Excerpts from the book





Written and illustrated by

Carl Alexander von Volborth , K.St.J., A.I.H.

Copenhagen 1973


Internet version edited by Andrew Andersen, Ph.D.










The Special Features of Heraldry in Various Countries

(pp. 190 -191)



In heraldry, as in painting and architecture, one can distinguish not merely what is characteristic of certain epochs but also what is typical in style for the various nations. In some countries there was a predilection for a certain form of shield, a certain type of helmet and certain specific devices; in other countries for a different shield, different helmet and different devices. And the depiction of the same devices can vary from country to country. An eagle was not portrayed in England in the same way as it was in Germany. In this manner a number of national features developed.


In spite of the fact that heraldry contains the same basic elements everywhere, one is aware of a distinct historical and cultural atmosphere when one compares for example the arms of a Spanish hidalgo (Figs 660 and 661) with a comparable Hungarian coat of arms (Figs 618, 619 and 621), or the arms of a British knight (Fig. 329) with those of a Polish nobleman (Figs 801 and 802). French heraldry, taking the city arms of Rouen and Limoges (Figs 455 and 457) as examples, seems often to reflect the country's history under the Bourbon kings and the influence of the Roman Church, while Russian arms (Figs 815 and 829) bring to mind the armies of knights who fought the Mongols on the steppes of Russia. And does not the histrionic classicism of Napoleonic heraldry (pp. 903) remind us of the imperial generals and the imperial guards in their ostentatious uniforms?


In the following pages an attempt is made with the help of the corresponding coloured plates to describe and give examples of the heraldic characteristics of the various countries in their modern form.