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A Concordance of Heraldic Terminology

TL;DR: The International Heraldry Phrasebook provides translations of 500 blazon terms between six different languages.

When reviewing documents about medieval and early-modern European armory, it’s quite common to encounter blazons in languages other than English. In some cases, automated translation tools such as Google’s will suffice, but the degree of specialized heraldic jargon sometimes exceeds their grasp, or yields a confusing jumble that doesn’t resemble a workable blazon.

In the middle of the last century, the short book Vocabulaire-Atlas Heraldic, by Gaston Ferdinand Laurent Stalins, attempted to address a similar need by providing a concordance of over 500 terms, showing their equivalents in each of English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch, along with corresponding illustrations.

For about twenty five years, a tool on heraldica.org provided online access to this phrasebook, but sadly it stopped working recently, and I offered to help construct a replacement.

The resulting new International Heraldry Phrasebook page contains the same concordance, presented as a table with a few simple interactive features to let you search for matching terms or narrow the range of languages to those of interest.

My thanks to Barbara Johannessen-Bailey for her dilligent work in reviewing and correcting the text data. For use in other projects you can retrieve the table of terms in CSV format

Given that the source data is from the middle of the 1900s, the usage might not match either the terms we use today or those found during the Society’s period of study, and it’s likely that it contains a few errors, both in the original and in our transcription — if you spot any mistakes, please do let me know!

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