History of the attributes of the coat of arms

The coat of arms consists of many parts and elements each of which has its own special role. In fact, originally the coat of arms had a purely practical meaning on the battlefield, and then it became a symbol reflecting achievements, status, title and exclusivity of origin. Today, knights do not wear full armor and shields are not used on the battlefield. The coat of arms therefore has cultural, historical and aesthetic value for its owner and society at large.

The structure of the coat of arms consists of compulsory and optional attributes. The obligatory attributes include: the shield, helmet, wreath, mantle, neck medallion and kleinode. Optional: shield-holders, compartment, motto ribbon and orders or other decorations of an armiger. The shield is the basis of any coat of arms. It was originally used to represent the insignia of the knight and his troops. The shields may differ in shape that was the most common in one region or another. There are several basic types: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, as well as rhombic, round and square shields. Each type has its own characteristics that may emphasize a particular aspect of the life of an armiger. In addition, there are a huge number of honorable figures and ways of dividing the field of the shield that allow for an endless number of unique generic symbols.

medieval shield

Above the shield of family coats of arms is traditionally depicted one or more of the knight’s helmets. This attribute has a lot of nuances, such as location, type, type and position of the visor and so on. If the armiger had a higher education, the helmet was supplemented with a lozenge cutout. In addition, the helmet of the family coat of arms traditionally features a neck medallion – a special badge on a special kind of garter with an image of a gold and azure Andrew’s Cross.

The helmet is also adorned with a wreath, a cloth harness that holds the kleinode in place. Historically, this attribute helped to secure the distinctive mark of the knight above the head, usually repeating an element from the shield. This symbol was used to identify a warrior’s clan and was called a kleinode or visor. The colors of the wreath and the number of coils are also of particular importance.

From behind the helmet usually comes an ornament in the form of monograms, scraps of cloth, leaves or scraps of cloak called a mantle. The coat of arms of royalty may also be adorned with a cloak of ermine or squirrel fur. In fact waving in the wind the cloak cut by enemy weapons in battle is a symbol of valor shown on the battlefield. A fur cloak was an expensive item of clothing and one of the symbols of royal power. Therefore, the type of the mantle allowed the family’s merit and status to be determined.

knighthood in the middle ages

The shield was often flanked by shield-holders in the form of animals or men. In the heyday of chivalry and jousting, noble warriors were a privileged part of society and came to tournaments with honors. Therefore, a standard with a picture of the coat of arms or shield was carried in front of the knight. They were often carried by people dressed as mythical animals. They were often carried by people dressed as mythical animals, for example, distinguished ancestors.

If the coat of arms includes shield holders, they are required to stand on a compartment that also has its own meaning and can reflect different aspects of life: from life priorities to the field of activity. The coat of arms may also include an order, medal or other decoration given to the armiger and a motto, motto or call to action. In the Middle Ages, the motto ribbon was most often used to write a battle cry that was used by warriors.

In order to master all the subtleties of heraldic rules and know all the nuances of ancestral heraldry, it is necessary to spend many years studying it. After all, a coat of arms is a special symbol that should accurately reflect all the important aspects of life and become a legacy for future generations. That’s why our art studio pays great attention to every detail and our specialists have vast experience in creating ancestral heraldry symbols all over the world.

medieval knights on horseback