Byzantine heraldry

For most of its history, the Byzantine Empire did not know or use heraldry in the West European sense. Various emblems were used in official occasions and for military purposes, such as banners or shields displaying motifs such as the cross, the "labarum", images of saints, the imperial eagle and geometric patterns, but, unlike the Western feudal lords, Byzantine aristocratic families did not, as far as is known, use specific symbols to designate themselves and their followers. Only from the 12th century onwards, when the Empire came in increased contact with Westerners because of the Crusades, did heraldry begin to be used among Byzantines. Even then however, the thematology was largely derived from the symbols employed in earlier ages, and its use was limited to the major families of the Empire.

Dynastic Arms

Other Arms, Flags, and Emblems

Sources

* [http://www.christopherlong.co.uk/per/vlasto.byzantium.html Heraldry In Byzantium & The Vlasto Family]
* [http://www.heraldica.org/topics/national/byzantin.htm Byzantine Heraldry] at "heraldica.org"


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