Portal:Heraldry

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Heraldry and Vexillology portal

The German Hyghalmen Roll was made in the late 15th century and illustrates the German practice of repeating themes from the arms in the crest. (See Roll of arms).

Heraldry (/ˈhɛrəldri/) is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement, more commonly known as the coat of arms. The coat of arms usually includes a shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.

Although the use of various devices to signify individuals and groups goes back to antiquity, both the form and use of such devices varied widely, and the concept of regular, hereditary designs, constituting the distinguishing feature of heraldry, did not develop until the High Middle Ages. The use of helmets with face guards during this period made it difficult to recognize one's commanders in the field when large armies gathered together for extended periods, necessitating the development of heraldry as a symbolic language. Read more...

Vexillology (/ˌvɛksɪˈlɒləi/) is the study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general. The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum ("flag") and the Greek suffix -logia ("study").

A person who studies flags is a vexillologist, one who designs flags is a vexillographer, and the art of flag-designing is called vexillography. One who is a hobbyist or general admirer of flags is a vexillophile. Read more...


Selected biography

Mateiu Caragiale

Mateiu Ion Caragiale March 25 [O.S. March 12] 1885-January 17, 1936) was a Romanian poet and prose writer, best known for his novel Craii de Curtea-Veche, which portrays the milieu of boyar descendants before and after World War I. Caragiale's style, associated with Symbolism, the Decadent movement of the fin de siècle, and early modernism, was an original element in the Romanian literature of the interwar period. In other late contributions, Caragiale pioneered detective fiction locally. The scarcity of writings he left is contrasted by their critical acclaim and a large, mostly posthumous, following, commonly known as mateists.

Also known as an amateur heraldist and graphic artist, Caragiale discovered a passion for history and heraldry while at Sfântul Gheorghe College in Bucharest, when he would fill his notebooks with sketches of blazons. Caragiale studied Romanian heraldry and, to this goal, read Octav-George Lecca's Familii boiereşti române ("Romanian Boyar Families"). Many of the comments added by him to his copy of the book are polemic, sarcastic, or mysterious, while the sketches he made on the margin include portrayals of boyars being put to death in various ways, as well as caricatures (such as a blazon displaying a donkey's head, which he mockingly assigned to Octav-George Lecca himself). Caragiale's interest in heraldry and genealogy mirrored his tastes and outlook on the world, which have been described as "snobbery", "aestheticism", and "dandyism". (more...)

Selected coat of arms

Coat of arms of Amsterdam

The coat of arms of Amsterdam is the official symbol of the city of Amsterdam. It consists of a red and black shield with three silver Saint Andrew's Crosses, the Imperial Crown of Austria, two golden lions, and the motto of Amsterdam. Several heraldic elements have their basis in the history of Amsterdam. The crosses are thought to represent the three traditional dangers to the city: flood, fire and pestilence. The crown was awarded in 1489 by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, out of gratitude for services and loans. The crosses and the crown can be found as decorations on different locations in the city. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of Germany

The flag of Germany is a tricolour consisting of three equal horizontal bands displaying the national colours of Germany: black, red and gold. The black-red-gold tricolour first appeared in the early 19th century and achieved prominence during the 1848 revolution. The short-lived Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–50 proposed the tricolour as a flag for a united and democratic German state. With the formation of the Weimar Republic after World War I, the tricolour was adopted as the national flag of Germany. Following World War II, the tricolour was designated as the flag of both West and East Germany. Both flags were identical until 1959, when socialist symbols were added to the East German flag. Since reunification on 3 October 1990, the black-red-gold tricolour has remained the flag of Germany. (more...)

Selected image

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.

Did you know...

William Segar, Garter Principal King of Arms, early 17th century

  • ...that heraldic badges were common in the Middle Ages, particularly in England?

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