Heraldic Ordinaries

The Heraldic Ordinaries are divided into two main forms, the Honourable Ordinaries and the Sub-Ordinaries. These are the most simple charges, geometrical shapes and devices, found on the shield. They appear as partitions of the field, but in actual fact they are indeed objects (charges) on the shield. The cross, fess, bar, bend, saltire, chief and chevron are examples of these ordinaries. These shapes are found in heraldry worldwide and Malta is surely no exception.

The origins of these charges are indeed very curious. It is said that in the past, after battle, the General would have his officers and soldiers lay their shields before him for inspection. To reward those who fought best, judging from the cuts, strokes and slashes they received on their shield, he would grant these lines and shapes as the marks of honour to be depicted or engraved on the shield.