The Purpose of this Blog
This academic blog is designed as a place to present and discuss ideas and material related to a new kind of engagement with heraldic sources, focusing on the cultural and historical background of their use.
The history of coats of arms and heraldic communication in the Middle Ages has remained astonishingly untouched by developments in the humanities over the last thirty years, with the increasing turn towards issues raised by cultural history (the pictorial turn, analysis in symbolic communication, visual culture) – although a new generation of scholars throughout Europe is now giving new accents to their treatment.
This blog shall provide a platform for this endeavour and help to connect and bring forward the discussion on this field of research.
Previous engagements with coats of arms have largely been shaped by the conceptions of classical heraldry. Usually understood as an ancillary discipline of history itself, it is often overlooked that heraldry – as the doctrine of coats of arms, their formal rules and their proper description or visual representation – is an academic discipline sui generis, and follows its own questions and methods.
This does not mean that one cannot learn from the other. On the contrary, by accepting the different interests of heraldists and historians, there are plenty of opportunities to profit from each other’s respective competences. Heraldists are therefore explicitly invited to join the blog and to share their questions and observations as well as taking part in discussions. This blog may also serve as a platform to advertise the publications of new academic resources and tools for the study of medieval heraldic sources.
But in the end, emphasis is put on the free flow of discussions and on the unlimited and unrestricted sharing of ideas and findings to benefit each other.