Editing armorials

Up to now, there has been no coherent analysis on how late medieval armorials were compiled and excuted, whether in blazon or with arms painted in books (or very rarely on scrolls). The relationships between armorials have been discussed by various commentators from the early observations by Paul Adam-Even, but have rarely had practical influence on editions or papers. Except for Jan Raneke and the present author few have explored the possible sources of surviving armorials and how they were used by their compilers or the contemporary public.

The book Editing armorials. Cooperation, knowledge and approach by late medieval practitioners is an attempt to address some of these problems in a systematic way. The key questions investigated are named in the title. The word 'practitioners' was chosen to emphasize that heralds were not the only ones making or using armorials. The armorials selected comprise 44 medium-to-very large composite amorials from the period c.1350-c.1500, which left the many occasional, institutional and illustrative armorials as well as those present a mural decorations outside the investigation.

The book has three major parts: (1) Analyzing armorials, incl. classification, segmentation, use of alignment, layouts and artistic features, with examples of dating and identifying entries in a segment and the segmentation of an armorial and identifying its sources. (2) Defining six groups of armorials originating in the Burgundian dominions, France, Lorraine, Southern Germany and England. (3) Exploring trends in adressing actual and imaginary arms, assigning arms to individuals, families, towns, orders, and realms. Discussion of professions and individuals involved in the making and preservation of armorials, and the participation of the bookmaking industry.

The social-mental impact and background could only be touched in a cursory way.

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