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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillogy 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.

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Selected coat of arms

The coat of arms of Hungary

The Coat of Arms of Hungary was adopted in July 1990, after the end of the Socialist regime, although it has been used before, both with and without the crown, sometimes as part of a larger, more complex coat of arms, and many of its elements date back to the Middle Ages. It is usually said that the silver stripes represent four rivers (Duna, Tisza, Dráva, Száva) and the hills represent three mountain ranges (Mátra, Tátra, Fátra), but this theory is historically unfounded. (more...)

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Arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

The tradition and practice of heraldry in Poland dates from the 13th century. Although influenced by French and German heraldic practice, differs in a number of respects. One of the most striking is that a coat of arms does not belong to a single family. Many, sometimes hundreds of unrelated families may use a single coat of arms. Each coat of arms also has its own name. One side-effect of this unique arrangement was that it became customary to refer to members of the nobility (Polish: Szlachta) by both their family name and the name of their coat of arms. (more...)

Selected flag

The MOL Pride, owned and operated by a Japanese company, flying the flag of Liberia as a flag of convenience

The term flag of convenience describes the business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners. The term refers to the civil ensign the ship flies to indicate its country of registration or flag state. A ship operates under the laws of its flag state, and these laws are used if the ship is involved in an admiralty case. The modern practice of flagging ships in foreign countries began in the 1920s in the United States, when shipowners frustrated by increased regulations and rising labor costs began to register their ships to Panama. As of 2009, more than half of the world’s merchant ships are registered under flags of convenience. (more...)

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Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Greece

Created in 1936, after the restoration of the monarchy, the Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Greece was used until 1967, when King Constantine II was exiled, and then nominally until 1973 when the kingdom was replaced by the Third Hellenic Republic. The arms remains in use by the former Greek Royal Family.

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Attributed arms of Satan

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