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Heraldry and Vexillology - What is Heraldry?

WHAT DOES THE TERM „HERALDRY“ MEAN?

I. Heraldry is an important part of the whole complex of history of art which itself has been shaped and influenced throughout the centuries by heraldry in order to become such a notable term in our days.
During the Middle Ages heraldry signified a philosophical knowledge, but for today it has added a substantial know-how for the history of arts.

II.
- The whole knowledge of heraldry is principally based on the perception of a coat of arms and the capability of „reading“ and „blazoning“ a coat of arms, which means a concise and complete verbal description of a coat of arms according to a set of rules. A coat of arms that does not have a well-composed blazon is difficult to legitimate and can’t be secured by law.

III. -The science of heraldry presumes all the professional facets being involved, i.e. this not only involves the ability and knowledge necessary for the bearing, recognising and labelling a coat of arms, but also involves substantial know-how on the laws of heraldry. The laws of heraldry are autochthon, but not at all identical with the copyright laws of modern times that are applied to architectural or emblemographical designs.

IV.
- Heraldic knowledge sums up all the know-how of creation and re-creation of coats of arms; re-creation referring to contemporary re-drawing of established coats of arms and creation referring to the creation of new ones.
In order to understand the above-mentioned explanations it is an absolute necessity to offer at least a smattering in the following sciences: sphragistics (sigillography), phaleristics (science dealing with orders, decorations and medals), insigniology (science about the attributes of power/might), iconology (science about the explanation of images), archontology (science about the highest dignitaries of former times), the nobility, just to name a few of the required sciences.
Furthermore substantial knowledge of heraldic zoology and botany is vital, as the symbols used in heraldry do not necessarily correspond with their counterparts in nature.

V.
- Heraldry also presumes detailed knowledge on heraldic history and heraldic art.

VI. -Heraldry implies the knowledge of a considerable portion of all other sciences that interlace with heraldry i.e.: Sociology, genealogy, weaponry, political and social history, history of art and ecclesiastical history.

VII. - The coat of arms is an ever-present representative symbol of an individual, a kinship, an ecclesiastical organisation, but also of a site, a village, a market, a town, a country or a state.

There are various distinctions to be made:
               - HERALDRY FOR AN INDIVIDUAL OR A KINSHIP
               - HERALDRY FOR HIERACHICAL, SOCIAL AND CORPORATE STANDINGS
               - ECCLESIASTICAL HERALDRY
               - HERALDRY FOR A SPECIAL SITE/LOCATION

 


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