Last updated 3 March 2013.
This collection of articles on medieval and renaissance heraldry is intended to help historical re-creators to choose authentic armory. This archive was created as a parallel to the Academy of S. Gabriel's Medieval Names Archive, originally created by Arval Benicoeur, and as with that site, the articles published here were gathered from various places, and some of them appear elsewhere. We encourage SCA authors to publish their articles on heraldic research with us. Most of the links are current. In all cases, the copyright on each article belongs to its authors. We are also looking for new material on the web; if you have any sources which you would like to recommended to use, please let us know.
Heraldic arms were invented in northwestern France in the mid-12th century. The custom of using arms spread rapidly through western Europe, and was well-established in most western cultures by the end of the 13th century. It spread into eastern Europe by the 14th and 15th centuries, though some cultures there did not develop native heraldry until well after the 16th century. Further information on the origin of heraldry can be found here.
Many medieval re-enactors portray characters derived from cultures that didn't use heraldry, but because of the customs of the organizations in which they participate, they want to use arms anyway. We've written a short article on different approaches to this dilemma. Some other articles discuss approaches for specific non-heraldic cultures.
If you have any questions or comments, or if you have an article that you would like to contribute to this library, please let us know.
Armory and Insignia of Places and Groups of People.
Information About Heralds.
Articles in preparation, currently available only to members of the Academy of S. Gabriel.