I love this – I’ve published on arms and seals and the uses of medieval iconography in my academic life, but this is a really fun exercise and might be useful for self-reflection.
Some medieval facts:
> If you weren’t important enough to have your own arms, you would bear those of your lord. For example, William Marshall (1146/7-1219) started off in the household of the Tankervilles and bore their arms until he was allowed to carry his own. [You’ll notice he was very long-lived: nobles often lived beyond 60, with the benefit of good constitution and diet etc].
>There was a sense of visual unity in family crests, but individuals chose what went on them as they inherited the title and lands. Some chose to adopt their father’s, but add something of their own; their son might revert to a further direct paternal ancestor (because patrilineal primogenture was the model of inheritance) and adopt their great-grandfather’s arms without changing it. It depended on what they wanted to convey!
More on my blog (on hiatus): melissajulianjones.wordpress.com
Loved this post!! Recommend giving this blog a follow.
I’ve been trying to make a personal coat of arms (or achievement, as it’s properly known) for a long time now.
First thing’s first: in the UK and many other countries, you can’t just go ahead and design your own coat of arms. To officially acquire one, you have to have one presented to you by the College of Arms. But it’s extremely unlikely they’re ever going to knight me, and if they did, I doubt they’d let me use the one I came up with myself. So, no, this isn’t an official coat of arms.
But it’s a symbol designed using heraldic convention which I could still use to represent myself, especially if I get it copyrighted. So you can do that too, if you have the same peculiar desire to have a coat of arms that I do. (Just don’t go calling yourself a knight on any…
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