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Dictionary of Vexillology: E (Eagle - Eyelet)

Last modified: 2008-01-05 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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1) The name given to a French military colour whose staff displayed a finial in the form of a gilded eagle, used during the Napoleonic era and later Second Empire and based on the eagles of ancient Rome (see 2) below, ‘finial’ and also ‘colour 2)’).
2) The vexilloid carried as a main standard by ancient Roman legions - the aquila (see also ‘aquilifer’, 'signum 1)', ‘standard 5)’, 'vexillary and ‘vexilloid’).

Please note that during the Napoleonic era the eagle-topped staff alone usually acted as a regimental standard whilst on campaign, with the colour itself being retained at a regimental depot.

A diagonal stripe that runs from the lower hoist corner to the upper fly corner, whose corners generally touch the corners of the flag but whose width is entirely contained within the width of the flag – a reduced bend sinister. See ‘bend’ in Appendix VI (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’ and ‘west-east diagonal’).

[east-west diagonal]
The flag of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (fotw)

See ‘Christian flag’.

See ‘fimbriation’.

The term for a coronet (of varying design) now obsolete, that appeared above the arms of those German rulers who (until 1806) had the hereditary right to elect an emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, with a typical example being that above the Hanoverian inescutcheon on the royal standard of the UK from 1714 – 1816 (see also ‘coronet 2)’, ‘inescutcheon’ and ‘royal standard’.

electorial cap - Royal standard 1801
The Royal Standard 1801 - 1816, UK (fotw)

(adj) A heraldic term for where a division in the field of a banner of arms or shield, or its border, or the edge of an ordinary, is indented like a castle battlement - battled, battelly, crenelled, embattle, or kernelled (see also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘banner 1)’, ‘coat of arms 2)’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘shield’).

[Bauten Germany] [embattled shield] [embattled shield] Order of St. Joachim, Austria
Flag of Bautzen, Germany (fotw); embattled shields (CS); Flag of the Order of St Joachim, Austria (fotw)

1) Generically, a design, whether heraldic or otherwise, that is symbolic of a country, entity or person.
2) Specifically, a design of heraldic or other symbols which is not a set of armorial bearings/coat of arms or a badge as defined herein. In a commercial context a logo is often used as an emblem (see also ‘anti-heraldry’, ‘badge’, ‘coat of arms’ ‘emblem, military and governmental’, 'emblem, state and national', 'charge', and ‘logo’).

Emblem, Military or Governmental
A design of heraldic or other symbols which is not a set of armorial bearings/coat of arms or a badge as defined herein, but which is used to denote a particular branch or division of the military, or a specific department within a government structure – but see ‘badge 3)’ (also ‘coat of arms’, ‘emblem 2)’, ‘emblem, state or national', 'charge' and ‘logo’).

[government and military emblem]
National Defence Force, RSA (fotw).

Emblem, State or National
A design of heraldic or other symbols which is not a set of armorial bearings/coat of arms or a badge as defined herein, but which is used to fulfil the function of a coat of arms in a national context. National emblems often epitomise the individuality and/or spirit of the state, and can be placed on a flag to distinguish it from others, which may be similar – as, for example, those on the civil ensign of Italy and national flag of Mexico (see also ‘badge’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘emblem 2)’ 'emblem, military or governmentall', and 'charge').

[state or national emblem]
National Emblem, Mexico (fotw).

Please note however, that the emblems of some countries such as those of Mexico (as shown above), or of Italy – whilst conforming to the definition as detailed herein – are officially described as “coats of arms”.

(v) The use of needlework to create or enhance a design - employed especially on military colours and flags for indoor display (see also 'colour 2)', 'colours 2)’ and ‘indoor flag’).

See ‘impale’.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for a mounted standard bearer.

See 'palet' in ‘Appendix VI’.

(adj) A heraldic term for where a division in the field of a banner of arms or shield, or the edge of an ordinary, is cut into a series of indented curves or half circles strung together - that is with the half-circles facing inward and points outward - ingrailed (see also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘banner 1)’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘invected’, ‘ordinary’ ‘shield’, and ‘scalloped’).

[engrailed example]
Flag of Genthod, Switzerland (fotw)

(adj) A term for a form of flag, now obsolete, whose fly either came to a point or was extended by a central projection, but in which both sides form a concave arc (see also ‘shield-shaped’).

[Engrailed fly flags]
From left: 14th Century Flag of Tunis (fotw), 14th Century Flag of Sibenik, Croatia (Tomislav Todorovic)

Please note that this is not an established term, but has been introduced by the Editors since no established alternative could be found.

A heraldic term for when the main ordinary on a shield, banner of arms or flag is placed in a higher position than its proper place (see also ‘abased’ and ‘ordinary’).

enhanced examples

Please note however, that enhanced has a slightly different meaning when applied to the vexillological terms enhanced bend and enhanced bend sinister given below.

See ‘north-south diagonal’ (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘bend’ in Appendix VI, ‘descending diagonal’, 'east-west diagonal', ‘south-north diagonal’ and ‘west-east diagonal’).

[enhanced bend example]

See ‘south-north diagonal’ (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘bend sinister’ in Appendix VI, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’ and ‘west east diagonal’).

