Coat of arms I designed for a book telling a story about an imaginary kingdom.
* Heraldry, the science and the art that deal with the use, display, and regulation of hereditary symbols employed to distinguish individuals, armies, institutions, and corporations. Those symbols, which originated as identification devices on flags and shields, are called armorial bearings. Strictly defined, heraldry denotes that which pertains to the office and duty of a herald; that part of his work dealing with armorial bearings is properly termed armory. But in general usage heraldry has come to mean the same as armory. The initial meaning of the term herald is disputed, but the preferred derivation is from the Anglo-Saxon here (“army”) and wald (“strength” or “sway”).
In the second half of the 12th century the men who supervised festivities and delivered invitations to guests were often the same minstrels who, after tournaments and battles, extolled the virtues and deeds of the victors. Heralds can be identified in the descriptions of tournaments from about 1170. The duties of minstrels and messengers appear then to have merged, and, as the minstrels recounted the deeds and virtues of their masters and their masters’ ancestors, their interest in genealogy developed. That new skill was related to their tournament duties, which included the necessity to recognize the banners and shields of all those invited to attend. As heraldry developed its elaborate technical language and as armorial display expanded in subsequent centuries, so the importance and consequent status of heralds grew.