The antiquity of standards and symbols may be illustrated by the Book of Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

:
Army units of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 were identified by the distinctive markings on their shields. These were not heraldic in the medieval and modern sense, as they were associated with units, not individuals or families.



Origins in the High Middle Ages

At the time of the Norman conquest of England
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

, heraldry in its essential sense of an inheritable emblem had not yet been developed. The knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

s in the Bayeux Tapestry
Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth—not an actual tapestry—nearly long, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings...

 carry shields, but there appears to have been no system of hereditary
Inheritance
Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, rights and obligations upon the death of an individual. It has long played an important role in human societies...

 coats of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

. The seeds of heraldic structure in personal identification can be detected in the account in a contemporary chronicle of Henry I of England
Henry I of England
Henry I was the fourth son of William I of England. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106...

, on the occasion of his knighting his son-in-law Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
Geoffrey V , called the Handsome and Plantagenet, was the Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine by inheritance from 1129 and then Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144...

, in 1127. He placed to hang around his neck a shield painted with golden lions. The funerary enamel of Geoffrey (died 1151), dressed in blue and gold and bearing his blue
Azure
In heraldry, azure is the tincture with the colour blue, and belongs to the class of tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of horizontal lines or else marked with either az. or b. as an abbreviation....

 shield emblazoned with gold
Or (heraldry)
In heraldry, Or is the tincture of gold and, together with argent , belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals". In engravings and line drawings, it may be represented using a field of evenly spaced dots...

 lions, is the first recorded depiction of a coat of arms.

By the middle of the 12th century, coats of arms were being inherited by the children of armiger
Armiger
In heraldry, an armiger is a person entitled to use a coat of arms. Such a person is said to be armigerous.-Etymology:The Latin word armiger literally means "armour-bearer". In high and late medieval England, the word referred to an esquire attendant upon a knight, but bearing his own unique...

s (persons entitled to use a coat of arms) across Europe. Between 1135 and 1155, seals representing the generalized figure of the owner attest to the general adoption of heraldic devices in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. By the end of the century, heraldry appears as the sole device on seals. In England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, the practice of using marks of cadency
Cadency
In heraldry, cadency is any systematic way of distinguishing similar coats of arms belonging to members of the same family. Cadency is necessary in heraldic systems in which a given design may be owned by only one person at once...

 arose to distinguish one son from another; it was institutionalized and standardized by John Writhe
John Writhe
John Writhe was a long-serving English officer of arms. He was probably the son of William Writhe, who represented the borough of Cricklade in the Parliament of 1450–51, and is most remembered for being the first Garter King of Arms to preside over the College of Arms...

 in the early 15th century.



Development of classical heraldry

In the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, heraldry became a highly developed discipline, regulated by professional officers of arms. As its use in jousting
Jousting
Jousting is a martial game or hastilude between two knights mounted on horses and using lances, often as part of a tournament.Jousting emerged in the High Middle Ages based on the military use of the lance by heavy cavalry. The first camels tournament was staged in 1066, but jousting itself did not...

 became obsolete, coats of arms remained popular for visually identifying a person in other ways — impressed in sealing wax
Seal (device)
A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

 on documents, carved on family tombs, and flown as a banner on country homes. The first work of heraldic jurisprudence
Law of Arms
The law of heraldic arms governs the "bearing of arms", that is, the possession, use or display of arms, also called coats of arms, coat armour or armorial bearings. Although it is believed that the original function of coats of arms was to enable knights to identify each other on the battlefield,...

, De Insigniis et Armis, was written in the 1350s by Bartolus de Saxoferrato
Bartolus de Saxoferrato
Bartolus de Saxoferrato was an Italian law professor and one of the most prominent continental jurists of Medieval Roman Law. He belonged to the school known as the commentators or postglossators...

, a professor of law at the University of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

.

From the beginning of heraldry, coats of arms have been executed in a wide variety of media, including on paper, painted wood, embroidery
Embroidery
Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins....

, enamel
Vitreous enamel
Vitreous enamel, also porcelain enamel in U.S. English, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C...

, stonework and stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

. For the purpose of quick identification in all of these, heraldry distinguishes only seven basic colors
Tincture (heraldry)
In heraldry, tinctures are the colours used to emblazon a coat of arms. These can be divided into several categories including light tinctures called metals, dark tinctures called colours, nonstandard colours called stains, furs, and "proper". A charge tinctured proper is coloured as it would be...

 and makes no fine distinctions in the precise size or placement of charges
Charge (heraldry)
In heraldry, a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon . This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object or other device...

 on the field
Field (heraldry)
In heraldry, the background of the shield is called the field. The field is usually composed of one or more tinctures or furs. The field may be divided or may consist of a variegated pattern....

. Coats of arms and their accessories are described in a concise jargon
Jargon
Jargon is terminology which is especially defined in relationship to a specific activity, profession, group, or event. The philosophe Condillac observed in 1782 that "Every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas." As a rationalist member of the Enlightenment he...

 called blazon
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

. This technical description of a coat of arms is the standard that is adhered to no matter what artistic interpretations may be made in a particular depiction of the arms.

The specific meaning of each element of a coat of arms is subjective. Though the original armiger may have placed particular meaning on a charge, these meanings are not necessarily retained from generation to generation. Unless canting arms
Canting arms
Canting arms are heraldic bearings that represent the bearer's name in a visual pun or rebus. The term cant came into the English language from Anglo-Norman cant, meaning song or singing, from Latin cantāre, and English cognates include canticle, chant, accent, incantation and recant.Canting arms –...

 incorporate an obvious pun on the bearer's name, it may be difficult to find meaning in them.

As changes in military technology and tactics made plate armour
Plate armour
Plate armour is a historical type of personal armour made from iron or steel plates.While there are early predecessors such the Roman-era lorica segmentata, full plate armour developed in Europe during the Late Middle Ages, especially in the context of the Hundred Years' War, from the coat of...

 obsolete, heraldry became detached from its original function. This brought about the development of "paper heraldry" under the Tudors. Designs and shields became more elaborate at the expense of clarity.

Early modern and modern history

In Scottish heraldry
Scottish heraldry
Heraldry in Scotland, while broadly similar to that practised in England and elsewhere in western Europe, has its own distinctive features. Its heraldic executive is separate from that of the rest of the United Kingdom.-Executive:...

