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Dictionary of Vexillology: R (Realm Banner Black-red-gold - Religious flag)

Last modified: 2024-06-08 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A translation of the German term reichsbanner schwartz-rot-gold, and originally used to describe a paramilitary flag of the Weimar era (see also ‘political flag 1)’).

[reconstruction of Cartagena flag] [reconstruction of flag of Communist Party of Spain]
Realm Banner, Germany 1924 – 1933 (fotw); Flag of the League of Active Democrats, Germany (fotw)

Alternative terms for the image of a (largely but not exclusively) historical flag - or for a reproduction of such a flag - that is based upon written sources or an unreliable visual record – a conjectural/reconstructed image or flag (see also ‘attributed flag’, ‘bauceant’, ‘putative flag’, ‘historical flag’, ‘speculative flag’ and ‘suppositious flag’).

[reconstruction of Cartagena flag] [reconstruction of flag of Communist Party of Spain] [reconstruction]
Reconstruction of the 1812 Flag of Cartagena, Colombia (fotw); Reconstruction of the Flag of the Communist Party of Spain c1980 (fotw); Reconstruction of a Chinese Flag c1500 BC (fotw)

A figure composed of four right angles so having its opposite sides parallel – but see note below (also ‘dimensions’ and ‘square-tongued’).

rectangle rectangle rectangle

Please note that the alternative term given in the heading above (rectangular) excludes a square – that is a figure with proportions of 1:1 – whose four sides are of equal – see ‘proportions’.

The term used in some European heraldic systems to describe a shield that is rounded only at the bottom corners, but with a point in the centre of its lower edge and sometimes also at its upper corners (see also ‘Gothic shield’ with its following note, ‘shield 2)’, ‘Spanish-style shield’ and ‘triarched triangular shield’).

shield shield

See ‘square-tongued’.

Gonfalon/Ceremonial Flag of Buje, Croatia (fotw)

A term sometimes used in Continental European heraldry to describe a crescent with its points upward, but see ‘crescent 2)’.

[recumbent] [recumbent] [recumbent]
Flag of Espite, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Albernoa, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Cabeça Gorda, Portugal (fotw & ICH)

See ‘safe conduct flag’ (also ‘Geneva Convention flag’).

[Red Cross flag] [Red Crescent flag] [Red Diamond flag]
Red Cross Flag, Red Crescent Flag, Red Crystal Flag (fotw)

A term sometimes (mistakenly) applied to a cross of the order of the knights of Christ – see ‘cross of the order of knights of Christ’ and the note below.

[banner of order of knights of Christ]
Putative Banner of the Order (fotw)

Please note that this cross is not “voided” in that the entre has been removed, but is correctly described in heraldic terms as “a cross pattée Gules surmounted by a cross-couped Argent”.

An affectionate nickname for the British civil ensign (see also ‘red ensign 1)’ below).

[British Red Ensign]
Civil Ensign, UK (fotw)

1) In English then British maritime usage the ensign usually (but not invariably) now worn undefaced by all privately owned merchant vessels and yachts – the red duster – but see 2) plus notes b) and c) below (also ‘armorial ensign 2)’, ‘civil ensign’ under 'ensign' ‘blue ensign 1)’, ‘gridiron flag’, ‘meteor flag’, ‘undefaced’) and ‘white ensign 1)’.
2) In English then British RN usage, now obsolete (and largely – but not exclusively - dependent upon the rank of the admiral in command), the senior of three alternative ensigns carried (undefaced) by a warship until 1864– see ‘blue ensign 2)’, ‘common pendant’, ‘white ensign 2)’, ‘yellow admiral’ and the notes below.
3) Generically, any canton flag (either plain or defaced) with a red field – particularly (but not exclusively) if flown at sea – a British-style ensign (see also ‘canton flag 1)’, ‘blue ensign 3)’, ‘deface’ and ‘white ensign 3)’).

