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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

Flags of the Nordic countries
A herald wearing a tabard

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.

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Selected biography

Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo

Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo (June 24, 1860 – May 30, 1946), also simply known as Marcela Agoncillo, was a Filipina renowned in Philippine history as the principal seamstress of the first and official flag of the Philippines, gaining her the title of Mother of the Philippine Flag.

After finishing her studies at Sta. Catalina College, Agoncillo married Filipino lawyer and jurist Don Felipe Agoncillo. When her husband was exiled to Hong Kong during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, Agoncillo and the rest of the family joined him and temporarily resided there to avoid the anti-Filipino hostility of some foreign countries. While in Hong Kong, General Emilio Aguinaldo requested her to sew a flag that would represent their country. Agoncillo, her eldest daughter and a friend manually sewed the flag in accordance with General Aguinaldo's design which later became the official flag of the Philippines. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of the Italian Republic

The flag of Italy (bandiera d'Italia, often referred to in Italian as il Tricolore) is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side. Its current form has been in use since 19 June 1946 and was formally adopted on 1 January 1948.

The first entity to use the Italian tricolour was the Repubblica Cispadana (Cispadane Republic) in 1797, after Napoleon's victorious army crossed Italy. During this time many small republics of Jacobin inspiration supplanted the ancient absolute states and almost all, with variants of colour, used flags characterised by three bands of equal size, clearly inspired by the French model of 1790. The colours chosen by the Republic were red and white, the colours of the flag of Milan, and green, which was the colour of the uniform of the Milanese civic guard. Some have attributed particular values to the colours, and a common interpretation is that the green represents the country's plains and the hills; white, the snow-capped Alps; and red, blood spilt in the Wars of Italian Independence. A more religious interpretation is that the green represents hope, the white represents faith, and the red represents charity; this references the three theological virtues. (more...)

Selected coat of arms

Coat of arms of Germany

The coat of arms of Germany displays a black eagle (the Bundesadler "Federal Eagle", formerly Reichsadler "Imperial Eagle") on a yellow shield (Or, an eagle displayed sable). The current official design is due to Tobias Schwab (1887–1967) and was introduced in 1928. It is a re-introduction of the coat of arms of the Weimar Republic (in use 1919–1935) adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950. The Weimar Republic had re-introduced the medieval coat of arms of the Holy Roman Emperors, in use during the 13th and 14th centuries, before Sigismund of Luxemburg adopted the double-headed eagle beginning in 1433. The single-headed Imperial Eagle (on a white background, Argent, an eagle displayed sable) had also been used by the German Empire during 1889–1918, based on the earlier coat of arms of Prussia. (more...)

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A Buddhist flag flying in Beijing

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