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Did knights in medieval Europe wear the colors of their own arms, those of the lord they were serving, or some combination? Was this significantly different in different parts of the continent, or time periods? In peacetime vs when at war?

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    The rules for heraldry varied between countries and cultures, so there's no single correct answer to your question. You might want to read the wikipedia entries for heraldry and Law of heraldic arms as a starting point. – Steve Bird Jul 19 '15 at 7:34
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At the rising of heraldry we could say many of coats of arms were assuming arbitrarily. But after the institution of colleges of heralds(arms), especially in Western Europe, the practice of assuming of arms became more and more regulate during the time. It is obvious that at the beginning there were no laws even in designing(devices) of arms, let alone tincture. Kingdom of Jerusalem's coat of arms (as a early one) is one of the most famous instances of irregularity in canon of tincture: "Argent, a cross potent between four plain crosslets Or."

  • Those with coats of arms used them: that's what they're for. No one had an idea of uniforms. Feudal warriors showed up in whatevahs. The exception would be if someone made a gift of matching clothes to his servitors (cloth is cheaper by the bolt). What non-armigerous people wore to distinguish sides or groups were badges, like wearing a leek or a stem of broom in your hat. Later these might be a cast lead design with a pin, like you see Scottish clan badges. – Zither13 Jul 22 '15 at 17:08

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