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Dictionary of Vexillology: M (Middle Arms - Mural Crown)

Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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See under ‘arms’.

See ‘banner 5)’ (also ‘sovereign’s banner’).

In largely US usage, the term for that emblem which is displayed by units of the National Guard, and usually taken from symbols contained within the flags, seals and/or coats of arms of the relevant state – a state military crest (see also ‘badge 3)’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘emblem, military and governmental’, ‘seal’ and ‘state flag 2)’.

California military crest Texas military crest Maryland military crest
Military Crest of California, US (fotw); Military Crest of Texas, US (fotw); Military Crest of Maryland, US (fotw)

See Appendix III.

The aftermost mast in a sailing vessel with three or more masts (and on a two masted vessel dependent upon the rig) from which the gaff is rigged, and from which the command flag of a rear-admiral was formerly flown (see also ‘flag of command’, ‘fore’, ‘gaff’, ‘mast’ and ‘masthead’).

See ‘cross moline’ in ‘appendix VIII’.

A simple often (but not exclusively) circular design and the Japanese equivalent of a heraldic badge or shield, originally a personal or family symbol, they are now also common in Japanese civic flags (see also ‘daimyo flags’ and, hinomaru’).

[Mon on Japanese flag]
Flag of Aogashima Island, Japan (fotw)

A motif formed by one or more letters, formerly often intertwined and now more usually seen plain, as for example, on the royal standard of Belgium and some presidential flags of France – a cipher or ligature (this last especially if of only two letters).

[Monograms on flags]
Belgium (fotw)

[Monograms on flags]
France 1969 – 74 (fotw)

1) In vexillology see ‘crescent 1)’ and ‘disc’.
2) In heraldry the term used for a crescent that is placed vertically but see note below and ‘crescent 2)’.

Oran-la–ville, Switzerland Bόren an der Aare, Switzerland Cortaillod, Switzerland Schinznach, Switzerland
Flag of Oran-la–ville, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Bόren an der Aare, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Cortaillod, Switzerland; Flag of Schinznach, Switzerland

Please note with regard to 2) that when a crescent moon is shown with its horns towards the dexter it is termed increscent or increment, when towards the sinister decrescent or decrement, when however, it is shown full (usually with a face) the term used is per complement.

Also please note that a crescent with a face is not unknown in European heraldry.

See ‘colours 5)’.

1) The current system of signalling with flags (or with the arms alone in the absence of flags) using the Morse code, where if hand-held vertically (above the head) they signify dots and if held horizontally (at shoulder level) dashes (see also ‘international code of signals’, ‘semaphore’ and ‘wigwag’).
2) A system, now obsolete, of signalling with a single flag using the Morse code, where short waves signified dots and long waves dashes - signalling by flag waving (see also ‘semaphore’ and ‘wigwag’).

Please note that 1) is contained in the current (2005) Edition of the International Code of Signals, and that 2) had reasonably widespread use in the field prior to radio, both between artillery batteries and forward observers, and for communication between naval and army units ashore. Please note also that the 1937 (British) Admiralty Manual of Seamanship gave the Morse code flags as plain blue, or white with a blue horizontal stripe (against light or dark backgrounds respectively), but that other variants are known to have existed.

A word or phrase, sometimes in a classical language, usually inscribed on the scroll accompanying a coat of arms or state emblem, and originally derived from the war cry (see also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘device 1)’ and ‘scroll’).

A heraldic term for the base of a shield, banner of arms or a flag that forms a curve, and is generally (but not exclusively) tinctured vert in order to represent a grassed hillock – see compartment (also ‘coupeau’, ‘tinctures’ and ‘vert’).

Obrehrendingen, Switzerland Merenschwand, Switzerland flag - Brdovec, Croatia arms - Brdovec, Croatia
Flag of Obrehrendingen, Switzerland; Flag of Merenschwand, Switzerland; Flag and Arms of Brdovec, Croatia (fotw)

See ‘coupeau’ (also ‘mount’ above).

