Even more so than today, religion was one of the primary driving forces of the Middle Ages. The Crusades is one of the most prominent examples of this, but not every expression of a person’s relationship with the divine was quite so dramatic.
Just like today, many families had deep roots in the Christian faith. Rather than wearing their faith on their sleeve, they wore it emblazoned on family crests and personal coats of arms. But the appearance of a cross upon a shield didn’t just stand for faith, and a symbol could have multiple complex meanings that told a story and explained the faith of a knight.
Read on to learn more about the symbolism of spirituality on a coat of arms design.
- Angels and cherubs weren’t simply symbols of glory. They also represented dignity, honor, and the imminent arrival of joyful tidings.
- A cross crosslet is a symbol where each point of the cross is itself crossed at each end. This is a signifier of the eternal fourfold mystery of the cross.
- A standard cross was an expression of faith and a message that the wearer had served during the Crusades.
- Celtic crosses additionally symbolized the eternal unity between the heavens and Earth.
- A cross fitchee is a cross that is pointed at the base. It’s meant to be a combination between sword and cross, and it implies eternal faith.
- A cross flory has flowers at each end of the cross, and it announces that the wearer has been a conqueror.
- The cross pattee, or cross formee, has arms that narrow at the center. This is a symbol of military valor.
- The cross maltese featured 8 points, and it signified blessings, as well as being the badge of the Knights Hospitaller.
- The cross moline had ends that resembled the iron clamp of a millstone. It represented the Order of St. Benedict and stood for the mutual communication within humanity.
- A cross raguly had ends that resemble the shaft of an arrow, and it symbolized that the wearer encountered difficulties.
- The seraphim was an angel with 3 pairs of wings. This heavenly host represented joyful news, as well as dignity, honor, and God’s glory.