[enhanced bend sinister example]

1) A flag used at sea to denote nationality - or the national flag for use at sea - and whose usage falls into one of the several categories listed separately below. The ensign is generally displayed on a staff at the stern of a vessel, or from the peak of the gaff of a sailing vessel if so rigged, or in the case of a naval ship, from either an ensign staff or from the rigging, with this latter usually depending on operational requirements and covered under peak (see also ‘peak’). see supplemental note
2) The term may also be applied to the distinctive flags of certain or all the armed services of a particular country (which may also act as flags of national identification) such as the British Air Force Ensign or South African Police Service Ensign.
3) The rank or distinguishing flag of a military or government service formerly used as an ensign (under definition 1) and still so called for historical reasons – for example the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs ensigns.
4) A largely (if not wholly) obsolete alternate name for a military colour (see also ‘ancient 2)’ and ‘colour 2)’).
5) An obsolete name for the lowest commissioned rank in the British Army, being that rank responsible for carrying the regimental colour (see also ‘ancient 3)’).
6) In heraldry the correct, although little used, term for the armorial bearings of a kingdom, of an office or of a community - insignia (see also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘ensign-banner’ and ‘insignia’).
7) The lowest commissioned rank in the United States Navy and some others.

Civil Ensign
A flag flown by civilian owned vessels and craft to denote nationality – a merchant ensign or merchant flag.

[civil ensign example]
Civil Ensign of Colombia (fotw)

Customs ensign
See ‘customs flag’ (also ‘government ensign’ below).

Government (or State) Ensign
A flag flown to denote nationality by those government vessels that are not warships, sometimes defaced by badges to denote various departments – but see ‘archivexillum)’.

[government (state) ensign example]
From left: Government Ensign of Singapore (fotw); Royal Maritime Auxiliary, UK (Graham Bartram)

Please note however, that the defaced Blue Ensigns of British Dependent Territories act as both an official flag on land, and as a Government Ensign when flown by a Government owned vessel at sea.

Naval Ensign
A flag flown by the naval vessels of a particular country to denote nationality - the ensign.

[naval ensign example]
Naval Ensign of The RSA (fotw)

Reserve Ensign
A flag, different from the normal civil ensign, which is flown to denote nationality by merchant vessels commanded by an officer of that country’s naval reserve, and usually requiring a special Warrant (see also ‘civil ensign’ above).

[reserve ensign example]
Reserve Ensign of The Netherlands (fotw)

War Ensign
See ‘naval ensign’ above (and also ‘war flag’).

Yacht (or Leisure) Ensign
A flag, different from the normal civil ensign, which is flown by leisure craft to denote nationality, usually requiring a special Warrant and often defaced by an appropriate club emblem (see also ‘civil ensign’ above).

[yacht ensign example]
Yacht Ensign of Spain (fotw)

The term for a rectangular flag with a field and/or border (and also a fringe) in the livery colours of a coat of arms, and charged with the full set of armorial bearings – but see ‘armorial flag 2)’ (also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘armorial flag’, ‘charged’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘ensign 5)’, ‘insignia’ and ‘livery colours’).

[Spanish state flag] [Spanish arms]
State Flag and Arms of Spain 1945 - 1977 (fotw)

[Braga Portugal flag] [Braga Portugal ceremonial flag] [Braga Portugal arms]
Flag, Ceremonial Flag and Arms of Braga, Portugal (fotw and official website)

Please note that the provenance of this term is uncertain and its use of the description “banner” (as defined herein) inaccurate. However, a possible derivation from insignia-banner (as opposed to armorial banner) cannot be ignored.

In addition to the above, please note also that a full set of armorial bearings (most notably in Continental civic heraldry) need not contain all the traditional elements (such as supporters and motto), and to avoid any potential confusion the new term “armorial flag” (both generically and specifically) is recommended for use in description.

In largely Russian naval usage, the term for a defaced ensign awarded to vessels that have particularly distinguished themselves, and have received a decoration - an honour ensign (see also ‘defaced’ and ‘ensign 1)’).

ensign of honor [ensign of honor] [ensign of honor]
From left: Ensign of Honour 1819-1917l; Current Ensign of Honour, Frontier Guard Ensign of Honour, Russian Federation (CS & fotw)

The short staff at the stern of a ship upon which the ensign is hoisted (see also ‘ensign 1)’, ‘jack staff’ and 'staff 1)').

See 'naval ensign' under 'ensign'.

A basically heraldic term for when a charge is placed above or at the top of another. For example, a shield with a crown placed above is said to be ensigned with the crown (see also ‘charge 1)’, ‘crown’ and ‘shield 1)’).

[ensigned arms]
The Lesser Arms of Serbia and Sweden (fotw)

A heraldic term used when a coat of arms is shown in its entirety but which is impaled with another that is dimidiated (see also ‘coat of arms 2)’, ‘dimidiated’ and ‘impale’).
See ‘pointed’.

See ‘invected’.

See ‘checky’.

See ‘Appendix V’.

The heraldic term for a shield or base upon which charges or quarterings are placed (see also ‘charge’, ‘impale 1)’, ‘inescutcheon’, ‘quartering’, ‘lozenge’ and ‘shield 10’).

[Escutcheon example] [Escutcheon example]
Escutcheons of Saar and Neustrelitz, Germany (fotw and Jorg Majewski)

See ‘inescutcheon

Please note however, that in heraldry this term may not be entirely synonymous with inescutcheon, and it is suggested that a suitable glossary or dictionary of heraldry be consulted for further details.

An alternative name for full set of armorial bearings (see also ‘armorial bearings’ and ‘coat of arms).

See ‘star 2)’.

See ‘type flag’.

See ‘sunset’.

See ‘reversed 2)’.

(v) A largely US term for the unrolling of a flag that has been stored rolled around a tube (see also ‘unfurl’).

A flag, usually small and plain, displayed (especially by Hindus) to fulfil a religious vow (see also ‘religious flag’).

A closed loop at the end of a rope or halyard formed by splicing the end of the rope back into itself to form an eye – a running eye (see also ‘running eye and toggle’ and ‘becket’).

See ‘grommet’.

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