Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Coat of Arms in Classic Literature

It has always been my intention to write on this subject. For readers who live in Europe and are well-acquaintanced with coat-of-arms, perhaps this sopic is not really interesting. But for readers who, like me, live far away from that part of the globe, the idea of coat-of-arms is something quite novel, and sometimes confusing.

Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately), many classic writers love to insert them in their writings, providing the reader with a character or a family's coat-of-arms, blazoned as it should be in description. It leaves its own trouble for the reader, of course, who are not accustomed to that idea, to decipher the meanings of the blazon.

Faced by such trouble, I spent my holiday few years ago studying the coat-of-arms. The purpose: to understand it whenever I encounter it in a book. Its complicated, of course, but the main idea is not really difficult, and with the help of Heraldica.org, a website that provides us with glossary, that task become more simple than expected.

I will not say that I'm an expert, because I'm not. I still have a lot to learn and coat-of-arms is a lot of things, not among those easy. But I will try to do my best.

What is coat-of-arms?

Coat-of-arms is a symbol representing family, country, or organization. It gives information about the identity of the bearer. It's common in Europe, and the nobles in England, French, and Italy usually have one. Coat-of-arms appear in symbol of shields, decorated with pictures and colours, plus other things around, such as crest, motto, supporters, and so on. (I will add more details in futura articles if necessary.) The way it is described formally is called blazon.

I will make series of articles, containing one coat-of-arms from classic literature. I will try to blazon it, and provide readers with a picture that I think will resemble it. I will also explain the meaning of each term in the arms, and thus help readers to know more about it. Please wait for the articles. I will provide them shortly.

For more information regarding the coat-of-arms and its blazon, please visit heraldica.org.

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