Over 900 Years of History…
Step back to the years between 1096 and 1099, the time of the first Crusades.
Imagine that you find yourself in a European army of Crusaders confronted by Islamic troops – scary stuff! The good news is that your chances of survival are greatly increased thanks to a brilliant invention – the helmet with a visor. The bad news is that the helmet made you unrecognizable, making it impossible to distinguish between friend and foe during the heat of battle!
The solution? Introduce some kind of markings on your armor. The largest and most visible area was the shield. This area gave you the 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? It’s no wonder then that the shield, helmet, and crest are the most important design elements of a full coat of arms.
Coats of Arms and the Middle Class
These origins help explain why coats of arms are commonly misunderstood to be reserved for knights and nobility alone. It took just a few centuries after they first came into use before a middle-class family became entitled to bear one.
The coat of arms played a central role for the middle-class family in two ways. 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 of the time to understand who held which property. Thus, the armorial seal became an indispensable means of communication in society.
Are you interested in understanding how this centuries-old tradition connects with your modern life, as well as how it might form a connection with your children and future generations? Our experts can help you create a new coat of arms for you and your family!