Portal:Heraldry

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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillogy Portal!

Flags of the Nordic countries
A herald wearing a tabard

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.

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.

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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

National flag of Singapore

The national flag of Singapore was first adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. It was reconfirmed as the national flag when the Republic gained independence on 9 August 1965. The design is a horizontal bicolour of red above white, charged in the canton by a white crescent moon facing, toward the fly, a pentagon of five small white five-pointed stars. The elements of the flag denote a young nation on the ascendant, universal brotherhood and equality, and national ideals.

The national flag is not used as an ensign by vessels at sea. In its place, one of three derivatives of the national flag is used, depending on a vessel's status: merchant vessels and pleasure craft fly a civil ensign of red charged in white with a variant of the crescent and stars emblem in the centre; non-military government vessels such as coast guard ships fly a state ensign of blue with the national flag in the canton, charged with an eight-pointed red and white compass rose in the lower fly; and warships fly a naval ensign similar to the state ensign, but in white with a red compass rose emblem. (more...)

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The arms of Cardinal Hoyos displayed in SS. Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano

Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Within the Roman Catholic Church, every bishop has his own personal coat of arms. The shield usually combines the bishop's personal attributes with those of his diocese, and may change if he is appointed to a different position. Around the shield are other elements corresponding to the position in the hierarchy, including the Roman galero (or gallero), the cross, the mitre and the crosier. With modifications, similar customs are followed by clergy in the Anglican Church, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, and the Orthodox Churches. The Papal coat of arms has its own heraldic customs. (more...)

Selected picture

coat of arms of Austria

The coat of arms of Austria was modified after World War II to include a broken chain signifying liberation from Nazism. It uses a single-headed eagle rather than the double-headed eagle of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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US flag with 47 stars

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