Heraldry Symbols



Founded in some of the earliest parts of history, heraldry, the act, study, or art of creating symbols has been prevalent within parts of Europe and Asia since historic times. First seen by many historians from pre-dynastic Egypt, the concept of heraldry holds high prestige and religious value. As many different cultures around the world view and utilize their own form of heraldry, the act of heraldry has a very rigid set of patterns and rules that must be followed and executed in order for the symbol to be acknowledged as an actual form of heraldry. These symbols are often viewed as a way to depict history and its patterns of prestige. These symbols of heraldry often times could be deemed a language of heraldry, as the term blazon actually means to describe the symbols in a formal language. The blazon language has its own vocabulary, syntax and rules of grammar. The language usually describes the armorial contained within the symbol. Although the language is about 900 years old, it is still used in many towns, cities, and civilizations around the world to present day.

The most recent and modern focus of the act of heraldry is through a symbol known the coat of arms, as this symbol represents an armorial achievement, and were always represented on the warriors shield; as the placement of this symbol was a way of identifying where the soldier and his kingdom were located. These symbols typically are not too lenient, as they must be set a certain way in order to be called a coat of arm. The symbol has a motto, shield; two supporting figures typically animals such as bears or tigers, and a helmet accompanied by torse and crest. Sometimes, the coat of arms would have certain symbols of leaves, animals, objects, or weapons as these typically signified a particular trait that pertains to the coat of arms. Some of the most common heraldic symbols within the coat of arms are the acorn who represents antiquity and strength, the bat symbolizing chaos, power, and darkness, or bones as they represent the undead or mortality. As it can be seen, the symbol has many various traits and qualities, and sometimes these very detailed and complex signs can be put together as a collection for the purpose of art or to signify a multitude of a kingdom's characteristics. As these collections of symbols depict a countries various traits, and furthermore its culture.

These symbols had a set guidelines as to what each color, fur and ordinary represent. The colors which may often times be overlooked, each represent a different trait and value. Gold being seen as the color that means generosity and elevation within the mind, red representing a warrior or military strength, blue standing for truth and loyalty, and purple depicting sovereignty, justice, and prestige. Although there are many more colors that are often seen within the history of colors for a coat of arms, these are some of the few and more often times sought to be the more prevalent within the history of the symbol. The color of the crest is often times accompanied by a fur, as there are five major types of furs: ermine, erminois, ermines, pean, and vair, these furs suggest a tradition of dignity for one's country and ruler.

Heraldic lines and Ordinaries are usually seen as the borders of these symbols, as they artistically provide contrast, flare, or a soothing overtone. These lines generally correspond to the various elements of the earth. Nebuly lines which have a red set pattern are typically sought to be representations of the clouds and air are generally gold, and exemplify the ocean and its powerful waves. Engrained and Invected lines appear as a force of the earth and its power. Sometimes these heraldic lines were to represent a trait of the kingdom or its warriors, such as the Raguly line, which expresses the fact that the country, kingdom, and its people faced great difficulties and hardships, but were able to pull through as their perseverance could not be outlasted.

As of present times, the symbols of heraldry and the coat of arms are more accurately represented, but not necessarily replaced, by family crests. The family crest does not drastically differ from the coat of arms, but rather is primarily seen as a representation of the family rather than a kingdom. As these symbols generally signify traits and qualities that are pertinent to the family and its lineage, in order to interpret what these traits and qualities are, most professional heraldry makers use the family's last name and detailed lineage charts. The concept of heraldry is a significant and important aspect of many historical cultures and civilizations, as they grant us presently with an endless amount of insight as to how life, prestige, and honor were viewed in the past.