Heraldic Hierarchies

Identity, Status and State Intervention in Early Modern Heraldry

Edited by Steven Thiry and Luc Duerloo

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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


Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 234 × 156 × 15 mm

274 pages

ISBN: 9789462702431

Publication: June 01, 2021

Languages: English

Stock item number: 142197

Luc Duerloo is professor at the Department of History of the University of Antwerp, where he teaches early modern political and institutional history.
Steven Thiry, PhD, is a voluntary member of ‘Power in History: Centre for Political History’ of the University of Antwerp.