The Medieval Heraldry Archive

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 Arval Benicoeur's Medieval Names Archive, and as with that site, the articles published here were gathered from various places, and some of them appear elsewhere. In all cases, the copyright on each article belongs to its authors.

What's New

A few notes on medieval heraldry

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.

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.

You can help!

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.

Table of Contents

The Medieval Heraldry Archive is published by The Academy of Saint Gabriel.
© 2000. Copyright on individual articles belongs to their authors.