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The German Hyghalmen Roll was made in the late 15th century and illustrates the German practice of repeating themes from the arms in the crest. (See Roll of arms).

Heraldry (/ˈhɛrəldri/) is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement, more commonly known as the coat of arms. The coat of arms usually includes a shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.

Although the use of various devices to signify individuals and groups goes back to antiquity, both the form and use of such devices varied widely, and the concept of regular, hereditary designs, constituting the distinguishing feature of heraldry, did not develop until the High Middle Ages. The use of helmets with face guards during this period made it difficult to recognize one's commanders in the field when large armies gathered together for extended periods, necessitating the development of heraldry as a symbolic language. Read more...

Vexillology (/ˌvɛksɪˈlɒləi/) is the study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general. The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum ("flag") and the Greek suffix -logia ("study").

A person who studies flags is a vexillologist, one who designs flags is a vexillographer, and the art of flag-designing is called vexillography. One who is a hobbyist or general admirer of flags is a vexillophile. Read more...


Selected biography

Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, while serving as Richmond Herald of Arms in Ordinary in 1952.

Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, KCB, KCVO, FSA (6 September 1908–5 May 1995) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He served as Garter Principal King of Arms before retiring to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms. He was one of the most prolific authors on subjects of the heraldry and genealogy of the 20th century. (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...)

Selected coat of arms

The 22 cantonal coats of arms in the stained glass dome of the Federal Palace of Switzerland (ca. 1900)

There are 26 modern cantons of Switzerland, each of which has an official flag and coat of arms.The history of development of these designs spans the 13th to 20th centuries. With the exception of Lucerne, Schwyz and Ticino, the cantonal coats of arms are simply arrangements of the cantonal flags in a shield shape. This fashion originates in the 15th century. (more...)

Selected image

Blue and white banner of Zürich

The blue and white banner of Zürich was depicted in a 1585 painting by Humbert Mareschet. The red Schwenkel on top of the banner is typical of German heraldry.

Did you know...

Flag of Trondheim

  • ...that the Norwegian heraldic authority forbade any other municipality to use the dog rose which appears on the Flag of Trondheim (pictured), because of the symbol's long association with that city?

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