Heraldry, also known as armory, is an art in perfect harmony with this flourishing age of chivalry. Among civilized folk, heraldry is strongly supported by the noble classes. This is partly due to the exclusive right of gentle folk to bear arms and partly due to the color and pageantry involved. On the practical side, military helmets tend to obscure the face, while armour and shields disguise gait and build. There is an urgent need to quickly identify friend or foe on the battlefield and heraldry does this well.
The proper name for a complete heraldic bearing is an achievement; it is a coat of arms only when the arms are depicted on a coat, usually a surcoat. An achievement has a number of possible elements, most of which must be registered with the College of Heralds to be legal.
Illustrations of all common heraldic symbols and devices are included, greatly expanded from the original article.