View Full Version : A begininers guide to understanding Coats of Arms

02-19-2014, 04:17 AM
Good primer here:

A Beginner's Guide to Understanding a Coat of Arms | Visual.ly (http://visual.ly/beginners-guide-understanding-coat-arms)

02-19-2014, 12:45 PM
I think this is a really cool beginner's guide. It does cover the basics... of European coats of arms.

I just thought it's important to point out that all countries/nations have slightly different rules, and there were a few strictly European things there...
though most of it is pretty standard...

Also, that a lot of those things are purely for "decorative" heraldry or more modern, and not things you would see, say, on battlefields in medieval times :D

But good for starting point!

02-19-2014, 12:54 PM
Actually, my introduction to heraldry (believe it or not) was one of the supplements for Harn (back in the '80s) - the Harndex (Harn Index) was a periodical that touched on different aspects of the Harn setting. One issue was mostly on heraldry, which I studied in depth, and turned out was based on real-world heraldry and covered the subject well. I had this product while in the US Army stationed in Alaska. Almost at the same time, I was a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) - you know the guys who dress up in armor at the state fairs and swing at each other with rattan bats... Anyway, every SCA member can apply for a heraldic device to be assigned to his character (which conforms to the rules of most national heraldic associations, also the design needs to be original and not comparable to a real heraldic device.) It turned out that the rules knowledge from the Harn product was more in depth than the SCA's own heraldic rules. Many colors were not included in the SCA rules that were in the Harn rules.

Also of course my more recent studies on feudal Japan revealed the specific rules for Japanese kammon, or house crests which while having the same purpose as European heraldry, is also a completely different animal.

02-19-2014, 01:26 PM
That's ... kind of what I was referring to. Most EUROPEAN heraldry rules are the same or similar (even different countries) but Europe is a very small (comparitively) piece of land, and MOST other cultures have some form of heraldry (even if it isn't called that).

Also good point out of the SCA (http://heraldry.sca.org/) standards/rules, but, as you said, they don't always catch everything.

Also, fun resource for those interested in more in-depth stuff... 99% of the "fantasy" heraldry I see use rampant lions, unicorns, dragons or stags as supporters. There is a LOT MORE (http://dragon_azure.tripod.com/UoA/AnimalBlazonry.html) to choose from.

02-21-2014, 03:41 PM

This post sent me into several days of research after I realized I knew NOTHING about heraldry (well except that you could combine them with quartering. But I had just learned that relatively recently as well).

I found this slightly more in depth guide International Heraldry & Heralds (http://www.internationalheraldry.com/) and this book A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY (http://www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~bprince/hr/foxdavies/index.htm)

And now I'm attempting to ensure that the coats of arms of the nobles in my world show proper familial and geographic relations. Which led me to finally get around to naming all 90 baronies of my country.

02-21-2014, 04:09 PM
Thanks for the links flocko!

02-22-2014, 05:07 AM
Great stuff, flocko!!

03-11-2014, 10:49 AM
Great stuff.

05-01-2014, 10:14 PM
This is a really helpful guide. As some have said, it does touch a bit more on European styles, but this has really helped me get started with the Coat of Arms for the individuals in my fantasy series, thanks!

12-27-2015, 10:50 PM
Old thread yes, but new info could help others on a search for images, or in this case, and entire collection - from Armorial Gold Heraldry Art: