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 article

Entrance of the College of Arms building in London

The College of Arms, in London, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings. As its name suggests, it is a corporate body (founded 1484) consisting of the professional heralds who are delegated heraldic authority by the Queen for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Note that Scotland is not included; that country has its own heraldic authority: Lord Lyon King of Arms and his office.) The college also grants arms to citizens of other Commonwealth countries that do not have their own heraldic authorities. (Canada and South Africa have their own heraldic authorities, the Canadian Heraldic Authority and the Bureau of Heraldry, respectively.) (more...)

Selected biography

Painting of Garter Anstis from around 1725

John Anstis (29 August 1669–4 March 1744) was an English officer of arms and antiquarian. He rose to the highest heraldic office in England and became Garter King of Arms in 1718 after years of plotting. Anstis was born at St Neot, Cornwall on 29 August 1669. He was the first son of another John Anstis and his wife Mary, the daughter of George Smith. Anstis matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, on 27 March 1685 and entered the Middle Temple on 31 January 1690. On 23 June 1695 he married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Richard Cudlipp of Tavistock, Devon. They had eight sons and six daughters. (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 picture

A town hall in the Netherlands displaying heraldic banners

The town hall of Gouda, a city in the Netherlands, displaying heraldic banners of the arms of (left to right) the Dutch Republic (1581–1795), the County of Holland (1198–) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–).

Did you know...

Manuel Belgrano holding the Flag of Argentina

  • ...that the Alphyn, a rare heraldic creature, was the badge of the Barons de La Warr?

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