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Heraldry () is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory is the most familiar branch of heraldry, concerning the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement, more commonly known as the coat of arms. The coat of arms usually includes a shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.
Although the use of various devices to signify individuals and groups goes back to antiquity, both the form and use of such devices varied widely, and the concept of regular, hereditary designs, constituting the distinguishing feature of heraldry, did not develop until the High Middle Ages. The use of helmets with face guards during this period made it difficult to recognize one's commanders in the field when large armies were gathered together for extended periods, necessitating the development of heraldry as a symbolic language.
The beauty and pageantry of heraldic designs allowed them to survive the gradual abandonment of armour on the battlefield during the seventeenth century. Heraldry has been described poetically as \"the handmaid of history\", \"the shorthand of history\", and \"the floral border in the garden of history\". In modern times, heraldry is used by individuals, public and private organizations, corporations, cities, towns, and regions to symbolize their heritage, achievements, and aspirations.
This is one of those passages for which the editor of that review has merited an abatement in heraldry, no such writing ever having been written; and indeed, by other like assertions of equal veracity, the gentleman has richly entitled himself to bear a gore sinister tenne in his escutcheon.
More trivia: in heraldry, a vertical stripe on a flag is called a "pale" (the French tricolour is made up of three pales, for example).
The auriferata (which is made of cloth of gold or of thin gold plates, and is not jewelled) is the one always used in English heraldry for an Anglican bishop or archbishop.
As a matter of fact the six-pointed star was not adopted because of its use in English heraldry, while in Holland and
'gagliarda' by Villani, that these groups of piles, pales, bends, and bars, were called in English heraldry 'Restrial bearings,'"in respect of their strength and solid substance, which is able to abide the stresse and force of any triall they shall be put unto."
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