Portal:Heraldry

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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

A herald wearing a tabard
Flags of the Nordic countries

Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

Selected coat of arms

Coat of Arms of Munich

The coat of arms of Munich (Münchner Wappen) depicts a young monk dressed in black holding a red book. It has existed in a similar form since the 13th century, though at certain points in its history it has not depicted the central figure of the monk at all. As the German name for Munich, i.e. München, means of Monks, the monk in this case is a self-explanatory symbol who represents the city of Munich. Appearing on a document of May 28, 1239, the oldest seal of Munich has a picture of a monk wearing an open hood. While all seal impressions show the monk with the book in one hand and three outstretched fingers in the other, the monk has varied slightly, appearing in profile, then later full-faced and bare-headed. By the 19th century the figure was portrayed as youthful and became known as the Münchner Kindl or Munich Child. The coat of arms in its current form was created in 1957 and is still an important symbol of the Bavarian state capital. (more...)

Selected article

Flag of Western Australia with black swan

The Black Swan is an important cultural reference in Australia, although the character of that importance historically diverges between the prosaic in the east and the symbolic in west. The Black Swan is also of spiritual significance in the traditional histories of many Australian Aboriginal peoples across southern Australia.

The Black Swan is the official state emblem of Western Australia, and is depicted on the Flag of Western Australia, as well as being depicted on the Western Australian Coat-of-Arms. The symbol is used in other emblems, coins, logos, mascots and in the naming of sports teams. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of the Italian Republic

The flag of Italy (bandiera d'Italia, often referred to in Italian as il Tricolore) is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side. Its current form has been in use since 19 June 1946 and was formally adopted on 1 January 1948.

The first entity to use the Italian tricolour was the Repubblica Cispadana (Cispadane Republic) in 1797, after Napoleon's victorious army crossed Italy. During this time many small republics of Jacobin inspiration supplanted the ancient absolute states and almost all, with variants of colour, used flags characterised by three bands of equal size, clearly inspired by the French model of 1790. The colours chosen by the Republic were red and white, the colours of the flag of Milan, and green, which was the colour of the uniform of the Milanese civic guard. Some have attributed particular values to the colours, and a common interpretation is that the green represents the country's plains and the hills; white, the snow-capped Alps; and red, blood spilt in the Wars of Italian Independence. A more religious interpretation is that the green represents hope, the white represents faith, and the red represents charity; this references the three theological virtues. (more...)

Selected picture

The chapel of the Order of the Thistle

The tomb of Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou is one of the first recorded examples of hereditary armory in Europe.

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Gadsen flag

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