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Vexilloids in Ancient Egypt

Last modified: 2016-06-29 by ian macdonald
Keywords: egypt | vexilloid |
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Reports of vexilloids

In her book, Hatshepsut, a Biography, Evelyn Wells wrote, on page 65: "The colors of Thotmes I flew before the gates from tall fir flagpoles brought upstream from Lebanon." The book, 1969, Doubleday & Co, Garden City, New York does not have footnotes.
Did he have specific colors, what were they, how were they displayed on a flagpole? Very interesting with little to go on. Thotmes I, 2nd Pharaoh of the 18 dynasty, son of Amonhotep I, approx. 1528 BCE, father of Hatshepsut, added to the temple to the god Amon at Thebes (Luxor) at which temple the flagpoles were placed. He extended the reach of Egypt to the Euphrates river and began a tremendous building program.
Lee Herold, 30 Jull 2009

The best sources for an overview [of Egyptian flags] are certainly the articles by Martykan (1980), Martykan (1981), and Martykan (2002). In these, he does mention a lot of Egyptian vexilloids, but no cloth flags at all. So I am not sure about the text by Wells. I would rather see this as a somewhat modernistic translation or interpretation, i.e. in reality there were probably poles with the vexilloid symbols.
Marcus Schmöger, 2 August 2009

Something similar is reported in Smith, W., Flagpoles (The Flag Bulletin 225 (XLV: 3-4) (2006), pp. 105-135). On p. 130-131:
"(...), but similar poles did exist in the form of the pylon, a part of the facade of Egyptian temples. (...) Pylons flanked the front entrance to areas of sacred territory. Flags of red and white flew at the top of the pylons."
The accompanying illustration (p. 127) shows the temple facade with very high conic staffs, flying long ribbons. Caption: "The pylon developed in Egyptian architecture based on the original cedar wood flagpoles that framed the entrance to sacred precincts. (...) The flags themselves remained simple red and white cloth stripes." Unfortunately, Whitney Smith does not mention his source either.
Marcus Schmöger, 3 August 2009