Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Family coat of arms
(754 words)

The history of coats of arms begins in the Middle Ages. From the 12th century, the easily visible colored markings on knights' armor, helmets, and weapons, which originally merely served to tell them apart in their anonymous protective gear, began to develop into a heritable “badge” (designed in accordance with the rules of heraldry (Arms)) for a person, corporation, family, or city. The family and clan coats of arms of the nobility were particularly important: like tombs, funerary inscriptions (Epitaph), archives, and galleries of ancestors, the family coat of arms f…

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Gersmann, Gudrun, “Family coat of arms”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 26 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_019131>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180126

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