Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hello world.

Heraldry is a subject matter that I've been fascinated with since I was a child. It's the marriage (marshaling?) of my interests in medieval history with art and design. There are few things more aesthetically pleasing to me than seeing several colorful flags flapping in the wind, or a kaleidoscope of knights' shields and banners charging forward.

There's also something fascinating about the "science" side of heraldry. Yes, science. To newcomers of the subject, you'll be surprised to learn that behind those seemingly arbitrary designs, there is a world of traditions and archaic rules governing not only the design of shields and their accouterments, but also their uses. In fact in order to catalog them, there's even a unique language (called "blazon") devised to describe in text the designs.

This is not my first blog. I've written quite a bit in the past. My first endeavor was to update family and friends while studying abroad in France. Since then, I've written extensively about politics. I'm less interested in that these days.

With "Maine Heraldry" I plan to exhibit my minor research in historical and contemporary uses of arms in the state of Maine. Actually, I shouldn't even call it research. It degrades the years of tedious work completed by scholars before me. I'm mostly just exploring.

I don't plan on writing much about the basics of heraldry. I don't think I could do any better than the countless efforts before me. There is lots of material out their for the nascent heraldry enthusiasts among you. If you're new to the subject, I recommend starting with wikipedia. Admittedly, it only glances over the subject, but it features an extensive References section for further study. For Americans, the next best place (actually, maybe the best starting point) would be visiting the American Heraldry Society website.

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