, the Lord Lyon King of Arms
Lord Lyon King of Arms
The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility for regulating heraldry in that country, issuing new grants of arms, and serving as the judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon, the oldest...

 in the Act of 1672 is empowered to grant arms to "vertuous [virtuous] and well deserving persons."

During the 19th century, especially in Germany, many coats of arms were designed to depict a natural landscape, including several charge
Charge (heraldry)
In heraldry, a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon . This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object or other device...

s tinctured
Tincture (heraldry)
In heraldry, tinctures are the colours used to emblazon a coat of arms. These can be divided into several categories including light tinctures called metals, dark tinctures called colours, nonstandard colours called stains, furs, and "proper". A charge tinctured proper is coloured as it would be...

 "proper" (i.e. the way they appear in nature). This form has been termed "Landscape heraldry". The 20th century's taste for stark iconic emblems made the simple styles of early heraldry fashionable again.

Shield and lozenge

The focus of modern heraldry is the armorial achievement, or the coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

, the central element of which is the escutcheon or shield. In general, the shape of the shield employed in a coat of arms is irrelevant, because the fashion for the shield-shapes employed in heraldic art has changed through the centuries. Sometimes a blazon specifies a particular shape of shield. These specifications mostly occur in non-European contexts—such as the coat of arms of Nunavut
Coat of arms of Nunavut
The coat of arms of the territory of Nunavut was granted by a warrant of Roméo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada, dated 31 March 1999, one day before the territory of Nunavut, Canada was created. The same document specified the flag of Nunavut.- Overview :...

 and the former Republic of Bophuthatswana
Bophuthatswana
Bophuthatswana , officially the Republic of Bophuthatswana was a Bantustan – an area set aside for members of a specific ethnicity – and nominal parliamentary democracy in the northwestern region of South Africa...

, with the arms of North Dakota
Coat of arms of North Dakota
The coat of arms of North Dakota is probably the most obscure symbol of North Dakota. Though nominally created for use by the state government and National Guard units, the arms have seen little use since their creation in 1957...

 (as distinguished from its seal) providing an even more unusual example, while the State of Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 specifies a "rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

" shield—but not completely, as the Scottish Public Register records an escutcheon of oval form for the Lanarkshire Master Plumbers' and Domestic Engineers' (Employers') Association, and a shield of square form for the Anglo Leasing organisation.

Women and coats of arms

Traditionally, as women did not go to war, they did not bear a shield. Instead, women's coats of arms were shown on a lozenge
Lozenge (heraldry)
The lozenge in heraldry is a diamond-shaped charge , usually somewhat narrower than it is tall. It is to be distinguished in modern heraldry from the fusil, which is like the lozenge but narrower, though the distinction has not always been as fine and is not always observed even today...

—a rhombus
Rhombus
In Euclidean geometry, a rhombus or rhomb is a convex quadrilateral whose four sides all have the same length. The rhombus is often called a diamond, after the diamonds suit in playing cards, or a lozenge, though the latter sometimes refers specifically to a rhombus with a 45° angle.Every...

 standing on one of its acute corners, an oval or a cartouche. This remains true in much of the world, though some heraldic authorities, such as Scotland's, with its ovals for women's arms, make exceptions. In Canada, the restriction against women's bearing arms on a shield was eliminated. In Scotland and Ireland, women may, under certain circumstances, be permitted to display their arms on a shield. Non-combatant clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 also have used the lozenge and the cartouche
Cartouche
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an ellipse with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, replacing the earlier serekh...

 – an oval
Oval
An oval is any curve resembling an egg or an ellipse, such as a Cassini oval. The term does not have a precise mathematical definition except in one area oval , but it may also refer to:* A sporting arena of oval shape** a cricket field...

 – for their display.

Tinctures

Tinctures are the colors, metals, and furs used in heraldry, though the depiction of charges in their natural colors or "proper" are also regarded as tinctures, the latter distinct from any color that such a depiction might approximate. Heraldry is essentially a system of identification, so the most important convention of heraldry is the rule of tincture
Rule of tincture
The first rule of heraldic design is the rule of tincture: metal should not be put on metal, nor colour on colour . This means that Or and argent may not be placed on each other; nor may any of the colours be placed on another colour...

. To provide for contrast and visibility, metals (generally lighter tinctures) must never be placed on metals, and colors (generally darker tinctures) must never be placed on colors. Where a charge
Charge (heraldry)
In heraldry, a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon . This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object or other device...

 overlies a partition of the field, the rule does not apply. There are other exceptions - the most famous being the arms of the kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

, consisting of gold crosses on white.

The names used in English blazon for the colors and metals come mainly from French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and include Or
Or (heraldry)
In heraldry, Or is the tincture of gold and, together with argent , belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals". In engravings and line drawings, it may be represented using a field of evenly spaced dots...

(gold), argent
Argent
In heraldry, argent is the tincture of silver, and belongs to the class of light tinctures, called "metals". It is very frequently depicted as white and usually considered interchangeable with it...

(white), azure
Azure
In heraldry, azure is the tincture with the colour blue, and belongs to the class of tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of horizontal lines or else marked with either az. or b. as an abbreviation....

(blue), gules
Gules
In heraldry, gules is the tincture with the colour red, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of vertical lines or else marked with gu. as an abbreviation....

(red), sable
Sable (heraldry)
In heraldry, sable is the tincture black, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures, called "colours". In engravings and line drawings, it is sometimes depicted as a region of crossed horizontal and vertical lines or else marked with sa. as an abbreviation.The name derives from the black fur of...

(black), vert
Vert
The colour green is commonly found in modern flags and coat of arms, and to a lesser extent also in the classical heraldry of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period....

(green), and purpure
Purpure
In heraldry, purpure is a tincture, more or less the equivalent of the colour "purple", and is one of the five main or most usually used colours...

(purple). A number of other colors (such as bleu-celeste, sanguine, tenné and murrey) are occasionally found, typically for special purposes.

Certain patterns called furs can appear in a coat of arms, though they are (rather arbitrarily) defined as tinctures, not patterns. The two common furs are ermine
Ermine (heraldry)
Ermine is a heraldic fur representing the winter coat of the stoat . Many skins would be sewn together to make a luxurious garment, producing a pattern of small black spots on a white field...

and vair
Vair
Vair is the heraldic representation of patches of squirrel fur in an alternating pattern of blue and white. As a tincture, vair is considered a fur and is therefore exempted from the Rule of tincture . Variations of vair are laid out in different patterns, each with their own name...

