Colors And Shapes of Heraldry
There are literally hundreds of different symbols that can appear on coats of arms. The colors that are chosen and even the shape of the shield itself can be of significance to the family. The use of animals and images on the shields meant different things at different times to different people. The colors that were used however were more constant as were the shapes on the shields:
Heraldic Modern Meaning
Purpure Purple Justice, Sovereignty, Regal
Gules Red Warrior , Martyr , Military Strength
Azure Blue Strength , Loyalty
Vert Green Hope , Loyalty in Love
Sanguine Maroon Victorious , Patient in Battle
Tawny Orange Worthwhile Ambition
Sable Black Constancy , Grief
Or Gold Noble, the Sun. Originally only princes could wear it.
Argent Silver Sincerity, Peace, the Moon
Shapes and Styles of Shields:
Name Description Represents
Chief a bar across the top of the shield Dominion, authority, wisdom, achievement in battle
Pale a center column on the shield - top to bottom Military strength, fortitude
Bend a column from a top corner to opposite bottom corner A Knights scarf - signifies Defense
Fess a center column - left to right Signifies the Military Belt - represents Honor
Chevron a column shaped like ^ Roof of a house - signifies Protection, faithful service
Cross self explanatory, top to bottom, left to right Christian, one who had served in the Crusades
Saltire an x shaped cross going corner to corner St. Andrew's cross, signifying Resolution
Pile A "V" shape on the front Wood used in bridge building - signifies construction, building
Canton a small square located in the upper corner A flag 'added' to the arms, and may contain a charge granted by a Sovereign
Bordure a border around the shield Honor, as used to differentiate between family members
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last updated on: September 13 2018
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