Heraldry

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Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of devising, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms.[1] Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander".[1] The word, in its most general sense, encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms.[2] To most, though, heraldry is the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms and heraldic badges.

Historically, it has been variously described as "the shorthand of history"[3] and "the floral border in the garden of history."[4] The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmets.[5] Eventually a formal system of rules developed into ever more complex forms of heraldry.

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