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The History of Flags

Last modified: 2000-05-12 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillology | history | iran | ancient egypt |
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There are, in fact, authentic flags design of ancient peoples: Smith 75, in his introductory chapters, shows an actual photo of a metal flag from Iran, ca. 3000 BC, and reconstructions of vexilloids shown on ancient Greek coins, Egyptian tomb carvings, etc. These are not exactly the rectangular cloth of today, but remarkably similar and surely source material for designs. All these date to before the Christian era, so they certainly quality as "ancient." Smith also reconstructs, perhaps with a chuckle, a rag tied to a stick which might have been a "flag" of earliest Neaderthal or their kin in the caves. What is remarkable about so many of these is their simplicity ... one of the great virtues of good vexillography, I submit.
William E. Dunning, 26 March 1998

For those interested in Medieval flags, there is a web page of Ninth to Seventeenth Century Flags. Donna Hrynkiw provides some basic info about flags between the Ninth and Seventeenth Centuries, plus some definitions as to the name of various shaped flags and banners. While simplistic, it does provide material I'd not seen before.
Al Fisher, 16 March 1998

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