Portal:Heraldry


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 biography

RossBetsy.jpg

Betsy Ross (January 1, 1752 - January 30, 1836) was an American woman who is said to have sewn the first American flag which incorporated stars representing the states of the Union. Born Elizabeth ("Betsy") Griscom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she was the ninth of 17 children of Samuel and Rebecca Griscom, who were members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) (her father was a master builder). She attended Friends (Quaker) schools, where she learned reading, writing, homemaking, and sewing. (more...)

Selected coat of arms

Seal of Dartmouth College

The Seal of Dartmouth College is the official insignia of Dartmouth College, an Ivy League university located in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. Anglo-American law generally requires a corporate body to seek official government sanction, usually in the form of a charter, in order to operate. Such chartered bodies normally authenticate their official acts by marking them with a distinctive seal. The seal's design is usually complicated to avoid counterfeiting, but it can also express something about the institution's history or mission. Dartmouth College is one such chartered body, and it obtained its official seal in 1773. (more...)

Selected flag

Heirlooms of Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan Castle, including Fairy Flag

The Fairy Flag (Scottish Gaelic: Am Bratach Sìth) is an heirloom of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod. It is held in Dunvegan Castle along with other notable heirlooms, such as the Dunvegan Cup and Sir Rory Mor's Horn. The flag is made of silk, is yellow or brown in colour, and measures about 18 inches (46 cm) square. Now ripped and tattered, it is extremely fragile. The flag is covered in small red "elf dots". In the early part of the 19th century, the flag was also marked with small crosses, but these have since disappeared. The flag may have been an important relic, perhaps from the Crusades, or it may have even been a raven banner.

There are numerous stories associated with the flag, most of which deal with its magical properties and mysterious origins. Clan tradition, preserved in the early 19th century, tells how the Fairy Flag was entrusted to a family of hereditary standard bearers. Tradition states that the flag was unfurled at several clan battles in the 15th and 16th centuries; the flag's magical powers are said to have won at least one of them. In the mid 20th century, the Fairy Flag was said to have said to have extinguished a fire at Dunvegan Castle, and to have given luck to servicemen flying bombing missions in the Second World War. (more...)

Selected picture

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MacLeod coat of arms

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