. Ermine represents the winter coat of the stoat
Ermine
Ermine has several uses:* A common name for the stoat * The white fur and black tail end of this animal, which is historically worn by and associated with royalty and high officials...

, which is white with a black tail. Vair represents a kind of squirrel with a blue-gray back and white belly. Sewn together, it forms a pattern of alternating blue and white shapes.

Heraldic charges can be displayed in their natural colors. Many natural items such as plants and animals are described as proper in this case. Proper charges are very frequent as crests and supporters. Overuse of the tincture "proper" is viewed as decadent or bad practice.

Variations of the field

The field
Field (heraldry)
In heraldry, the background of the shield is called the field. The field is usually composed of one or more tinctures or furs. The field may be divided or may consist of a variegated pattern....

 of a shield, or less often a charge or crest, is sometimes made up of a pattern of colors, or variation. A pattern of horizontal (barwise) stripes, for example, is called barry, while a pattern of vertical (palewise) stripes is called paly. A pattern of diagonal stripes may be called bendy or bendy sinister, depending on the direction of the stripes. Other variations include chevrony, gyronny and chequy. For further variations, these are sometimes combined to produce patterns of barry-bendy, paly-bendy, lozengy and fusilly. Semés, or patterns of repeated charges, are also considered variations of the field. The Rule of tincture
Rule of tincture
The first rule of heraldic design is the rule of tincture: metal should not be put on metal, nor colour on colour . This means that Or and argent may not be placed on each other; nor may any of the colours be placed on another colour...

 applies to all semés and variations of the field.

Divisions of the field

The field
Field (heraldry)
In heraldry, the background of the shield is called the field. The field is usually composed of one or more tinctures or furs. The field may be divided or may consist of a variegated pattern....

 of a shield
Shield
A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer....

 in heraldry can be divided into more than one tincture
Tincture (heraldry)
In heraldry, tinctures are the colours used to emblazon a coat of arms. These can be divided into several categories including light tinctures called metals, dark tinctures called colours, nonstandard colours called stains, furs, and "proper". A charge tinctured proper is coloured as it would be...

, as can the various heraldic charges
Charge (heraldry)
In heraldry, a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon . This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object or other device...

. Many coats of arms consist simply of a division of the field into two contrasting tinctures. These are considered divisions of a shield, so the rule of tincture can be ignored. For example, a shield divided azure and gules would be perfectly acceptable. A line of partition may be straight or it may be varied. The variations of partition lines can be wavy, indented, embattled, engrailed, nebuly
Nebuly
In heraldry and architecture, a line which is drawn nebuly is made up of a series of bulbous protrusions, which are supposed to resemble clouds ....

, or made into myriad other forms; see Line (heraldry)
Line (heraldry)
The lines of partition used to divide and vary fields and charges in heraldry are by default straight, but may have many different shapes. Care must sometimes be taken to distinguish these types of lines from the extremely unusual and non-traditional use of lines as charges, and to distinguish...

.

Ordinaries

In the early days of heraldry, very simple bold rectilinear shapes were painted on shields. These could be easily recognized at a long distance and could be easily remembered. They therefore served the main purpose of heraldry—identification. As more complicated shields came into use, these bold shapes were set apart in a separate class as the "honorable ordinaries". They act as charges and are always written first in blazon
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

. Unless otherwise specified they extend to the edges of the field. Though ordinaries are not easily defined, they are generally described as including the cross
Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

, the fess
Fess
In heraldry, a fess or fesse is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the centre of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by a fess or other ordinary, ranging from one-fifth to one-third...

, the pale
Pale (heraldry)
A pale is a term used in heraldic blazon and vexillology to describe a charge on a coat of arms , that takes the form of a band running vertically down the center of the shield. Writers broadly agree that the width of the pale ranges from about one-fifth to about one-third of the width of the...

, the bend
Bend (heraldry)
In heraldry, a bend is a coloured band running from the upper right corner of the shield to the lower left . Writers differ in how much of the field they say it covers, ranging from one-fifth up to one-third...

, the chevron, the saltire
Saltire
A saltire, or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross or letter ex . Saint Andrew is said to have been martyred on such a cross....

, and the pall
Pall (heraldry)
A pall is a Y-shaped heraldic charge. An example of a pall placed horizontally is the green portion of the Flag of South Africa....

.

There is a separate class of charges called sub-ordinaries which are of a geometrical shape subordinate to the ordinary. According to Friar, they are distinguished by their order in blazon. The sub-ordinaries include the inescutcheon, the orle, the tressure, the double tressure, the bordure
Bordure
In heraldry, a bordure is a band of contrasting tincture forming a border around the edge of a shield, traditionally one-sixth as wide as the shield itself...

, the chief
Chief (heraldry)
In heraldic blazon, a chief is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the top edge of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by the chief, ranging from one-fourth to one-third. The former is more likely if the...

, the canton
Canton (heraldry)
Canton is a square charge placed in the upper dexter corner. It is classed by some heraldic writers as one of the honorable ordinaries; but, strictly speaking, it is a diminutive of the Quarter, being two-thirds the area of that ordinary. However, in the roll of Henry III the quarter appears in...

, the label
Label (heraldry)
In heraldry, a label is a charge resembling the strap crossing the horse’s chest from which pendants are hung. It is usually a mark of difference, but has sometimes been borne simply as a charge in its own right....

, and flaunch
Flaunch
In heraldry, flaunches or flanches or flanks are among the ordinaries or subordinaries, consisting of two arcs of circles protruding into the field from the sides of the shield. The flaunch is never borne singly....

es.

Ordinaries may appear in parallel series, in which case blazons in English give them different names such as pallets, bars, bendlets, and chevronels. French blazon makes no such distinction between these diminutives and the ordinaries when borne singly. Unless otherwise specified an ordinary is drawn with straight lines, but each may be indented, embattled, wavy, engrailed, or otherwise have their lines varied.

Charges

A charge is any object or figure placed on a heraldic shield or on any other object of an armorial composition. Any object found in nature or technology may appear as a heraldic charge in armory. Charges can be animals, objects, or geometric shapes. Apart from the ordinaries, the most frequent charges are the cross
Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

—with its hundreds of variations—and the lion
Lion (heraldry)
The lion is a common charge in heraldry. It traditionally symbolises bravery, valour, strength, and royalty, since traditionally, it is regarded as the king of beasts.-Attitudes:...

 and eagle
Eagle (heraldry)
The eagle is used in heraldry as a charge, as a supporter, and as a crest. Parts of the eagle's body such as its head, wings or leg are also used as a charge or crest....