[British Red Ensign] [British Red Ensign] civil ensign - India
Red Ensign, England c1625–1707, England (fotw); Red Ensign 1707 – 1801, UK (fotw); Civil Ensign of India (fotw)

a) Red ensigns were introduced into the English Royal Navy c1625, they were adopted (unofficially) by the merchant service shortly thereafter, and any such use was made both official and compulsory in 1674.
b) With regard to 1), while most Warranted organizations fly the blue, the red ensign is flown defaced by a few yacht clubs, as a civil ensign by some dependent territories etc., and by some non-governmental bodies (see also ‘defaced’, ‘yacht ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and ‘warrant’).
c) Regarding 2), before 1864 an Admiral’s seniority was outwardly displayed by the colour of his command flag and by the ensigns flown by any ships under his command - the junior colour being blue, the next white and the senior red - however, in 1864 this colour system was abolished, and thereafter all flag officers flew a white command flag from the appropriate masthead where applicable, and all Royal Naval ships the white ensign (see also ‘distinction of colour’ and ‘flag of command 1)’).
d) Furthermore, and also before 1864 a red ensign was also worn by naval vessels under the direct command of the Admiralty, rather than under that of a local flag officer ( see also ‘admiralty flag 1)’, ‘common pendant’ and ‘flag officer 2)’) .
e) In addition, the ensigns worn within a fleet could be arbitrarily changed (if the tactical situation required it) by order of the Flag Officer in overall command of that fleet irrespective of the grade held by any of his subordinate admirals.
f) It should be further noted that the rank of admiral of the red squadron was introduced (following the Battle of Trafalgar) in 1805, prior to this there was no grade between admiral of the white and admiral of the fleet (who flew, and still flies, the union jack) – see ‘union jack 2)’).

[Royal Dart Yacht Club] [Civil Ensign of Gibraltar]
Royal Dart Yacht Club, UK (fotw); Civil Ensign of Gibraltar (fotw)

1) A plain red flag used in a variety of circumstances to signify danger (see also ‘beach flag’, ‘fire alert flag’, ‘range flag’, ‘warning flag’ and ‘storm warning flags’).
2) The colloquial term for a predominantly or wholly red flag signifying revolution – the bloody flag.
3) Flag Bravo in the International Code of Signals – see note b) below (also ‘international code of signals’).
4) A colloquial term for the national flag of the former Soviet Union (see also ‘banner of victory 1)’).
5) See ‘flag of defiance’.

[Danger flag, Flag Bravo and Soviet Union]
Danger/Revolutionary Flag (CS); Flag Bravo (fotw); National Flag of The Soviet Union 1924 – 1991 (fotw)

a) With regard to 2), the first recorded use of such a flag (with political motives) was when it was flown by some ships during the mutiny at the Nore in the Royal Navy of 1797 (see ‘flag of defiance’ and its following note) and thereafter during several revolutionary situations until becoming firmly associated with Socialism during the Paris Commune of 1871. This red flag was the direct ancestor of the later Soviet and other Communist flags - see 'red flag 4)' above.
b) Regarding 3) the International Code of Signals stipulates flag bravo – a plain red swallow tail – should be flown when loading, discharging or carrying a dangerous cargo.

See ‘west-east diagonal’ (also ‘Appendix IX’).

[reduced bend flag]

See ‘east-west diagonal’ (also ‘Appendix IX’).

[reduced bend sinister flag]

(v) To thread the halyard through a block (or over a pulley) fitted into the truck and thereby raise or lower a flag (see also ‘halyard’ and ‘truck’).

The heraldic term used when an animal is looking to the rear over its shoulder irrespective of its attitude (see also ‘guardant’).

[regardant example] [regardant example] [regardant example]
Flag of Wölflinswil, Courtemaîche and Russikon, Switzerland (fotw)

See ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’.

[Regimental colour example] [Regimental colour example]
Regimental Colour, The South Gloucestershire Regiment, UK c1900 (fotw); Regimental Colour, 10th Infantry Regiment, Prussia c1750 (fotw)

1) In British army usage and in some others, the plural form of regimental colour and in this form usually used when referring to the second or unit flag of a battalion/regiment (see ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’ and following note).
2) In British army usage, those shades or colours that are considered representative of a particular regiment, and which are usually employed on their stable belt, arm flash, camp flag and regimental ties etc., in addition to the formal regimental colour as defined in ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’ and in 1) above (see also ‘camp flag’ and ‘fanion 2)’).

