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Dictionary of Vexillology: M (Magen David - Metals)

Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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The Shield or Star of David composed of two interlaced triangles forming a six pointed star, and symbolic of Judaism (see also ‘menorah’).

Israel - Naval ensign
Naval Ensign of Israel (fotw)

Please note that the Magen David is also known as the Seal of Solomon and as such may be represented with five points as it now appears on the flags of Ethiopia and Morocco (based on the Hebrew Encyclopaedia).

See ‘golden mean’.

See ‘postal flag’.

The most important mast in a ship or yacht, or the tallest mast in a sailing ship from which the masthead pennant or the command flag of a full admiral (or five star/Admiral of the Fleet) was formerly flown (see also ‘flag of command’, ‘fore’, ‘mast 2)’, ‘masthead’, ‘masthead pennant 1)’ and ‘mizzen’).

(v) To hoist that group of signal flags which identify a ship in a recognized code (see also ‘International Code of Signal Flags’, ‘private signal’ and ‘signal flag’).

See ‘colours 5)’.

The heraldic term for a cross resembling four arrowheads, with straight-sided arms, eight outward facing points and generally (but not exclusively), inner points which meet at the centre – but see ‘cross pattιe’ in ‘appendix VIII’ (also ‘cross 2)’).

Polzela, Slovenia Grand Master, Military Order of Malta Spanish Medical Services Lagow Poland armss Lagow Poland flag
From left: Medical Services, Spain (fotw); Flag of Polzela, Slovenia (fotw); Grand Master of the Military Order of Malta (fotw); Arms and Flag of Lagow, Poland (CS)

A heraldic term for a cloak or robe behind the shield, and which can enclose a full set of armorial bearings (see also ‘Appendix IV’ and ‘armorial bearings’).

Please note that when used on the arms of a ruling prince or sovereign a mantle becomes a pavilion (see ‘pavilion’), however, mantles may still be seen in the parliamentary and state robes worn by British peers (which are graded according to rank).

A heraldic term for the decoration resembling drapery in a coat of arms, and attached to the helmet by a torse (see also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’ and, ‘helm’ – for information on torse see ‘wreath 2)’).

In US military usage and some others, a pennant used to mark the turning points or limits of a parade ground (see also ‘pennant 2)’).

See the note after ‘International Code of Signal Flags’.

The heraldic term for a lozenge from which the centre has been removed thus leaving an outline only - a voided lozenge or lozenge-voided – see ‘lozenge’ (also ‘voided’).

example Landivisiau, France
Example: Flag of Landivisiau, France (fotw)

A heraldic term used to describe the lines formed by masonry blocks in a building.

Castile and Leon Romont, Switzerland Oberkirch, Switzerland
Flag of Castile and Leon, Spain (fotw); Flag of Romont, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Oberkirch, Switzerland (fotw)

1) Any vertical projection from a vessel upon which sails and/or flags can be hoisted (see also ‘fore’, ‘mizzen’ and ‘stumpmast’).
2) See ‘flag pole’ (also ‘pole mast’, ‘sailor’s mast’ and ‘stayed mast’).

The highest point below the truck of any mast afloat or ashore (see also ‘mast’ and ‘truck’).

(adv) When a flag is flown at the truck of a mast or at a point below the truck, it is said to fly 'at the masthead'

1) Generically, any flag hoisted at the masthead of a vessel (see also ‘mast’ and ‘masthead’).
2) Specifically, the national flags hoisted at the masthead of all masts when a ship is dressed overall, usually the national flag of the nation being honoured (see also ‘dress ship’).

1) A flag, usually long and narrow and generally (but not exclusively) tapering from hoist to fly, it can be triangular, cut off to a square end or swallow-tailed, and is flown from the main masthead of a naval or other public vessel in commission but which does not carry a flag officer (or officer commanding other vessels) on board – commissioning or commission pennant, narrow pennant, pennant of command, war or warship pennant or of a warship commander and others (see also ‘broad pennant’, ‘burgee command pennant’, ‘command pennant’, ‘flag officer’, ‘flag of command’, ‘flagship’, ’naval ensign’ under ‘ensign’, ‘naval jack’ under ‘jack’, ‘private ship’ and ‘a href="vxt-dvs4.html#suitofflags">suit of flags’).
2) The generic name for any long narrow flag that is flown from the masthead of a vessel – a whip pennant (see also ‘streamer’, ‘homeward bound pennant’ or ‘paying off pennant’).

Please note that a distinction has been drawn between the standard masthead pennant flown by commissioned warships as defined in 1) above, and the various command pennants that are flown in addition and subordinate to it (see also ‘command pennant’). Please note also however, that there are two exceptions to this – the broad pennant and the burgee command pennant - both of which replace the masthead pennant when flown.

[Masthead Pennant - Spain]
Masthead Pennant of Spain

[Masthead Pennant - Belgium]
Masthead Pennant of Belgium

[Masthead Pennant - France]
Masthead Pennant of France

See ‘streamer 2)’.

See ‘dimidiated’.

1) See ‘dinner flag’.
2) In US usage the practice, almost certainly obsolete, of flying a red triangular pennant from the port yardarm (or spreader) of a pleasure vessel when the crew are at meals – a crew’s meal pennant (see also ‘dinner flag’, ‘guest on board flag’, ‘owner absent flag’ and ‘yardarm’).

meal pennant
Meal Pennant, US (fotw)

The heraldic term used when the legs of a bird are of a different tincture from that of its body (see also ‘armed 2)’, ‘attired’, ‘beaked’, ‘langued’ and ‘tincture’).

flag - Biale Blota, Poland arms - Biale Blota, Poland Neuchβtel, Switzerland Bergenhusen, Germany
Flag and Arms of Biale Blota, Poland (Jarig Bakker); Flag of Neuchβtel, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Bergenhusen, Germany (fotw)

1) In largely (but not exclusively) US usage, a small national flag (affixed to a short staff) which, on specified memorial occasions, is implanted on the graves at military cemeteries – a grave decoration flag.
2) A flag designed to memorialize one or more persons, or to express sympathy for people in a specific situation. Such flags may or may not be officially recognized, and are sometimes created by adding symbols or wording to a national or other recognized flag.
3) See ‘commemorative flag’.

POW-MIA flag 9/11 memorial flag 9/11 memorial flag
POW-MIA Flag, US and Canada (fotw) 9/11 Memorial Flags, US (an official website and CS)

A seven-branch candlestick that is symbolic of Judaism, and is featured on the national arms, the Presidential Standard and some other flags of Israel (see also ‘Magen David’ and ‘presidential standard’).

[Presidential standard - Israel] [Arms of Israel]
Presidential Standard and National Arms, Israel (fotw)

See ‘civil ensign’ under ‘ensign’.

An alternative term, now largely obsolete, for the civil ensign (see ‘civil ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

[Merchant flag]
Merchant Flag of Spain 1785 – 1927 (fotw)

An alternative term, now largely obsolete, for the civil jack (see ‘civil jack’ under ‘jack’).

An imaginary line drawn (either vertically or horizontally) through the centre of a flag – a vertical or horizontal meridian.

See Appendix III.

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