. Other common animals are stags
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, Wild Boars, martlet
Martlet
A martlet is a heraldic charge depicting a stylized bird with short tufts of feathers in the place of legs...

s, and fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

. Dragons
European dragon
European dragons are legendary creatures in folklore and mythology among the overlapping cultures of Europe.In European folklore, a dragon is a serpentine legendary creature. The Latin word draco, as in constellation Draco, comes directly from Greek δράκων,...

, bats, unicorn
Unicorn
The unicorn is a legendary animal from European folklore that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard...

s, griffin
Griffin
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle...

s, and more exotic monsters appear as charges and as supporters
Supporters
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects...

.

Animals are found in various stereotyped positions or attitudes
Attitude (heraldry)
In heraldry, an attitude is the position in which an animal, fictional beast, mythical creature, human or human-like being is emblazoned as a charge, supporter or crest. Many attitudes apply only to predatory beasts and are exemplified by the beast most frequently found in heraldry — the lion. ...

. Quadruped
Quadruped
Quadrupedalism is a form of land animal locomotion using four limbs or legs. An animal or machine that usually moves in a quadrupedal manner is known as a quadruped, meaning "four feet"...

s can often be found rampant—standing on the left hind foot. Another frequent position is passant, or walking, like the lions of the coat of arms of England
Coat of arms of England
In heraldry, the Royal Arms of England is a coat of arms symbolising England and its monarchs. Its blazon is Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure, meaning three identical gold lions with blue tongues and claws, walking and facing the observer, arranged in a column...

. Eagles are almost always shown with their wings spread, or displayed.

In English heraldry
English heraldry
English heraldry is the form of coats of arms and other heraldic bearings and insignia used in England. It lies within the Gallo-British tradition. Coats of arms in England are regulated and granted to individuals by the College of Arms. They are subject to a system of cadency to distinguish...

 the crescent
Crescent
In art and symbolism, a crescent is generally the shape produced when a circular disk has a segment of another circle removed from its edge, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs of different diameters which intersect at two points .In astronomy, a crescent...

, mullet
Mullet (heraldry)
In heraldry, the term star may refer to any star-shaped charge with any number of rays, which may appear straight or wavy, and may or may not be pierced...

, martlet
Martlet
A martlet is a heraldic charge depicting a stylized bird with short tufts of feathers in the place of legs...

, annulet, fleur-de-lis
Fleur-de-lis
The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry...

, and rose
Rose (heraldry)
The rose is a common device in heraldry. It is often used both as a charge on a coat of arms and by itself as a heraldic badge. The heraldic rose has a stylized form consisting of five symmetrical lobes, five barbs, and a circular seed. The rose is one of the most common plant symbols in...

 may be added to a shield to distinguish cadet
Cadency
In heraldry, cadency is any systematic way of distinguishing similar coats of arms belonging to members of the same family. Cadency is necessary in heraldic systems in which a given design may be owned by only one person at once...

 branches of a family from the senior line. These cadency marks are usually shown smaller than normal charges, but it still does not follow that a shield containing such a charge belongs to a cadet branch. All of these charges occur frequently in basic undifferenced coats of arms.

Marshalling

To marshal two or more coats of arms is to combine them in one shield, to express inheritance, claims to property, or the occupation of an office. This can be done in a number of ways, of which the simplest is impalement
Impalement (heraldry)
In heraldry, impalement is the combination of two coats of arms side-by-side in one shield or escutcheon to denote union, most often that of a husband and wife, but also for ecclesiastical use...

: dividing the field
Division of the field
In heraldry, the field of a shield can be divided into more than one area of different tinctures, usually following the lines of one of the ordinaries and carrying its name...

 per pale and putting one whole coat in each half. Impalement replaced the earlier dimidiation
Dimidiation
In heraldry, dimidiation is a method of joining two coats of arms.For a time, dimidiation preceded the method known as impalement. Whereas impalement involves placing the whole of both coats of arms side by side in the same shield, dimidiation involves placing the dexter half of one coat of arms...

 – combining the dexter half of one coat with the sinister half of another – because dimidiation can create ambiguity between, for example, a bend
Bend (heraldry)
In heraldry, a bend is a coloured band running from the upper right corner of the shield to the lower left . Writers differ in how much of the field they say it covers, ranging from one-fifth up to one-third...

 and a chevron. "Dexter" (from Latin dextra, right) means to the right from the viewpoint of the bearer of the arms and "sinister" (from Latin sinistra, left) means to the left. The dexter side is considered the side of greatest honour
Honour
Honour or honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation...

 (see also Dexter and sinister
Dexter and sinister
Dexter and sinister are terms used in heraldry to refer to specific locations in an escutcheon bearing a coat of arms and by extension also to a crest. "Dexter" means to the right from the viewpoint of the bearer of the arms, to the left of that of the viewer...

).

A more versatile method is quartering
Quartering (heraldry)
Quartering in heraldry is a method of joining several different coats of arms together in one shield by dividing the shield into equal parts and placing different coats of arms in each division....

, division of the field by both vertical and horizontal lines. This practice originated in Spain after the 13th century. As the name implies, the usual number of divisions is four, but the principle has been extended to very large numbers of "quarters".

Quarters are numbered from the dexter chief (the corner nearest to the right shoulder of a man standing behind the shield), proceeding across the top row, and then across the next row and so on. When three coats are quartered, the first is repeated as the fourth; when only two coats are quartered, the second is also repeated as the third. The quarters of a personal coat of arms correspond to the ancestors from whom the bearer has inherited arms, normally in the same sequence as if the pedigree were laid out with the father's father's ... father (to as many generations as necessary) on the extreme left and the mother's mother's ... mother on the extreme right. A few lineages have accumulated hundreds of quarters, though such a number is usually displayed only in documentary contexts. The Scottish and Spanish traditions resist allowing more than four quarters, preferring to subdivide one or more "grand quarters" into sub-quarters as needed.

