Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

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Selected biography

William Camden

William Camden (May 2, 1551–November 9, 1623) was an English antiquarian and historian. He wrote Britannia, the first topographical survey of the island of Great Britain, and Annales, the first detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. In 1597 he was appointed Clarenceux King of Arms to facilitate his research, the post carrying a salary, and the College of Arms at the time being a centre of antiquarian studies. The appointment, however, roused the jealousy of the herald Ralph Brooke, who in retaliation published an attack on Britannia, charging Camden with inaccuracy and plagiarism. Camden successfully defended himself against the charges in subsequent editions of the work. (more...)

Selected coat of arms

Coat of Arms of Canada (since 1994)

The Royal Coat of Arms of Canada (known formally as the Arms of His/Her Majesty in Right of Canada) is, since 1921, the official coat of arms of the Canadian monarch, and thus also of Canada. It is closely modelled after the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with distinctive Canadian elements replacing or added to those derived from the British.

The maple leaves in the shield, blazoned "proper", were originally drawn vert (green) but were redrawn gules (red) in 1957. A circlet of the Order of Canada was added to the arms for limited use in 1987. The shield design forms the Royal Standard of Canada, and the shield is found on the Canadian Red Ensign. The Flag of the Governor General of Canada, which formerly used the shield over the Union Jack, now uses the crest of the arms on a blue field. (more...)

Selected flag

The flag of India

The National Flag of India was adopted in its present form during an ad hoc meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, twenty-four days before India's independence from the British on 15 August 1947. It has served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950 and that of the Republic of India thereafter.

Designed by Pingali Venkayya, the flag is a horizontal tricolour of "deep saffron" at the top, white in the middle, and green at the bottom. In the centre, there is a navy blue wheel with twenty-four spokes, known as the Ashoka Chakra, taken from the Lion Capital of Asoka erected atop Ashoka pillar at Sarnath. The diameter of this Chakra is three-fourths of the height of the white strip. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is 2:3. The official flag specifications require that the flag be made only of "khadi," a special type of hand-spun cloth made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. The display and use of the flag are strictly enforced by the Indian Flag Code. (more...)

Selected picture

Coats of arms at a medieval reenactment

Coats of arms displayed on shields and gonfalons, and crests mounted on helmets at a reenactment of a medieval tournament.

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Flag of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium

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