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1.1 Origins and characteristics 

THE BEGINNING - A PRACTICAL NEED 

The closed helm that was introduced in the 12th century covered the face of the bearer. 

To identify himself, every knight chose a unique design which he displayed on his shield and garments as well as on his horse's mantle.

The term 'coat of arms'
derives from the surcoat
the knight wore over his
armour.


The first shield believed to be heraldic is the one granted by King Henry I of England in 1127 to Geoffrey, Count of Anjou.

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