The issue of heraldry as a codified system of signs, symbols and images used by the aristocracy of the Medieval West is well known and explored. Unfortunately this is not the case of the similar and contemporary phenomena that appear during the 13th-15th centuries in Byzantium and the wider area – in Medieval Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldavia, etc. This paper will not discuss the somewhat controversial issue of the existence or not of feudalism in the Byzantine world, but aims to focus on the visual representations of the ruling emperors, dynasties, patriarchs, other dignitaries and noble people that composed the elite and therefore used a specific ‘language’ of signs and symbols to manifest their status. Among images and motifs such as the double-headed eagle, the fleur-de-lis, the gaming square, the rampant lion, should be mentioned. It is still rather unclear if the origin of this imagery could be traced in the West, with which Byzantium and the other Orthodox countries maintained intensive relations, and where heraldry already existed as a system since the 11th-12th centuries. At first glance the borrowing and imitation of the Western visual language representing a fully developed feudal order sounds quite reasonable. On the other hand however, a more thorough approach would prove that the ‘heraldry’ in the Byzantine East has its own specific and distinct meaning and use, and in many cases its origins should be traced far beyond any Western influences. The aforementioned ‘heraldic’ symbols and depictions were almost never linked to a particular aristocrat, noble family or dynasty, but were either put into widespread and shared use by different dignitaries or were aimed to represent a general concept of state and power. First and foremost, the most common and personalized symbols of the elite were not in the form of coats of arms or any other figurative images, but in the form of monograms. One possible explanation for that major distinctive feature might be the higher level of education and literacy that the society, or at least its elite, obtained. Furthermore the tradition of abbreviating personal and family names and titles in this specific way dates back to the Early Byzantine period, when emperors and empresses like Justinian (527-565) and Theodora used to mark with monograms their construction achievements. And this practice, never abandoned, grew even more common in the Late Byzantine period. It became a fashion to the point that monograms were present åverywhere: depicted on fortification walls and towers, carved on the sculptural decoration of churches, embroidered on precious textiles, engraved on richly adorned jewellery and even incised on ceramic vessels, used in everyday life. During the 14th century this fashion was embraced and put into wide use by the tsars, the patriarchs and other dignitaries of Medieval Bulgaria. The use of monograms to represent ruler’s names and titles could be traced by late 14th century also in the fractured Western Balkans as well as to the north of Danube. And it well demonstrates the existence of a special visual language employed by the elites of the Byzantine world in order to communicate between each other, but also to display their status within the society and in foreign relations.