Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

Flags of the Nordic countries
A herald wearing a tabard

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

Selected article

Shield of the Trinity

The Shield of the Trinity or Scutum Fidei is a traditional Christian visual symbol which expresses many aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity, summarizing the first part of the Athanasian Creed in a compact diagram. In medieval England and France, this emblem was considered to be the heraldic arms of God (and of the Trinity). The precise origin of this diagram is unknown, but it was evidently influenced by 12th-century experiments in symbolizing the Trinity in abstract visual form, mainly by Petrus Alfonsi's Tetragrammaton-Trinity diagram of ca. 1109.

The Shield of the Trinity diagram is attested from as early as a ca. 1208-1216 manuscript. The diagram was used heraldically from the mid-13th century, when a shield-shaped version of the diagram (not actually placed on a shield) was included among the heraldic shields in Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora, ca. 1250. Allegorical illustrations ca. 1260 show the diagram placed on a shield. The period of its most widespread use was during the 15th and 16th centuries, when it is in found in a number of English and French manuscripts, books, stained-glass windows and ornamental carvings. (more...)

Selected flag

Red ensign of Singapore

The Red Ensign of Singapore is a civil ensign used by privately-owned, non-military ships that are registered in Singapore. The overall design of the ensign is a modification of the national flag, with the ratio of the width to the length extended to 1:2. The ensign was created by law in 1966. The use of this ensign is regulated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). According to the MPA, the Red Ensign is the only ensign to be used on Singaporean civilian ships, and the national flag is not an acceptable substitute. The ensign must be hoisted on all Singaporean ships on entering or leaving port. (more...)

Selected biography

Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo

Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo (June 24, 1860 – May 30, 1946), also simply known as Marcela Agoncillo, was a Filipina renowned in Philippine history as the principal seamstress of the first and official flag of the Philippines, gaining her the title of Mother of the Philippine Flag.

After finishing her studies at Sta. Catalina College, Agoncillo married Filipino lawyer and jurist Don Felipe Agoncillo. When her husband was exiled to Hong Kong during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, Agoncillo and the rest of the family joined him and temporarily resided there to avoid the anti-Filipino hostility of some foreign countries. While in Hong Kong, General Emilio Aguinaldo requested her to sew a flag that would represent their country. Agoncillo, her eldest daughter and a friend manually sewed the flag in accordance with General Aguinaldo's design which later became the official flag of the Philippines. (more...)

Selected picture

The hatchment of Monsignor Leo-Karel Jozef De Kesel, auxiliary bishop of Ghent. The mitre, cross, crosier and green galero with six tassels, all features of ecclesiastical heraldry, indicate his office of bishop.

Did you know...

US flag with 47 stars

  • ...that the Karavas were the only Sri Lankan community traditionally entitled to use flags?

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