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Dictionary of Vexillology: G (Gladius - Governor's Sash)

Last modified: 2024-06-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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An infantry sword of Ancient Rome – but see ‘sword’.

globus example

The cross that appears at the top of an orb - see ‘orb’.

globus example globus example
Arms and Flag of Santa Cruz, Portugal (fotw)

Alternative heraldic terms to compony - see ‘compony’.

gobony example
Flag of Tegerfelden, Switzerland (fotw)

See ‘eye of God’.

[God's Eye] [God's Eye]
Arms and Flag of Czernichów, Poland (fotw)

That proportion, first recoded by classical Greek sources, which is considered particularly pleasing to the human eye; it is the ratio of two values where the relationship of the larger (B) to the smaller (A) is the same as that of the total (A+B) to the larger (B) and has a value of approximately 1.618 - - the divine, golden or magic ratio, or golden section.

[graphic of golden mean]

Flag ratios are written as hoist:fly, or in this case A:B, which is approximately 1:1.618, however, it is suggested that a mathematical reference work be consulted if further or more complex details are required.
b) Rectangular flags are often made in ratios that approximate the golden mean, e.g. those of successive Fibronacci numbers - 1;1, 1:2, 2:3, 3:5, 5;8, 8:13 etc. – with those later in the this listed series being closer to the ideal.

1) The terms for a usually long (sometimes elaborate) flag designed to be hung vertically from a cross bar, often having a shaped and/or fringed bottom edge or terminating in tails or tongues and characteristic of Italy and of Central Europe, or of the religious associations in Western Europe where it might also be called a religious banner (see also ‘banner 2)’, ‘banner 3)’, ‘ceremonial flag 1)’, ‘dexter edge 2)’, ‘sinister edge 2)’, ‘square-tongued’, ‘stepped gonfalon’, ‘tails’, ‘triangular-ended’ and ‘triangular-ended tails’).
2) The terms sometimes used for a flag that is designed to be attached both along its hoist to the staff, and along its top to a side-mounted cross-bar - but see ‘framed flag 1)’ and ‘outrigger flag’ (also ‘ring 4)’).

[gonfalon] Delianuova, Italy      Oriovac, Croatia
Gonfalon of Asciano, Italy (fotw); Gonfalon of Delianuova, Italy (fotw); Gonfanon/Ceremonial Flag of Oriovac, Croatia (fotw)

Please note – not to be confused with a medieval gonfanon or with the banner or hanging flag of German speaking and Central European countries (see also ‘banner 2)’, ‘hanging flag’, and ‘gonfanon’).

See ‘stepped gonfalon’.

stepped gonfalons

The bearer of a gonfalon or standard (see also ‘gonfalon’ and ‘standard bearer’).

A term, now largely (if not wholly) obsolete, for the - often hereditary - honorary office of gonfalonier (standard or flag bearer) to a monarch (see also ‘archivexillifer’).
1) A war flag of pre-heraldic Europe, often tapered from hoist to fly, generally attached to a lance and ending in from two to five squared, rounded or triangular tails - but see note below (also ‘double-tailed descate’, ‘lanceolate’, ‘oriflamme’, ‘pallia’, ‘pre-heraldic’, ‘multi-tailed descate’, 'square-tongued', ‘swallow-tailed(ed)’, ‘swallowtail and tongue’ and ‘triple-tailed descate’).
2) See ‘streamer 2)’.

[gonfanon] [gonfanon] [Oriflamme]
Flag of Langenargen, Germany (fotw); Gonfanon of Eustache III of Auvergne c1100 (CS); The Oriflamme of Pre-Heraldic and Medieval France (fotw)

Please note that this term specifically refers to a pre-heraldic European war flag, and whilst sometimes (inaccurately) used to describe a medieval or late-medieval streamer (as referenced above), it should not be confused with the later gonfalon, banner or hanging flag as separately defined herein – see ‘gonfalon’, ‘banner of arms’ and ‘hanging flag’.

