Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillogy Portal!
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.
The Lion and Sun or Shir-o-khorshid (Persian: شیر و خورشید) is one of the better-known emblems of Iran, and between 1423 and 1979 was an element in Iran's national flag. The motif, which combines "ancient Iranian, Arab, Turkish, and Mongol traditions", became a popular symbol in Iran in the 12th century. The lion and sun symbol is based largely on astronomical and astrological configurations: the ancient sign of the sun in the house of Leo, which itself is traced backed to Babylonian astrology and Near Eastern traditions.
During the Safavid era, the lion and sun stood for the two pillars of society, the state and the Islamic religion. It became a national emblem during the Qajar era. In the 19th century, European visitors at the Qajar court attributed the lion and sun to remote antiquity; since then, it has acquired a nationalistic interpretation. During the reign of Fat'h Ali Shah and his successors, a crown was also placed on the top of the symbol to represent the monarchy. Beginning in the reign of Fat'h Ali Shah Qajar, the Islamic aspect of the monarchy was de-emphasized. The emblem remained the official symbol of Iran until the 1979 revolution, when the "Lion and Sun" symbol was removed from public spaces and government organizations, and replaced by the present-day Coat of arms of Iran. (more...)
The flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white and red charged in the center of the white stripe with the coat of arms. While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country's War of Independence. The current flag was adopted in 1968, but the overall design has been used since 1821. The current law of national symbols that governs the use of the national flag has been in place since 1984. (more...)
Mary Pickersgill (born Mary Young; February 12, 1776 – October 4, 1857), was the maker of the Star Spangled Banner Flag hoisted over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Pickersgill learned her craft from her mother, Rebecca Young, also a noted flag maker. In 1813, Pickersgill was commissioned by Major George Armistead to make a flag for Baltimore's Fort McHenry that was so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a great distance. The flag was installed in August 1813, and, a year later, during the Battle of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key could see the flag while negotiating a prisoner exchange aboard a British vessel, and was inspired to pen the words that became the United States National Anthem. (more...)