The third common mode of marshalling is with an inescutcheon, a small shield placed in front of the main shield. In Britain this is most often an "escutcheon of pretence" indicating, in the arms of a married couple, that the wife is an heraldic heiress (that is, she inherits a coat of arms because she has no brothers). In continental Europe an inescutcheon (sometimes called a "heart shield") usually carries the ancestral arms of a monarch or noble whose domains are represented by the quarters of the main shield.

In German heraldry
German heraldry
German heraldry refers to the cultural tradition and style of heraldic achievements in modern and historic Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, including national and civic arms, noble and burgher arms, ecclesiastical heraldry, heraldic displays and heraldic descriptions...

, animate charge
Charge (heraldry)
In heraldry, a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon . This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object or other device...

s in combined coats usually turn to face the centre of the composition.

Helm and crest

In English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 the word "crest" is commonly (but erroneously) used to refer to an entire heraldic achievement of armorial bearings. The technical use of the heraldic term crest
Crest (heraldry)
A crest is a component of an heraldic display, so called because it stands on top of a helmet, as the crest of a jay stands on the bird's head....

 refers to just one component of a complete achievement. The crest rests on top of a helmet
Helmet (heraldry)
In heraldic achievements, the helmet or helm is situated above the shield and bears the torse and crest. The style of helmet displayed varies according to rank and social status, and these styles developed over time, in step with the development of actual military helmets...

 which itself rests on the most important part of the achievement: the shield.

The modern crest has grown out of the three-dimensional figure placed on the top of the mounted knights' helms as a further means of identification. In most heraldic traditions, a woman does not display a crest, though this tradition is being relaxed in some heraldic jurisdictions, and the stall plate of Lady Marion Fraser in the Thistle Chapel in St Giles, Edinburgh, shows her coat on a lozenge but with helmet, crest, and motto.

The crest is usually found on a wreath
Torse
In heraldry, a torse or wreath is a twisted roll of fabric laid about the top of the helm and the base of the crest, from which the mantling hangs....

 of twisted cloth and sometimes within a coronet
Coronet
A coronet is a small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. Unlike a crown, a coronet never has arches.The word stems from the Old French coronete, a diminutive of coronne , itself from the Latin corona .Traditionally, such headgear is – as indicated by the German equivalent...

. Crest-coronets are generally simpler than coronets of rank, but several specialized forms exist; for example, in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, descendants of the United Empire Loyalists are entitled to use a Loyalist
Loyalist (American Revolution)
Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution...

 military coronet (for descendants of members of Loyalist regiments) or Loyalist civil coronet (for others).

When the helm and crest are shown, they are usually accompanied by a mantling
Mantling
In heraldry, mantling or lambrequin is drapery tied to the helmet above the shield. It forms a backdrop for the shield. In paper heraldry it is a depiction of the protective cloth covering worn by knights from their helmets to stave off the elements, and, secondarily, to decrease the effects of...

. This was originally a cloth worn over the back of the helmet as partial protection against heating by sunlight. Today it takes the form of a stylized cloak hanging from the helmet. Typically in British heraldry, the outer surface of the mantling is of the principal color in the shield and the inner surface is of the principal metal, though peers in the United Kingdom use standard colourings regardless of rank or the colourings of their arms. The mantling is sometimes conventionally depicted with a ragged edge, as if damaged in combat, though the edges of most are simply decorated at the emblazoner's discretion.

Clergy often refrain from displaying a helm or crest in their heraldic achievements
Ecclesiastical heraldry
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Catholic Church, where most bishops, including the Pope, have a...

. Members of the clergy may display appropriate headwear. This often takes the form of a small crowned, wide brimmed hat called a galero
Galero
A galero in the Catholic Church is a large, broad-brimmed tasseled hat worn by clergy. Over the centuries the galero was eventually limited in use to individual cardinals as a crown symbolizing the title of Prince of the Church...

 with the colors and tassels denoting rank; or, in the case of Papal arms
Papal coat of arms
For at least 800 years, each Pope has had his own personal coat of arms that serves as a symbol of his papacy. The first Pope whose arms are known with certainty is Pope Innocent IV . Earlier popes were only attributed arms in the 17th century....

 until the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 in 2005, an elaborate triple crown known as a tiara
Tiara
A tiara is a form of crown. There are two possible types of crown that this word can refer to.Traditionally, the word "tiara" refers to a high crown, often with the shape of a cylinder narrowed at its top, made of fabric or leather, and richly ornamented. It was used by the kings and emperors of...

. Benedict broke with tradition to substitute a mitre
Mitre
The mitre , also spelled miter, is a type of headwear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox...

 in his arms
Coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI
The coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI was designed by then Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo soon after the papal election. The coat of arms consists of a shield and external ornaments.-Shield:...

. Orthodox and Presbyterian clergy do sometimes adopt other forms of head gear to ensign their shields. In the Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 tradition, clergy members may pass crests on to their offspring, but rarely display them on their own shields.

Mottoes

An armorial motto
Motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 is a phrase or collection of words intended to describe the motivation or intention of the armigerous person or corporation. This can form a pun on the family name as in Thomas Nevile
Thomas Nevile
Thomas Nevile was an English clergyman and academic who was Dean of Peterborough and Dean of Canterbury , Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge , and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge ....

's motto "Ne vile velis." Mottoes are generally changed at will and do not make up an integral part of the armorial achievement. Mottoes can typically be found on a scroll under the shield. In Scottish heraldry
Scottish heraldry
Heraldry in Scotland, while broadly similar to that practised in England and elsewhere in western Europe, has its own distinctive features. Its heraldic executive is separate from that of the rest of the United Kingdom.-Executive:...

 where the motto is granted as part of the blazon
Blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

, it is usually shown on a scroll above the crest, and may not be changed at will. A motto may be in any language.

Supporters and other insignia

Supporters
Supporters
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects...

 are human or animal figures or, very rarely, inanimate objects, usually placed on either side of a coat of arms as though supporting it. In many traditions, these have acquired strict guidelines for use by certain social classes. On the European continent
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, there are often fewer restrictions on the use of supporters. In the United Kingdom, only peers of the realm
Peer of the Realm
Peer of the Realm is a term for a member of the highest social order in a kingdom, notably:...

, a few baronets, senior members of orders of knighthood, and some corporate bodies are granted supporters. Often, these can have local significance or a historical link to the armiger.

If the armiger has the title of baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

, hereditary knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

, or higher, he may display a coronet of rank above the shield. In the United Kingdom, this is shown between the shield and helmet, though it is often above the crest in Continental heraldry.

