Coat of Arms Most people believe a coat of arms to be a shield of some sort that knights used in the middle ages to protect themselves in battle. In reality, a coat of arms consists of more than just a shield. There are actually five elements in a coat of arms: the shield, the crest, the helm, the wreath and the mantle or mantling. Each of these elements creates what is know as a coat of arms. While it is true that knights did indeed wear coats of arms during battle, the emblem was not only found on the armor used for protection in battle but also appeared on flags and clothing. GRAFICA There exists some debate as to the history and the creation of the coat of arms. The most wide spread theory is that coats of arms were needed as a means of identifying knights in battle. The idea was that since the knights were masked by helmets during tournaments or fights, the only way to identify their allegiance was by looking at his coat of arms. Therefore when two kingdoms fought each other, the purveyor could and would take the arms of the victim and hoist it as a trophy and as a sign of victory. Aside from winning coats of arms in battle there were several other means of acquiring a coat of arms. Another way is to inherit from the family. THis brings about the idea of heraldry and genealogy, two concepts closely tied to coats of arms. Royal families were not the only ones to commission coats of arms, hence many families possessed such emblems that could symbolize family wealth, stature and standing. A common novelty today is to genealogically trace the family name and discover the history of it. For various prices ranging from $49.95 and up, you can be the proud owner of an authentic coat of arms of your family. For a little more money, you too could be like the knights and carry the coat on a flag, or maybe wear it on a T-shirt or drink out of a coffee mug with it embossed.
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