If you have ever read a semantic description of a coat of arms or blazon, you have definitely seen the phrases “heraldic right” or “heraldic left”. This amendment is mandatory, as the “heraldic right” is on the left side for the eye of the beholder.
In order to understand the reasons for this difference, it is necessary to recall the history of the origin of family symbols. According to common opinion, coats of arms originated in the XII century. It was then that the military was actively developing in Europe and helmets with visors were widespread. It should be noted that armor was difficult to produce and cost very much, so only wealthy people with a high social status and title could afford them. Under the new conditions, it was necessary to distinguish an ally from the enemy, so the shields began to be marked with distinctive marks. These insignia depended on the characteristics of the warriors: their origin, status, family and culture. In addition to shields, symbols were also applied to banners, flags and horse armor. Therefore, the heraldic right side is the right side of the person holding the shield.
If you look at the structure of modern family coats of arms, even today the main mandatory attributes of the symbol are the shield, helmet, neck medallion, wreath, mantle and kleinode. All these symbols appeared for a reason and used to have a practical meaning. However, today, when full armor is not used on the battlefield, these attributes have cultural, historical and aesthetic value.
The heraldic designation of the sides of the coat of arms is used during the blazoning of the symbol and the drafting of the semantic description. This is one of the strict rules that must be followed when designing a family coat of arms. Learn about the rest of the intricacies of heraldry as well as interesting historical facts related to coats of arms on our blog.
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