Step back to the years between 1096 and 1099, the time of the first crusades. Imagine finding yourself in an army of crusaders battling for land – scary stuff! Thanks to the helmet with a visor your chances to survive is greatly high. The bad news is that the helmet made you unrecognizable, making it impossible to distinguish between friend and foe during the heat of battle!
But people back then were really smart! They introduced some kind of markings on their armor. The largest and most visible area was the shield. This area gave room to paint an identity specifically for your allegiance and even for you personally. Further enhancing identification, the helmet was also artistically decorated.
In connection with Coat of Arms, do these two elements sound familiar? No wonder then that the shield, helmet, and crest are the most important design elements of a full Coat of Arms.
Coats of Arms & the Middle Class
These origins show why Coats of Arms are commonly misunderstood to be reserved only for knights and nobility. Just a few centuries after they first came into use a middle-class family became entitled to bear one.
The Coat of Arms played a central role for the middle-class family. First, due to the cost of creation, a Coat of Arms was a status symbol. Second, very few people were able to read or write so it became customary to conclude legal business with a “signature” – one’s own armorial seal. The business transaction was in the truest sense of the word “sealed”. The Coat of Arms enabled the many illiterate people to understand who held which property. Thus, the armorial seal became an indispensable means of communication in society.
Are you interested in connecting this centuries-old tradition with your modern life? Do you wish to form a special league with your children and future generations? The experts of Pro Heraldica can help you researching an existing Coat of Arms or creating a new one for you and your family.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information!