Another addition that can be made to a coat of arms is the insignia of a baronet or of an order of knighthood. This is usually represented by a collar or similar band surrounding the shield. When the arms of a knight and his wife are shown in one achievement, the insignia of knighthood surround the husband's arms only, and the wife's arms are customarily surrounded by a meaningless ornamental garland of leaves for visual balance.

Differencing and cadency

Since arms pass from parents to offspring, and there is frequently more than one child per couple, it is necessary to distinguish the arms of siblings and extended family members from the original arms as passed on from eldest son to eldest son. Over time several schemes have been used.

National styles

The emergence of heraldry occurred across western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 almost simultaneously in the various countries. Originally, heraldic style was very similar from country to country. Over time, heraldic tradition diverged into four broad styles: German-Nordic, Gallo-British, Latin, and Eastern. In addition it can be argued that newer national heraldic traditions, such as South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n and Canadian, have emerged in the 20th century.

German-Nordic heraldry


Coats of arms in Germany, the Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n countries, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Czech lands
Czech lands
Czech lands is an auxiliary term used mainly to describe the combination of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia. Today, those three historic provinces compose the Czech Republic. The Czech lands had been settled by the Celts , then later by various Germanic tribes until the beginning of 7th...

 and northern Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 generally change very little over time. Marks of difference are very rare in this tradition as are heraldic furs. One of the most striking characteristics of German-Nordic heraldry is the treatment of the crest. Often, the same design is repeated in the shield and the crest. The use of multiple crests is also common. The crest is rarely used separately as in British heraldry, but can sometimes serve as a mark of difference between different branches of a family. Torse
Torse
In heraldry, a torse or wreath is a twisted roll of fabric laid about the top of the helm and the base of the crest, from which the mantling hangs....

 is optional. Heraldic courtoisie is observed: that is, charges in a composite shield (or two shields displayed together) usually turn to face the centre.

Coats consisting only of a divided field
Division of the field
In heraldry, the field of a shield can be divided into more than one area of different tinctures, usually following the lines of one of the ordinaries and carrying its name...

 are somewhat more frequent in Germany than elsewhere.

Greek heraldry

Ancient Greeks were among the first civilizations to use symbols consistently in order to identify a warrior, clan or a state. The first record of a shield blazon is illustrated in Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

' tragedy Seven Against Thebes
Seven Against Thebes
The Seven against Thebes is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won...

. The Greek Heraldry Society is a useful source of information on Hellenic Heraldry and Byzantine etiquette.

Dutch heraldry

The Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 were great centres of heraldry in medieval times. One of the famous armorials is the Gelre Armorial
Gelre Armorial
The Gelre Armorial is an armorial composed between 1370 and 1414 in the Duchy of Guelders. The book displays some 1,700 coats-of-arms from all over Europe, in colour. Most historians claim that the book was written by the herald Claes Heinenszoon. It is now located at the Royal Library of Belgium....

 or Wapenboek, written between 1370 and 1414.
Coats of arms in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 were not controlled by an official heraldic system like the two in the United Kingdom, nor were they used solely by noble families
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. Any person could develop and use a coat of arms if they wished to do so, provided they did not usurp someone else's arms, and historically, this right was enshrined in Roman Dutch law
Roman Dutch law
Roman Dutch law is a legal system based on Roman law as applied in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th centuries. As such, it is a variety of the European continental civil law or ius commune...

. As a result, many merchant families had coats of arms even though they were not members of the nobility. These are sometimes referred to as burgher arms
Burgher arms
Burgher arms are coats of arms of commoners in heraldry of the European continent, and, by definition, the term is alien to British heraldry....

,
and it is thought that most arms of this type were adopted while the Netherlands was a republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 (1581–1806). This heraldic tradition was also exported to the erstwhile Dutch colonies
South African heraldry
South African heraldry reaches back for more than 350 years, inheriting European heraldic traditions. Arms are borne by individuals, official bodies, local authorities, military units, and by a wide variety of organisations...

.

Dutch heraldry is characterised by its simple and rather sober style, and in this sense, is closer to its medieval origins than the elaborate styles which developed in other heraldic traditions.

Gallo-British heraldry

The use of cadency marks to difference arms within the same family and the use of semy fields are distinctive features of Gallo-British heraldry (in Scotland the most significant mark of cadency being the bordure, the small brisures playing a very minor role). It is common to see heraldic furs used. In the United Kingdom, the style is notably still controlled by royal officers of arms. French heraldry experienced a period of strict rules of construction under the Emperor Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

. English and Scots heraldries make greater use of supporters than other European countries.

Furs, chevrons and five-pointed stars are more frequent in France and Britain than elsewhere.

Latin heraldry

The heraldry of southern France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy is characterized by a lack of crests, and uniquely shaped shields. Portuguese and Spanish heraldry occasionally introduce words to the shield of arms, a practice disallowed in British heraldry. Latin heraldry is known for extensive use of quartering, because of armorial inheritance via the male and the female lines. Moreover, Italian heraldry is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church, featuring many shields and achievements, most bearing some reference to the Church.

Trees are frequent charges in Latin arms. Charged bordures, including bordures inscribed with words, are seen often in Spain.

Central and Eastern European heraldry


Eastern European heraldry is in the traditions developed in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Eastern coats of arms are characterized by a pronounced, territorial, clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 system — often, entire villages or military groups were granted the same coat of arms irrespective of family relationships. In Poland, nearly six hundred unrelated families are known to bear the same Jastrzębiec coat of arms. Marks of cadency are almost unknown, and shields are generally very simple, with only one charge. Many heraldic shields derive from ancient house mark
House mark
A House mark is a graphical figure used as a mark of recognition, that consists of simple lines with no fixed colors. A house mark is similar in appearance to pictograms and many logos....

s. At the least, fifteen per cent of all Hungarian personal arms bear a severed Turk's head, referring to their wars against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

Modern heraldry

Heraldry flourishes in the modern world; institutions, companies, and private persons continue using coats of arms as their pictorial identification. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the English Kings of Arms
King of Arms
King of Arms is the senior rank of an officer of arms. In many heraldic traditions, only a king of arms has the authority to grant armorial bearings. In other traditions, the power has been delegated to other officers of similar rank.-Heraldic duties:...

, Scotland's Lord Lyon King of Arms
Lord Lyon King of Arms
The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility for regulating heraldry in that country, issuing new grants of arms, and serving as the judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon, the oldest...

