"Though heraldry was not exclusively military, it was important for identifying combatants, for rallying troops, and for maintaining battlefield morale."

In the above sentence What do "rallying troops" and "battlefield morale" mean?

  • 10
    What confused you about this in looking up rally, troop, battlefield and morale in dictionaries?
    – Jon Hanna
    Feb 5, 2014 at 13:04
  • "Rallying" according to English-Persian dictionaries when come with "troops" means (in Persian) arranging soldiers in columns as they do in military parades. but i think this meaning for "rallying troops" is not fit.
    – user64617
    Feb 5, 2014 at 14:20

3 Answers 3


For heraldry, the relevant definition of "rally" is more likely (similar to what you've noted in a comment) this one from m-w.com:

1a : a mustering of scattered forces to renew an effort

That is, the ability to arrange the soldiers usefully and purposefully; it's much easier to form up into a proper fighting formation if you can quickly identify all the members of your team. It doesn't have only to do with parades and presentations, but with combat efficiency and organization.

Battlefield morale is basically a side's collective willingness to keep fighting, to hold ground and advance, or to take bold actions; rather than fleeing, retreating, or using only "safe", defensive strategies.

  • Yes. I had checked Webster before. I use the Unabridged edition all the time, that is a great dictionary...
    – user64617
    Feb 5, 2014 at 17:16

It is axiomatic that soldiers fight better when they are fully committed to their cause and encouraged along the way.

When you "rally the troops," you are encouraging them. Henry V, for example, famously walked among his men the night before battle, encouraging them to give their all for king and country. This was an example of "rallying the troops."

Once they have been so rallied, their morale (their general state of well being and commitment to the battle) was increased.

  • So, as you have said there is correlate relation between the two phrases? (note: in fact, I understand the meaning of each phrase clearly, but on other hand, I try to find the best equivalent phrases in Persian on the base of your descriptions.)
    – user64617
    Feb 5, 2014 at 14:33

"Rallying the troops" means to instill energy and enthusiasm into the troops to fight for their side. "Battlefield morale" refers to how the emotional state of everyone on the battlefield.

The sentence states that heraldry helped to keep the troops psyched about the upcoming battle while also helping to maintain positive morale throughout the battle.


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