Heraldry In the Renaissance Times
Cynthia Xu Core 1 Humanities
Heraldry in the middle ages was special as symbolic designs, also called, insignia, were passed down from each generation to the next. Around the beginning of the twelfth century, the Song dynasty in China brought prosperity to the country, teachings at Oxford University has begun, and the First Crusade to recapture Jerusalem proved successful. As the twelfth century sprung into action, China began to stitch books together, the first prisoner of the Tower of London escapes, and the Second Crusade, which ended in the army surrendering, began. In the midst of the chaos, heraldry was formed. Heraldry had represented the family and qualities of a knight and was one of the best symbols of the medieval ages and the Renaissance times.
The origin of heraldry dates back to the crusades, when knights started using designs they saw used by Arab and Byzantine soldiers. At the start, only kings and other nobility used ...view middle of the document...
Coats of arms used by towns often displayed crossed keys as a symbol of loyalty to the pope. Seaports used ships on their coats of arms while crusaders used crosses. When helmets developed wider visors, heraldic symbols might have been emblemed into them. Knights also began to wear feathers, the colors of their coat of arms, on their helmets.
Like everything humans do, heraldry needed rules; so at the end of the 12th century A.D, basic rules for heraldry began to develop. A specific set of colors and a basic pattern were used by each noble family. Two basic colors were used. A darker color, red, blue, black, green, or purple, and a lighter metallic color, yellow for gold and white for silver. The purpose of using these colors was to create a contrasting pattern that could be seen as far as an arrow could fly. If the wrong combination of colors was used, the knight would be banned from tournaments. The only exception was the coat of arms used by the king of Jerusalem. The coat of arms would consist of gold and silver in order to exalt the status of the king of Jerusalem. The background of the was called the field, while the main figure was called the charge. Special insignia would indicate younger members of a family. If men married into powerful families, then they would sometimes add their wife’s coat of arms to their own in a system that was called “quartering”.
The type of the colors on the coats of arms were split into three categories. Metals included gold, called or, and silver, called argent. The colors yellow and white represented those metals respectively. The furs were ermine, erminois, ermines, pean, and vair. The furs were marks of dignity while gold and silver represented generosity and elevation of mind, and peace and sincerity respectively. The colors, red, orange, green, blue, purple, black, and maroon, represented the traits of military strength and magnanimity; worthy ambition, hope, joy, and loyalty in love; truth and loyalty; royal majesty, sovereignty, and justice; constancy or grief; and patience in battle, yet victorious, respectively.
By the mid 1300’s, heraldry became symbols of family and of noble birth; and by 1484, the king known as Richard III created Herald’s College of Arms to decide who had the right to use a coat of arms.