Vexillology uses some words whose significance is sometimes badly known, such as flag and ensign. Yet, each of them has a very accurate significance which settles the use of the flag and which may also be regulated by law. If you wish to know more about it, click on the right button.
A flag represents much more than a piece of cloth. In a symbolic way, it conveys the message that a collectivity (State, people, nation, ethnic or cultural community, etc.) or a person (a Head of State, a minister, a general, etc.) wishes to deliver to the surrounding world, and by which it or she proclaims his or her fundamental values, beliefs, culture, asserts his or her authority and rank, emphasizes his or her particularism, in short, reveals his or her deep identity.
The word vexillology comes from the latin word vexillum which means emblem, banner. The Romans were great users of this vexilla, intended to recognize the armies between them, but also to give pomp to fairs or ceremonies. It was invented in 1958 by the American professor Whitney Smith in order to name the science, or better the discipline which aims to study flags, their history and their symbolism.
Few originally,the organizations which have been created in the world are now several tens regrouping about thirty countries.
Today more than ever, flags seem to be true witnesses of history. The upheavals which affect the world are directly reflected in them as the numerous international events in the last decade of the previous century show,and they have nearly always been followed by important changes in the national symbols of the States concerned.
What is the vexillology ?