The origins of heraldry from the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmets. Eventually a formal system of rules developed into ever more complex forms of heraldry.
The system of that is used in English-speaking countries today was developed by the officers of arms in the Middle Ages. This includes a stylized description of the shield, the crest, and, supporters, mottoes, and other insignia if present. Certain rules apply, and an understanding of these rules is a key to the art of heraldry. The rules and terminology differ from country to country; indeed several national styles had developed by the end of the Middle Ages, but there are some aspects that carry over internationally.
Here in Amtgard, we are not as strict and do not fault anyone for choosing heraldry thad does not follow the formal rules. This is a club, and we want everyone to have fun. However, it is considered bad taste and form to select heraldry that immitates heraldry already in use.
Though heraldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still very much in use. Many cities and towns in Europe and around the world still make use of arms. Personal heraldry, both legally protected and lawfully assumed, has continued to be used around the world. Heraldic societies still exist to promote education and understanding about the subject.
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