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This is an international history of heraldry and its contemporary uses. It examines the history of heraldry from medieval tournaments to modern applications around the world. It includes a detailed and easily understood explanation of the language of heraldry. It is an informed look at all aspects of heraldry. It is lavishly illustrated throughout including fascinating archive material, and specially commissioned artworks. The history and language of heraldry - its origins and development, heralds and the Law of Arms, the coat of arms, the language of heraldry, messages and declarations. It explains the applications of heraldry from royal heraldry and nobility, civic and state heraldry, and global heraldry, to the continuity of heraldry today. This informative book looks not only at the medieval world in which heraldry thrived, but also at its language, the elaborate system of coded messages it conveyed, and its inextricable link with chivalry. Featuring more than 700 illustrations, it also covers both the larger aspects of heraldry and everyday heraldic uses, and contains a comprehensive glossary. The international uses of heraldry and the way different countries have interpreted it are also included. Most of Europe and the Americas are covered as well as Scandinavia, Africa and Japan. Novices and experts alike will benefit from the breadth of the content of this masterly history.