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Coats of Arms, 
Shields, Heraldry 

Middle Ages for Kids
 

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In medieval times, every noble family wanted everyone to know how important they were.  They also wanted to brag about their history.  Since most people could not read, heraldry was invented. This was a way to brag about who you were without using words.  

Heraldry was a design and short saying.  Noble families designed a coat of arms that incorporated their heraldry (their design and short saying).  

They put their coat of arms, showing their heraldry, on banners, shields, tapestries and anything else they could think of.  Each part of the coat of arms has a specific meaning.  Animals or objects were used to describe character traits - brave as a lion, for example. The colors were used as symbols of character. 

Each heraldry was unique. There are many books describing what each of the symbols mean. You usually can find such a book at your local library. You can look up your name and see if your family has a  coat of arms! Then you'll need to look what each symbol means. Once you have that information, you will know your family's heraldry.  

 

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Play a Free Online Game about Heraldry and the Middle Ages

Design a Coat of Arms

Create a Coat of Arms

Symbols of Heraldry

Terminology

Coat of Arms

Heraldry Links

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Written by Mr. Donn
Clip Art Credit: Phillip Martin
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