An article about the possible origins of the medieval gonfanons is available in French on Jstor on the topic: Aux sources des gonfanons [The sources of gonfanons] / Suzy Dufrenne. Byzantion, Vol. 43 (1973), pp. 51-60. The author mused about the possible Eastern origin of the flags used in early European Middle-Ages. She first noted the similarities of this type of flag with others in the Byzantine world or in Central Asia. The oldest (by her time) known representation of such a flag in Europe would be a mosaic in Argos, Greece, dated from somewhere between the end of the Vth and the beginning of the VIth centuries.
Corentin Chamboredon
, 22 February 2023

Alternative medieval terms, now obsolete, for a ‘standard bearer’.

Gontfalonarius/Standard Bearer, English 1486 (Wikipedia)

The generic term for a tapering piece or pieces of fabric that is sometimes used to describe the triangular blue fields of the British union jack (see also ‘union flag 1)’, ‘union jack 1)’ and ‘union jack 2)’).

UK Union flag - Army
Commander in Chief in the Field Army, UK (fotw)

The heraldic term used when a beast or bird (and occasionally another charge) is shown with its collar in a different tincture - this may be either plain or decorated and is sometimes in the form of a coronet – collared or accolé (see also ‘armed 2)’, ‘attired’, ‘beaked’, ‘jelloped’, ‘langued’, ‘membered’ and ‘tincture’).

Posedarje, Croatia Oland, Swede Flag of Posedarje, Croatia
Flag of Posedarje, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Oland, Sweden (fotw); Flag of Podstrana, Croatia (fotw)

The terms sometimes used in vexillology to describe a shield which is straight-sided through part of its depth, and whose lower section consists of convex arcs that comes to a point at the base – but see note below (also ‘French shield’, ‘Italian shield’, ‘ogival’, ‘rectangular shield’, ‘shield 2)’, ‘Spanish-style shield’ and ‘triarched triangular shield’).

Gothic shield

Please note that the terms gothic and late-gothic appear to be used indiscriminately to describe either a pointed or a round-bottomed shield, and the Editors suggest therefore, that, if used at all, both these terms should be restricted to the type illustrated above.

Alternative heraldic terms for a number of charges (usually specified) in the shape of a teardrop – gutté, gutty, goutty, gouté or larmes.

flag - Bistra, Croatia arms - Bistra, Croatia
Flag and Arms of Bistra, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Tuhelj, Croatia (fotw)

Please note that these terms may be variously used dependent upon the tincture, and we suggest that a suitable glossary or dictionary of heraldry be consulted for full details.

See ‘emblem, military or governmental/departmental’ under ‘emblem’.

government emblem
Governmental Emblem of India (Wikipedia)

See under ‘ensign’.

government ensign
Government Ensign of Malaysia (fotw)

1. See ‘state flag 1)’.
2. See ‘ceremonial flag 1)’ and ‘official flag 2)’.

government flag ceremonial flag government flag
State Flag of Haiti (fotw); Ceremonial Flag of Rydzyna, Poland (fotw); Government Flag of Liechtenstein (fotw)

See ‘jack’.

Royal Fleet Auxillary
Jack of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, UK (Martin Grieve)

A term covering those sub-national areas under the administration of an appointed governor – see the note below and ‘governor's flag’.

Governorate Governorate
Flag of Dumyat (Governorate), Egypt (fotw); Flag of al-Buhayrah (Governorate), Egypt (fotw)

Please note that this term (and a translation of “muhasfazah”) is most generally used in referring to the sub-national divisions of Arabic speaking countries.

1) A flag of the chief administrator (either elected or appointed) of a sub-national entity – sometimes called a governorate, or of the representative of a monarch (either at a national or sub-national level).
2) See ‘gubernatorial flag’.

Governor's flag Governor's flag Governor's flag
Governor General’s Flag of New Zealand (fotw); Governor’s Flag of Gibraltar (fotw); Governor’s/Gubernatorial Flag of Ohio, US (fotw)

See ‘sash 1)’.

Governor's sash
Governor’s Sash of Cordoba, Colombia (fotw)

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