|About the Book|
Symbols have distinguished friend from foe in warfare throughout recorded history. Organizations of the United States Air Force, like other military organizations, employ heraldic emblems as a means of identification and for esprit de corps. TheMoreSymbols have distinguished friend from foe in warfare throughout recorded history. Organizations of the United States Air Force, like other military organizations, employ heraldic emblems as a means of identification and for esprit de corps. The emblems symbolize the organizations history , mission, or function. Emblematic devices are recorded in the earliest biblical period. Osyris, the grandson of Noah used a Sceptre Royal, insigned on the top with an eye. In the annals of the Trojan War, the Greeks reportedly sported emblems on their shields. Later, the eagle of the Roman legions, a highly visible symbol throughout the empire, represented the might of Imperial Rome. Indeed, before the Middle Ages, all organized tribes and states accepted and used symbols and heraldic devices. None of these devices were hereditary, but they were the predecessors of medieval heraldry.Heraldry as we know it today had its beginning in the early 12th century during the period between the First and Second Crusades. To ensure recognition while wearing armor and a helmet that partially hid the face, enterprising knights began to use identifying symbols and devices called cognizances, which were painted on their shields and embroidered on the pennons (cloth banners) attached to their lances. This practice spread rapidly as warriors from different European lands gathered to participate in tournaments and fight in the Crusades. The inheriting of these cognizances started in western Europe during the second quarter of the 12th century when men of the knightly class began to display on their shields the devices that had been borne by their fathers. During the late 12th and early 13th centuries, heraldic emblems and devices assumed a distinctive and consistently systematic character that identified individuals, families, nobles, knights, establishments, and communities. At this time, a knights cognizance incorporated on his personal seal also became his signature in civil transactions.Among those who played a part in the history of heraldry, the herald was perhaps the most important. Commissioned by the sovereign as his official representative, the herald proclaimed the edicts of the king, carried messages between opposing armies, and issued official proclamations of tournaments and the regulations that governed them. In tournaments, the cognizance that each knight displayed helped the herald distinguish among the mass of armored men. To prevent a knight from duplicating someone elses cognizance, heralds eventually compiled Rolls of Arms that listed the cognizances painted on shields and embroidered on the pennons of the medieval warrior, thereby establishing the system known as heraldry.