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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

A herald wearing a tabard
Flags of the Nordic countries

Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

Selected article

Ireland King of Arms was the title of an Irish officer of arms from 1392 until the accession of Henry VII as King of England in 1485. The office was replaced in 1552 by that of Ulster King of Arms, which in 1943 was merged with Norroy King of Arms forming the present office of Norroy and Ulster King of Arms. In theory, Ireland King of Arms enjoyed heraldic jurisdiction in the whole of the Lordship of Ireland. (more...)

Selected biography

Sir John Vanbrugh in Godfrey Kneller's Kit-cat portrait, considered one of Kneller's finest portraits.

Sir John Vanbrugh (pronounced "Van'-bru") (January 24, 1664? – March 26, 1726) was an English dramatist, officer of arms and architect, perhaps best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace. He wrote two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697), which have become enduring stage favourites but originally occasioned much controversy.

Vanbrugh was in many senses a radical throughout his life. As a young man and a committed Whig, he was part of the scheme to overthrow James II, put William III on the throne and protect English parliamentary democracy, dangerous undertakings which landed him in the dreaded Bastille of Paris as a political prisoner. In his career as a playwright, he offended many sections of Restoration and 18th-century society, not only by the sexual explicitness of his plays, but also by their messages in defence of women's rights in marriage. He was attacked on both counts, and was one of the prime targets of Jeremy Collier's Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage. In his architectural career, he created what came to be known as English Baroque. His architectural work was as bold and daring as his early political activism and marriage-themed plays, and jarred conservative opinions on the subject. Vanbrugh also held the heraldic offices of Carlisle Herald and Clarenceux King of Arms. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of the Republic of China

The flag of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, was first used in mainland China by the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) in 1917 and was made the official flag of the ROC in 1928. It was enshrined in the 6th article of the Constitution of the Republic of China when it was promulgated in 1947. Since 1949, the flag is mostly used within Taiwan where the Republic of China relocated after having lost the Chinese Civil War to the People's Republic of China.

In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth (traditional Chinese: , , 滿; simplified Chinese: , , ; pinyin: Qīng Tiān, Bái Rì, Mǎn Dì Hóng) to reflect its attributes. The canton (upper corner on the hoist side) originated from the "Blue Sky with a White Sun flag" proposed by Lu Hao-tung in 1895 and adopted as the KMT party flag. The "red earth" portion was added by Sun Yat-sen in 1906. After the Republican revolution, the provisional Senate selected the "Five-Colored Flag" as the national flag in 1912. After President Yuan Shikai suppressed the KMT, Sun Yat-sen established a government-in-exile in Tokyo and eventually a rival government in Guangzhou in 1917, using the KMT flag as the national ROC flag. This flag was made the official national flag on December 17, 1928 after the Northern Expedition toppled the Beiyang government. (more...)

Selected picture

[[Royal Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland.svg|200px|Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland]]

The Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms of the monarchs of Scotland and the Kingdom of Scotland until the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

Did you know...

Flag of Denmark

  • ...that the Dannebrog (pictured) is the oldest state flag in the world still in use, with the earliest undisputed source dating back to the 14th century?

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