see it clearly

Medieval Coat of Arms

If you have always wondered about medieval coat of arms and their meanings, than you might want to understand what they are and what they mean. These are special symbols that have been used for centuries – ever since the Crusades – to represent people, their families, their social ranks, and their homelands. This tradition has continued over the years, even though the Middle Ages have come and gone. For more information about medieval coat of arms, keep reading below to find facts about the tradition and its origins.

Medieval Coat of Arms

Showing Yourself on Your Shield: Symbolism on the Battlefield

Coats of Arms in the Middle Ages were perfect ways for people to identify one another, no matter what languages or dialects they spoke. Families who never met before were able to recognize each other because of their clear and detailed coat of arms, complete with lots of symbols that made it clear who was the owner of the shield. The shields have changed little over time and this kind of preservation has made it possible to understand how they have been passed down over the centuries among families and feudal structures.

Medieval Coat of Arms

These coats of arms were particularly important in battle. With everyone dressed up in armor from head to toe, how was it possible to tell these people apart? The truth is, with colorful, symbolic coat of arms, it was really easy. These symbols were put on banners, flags, and in many other areas where they could be seen and understood by all the onlookers. Nobility could stand out among the crowd because of their symbolism, making their power visible to everyone looking on to them.

Heralds are often understood to be the person with a trumpet at battle. However, in medieval times, they were responsible for understanding how to read coats of arms. They would memorize the symbols of many families and homelands, and they would be able to read, monitor, and check the symbols and inform others of who was on the horizon or sending documents back and forth. Though they may not have seen all the coats of armor in their lifetime, they were expected to read and understand them all for the protection of those they were with.

What Was Distinctive About Medieval Coats of Arms?

Most people know that these coats of arms used lots of bright, flashing colors: reds, yellows, blues, greens, and blacks. Their designs were usually crisp and clear so that others could understand what symbols were represented. The coats of arms had many colors, but also many symbols: some of the most common ones are what we think of when we think of royalty today. This includes strong animals, like tigers, lions, and horses, all animals associated with power and strong noble characters.

These shields were broken up into parts that represented different things. They were very clearly developed: rank on one part, family relations on another, and mottos emblazoned on specific parts of the shield. This consistency in organization made it possible for heralds and others to understand the shields at first glance – even if they were unfamiliar with the symbolism, they could without a doubt know what kind of information was in the different parts of the shield.

What about Coats of Arms Today?

Coats of arms are still used by royalty today and they are an important part of history for many families. When people look into their past and see their families had coats of arms that were proudly shown in battle, they imagine the strength of these ancestors and imagine what life could have been like back then in simpler times. You can trace your family through these symbols, which are like art and yet had a clear functional purpose. You can find more information about medieval coat of arms by doing simple research at your local library or by consulting with a historian who specializes in what these coats of arms stand for.