, and the Chief Herald of Ireland
Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland
The Genealogical Office is an office of the Government of Ireland containing genealogical records. It includes the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland , the authority in the Republic of Ireland for heraldry. The Chief Herald authorises the granting of arms to Irish bodies and Irish people,...

 continue making grants of arms. There are heraldic authorities in Canada
Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada
The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada contains the heraldic emblems that have been granted, registered, approved or confirmed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority since its inception on June 4, 1988. In 2005, the Canadian Heraldic Authority began the process of creating a digital...

, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden that grant or register coats of arms. In South Africa
South African heraldry
South African heraldry reaches back for more than 350 years, inheriting European heraldic traditions. Arms are borne by individuals, official bodies, local authorities, military units, and by a wide variety of organisations...

, the right to armorial bearings is also determined by Roman Dutch law
Roman Dutch law
Roman Dutch law is a legal system based on Roman law as applied in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th centuries. As such, it is a variety of the European continental civil law or ius commune...

, inherited from the 17th century Netherlands.

Heraldic societies abound in Africa
Heraldry in Sub-Saharan Africa
Heraldry in Sub-Saharan Africa includes the study and creation of coats of arms, badges, and achievements for individuals, countries, and tribes in Sub-Saharan Africa.Three main types of arms are seen throughout Africa.* national coats of arms...

, Asia, Australasia, the Americas and Europe. Heraldry aficionados participate in the Society for Creative Anachronism
Society for Creative Anachronism
The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century...

, medieval revivals, micronation
Micronation
Micronations, sometimes also referred to as model countries and new country projects, are entities that claim to be independent nations or states but which are not recognized by world governments or major international organizations...

alism, et cetera. People see heraldry as a part of their national and personal heritages, and as a manifestation of civic and national pride. Today, heraldry is not a worldly expression of aristocracy, merely a form of identification.

Military heraldry
United States Army Institute of Heraldry
The United States Army Institute of Heraldry furnishes heraldic services to the Armed Forces and other United States government organizations, including the Executive Office of the President...

 continues developing, incorporating blazons unknown in the medieval world. Nations and their subdivisions — provinces, states, counties, cities, etc. — continue building upon the traditions of civic heraldry. The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, and other Churches maintain the tradition of ecclesiastical heraldry
Ecclesiastical heraldry
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Catholic Church, where most bishops, including the Pope, have a...

 for their high-rank prelates, religious orders, universities, and schools.

Writers on British Heraldry

The main historical authorities on heraldry include the following:
  • Dame Juliana Berners
    Juliana Berners
    Juliana Berners , English writer on heraldry, hawking and hunting, is said to have been prioress of Sopwell nunnery near St Albans...

     (14/15th.c.), author of The Book of Saint Albans
    The Book of Saint Albans
    The Book of Saint Albans or The Boke of Saint Albans was the last of 8 books printed by the St Albans Press in England in 1486.It contains three essays, on hawking, hunting, and heraldry...

    . Includes much fanciful invention.
  • Thomas Wriothesley
    Thomas Wriothesley
    Sir Thomas Wriothesley was a long serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the son of Garter King of Arms, John Writhe, and he succeeded his father in this office.-Personal life:...

     (d.1534), Garter King of Arms. Depicted many arms.
  • Gerard Legh
    Gerard Legh
    -Life:He was the son of Henry Legh, draper, of Fleet Street, London, by his first wife Isabel Cailis or Callis. He was educated by Robert Wroth of Durants in Enfield, Middlesex, and probably by Richard Goodrich. Though Anthony Wood places him in the Athenæ Oxonienses -Life:He was the son of Henry...

     (d.1563)
  • John Ferne
    John Ferne
    Sir John Ferne was a knight writer on heraldry, a genealogist, and an eminent common lawyer.-Life:John Ferne matriculated from St John's College, Cambridge in 1572, was said to have studied at Oxford, and was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1576...

     (d.1609)
  • John Guillim
    John Guillim
    John Guillim was an antiquarian and officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He is, perhaps, best remembered for his monumental work A Display of Heraldry which was first published in London in 1610....

     (d.1621), author of Display of Heraldry (1610)
  • John Gibbon, author of Introductio ad Latinam Blasoniam (1682)
  • Thomas Robson, author of The British Herald (1830). A complete listing of all known British armourials.
  • John Bernard Burke (1814–1892), author of Burke's Armorials (sic), (1884). This is an essential reference book which attempted to list every known British coat. Not always reliable.

See also

  • Attitude
    Attitude (heraldry)
    In heraldry, an attitude is the position in which an animal, fictional beast, mythical creature, human or human-like being is emblazoned as a charge, supporter or crest. Many attitudes apply only to predatory beasts and are exemplified by the beast most frequently found in heraldry — the lion. ...

    , for the poses of heraldic beasts
  • Heraldic authorities, a list of official authorities governing heraldry
  • Heraldic flag
    Heraldic flag
    In heraldry and vexillology, an heraldic flag is any of several types of flags, containing coats of arms, heraldic badges, or other devices, used for personal identification....

    , for banners, standards, pennon and so forth
  • Heraldic societies, an extended list including non-official heraldic authorities and societies
  • Law of Arms
    Law of Arms
    The law of heraldic arms governs the "bearing of arms", that is, the possession, use or display of arms, also called coats of arms, coat armour or armorial bearings. Although it is believed that the original function of coats of arms was to enable knights to identify each other on the battlefield,...

    , for laws and customs of heraldic practice
  • Mon, for the Japanese emblems likened to heraldry
  • Royal Supporters of England
    Royal Supporters of England
    In heraldry, the Royal Supporters of England are figures of living creatures appearing on each side of the Royal Arms of England. Originally, in England, supporters were regarded as little more than mere decorative and artistic appendages...

    , for supporters and badges
  • Vexillology
    Vexillology
    Vexillology is the scholarly study of flags. The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum, meaning 'flag', and the Greek suffix -logy, meaning 'study'. The vexillum was a particular type of flag used by Roman legions during the classical era; its name is a diminutive form of the word velum...

    , for the practice of flag design
  • Roll of Arms
    Roll of arms
    A roll of arms is a collection of coats of arms, usually consisting of rows of painted pictures of shields, each shield accompanied by the name of the person bearing the arms...

