Heraldic Hierarchies

Identity, Status and State Intervention in Early Modern Heraldry

Steven Thiry (Editor), Luc Duerloo (Editor),

Category: History, History 1500-1800

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462702431

Publication date: June 1, 2021

€57.00 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 274

Size: 234 x 156 x 15 mm

Number of illustrations: 50

Illustrations and other content description:
kleur in POD (max 35 pp.) Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Stock item: 142197

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Category: History, History 1500-1800

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461663467

ISBN: 9789461663467

Publication date: June 1, 2021

€48.00 (including 6% VAT)

Buy Now

Number of pages: 274

Number of illustrations: 50

Illustrations and other content description:
kleur in POD (max 35 pp.) Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content


The social use and changing character of armorial display in the early modern period
Early modern heraldry was far from a nostalgic remnant from a feudal past. From the Reformation to the French Revolution, aspiring men seized on these signs to position themselves in a changing society, imbuing heraldic tradition with fresh meaning. Whereas post-medieval developments are all too often described in terms of decadence and stifling formality, recent studies rightly stress the dynamic capacity of bearing arms.

Heraldic Hierarchies aims to correct former misconceptions. Contributing authors rethink the influence of shifting notions of nobility on armorial display and expand this topic to heraldry’s share in shaping and contesting status. Moreover, addressing a common thread, the volume explores how emerging states turned the heraldic experience into an instrument of power and policy. Contributing to debates on social and noble identity, Heraldic Hierarchies uncovers a vital and surprising aspect of the pre-modern hierarchical world.

Contributors: Richard Cust (University of Birmingham), Dominique Delgrange (Lille), Luc Duerloo (University of Antwerp), Joseph McMillan (Alexandria VA), Camille Pollet (Université de Nantes), Antoine Robin (École Pratique des Hautes Études), Simon Rousselot (École Pratique des Hautes Études), Clément Savary (École Pratique des Hautes Études), Hamish Scott (Jesus College, Oxford), Steven Thiry (University of Antwerp), José Manuel Valle Porras (Universidad de Córdoba), Nicolas Vernot (Université de Cergy-Pontoise)

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Introduction: Identity, Status and State Intervention in Early Modern Heraldry

Steven Thiry and Luc Duerloo


‘Degrees of Nobles’:

The Aristocratisation of Europe’s Second Estate, c.1300-1700

Hamish Scott

The ‘Pennon’:

Heraldic Witness to Aristocratic Identities in Early Modern France

Clément Savary

Heraldry as a Nobiliary Sign:

What Treatises of Nobility Bring to a Historiographical Debate

Camille Pollet

Political Disruptions and Mamluk Emblematic Evolutions in the Fifteenth Century

Simon Rousselot


To Stand Out by Blazon:

Heraldry, Hierarchy and Social Competition during the Early Modern Period

Nicolas Vernot

‘Que en esa forma me lo haga vuestra merced’:

The Clients of the King of Arms Diego de Urbina and the Heraldic Forgeries in his Certifications of Arms (1584-1623)

José Manuel Valle Porras

L’autorité des hérauts d’armes en question à Lille au début du XVIIe siècle : La Remonstrance burlesque au Roy d’armes pour la noblesse lilloise et son contexte

Dominique Delgrange


The Forge of Honour:

Interpreting Early Modern Policies on Heraldry

Steven Thiry

Emblematic Iconoclasm:

The Case of Charles of Bourbon in 1527

Antoine Robin

Lord Burghley and Displays of Collective Heraldry in Elizabethan England

Richard Cust

American Independence and the Privatisation of Heraldry, 1775-1800

Joseph McMillan


Notes on Contributors

Steven Thiry

Steven Thiry, PhD, is a voluntary member of ‘Power in History: Centre for Political History’ of the University of Antwerp.

Luc Duerloo

Luc Duerloo is professor at the Department of History of the University of Antwerp, where he teaches early modern political and institutional history.

'Heraldic Hierarchies' occupies an important place in the large interdisciplinary literature on state formation in Europe. More precisely, it adds to existing work on the contingent nature of this state formation; it illustrates the complex interaction of state and society in the Early Modern period; and it demonstrates that governments were then seriously concerned about the social distribution of status and its symbolic imagery, including heraldry, the latter of which is today often dismissed, even by some historians, as a pretentious aristocratic pastime. The book also enhances our recognition of the evolution of status as consisting of processes that encompass more than one country. Hopefully this valuable volume will persuade scholars to broaden their research to include the role of heraldry in the social and political processes they are studying. Samuel Clark, European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire, 2022, DOI: 10.1080/13507486.2021.2010899

Refreshingly, the present collection is focused on all that was new in what pertained to the nobility and the Crown in their relations with heraldry in the Early Modern period, and it does not even disdain genealogy. Its various contributors engage readily (and capably) with the key issues: the identification of certain families with the princely state, the increasing division of the nobility into fresh and more sharply delineated hierarchies, the expression of these rankings through heraldry, and the roles purportedly played by heralds – now almost all become servants of the Prince – in regulating heraldry.
Nigel Ramsay, Virtus 28 | 2021 | https://doi.org/10.21827/virtus.28.148-151

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