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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sun 25 May, 2008 3:43 am    Post subject: Let us speak of banners and things of that nature         Reply with quote

My friends and I where joking the other day that my personality has gotten to the point that I will require a banner, and I had half considered the notion.

On further reflection, I've seen a number of differently shaped flags in books on the middle ages, most often the long, triangular type. From what I recall, the followers of knights would carry these, as would some infantry units (unsure). They would bear the personal emblem of the knight in question. I'm sure that an assembled army would carry the banner of their nation as well.

I know little of Roman banners, save that I know they had awesomely ornate emblems on the top, and where hung down from a cross-shaped pole. The term for this escapes me, which is mildly irritating, but I get the point across.

This pretty much ties up what I know about flags and banners in this context, so I'm going to propose a few questions.

* What caused the transition from Roman style banner to the more familiar "flag" style?
* After the fall of the Western Roman Empire (debatable over if it actually fell or not, would make for a good convo on SFI's history section), did that form of banner stay in use for a while or did it die off completely?
* If I where a knight or man at arms allowed to carry a banner (I recall there being the right to it as a law), this would carry my personal coat of arms in later periods, correct? If so, what was on them before the popularization of the coat of arms (correct term, correct? Heraldry and all that.)
* Would the guys who carried these to battle for me be part of the combat as well? Would they leave the banner behind to fight, or would they not enter battle?

That's what I can think of to ask in the short hand, so if anyone has some knowledge to share, I'm sure others would also like to know too.

M.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Sun 25 May, 2008 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beeing a bannerman was the highest honour one could have.
Basically, the banner would be the mobile rallying point of the unit whos banner he carried. As such the bannerman was extremely important.
Typically it was a position of honour given to a especially trusted man. He was expected to carry the banner into the thick of the fighting, and defend it with his life.

Taken to the extreme, the romans would actually worship their standards as "unit spirits", and construct shrines to them.
However, a roman style standard isn't very handy for quick movement.
In medevial times, standard would be made more practical, often in the form of a streamer or flag. High medevial standards where often tall but short flags, similar to the ones used by the japanese.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 25 May, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Let us speak of banners and things of that nature         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:

* If I where a knight or man at arms allowed to carry a banner (I recall there being the right to it as a law), this would carry my personal coat of arms in later periods, correct? If so, what was on them before the popularization of the coat of arms (correct term, correct? Heraldry and all that.)
* Would the guys who carried these to battle for me be part of the combat as well? Would they leave the banner behind to fight, or would they not enter battle?
.


You would have been called a "knight banneret." Technically, this was the one who led a group, and served as a rallying or regrouping point for subsequent charges. At least in 12th century era, it was not easy to reach this status. William Marshall, and a couple of others with frail claims to noblility status did. In the case of William Marshall, we have direct evidence that this when he first appeared as a "banneret" was the first time he bore a personal crest (red lion rampant on a field of yellow and green. David Crouche's texts are a good reference.)

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 26 May, 2008 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good to know. So before formal heraldry, what was displayed? IIRC, Roman standards had their unit number and what not.

M.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 30 May, 2008 12:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the Romans, you could try this page: http://www.romancoins.info/MilitaryEquipment-Signum.html

while for the others...I recall seeing a mention of the Viking "raven banner" being flown among the Norman host in the Bayeux Tapestry--it's in this page: http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/banners.shtml
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Tim May




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PostPosted: Fri 30 May, 2008 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember reading in the Song of Roland that the knights had pennons attached to their lances so that they did not penetrate through an enemy. This allowed an unbroken lance to be withdrawn more easily for additional use, as Roland and Oliver both get quite a few hits out of a single lance.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 30 May, 2008 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

IIRC, at the time of the War of the Roses, banners/flags bore colors, stripes and other heraldic elements but not formal coats of arms. They were mainly meant to be distinctive, easily legible rallying points and markers for commanders who needed to see at a glance who was where.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2008 12:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim May wrote:
I remember reading in the Song of Roland that the knights had pennons attached to their lances so that they did not penetrate through an enemy. This allowed an unbroken lance to be withdrawn more easily for additional use, as Roland and Oliver both get quite a few hits out of a single lance.


That's interesting. Winston Churchill also remarked in his account of the Malakand campaigns that the native cavalry regiments should be taught to furl the pennons on their lances before engaging in battle, because the lack of such an obstacle had occasionally allowed enraged tribesmen--already struck by the troopers' lances--to crawl their way up the lance and strike back at the trooper. A bit scary, isn't it?
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2011 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is an older topic but was unsure where it might be best placed in other contexts. The following pdf extract is a bit of dry reading (as heraldic and amorial texts often are) But there is some neat information regarding dimension and differences between standards, banners and pennon. Some yards long, the standards ranging from a dozen feet to as far nearing thirty feet at times.

Southesk, Earl of, "Douglas, Percy and the Cavers Ensign" Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, February 10, 1902, pp 246 - 280.

http://h1.ripway.com/Bombadil/percypennon36_246_280.pdf

There are other links to that pdf but I figured I would be uploading it to the net anyway. There is also mention of the article and a good many others regarding amorial and heraldic resources on another SCA page (possibly posted before in other topics). Here is (I hope) the entire journal volume on Google.
http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=tRgn...put=reader

the SCA list
http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/bib0409.html

The extract also has other interesting leads for books for other searches in the footnotes and appendix.

Cheers

GC
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