Author: Steen Clemmensen


Out now! Editing armorials. Cooperation, knowledge and approach by late medieval practitioners

The title of these books can be interpreted both actively and passively. The active form is when one or more manuscripts are being transcribed, the arms identified and commented on, and the whole analyzed and published. Less effort may suffice and leave the armorial as just a listing of transcribed items with or without identification. More or less critical editions have been published over the years and more are...


Show me a coat-of-arms: The Lyncenich armorial.

Elmar Hofman recently summarized a number of research problems concerning medieval armorials, among which were: by whom and for what purpose(s) were they made (https:/ on 20/09/2016)? Though I know that Elmar does put great importance on knowing both content and context of any armorial studied, I felt that for the casual reader, he somewhat underplayed the descriptive work needed before any serious discussion can take place. That was...


Evaluating armorials (IV) – Grünenberg, the unfortunate armorist

The last post in the series on evaluating armorials is a case study of the famous Grünenberg armorial, in which different elements that have been discussed in the previous posts return.   There is one question that is seldom asked: How reliable is the studied armorial  – or to rephrase it: Can we trust a single occurrence of a coat of arms? The answer would in any case be...


Evaluating armorials (III) – Comparing armorials

In the first two parts of this series on evaluating armorials, many mistakes regarding coats of arms and legends have been discussed. This third part deals with the topic of comparing different armorials, and in this process the incorrect coats of arms prove to be quite useful. Comparing armorials can be important for several reasons. As we have seen in Steen Clemmensen’s previous blogposts, it is not uncommon to...


Evaluating armorials (II) – Variant coats of arms

The first part of these series on evaluating armorials dealt with the identification of coats of arms in armorials. It appeared that many armorials were copied and that copyists were prone to make mistakes. This sometimes leaves the researcher with different coats of arms for the same family. This post deals with the problematic of these variant coats of arms more thoroughly by discussing their origins and how they...


Evaluating armorials (I) – Identifying coats of arms

Having edited a number of armorials and shown several of them to be dependent on the same sources, the editors of Heraldica Nova asked me: How does one evaluate an armorial and its contents? The short answer is by having common sense, lots of reference materials and treating armorials as non-verbal prose. In this first part of this series on how to evaluate armorial, I will deal with the...


An Ordinary of Medieval Armorials

Background and purpose Which researcher has not been irritated of the unavailability of a source needed for study or reference. Though the recent years has seen a multitude of medieval armorials coming into print or be placed on the internet, it can still be difficult to find a needed item or to identify an unknown coat-of-arms. Except for two publications on English arms and a single index the available...

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