Author: Elmar Hofman

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The Bavarian Charlemagne: Communicating through attributed coats of arms

The series of Bavarian princes in a late 15th-century manuscript contains an interesting coat of arms attributed to Charlemagne. It differs slightly from the common design of his arms. This subtle variation can open a door to more insights into the function of coats of arms as a performative means of communication. Charlemagne’s arms This coat of arms of Charlemagne consists of three elements: per pale, the dexter half Or, a double-headed...

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The material of the Berry armorial

This is the second post in the series on armorials, in which each time a manuscript from the digitized armorials list will be highlighted (click here for the list). The armorial will not be treated in full, but specific aspects, problems or ideas will be discussed. Your thoughts on these issues are valuable and therefore you are more than welcome to share your ideas and comments.   Paris, BnF,...

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[Report:] Heraldry in Medieval and Early Modern State-Rooms, Münster 16-18 March

On 16-18 March 2016 the workshop Heraldry in Medieval and Early Modern State-Rooms took place in Münster. The origins of this workshop lay in the challenges of understanding the function of the heraldic display in one particular state-room: the sala dos brasões of the National Palace in Sintra, Portugal, dating from the early sixteenth century. The ceiling of this hall presents the coats of arms of the Portuguese royal...

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A treasure hidden in plain sight. The armorial behind the Schichtbuch

This is the first post in a new series on armorials, in which each time a manuscript from the digitized armorials list will be highlighted (click here for the list). The armorial will not be treated in full, but specific aspects, problems or ideas will be discussed. Your thoughts on these issues are valuable and therefore you are more than welcome to share your ideas and comments. Manuscript The...

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[Report:] Heraldry in the Medieval City: The Case of Italy in the European Context, Rome 5-7 May 2015

On 5-7 May the École française de Rome was home to the fifth workshop in the conference series Journées Héraldiques. This time the conference was dedicated to the topic of ‘Heraldry in the Medieval City’. The event was opened by the organizers LAURENT HABLOT and TORSTEN HILTMANN, who introduced the key points of this workshop. Heraldry is often exclusively perceived as part of an aristocratic culture. Traditionally, cities and...

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[Paper:] Elmar Hofman (Münster), What is an armorial? Presentation in Münster, 20 May

Everybody agrees that the Bellenville manuscript is an armorial. It exclusively consists of collections of coats of arms. However, manuscripts are often not as homogenous as Bellenville. Some works we regard as armorials do not only hold collections of coats of arms, but texts and images as well, while other works with text, images and some collections of coats of arms are not considered armorials. What is the difference?...

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PhD Project: Structure and Function of Medieval Armorials – Part 2

In the last blogpost concerning my PhD project, I briefly sketched some of the starting points of my research. These remain largely unchanged, but I have refined my view on them. In this second blog post, I will highlight one of the approaches in my research on the structure and function of medieval armorials. Armorials and Codicology One of the first things I noticed when I started studying armorials is that...

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[paper:] New perspectives on the armorial in the Schichtbuch (Elmar Hofman) – Wolfenbüttel 21 November 2014

The Schichtbuch is a renowned manuscript. Written in the 1510’s, it described the numerous civil revolts that struck Braunschweig in the Middle Ages. Various parts of this Schichtbuch have been subjected to thorough research, but there is one section that has been ignored by scholars: the armorial. That is a pity, since the armorial in the Schichtbuch is unique in several ways. It depicts the coats of arms of...

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Report of the conference ‘Peintres et artistes heraldistes au Moyen Âge / Heraldic artists and painters in the Middle Ages’ – Poitiers 10-11 April 2014

The fourth edition of the ‘Journées d’études héraldiques’ was dedicated to the heraldic artist. Well-known artists such as Donatello, the Limbourg brothers and Barthélemy van Eyck were engaged in heraldic and emblematic depictions, but most of the heraldic presentations were produced by a large number of artists that have been living under the historical radar. In fact, the role these artists played in the heraldic depictions of the Middle...

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Thorsten Hutwelker, Die Darstellung des Rangs in Wappen und Wappenrollen des späten Mittelalters

Can one determine the rank of a person through his coats of arms? Can armorials be used to examine social hierarchy? These are the exciting questions posed by Thorsten Huthwelker in his book Die Darstellung des Rangs in Wappen und Wappenrollen des späten Mittelalters. He has chosen an interesting as well as a difficult object of study and this review will discuss whether Huthwelker managed to tackle the many...

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Georg Scheibelreiter, Wappen im Mittelalter, Darmstadt 2014

There is no shortage on introductions to heraldry. Recent publications by for example Václav Vok Filip and Georg Scheibelreiter himself were added to the bookshelf already filled with classics such as Galbreath/Jéquier’s Lehrbuch der Heraldik and Neubecker’s Wappen.[1] This book, however, promises to be something different. It is not meant to be an introduction to nor a textbook on heraldry, but a study on the human need to identify...

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Lecture on the Armorial of Guillaume Revel by Mathieu Lescuyer and Olivier Matteoni at the Bibliothèque National de France, 27 May 2014

The fifteenth century has witnessed the birth of many beautifully executed armorials, some of which are richly decorated, while others contain interesting literary and symbolic representations. In this group of armorials, the Armorial of Guillaume Revel (also known as the Armorial d’Auvergne, du Bourbonnais and du Forez) stands out. This book not only includes miniatures on the first pages of the manuscript and evidently a great number of coats...