Heraldry is the profession and study of granting, devising and blazoning arms. Strictly speaking the word ‘heraldry’ comes from Anglo-Norman and refers to all matters considering the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms. However, the focal point of heraldry is based on the practice of displaying, describing, designing and recording coats of arms as well as heraldic badges.
Historically heraldry has been often described as the so-called “floral border in the garden of history”. Its origins lie in the need to distinguish rivals, opponents, and other participants in situations of combat especially when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmets. At this point it has to be stressed that a formal system of specific rules developed into ever more complex and different forms of heraldry.
The system of blazoning arms is nowadays especially used in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scotland. It is a system that was developed by the officers of arms in the Middle Ages. Fact is that there are certain rules considering the art of heraldry. In spite of everything the rules and terminology differ from country to country. Consequently several national styles of the art heraldry developed in the course of years within the Middle Ages. But there exist also some other aspects that carry over internationally and are therefore important in countries all around the world.
In spite of the fact is that the studies and the art of heraldry are almost 900 years old, nowadays it is still very much in use as well as in great demand. So many cities within whole Europe and towns all around the world make use of arms, armorial bearings and coat of arms. In this context it has also to be mentioned that a special type of heraldry, namely the so-called personal heraldry, developed in countries all around the world. Strictly speaking personal heraldry is legally protected as well as lawfully assumed and in use all over the world.
Furthermore there exist heraldic societies that promote education and understanding about the whole subject – the studies and the art of heraldry.