An often (but not invariably) plain black flag of slightly varying design, displayed (sometimes unofficially) by organisations and persons to signify mourning for people or events, often (but not invariably) for political reasons – not to be confused with a mourning pennant, pall flag or funeral flag (see ‘funeral flags’, ‘mourning pennant’ below and ‘pall flag’, also ‘cravat 2)’, ‘draping’ and 'half mast a flag').

Mourning flags - Croatia, Denmark Mourning flag - Denmark until 1743 Vietnam mourning flag
From left: Croatia (CS); Denmark (CS); Demark until 1743 (fotw); Vietnam (fotw)

In Western European usage, a largely black triangular pennant of slightly varying design, flown from the mainmast of vessels on inland waterways to signify mourning for the skipper or his spouse (see also ‘mourning flag’ above).

Catholic Mourning Pennants Protestant Mourning Pennants
Catholic and Protestant Mourning Pennants (Litzke GmbH)

See ‘draping’ (also ‘cravat 2)’).

See ‘star 2)’.

1) A flag of four or more parallel stripes or bands, whether horizontal, vertical or diagonal, and of equal or unequal width. (see also ‘plain 2)’, ‘stripe’ and ‘striped’)
2) A flag of four or more horizontal parallel stripes or bands of equal width, width – a horizontal multi-stripe but see ‘barry’ in ‘appendix VI’ (also ‘covering’).
3) A flag of four or more vertical parallel stripes or bands of equal width – a horizontal multi-stripe but see ‘paly’ in ‘appendix VI’ (also ‘covering’).
4) A flag of four or more diagonal parallel stripes or bands of equal width, also bendy if they go from the upper hoist to the lower fly or bendy sinister if from the lower hoist to the upper fly – a diagonal multi-stripe but see ‘bendy’ and ‘bendy sinister’ in ‘appendix VI’.

Please note however, that on certain flags (as in those of - for example – Botswana, The Gambia or North Korea) there is often no clear distinction between a fimbriation and a stripe, and that the terms ‘multi-stripe’ or ‘fimbriated tricolour/triband’ (or similar) may reasonably be used as alternatives in describing such flags (see also ‘Appendix VI’, ‘fimbriation’ and ‘stripe’).

[Multi-stripe flags]
From left: Civil Flag of Costa Rica (fotw); National Flag of Mauritius (fotw); Power Squadrons, US (fotw); Flag of Friesland, Netherlands (fotw)

(adj) A term used to describe a fly that is cut into more than three tails or tongues (see also ‘gonfanon’, ‘square-tongued’, ‘swallowtail and tongue’ and tongue(s)).

(adj) A term used to describe a fly that is cut into more than three tails with rounded ends (see also ‘double-tailed descate’, ‘fly’, ‘gonfanon’, square-tailed', ‘swallow-tail(ed)’ ‘swallowtail and tongue’ and tongue(s)).

See ‘civic flag 1)’.

1) Generically the heraldic term for a crown composed of battlemented walls showing masonry and generally from three to five towers, usually (but not exclusively) representative of a municipality or urban area (see also ‘astral crown’, ‘coronet’, ‘crown’, and ‘naval crown’).
2) Specifically the heraldic term for a crown with masoned, battlemented walls but without towers, often representative of a town or city and reputedly based on an ancient Roman triumphal ornament - but see ‘civic crown 1)’ also ‘astral crown’, ‘coronet’ ‘crown’) and ‘naval crown’.

Please note that in some European heraldic systems, the number of crenellations is dependent upon the size and civic status of the municipality represented.

Valdevez, Portugal [mural crown]
Flag of Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal (fotw); Heraldic Mural Crown (Parker)

Please note that in some European heraldic systems, the number of towers and/or the number of crenellations is dependent upon the size and civic status of the municipality represented.

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