[Regimental colours example] [Regimental colours example]
Regimental Colours of the Bermuda Regiment (fotw); Stable Belt/Regimental Colours of The Light Dragoons, UK

See 'camp flag'.

[regimental flag example] [regimental flag example]
Regimental/Camp Flags of The (2nd Battalion) Royal Irish Regiment and The Royal Gurkha Rifles, UK (Wikipedia & Graham Bartram)

The term for that coat of arms which represents a geographic area within a country – see ‘regional flag’.

[Regional arms]  [Regional flag]  [Regional arms]
Arms and Flag of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie Region, Poland (fotw); Arms of Žilina region, Slovakia (fotw)

The symbol of that geographic area which is not a coat of arms as defined herein – see ‘coat of arms’ and ‘emblem’ (also ‘regional flag’ and ‘emblem, state, national, provincial or royal’).

[Regional emblem]  [Regional emblem]
Flag of Ferizli, Turkey (fotw); Flag of Bartın, Turkey (fotw)

The term for that sub-national flag which represents a geographic area within a country (see ‘regional flag’ and ‘sub-national flag’).

[Regional flag]  [Regional flag]  [Regional flag] 
Flag of Ziemia Dobrzynska, Poland (fotw); Flag of Region Normandie, France (fotw); Flag of Hannover Region, Germany (fotw)

In French, Spanish and in some other maritime usage the term for those flags or pennants, now obsolete, which were flown from the main masthead of merchant vessels to show in which district, maritime province or in which sector of that province/arrondissement or colonial area they were registered, and in French use (for example) from 1817–c1929 – arrondissement, sector or matricular flags, pennants or ensigns - but see ‘merchant ship pendant’ (also ‘main’, ‘masthead’ and ‘pennant 2)’).

[registration flag example] [registration flag example] [matricular flag - Spain]
Registration Flag of Puerto Libertad, Mexico c1858 – 1888 (fotw); A Sector of the Arrondissement of Brest, France (fotw); La Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain c1870 (fotw)

Please note, it has been suggested that this type of flag/pennant may have had wider European usage than is indicated above, however, no further information can be confirmed at the present time.

See ‘realm banner black-red-gold’.

[reconstruction of Cartagena flag]
Realm Banner / Reichsbanner, Germany 1924 – 1933 (fotw)

See ‘cross 1)’.

[regular cross - Savoy]
Flag of Savoy, France (fotw)

The German for State War Ensign/Flag – see ‘war flag 1)’ and ‘war flag 2)’.

[Reichskriegsflagge] [Reichskriegsflagge]
Reichskriegsflaggen/War Flags of Germany 1935 – 1938 and 1938 – 1945 (fotw)

See ‘flag proposal’.

[rejected design example]
Rejected design for the National Flag of Canada, 1964 (fotw)

See ‘banner 3)’, ‘gonfalon 1)’ and ‘religious flag’.

[ecclesiastic banner]

The generic term for any flag that is used in religious worship, or that represents a particular faith or denomination within that faith (see note below and also ‘banner 3)’, ‘Buddhist flag’, ‘Christian flag’, ‘church flag 2)’, ‘dhvaja’, ‘ex-voto flag’, ‘khanda’, ‘marian flag’, ‘prayer flag’ and ‘thangka’).

Buddhist flag  Buddhist flag  [Papal colours]
Flag of the Anglican Communion (fotw); “Standard” Buddhist Flag (fotw); Flag in the Papal Colours (fotw)

a) A Roman Catholic church may sometimes fly either the flag of the Vatican City State or a bicolour in the Papal colours of white and gold, whilst an Islamic mosque usually displays one or more crescent vexilloids and a Jewish synagogue either the Menorah or the Magen David (see also ‘
crescent’, ‘Magen David’, ‘Menorah’ and ‘vexilloid’).
b) Religious flags in the US are often displayed within the church building as well as outside, whereas in the UK Christian churches, with the exception of those religious banners carried in procession (and laid up military colours), usually (but not invariably) fly such flags outdoors.

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