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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

William Camden

William Camden (May 2, 1551–November 9, 1623) was an English antiquarian and historian. He wrote Britannia, the first topographical survey of the island of Great Britain, and Annales, the first detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. In 1597 he was appointed Clarenceux King of Arms to facilitate his research, the post carrying a salary, and the College of Arms at the time being a centre of antiquarian studies. The appointment, however, roused the jealousy of the herald Ralph Brooke, who in retaliation published an attack on Britannia, charging Camden with inaccuracy and plagiarism. Camden successfully defended himself against the charges in subsequent editions of the work. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of Europe

The Flag of Europe is the flag and emblem of the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) (it is also used to indicate the euro or eurozone countries). It consists of a circle of 12 golden (yellow) stars on a blue background. The blue represents the west; the number of stars represents completeness while their position in a circle represents unity. The stars do not vary according to the members of either organisation as they are intended to represent all the peoples of Europe, even those outside European integration.

The flag was designed by Arsène Heitz and Paul Lévy in 1955 for the CoE as its symbol, and the CoE urged it to be adopted by other organisations. In 1985 the EU, which was then the European Economic Community (EEC), adopted it as its own flag (having had no flag of its own before) at the initiative of the European Parliament. The flag is not mentioned in the EU's treaties, its incorporation being dropped along with the European Constitution, but it is formally adopted in law. (more...)

Selected picture

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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