Brief Origin of the Coat of Arms
The word “Heraldry” is derived from the German “heer” -- a host, an army -- and “held” -- a champion. The term “blason,” by which the science of heraldry is denoted in French, English, Italian, and German, is probably derived from the German word “blazen” -- to blow the horn.
This knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called Heraldry, and as the announcement was accompanied with the sound of a trumpet, it was termed “blazoning the arms.”
The earliest coats of arms were fairly simple -- bars or wavy lines, a lion rampant or an eagle displayed, or an arrangement of fleurs-de-lis. The designs became more complex as the years passed, and the practice of quartering (incorporating the arms of other families acquired through marriages) developed.
Panoply Coat of Arms
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Regardless of their origins, coats of arms became military status symbols, and their popularity increased along with the popularity of the tournament, which was developed in the mid-eleventh century in France. By 1400 A.D., bearing a coat of arms had become a prerequisite to participation in a tournament, and due to the importance of social standing in such pageants, a coat of arms also became a mark of noble status.
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Last Updated: October 1st, 2021
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