  • Byzantine heraldry
    Byzantine heraldry
    For most of its history, the Byzantine Empire did not know or use heraldry in the West European sense. Various emblems were used in official occasions and for military purposes, such as banners or shields displaying various motifs such as the cross or the labarum...

  • Socialist heraldry
    Socialist heraldry
    Socialist heraldry, also called communist heraldry, consists of emblems in a style typically adopted by communist states. Although commonly called coats of arms, most such devices are not actually coats of arms in the traditional heraldic sense...


Print

  • Boutell, Rev. Charles
    Charles Boutell
    The Rev. Charles Boutell was a Norfolk archaeologist, antiquary and clergyman, publishing books on brasses, arms and armour and heraldry, often illustrated by his own drawings....

    . Boutell's Heraldry. John Brooke-Little
    John Brooke-Little
    John Philip Rudolph Dominic Derek Aloysius Mary Brooke-Little, CVO, KStJ, FSA, FSG, FHS, FHG , FRHSC , FHSNZ, KM, GCGCO was an influential and popular British writer on heraldic subjects and a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London...

    , ed. London and New York: Frederick Warne, 1983.
  • Burke, Sir Bernard
    Bernard Burke
    Sir John Bernard Burke, CB was a British officer of arms and genealogist.-Personal life:He was born in London, and was educated in London and in France. His father, John Burke , was also a genealogist, and in 1826 issued a Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the...

    . The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; Comprising a Registry of Armorial Bearings from the Earliest to the Present Time. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967.
  • Dennys, Rodney
    Rodney Dennys
    Lieutenant-Colonel Rodney Onslow Dennys, CVO, OBE, FSA was a British foreign service operative and long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. During World War II he served in the Intelligence Corps of the British Army.Dennys joined the Foreign Service in 1937, serving in...

    . The Heraldic Imagination. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1975.
  • Elvins, Mark Turnham
    Mark Elvins
    Mark Turnham Elvins, OFMCap, was Warden of Greyfriars, Oxford until its closure in 2008.- Biography :Mark Turnham Elvins was born in 1939 at Whitstable, the son of an Anglican clergyman who had been Rector of St Mary in the Castle, Dover....

    . Cardinals and Heraldry. London: Buckland Publications, 1988.
  • Fairbairn, James. Fairbairn's Crests of the Families of Great Britain & Ireland. New York: Bonanza Books, 1986.
  • Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles
    Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
    Arthur Charles Fox-Davies was a British author on heraldry. By profession, he was a barrister but he also worked as a journalist and novelist.Born in Bristol, he was the second son of T...

    . The Art of Heraldry: An Encyclopedia of Armory.
  • Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles and Graham Johnston. A Complete Guide to Heraldry. London: TC & EC Jack, 1909.
  • Humphery-Smith, Cecil
    Cecil Humphery-Smith
    Cecil Raymond Julian Humphery-Smith, OBE, FSA is a British genealogist and heraldist. He was educated at Hurstpierpoint College...

    . General Armory Two. London: Tabard Press, 1973.
  • Innes of Edingight, Malcolm, revisor. Scots Heraldry. 3rd Ed. Johnston & Bacon, London, 1978
  • Le Févre, Jean. A European Armorial: An Armorial of Knights of the Golden Fleece and 15th Century Europe. Eds. Pinches and Anthony Wood. London: Heraldry Today, 1971.
  • Louda, Jiří and Michael Maclagan
    Michael Maclagan
    Michael Maclagan, CVO, FSA, FRHistS was a British historian, antiquary and herald. He was Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford for more than forty years, and a long-serving officer of arms.-Career:Maclagan was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford...

    . Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1981.
  • Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, G. Scotland's Herauldrie: the Science of Herauldrie treated as a part of the Civil law and Law of Nations. Edinburgh: Heir of Andrew Anderson, 1680.
  • Moncreiffe of Easter Moncrieffe, Iain and Don Pottinger. Simple Heraldry - Cheerfully Illustrated. London and Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1953.
  • Neubecker, Ottfried
    Ottfried Neubecker
    Ottfried Neubecker was a German vexillologist and heraldist.-Early life and education:He was born 22 March 1908 in Berlin-Charlottenburg in Germany, into the family of a university teacher...

    . Heraldry: Sources, Symbols and Meaning. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill, 1976.
  • Nisbet, Alexander. A system of Heraldry. Edinburgh: T & A Constable, 1984.
  • Parker, James. A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1970.
  • Paul, James Balfour
    James Balfour Paul
    Sir James Balfour Paul, KCVO was the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the officer responsible for heraldry in Scotland, from 1890 until the end of 1926....

    . An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. Edinburgh: W. Green & Sons, 1903.
  • Reid of Robertland, David and Vivien Wilson. An Ordinary of Arms. Second vol. Edinburgh: Lyon Office, 1977.
  • Rietstap, Johannes B
    Johannes Rietstap
    Johannes Baptista Rietstap was a Dutch heraldist and genealogist. He is most well known for his publication of the Armorial Général. This monumental work contains the blazons of the coats of arms of more than 130,000 European families...

    . Armorial General. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967.
  • Siebmacher, Johann. J. Siebmacher's Grosses und Allgemeines Wappenbuch Vermehrten Auglage
    Siebmachers Wappenbuch
    Siebmachers Wappenbuch refers to two heraldic multivolume book series of armorial bearings or coats of arms of the nobility within the Holy Roman Empire .The Old Siebmacher...

    . Nürnberg: Von Bauer & Raspe, 1890-1901.
  • Wagner, Sir Anthony R
    Anthony Wagner
    Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, KCB, KCVO, FSA was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He served as Garter Principal King of Arms before retiring to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms...

    . Heralds of England: A History of the Office and College of Arms. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1967.
  • Woodcock, Thomas
    Thomas Woodcock (officer of arms)
    Thomas Woodcock, CVO, DL, FSA is Garter Principal King of Arms.Woodcock was educated at Eton College. He went up to University College, Durham, where he obtained a BA degree, and subsequently to Darwin College, Cambridge, where he received his LLB degree. Woodcock was called to the Bar at the...

     and John Martin Robinson
    John Martin Robinson
    John Martin Robinson, FSA is a British architectural historian and officer of arms.He was born in Preston, Lancashire and educated at the Benedictine school at Fort Augustus, the University of St Andrews and matriculated to Oriel College, Oxford University for his DPhil in 1970...

    . The Oxford Guide to Heraldry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

External links

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