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Dictionary of Vexillology: P (Papal Cross - Paying Off Pennant)

Last modified: 2024-06-08 by rob raeside
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The term that describes a cross with three horizontal arms crossing the vertical, and considered to represent the Papacy – a three-armed, a triple-armed or triple cross – but see ‘orthodox cross(also ‘cross 2)’, ‘cross of Lorraineand ‘two and a half armed cross’).

Papal cross Papal cross Papal cross
Flag of Cobro, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Binn, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Sâo Pedro da Cadeira, Portugal (fotw)

1) Generically, the term for any flag (or pennant) intended to be carried outdoors in a parade situation, and made with appropriate materials and accessories - a marching flag/pennant.
2) Specifically, the term for that flag which is not a military colour as defined herein, but which is treated and/or accessorized as such – for example those of the Royal British Legion (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘cord(s) 1)’, ‘cravat 1)’, ‘fringe’, ‘tassels’, ‘sleeve 2)’, ‘staff’ 3)’ and ‘veterans flag’).

[parade flag example]  [parade flag example]
Parade Flag of the Royal Naval Association, UK (Graham Bartram); Parade Flag of the Royal British Legion, UK (Graham Bartram)

There are basically three ways involving a sleeve by which a parade flag or military colour may be affixed to its staff - with decorative nails (often a precisely regulated number of nails), by means of a grommet and clip, or by tab and screw (see also ‘grommet’, 'nails' ‘sleeve 2)’ and ‘tab’) however:
b) The practice of tying a colour/parade flag to its staff, or attaching it by cloth loops or metal rings is still occasionally seen (see also ‘grommet’, ‘sleeve 2)’, 'tab' and ‘ties’).

See ‘flag of truce’.

[Flag of truce]

1) In vexillology a term that may be used when two colours are reversed along a flag’s centre line.
2) In heraldry see ‘counterchanged’.

[Parti-coloured example] [Parti-coloured example] [Parti-coloured example]
Flag of Las Labores, Spain (fotw); Flag of Gelterfingen, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Barnim, Germany (Wikipedia & fotw)

A term that may be used when a canton or other charge does not entirely cover one or more of the stripes in a multi-striped flag (see also ‘covering’, ‘overall 1)’ and ‘multi-stripe’).

[Partially covered example] [Partially covered example]
Flag of Vista Alegre do Alto, Brazil (fotw); Flag of Maranhão, Brazil (fotw)

Please note that this term is never used alone but always with the number of stripes being covered and/or partially covered.

The heraldic term that may be used when a shield or banner of arms is divided into two horizontally, vertically or diagonally, or into four diagonally - see ‘per bend’, ‘per bend sinister’, ‘per fess’, ‘per pale’ and ‘per saltire’).

[party example] [party example] [party example] [party example] [party example]
Party Per Fess, Per Pale, Per Bend, Per Bend Sinister and Per Saltire

a) This term is never used alone, but always with the term describing the direction of any such division, for example party per fess.
2) The term “parted” as given in the heading above is not (at the present time) an established heraldic term but is much used on fotw.

See ‘political flag 1)’.

party flag, Iraq
A Flag of the Communist Party, Iraq (fotw)

See ‘agnus dei’.

Pascal Lamb Pascal Lamb
Flag and Arms of Knin, Croatia (fotw)

The heraldic term used when an animal is depicted walking on all four paws, or with one paw raised, and generally towards the dexter – but see ‘trippant’.

[passant] [example of passant] [passant]
Flag of Košařiska, Czechia (fotw); Flag of Marnitz, Germany (fotw); Flag of West-Friesland c1720, The Netherlands (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘guardant’ and ‘passant’.

[passant guardant] [passant guardant] [passant guardant]
Royal Standard of England 1198 – 1340 (fotw); Flag of Hannover County 1974 – 2001, Germany (fotw); Flag of Häggenschwil, Switzerland (fotw)

See ‘crozier’.

[pastoral staff]
Flag of Basel, Switzerland (fotw)

1) A flag or flag-like image that combines the national flags of those nations which make up a supra-national entity or geographic area (see also ‘linguistic flags 1)’ and ‘supra-national flag’).
2) A flag which illustrates the unity and/or ethnic mix of an area’s population by displaying a combination of the appropriate images.
3) See ‘combined flag’.

[patchwork flag]  [patchwork flag] [patchwork flag]
Example of a EU Patchwork Flag (fotw); Flag of Kiel, US (fotw); Combined Flag c1914 - Standard of the Allies (fotw)

A heraldic term for the cross of Lorraine - see ‘cross of Lorraine’.

[cross of Lorraine]
Flag of Wallbach, Switzerland (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘cross pattée’ .

[cross pattee] [cross pattee]
Arms of Rzeszów, Poland (fotw); House flag of the Companhia Nacional de Navegação Costeira, Brazil (fotw)

The heraldic term for an ermine-lined velvet robe of state that is draped from a crown or coronet and framing a royal or princely coat of arms. If behind a non-royal coat of arms it becomes a mantle (see also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘crown’, ‘ermine’, ‘mantle’ and and ‘royal arms’).

[pavilion] [pavilion] [pavilion]
Royal Arms of Egypt 1922 – 1953 (fotw); Royal Arms of Sweden (fotw); Greater Arms of Serbia (fotw)

A term for the decorative display of shields along the sides of a ship – a practice now obsolete – see ‘deck flags’ (also ‘ancient 2)’ and ‘crown of arms’, (also ‘postures’ and ‘streamer 2)’).

English Pavisade c1530 (CS)


a) This term is derived from the “pavise” which was a large shield behind which crossbowmen sheltered whilst reloading – see ‘crossbow’,
b) The practice of hanging shields along the sides of a fighting ship began as a defensive measure but had become largely decorative by the mid-16th Century.

The medieval European term for a triangular flag or pennant whose lower edge was at right angles to its staff, but which may be extended to include the increasingly (but not entirely) obsolete oriental flag or pennant of this same pattern - see ‘dhvaja’ and ‘prayer flag’ (also ‘double pavon’).

[Bartloming] [Kiltai] [Customs Service, China 1881]
Flags of Bartloming and Kiltai, Indonesia c1900 (fotw); Flag of the Customs Service, China 1881 (fotw)

Please note that the Editors have introduced an extension of this term, as no accurate and/or established alternative could be found to cover the Oriental examples.

In British RN usage and in some others the term for an extra-long version of the standard masthead pennant - an action pennant, a homeward bound pennant or decommissioning pennant (see also ‘masthead pennant 1) & 2)’). See supplemental note.

[Paying off pennant]

Please note, it is the tradition in some navies that a ship on her final voyage, or at the end of an extended deployment out of home waters, should fly a special pennant the length of which is commensurate with the length of her last commission, or of the deployment being completed.

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