Heraldry includes a family motto and a family coat
of arms. The actual design of the coat of arms followed a pattern,
although each was distinctive.
As time went on, a family's heraldry was recorded
so that no one could copy the pattern or take it for themselves. Today,
you can look up a family name and find their family coat of arms in the
old records. There is usually a charge for this, but you can do it. The
records are there.
The concept of using a coat of arms as a form of
identification goes way back to Roman times, and possibly further back
than that. In Roman times, a coat of arm was used to identify groups of
fighting men within the Roman legion. In the Middle Ages, a distinctive
coat of arms was used to identify each noble family. Each item in the
design had meaning.
Once a coat of arms was adopted by a family, the
design was placed on shields held by knights of the manor, embroidered
on tapestries, and carved in stone throughout the castle or manor house.
It was placed on swords and on banners and even burnt into the top of
breads on special occasions. A family's heraldry was important. It said,
"This is who we are, and we are special." That is heraldry.
Each noble family not only had its own heraldry,
each employed a herald. A herald was a person.
A herald's job was to make sure that the
family's heraldry was properly used, displayed, and understood.
The herald was responsible for teaching the
sons and knights of the fief to recognize the heraldry of other
noble families. In these violent times, it was important to be able
to quickly recognize friend from foe.
The herald also acted as the announcer or the
scorekeeper at a joust. He shouted out what was happening, who was
winning, and why.
a Free Online Game about Heraldry and the Middle Ages
a Coat of Arms
a Coat of Arms
Presentations in PowerPoint format
Online Games for the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Clipart for Kids & Teachers
Ages for Teachers
to The Middle Ages for Kids