The coats of arms originated in the Middle Ages. That is why it is not surprising that in the illustrations of the time or in any film that is shot with that time as a context we come across knights riding their steeds and wearing his family heraldry. Over time, this practice fell into disuse and today it could be said that there are two streams: a professional who is interested in the history, meaning and study of the coats of arms and another more playful focused on the business that involves the sale of the coat of arms of a surname.
Well, before going on to explain how you can know family heraldry, it must be made very clear that this last trend it has no historical rigor. What’s more, according to the specialized website Heraldic Library “It is very important to show the difference between what the coat of arms of a lineage and a surname means. Most of us are neither noble nor noblemen and we cannot pretend to use a shield just because it bears our surname, because each shield belongs to a single lineage, that is, to a family branch of a surname. If we are not direct descendants of that family lineage, we do not have the right to use the coat of arms that was granted to that family ”. And to exemplify it, they refer to the fact that there are more than 60 shields of the Sánchez and even more than 400 of the García.
And they warn that “when a page on the Internet proposes to send a coat of arms of ‘their’ surname in exchange for a few euros or a few dollars, what they are doing is misleading them into believing that the coat of arms that is the namesake of their surname is that of his family. Just a genealogical research he can confirm that his origin and that of the shield they are trying to sell him correspond to his lineage ”.
A whole science
Thus, the clarification of the Heraldic Library makes it very clear that not everyone has a coat of arms or that all Rodriguez can be identified with the same symbols. And it is that, as it explains The Heraldic Corner of the Ministry of Culture and SportsWe are talking about a “discipline that studies the coats of arms of a family, dynasty, an institution or a locality”.
And to understand it better, it refers us to its origins back in the 11th to 13th centuries, in the Middle Ages. This feudal age was mired in constant conflicts between noble houses and kingdoms in which the borders were constantly changing. In this context, for knights and nobility it was essential distinguish yourself both in battle and in jousts and tournaments, so they began to expose their weapons, colors and symbols in coats of arms that in turn showed in shields.
This trend began in Europe, but with the Crusades it spread to the Middle East. In addition, it was penetrating society in such a way that the coat of arms no longer only identified a specific knight, but also began to be inherited, thus creating a lineage.
Needless to say, having a blazon or shield of his own happened to suppose a recognition symbol and a certain high social status. So much so that even today families that have their own and that come from one of these lineages continue to display it with pride.
Do you have family heraldry?
As we have pointed out, not all people have a coat of arms, since not all come from a lineage that possesses it. To find out, you can go to the aforementioned The Heraldry Corner and check it in the various sources listed there, which belong to the Stock Archives collection. Among the most prominent are the following:
What are the coats of arms like?
Although you have seen them hundreds of times and you get an idea of what they represent, you should know that they have different parts, which are perfectly delimited. All of them are characterized by having a geometric form which in turn is divided. This is called waiting table and in it the main elements are located.
Besides, a shield can be accompanied by a motto or motto, with supports or tenants to «hug» him and with a doorbell in the upper part, in which they are included from the Crown, until helmets, tops, burelets or lambrequins. The interior of the shield, that is, the aforementioned waiting table, is divided into nine points, highlighting the one located in the upper central part (that of the Boss) and the one in the middle (called Heart or Abyss).
Likewise, beyond the figures that populate it, the shields also have other geometric figures and charges that have their own nomenclature (strip, cross, band, canton, label …). And the colors have a great importance too. There are five main ones: gules (Red), sinople (green), saber (black), azure (blue) and purple (purple), and combine with two metals (gold and silver) and two liners (ermines and see you).