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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (Sable - Scroll)

Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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The heraldic term for the colour black (see ‘Appendix III’ and ‘rule of tincture’).

1) A special flag of internationally recognized design – such as that of the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal and others – which (by international agreement) protects personnel engaged in medical succour, ambulances, civil and field hospitals and hospital ships against military action – a Geneva Convention flag, or flag of protection (see also ‘international flag’ and ‘supra-national flag’).
2) The Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal and other recognized flag designs (together with arm brassards or painted symbols) are also used to indicate the facilities and personnel of these organisations rendering aid to the survivors and casualties of natural or human disasters (see also ‘international flag’ and ‘supra-national flag’).

IRCRC flags
Red Cross Flag Red Crescent Flag Red Crystal Flag (fotw)

Please note that on 8 December 2005 the International Committee of the Red Cross adopted a Protocol (Protocol III) authorizing a red crystal (diamond shape) as an additional non-religious and politically neutral symbol, however, please also note that the flags of the Red Cross and of its associated organizations are at the same time international flags, safe conduct, flags of protection and Geneva Convention flags.

In largely German usage, a flag pole or mast (most often) erected ashore for the multiple display of barge or inland waterway related flags for decorative purposes, and equipped with a long gaff and yard – a display mast or bargemen’s association display mast (see also ‘dress ship’, ‘gaff’, ‘stayed mast’ and ‘yard’).

Please note that this term is a translation of the German schiffermast, and that use of such masts seems to be restricted to associations of bargemen or similar.

1) See ‘saltire’.
2) A white saltire on a blue field – the national flag of Scotland.
3) A blue saltire on a white field – the naval ensign of the Russian Federation (and formerly of the Russian Empire) - a St. Andrew's ensign.

Scotland Russian naval ensign
National Flag of Scotland (fotw); Naval Ensign of Russia (fotw)

Please note that whilst the term St George's Cross generally refers only to a red cross on a white field, the Cross of St Andrew, due to a tradition that the saint was crucified on a diagonal cross, has come to be regarded by many as a saltire of any colour or metal on a field of any colour or metal. Although this is considered inaccurate in English heraldic or vexillological usage, it is common in countries and languages where a term equivalent to “saltire” does not exist.

See ‘St Andrew’s cross 3)’ above.

See ‘cross 1)’ (also ‘St George’s Cross 3)’ below).

1) Generically, see ‘cross 1)’.
2) Specifically, the Cross (as above) of St George - the national flag of England and the flag of the ancient Republic of Genoa. (see also ‘St George’s ensign’)
3) Any red cross on a white field - but see note below.

[England] [Genoa, Ital] [Donji Miholjac, Croatia]
From left: National Flag of England (fotw); Flag of Genoa, Italy (fotw); Arms of Donji Miholjac, Croatia (Željko Heimer)

Please note with regard to 3) however, that in Balkan and Central European usage a white cross on red is also sometimes referred to as the Cross of St George.

Also please note that any cross of St George whose arms are of equal length is also a Greek cross (see also 'Greek cross').

In English later British RN usage now obsolete, the term to describe a white ensign charged with a Cross of St George overall (as per the present pattern), and formerly used in order to differentiate it from one having a plain fly (see also ‘St George’s Cross 2)’ and ‘white ensign 1)’).

[British White Ensign] [British White Ensign] [British White Ensign] [British White Ensign]
From left: White Ensign, England 1702 – 1707; With Plain Fly c1630 - 1707; White Ensign, UK 1707 – 1801; With Plain Fly 1707 – c1730 (CS)

Please note that white ensigns bearing a Cross of St George overall were introduced in 1702 and were at first restricted to use outside home waters, however, the version with a plain fly had disappeared by 1744.

See ‘cross of Santiago’ in ‘appendix VIII’.

A red saltire on a white field (see also 'saltire' and 'St Andrew's Cross').

Please note that this saltire has no known links to the saint, but when adopted for the British Union Flag was a symbol of the knightly Order of St Patrick (see also ‘union jack’).

See ‘appendix V’.

A cross whose arms are of equal width, which usually intersect in the centre of the flag. canton or panel they occupy, and which generally run from the upper hoist corner to the lower fly corner, and from the lower hoist corner to the upper fly corner of a flag, canton or panel - a diagonal or diagonally-centred cross (see also ‘canton’, ‘layered saltire’, ‘orthogonal’, ‘panel’, 'in saltire', 'per saltire' and ‘St Andrew’s Cross’).

[Jamaica - saltire] Prachatice, Czech Republic [Sweden 1815-1844]
From left: National Flag of Jamaica (fotw); Flag of Prachatice city, Czech Republic (fotw); War Ensign of Sweden 1815 - 1844 (fotw)

See ‘in saltire’.

That custom, often prescribed by law or regulation, which requires military personnel to salute and civilians to remove their hats or place the right hand over their heart when a flag is raised or lowered, or when it passes in parade (see also ‘flag salute’).

1) A band of material, usually in the national colours and sometimes bearing the national arms, worn across the chest by a head of state, especially in South America, or by civic officials.
2) A similar symbol used by political organizations.

[Presidential sash of Honduras] The Presidential Sash of Honduras (Eugene Ipavec)

See ‘daimyo flags’.

The French for “leaping”, which is also sometimes used in place of, or in addition to, the heraldic terms rampant or salient – see ‘rampant’ and ‘salient’ in ‘
appendix V
’ (also ‘erect’ in ‘appendix V’).

Betten, Switzerland
Flag of Betten, Switzerland (fotw)

See ‘serrated’ (also ‘wolfteeth’).

See ‘escallop’.

(adj) Where the edges of a flag are cut into repeated semi-circular shapes.

Please note however, that a division line within a flag or shield is not scalloped, but is more correctly described as either engrailed or invected (see ‘engrailed’ and 'invected').

A cross with arms of equal width, whose horizontal arm runs along the centre of the flag, but whose vertical arm is off-centred towards the hoist – a Nordic or off-centred Cross.

[Norway - Scandinavian cross] [Sweden] [Åland Islands] [Shetland Islands]
From left: National Flag of Norway (CS); National Flag of Sweden (CS); Åland Islands, Finland (fotw); Shetland Islands, Scotland (fotw)

Please note that this term should only be used for those flags which are from, or have a connection with the Scandinavian region, otherwise see ‘off-centred cross 2)

See ‘off-centred cross 2)’.

[Shetland Islands]
Domingos Martins, Brazil (fotw)

A small ecclesiastical banner fixed to the top of a bishop’s crosier (see also ‘banderole’).

See 'tugh’.

See ‘cross pattée’ and ‘cross couped’ in ‘appendix VIII’.

1) A form of flag where a rectangular or triangular tongue extends from the upper fly corner of the flag, or where it has a strip along its top edge that extends beyond the fly to become a tongue (see also 'palm', ‘square-tongued’, ‘stepped fly’ and ‘tongue(s)’).
2) The tail as described above.

[Schwenkel] Wloclawek, Poland
15th C Flag of Zurich, Switzerland (CS); Flag of Wloclawek, Poland (fotw)

Please note, it is suggested that in the original German this term refers only to the tail.

A usually narrow ribbon of varying length and elaboration; it is normally (but not exclusively) placed below the shield in a set of armorial bearings or an emblem, and is inscribed with a motto or the name of a state or other entity – but see ‘ribbon scroll 2)’ (also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘emblem’ and ‘motto’).

New Jersey New Jersey arms Brazil arms Brunei arms
The Flag and Arms of The State of New Jersey, US; The National Emblems of Brazil and Brunei (fotw)

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