Abstract and Keywords
Medieval people who had authority acquired it through lineage and success in battle; they symbolized their social positions by display of costume, jewellery, gold and silver plate, weapons, buildings, and funeral monuments. Some of these represented portable wealth that could be used as gifts to create and confirm alliances, and as pledges against loans. Royal power was bestowed at coronations, for which appropriate regalia were needed. Heraldry and coats of arms became increasingly important for those high in the social structure or aspiring to it. Those of lower status might own things made in base metal, pottery, and stone, but whether any of those expressed symbols of resistance to the power of authority is debatable. The need to exercise that authority through the permanency of written documents led to increased use of seals for authentication.
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