Prophetic Raven Banner

BL Add. MS 33241, f.37v.

Now they had a banner of wonderfully strange nature, which though I believe that it may be incredible to the reader, yet since it is true, I will introduce the matter into my true history. For while it was woven of the plainest and whitest silk, and the representation of no figure was inserted into it, in time of war a raven was always seen as if embroidered on it, in the hour of its owners’ victory opening its beak, flapping its wings, and restive on its feet, but very subdued and drooping with its whole body when they were defeated. Looking out for this, Thorkell, who had fought the first battle, said: “Let us fight manfully, comrades, for no danger threatens us: for to this the restive raven of the prophetic banner bears witness.” When the Danes heard this, they were rendered bolder, and clad with suits of mail, encountered the enemy in the place called Aesceneduno, a word which we Latinists can explain as ‘mons fraxinorum’.

Encomium Emmæ Reginæ.

Battle Flag of the Republic of Novorossiya

A woman walks with the Battle Flag of Novorossiya during a rally in Lenin Square, in the centre of Donetsk, 4 October 2014.
A woman walks with the Battle Flag of Novorossiya during a rally in Lenin Square, in the centre of Donetsk, 4 October 2014.

It’s a red flag with a blue Saint Andrew’s cross. The flag of the Russian Navy. Of the Navy, which played a prominent military role in the emergence and establishment of the historical Novorossiya.

Izvestia, 20 March 2014.

Black Jack

"Black Jack" by Mike Davison of Auckland, one of forty proposed alternative designs to the current national flag recently approved by the New Zealand Government's Flag Consideration Panel.
“Black Jack” by Mike Davison of Auckland, one of forty proposed alternative designs to the current national flag recently approved by the New Zealand Government’s Flag Consideration Panel.

For what it’s worth, I vehemently oppose the idea that the current New Zealand flag, a Blue Ensign defaced with four stars of the Southern Cross, should be changed, but, were an alternative ultimately to be chosen, the Kiwis could do far worse than this, the only one of the forty designs to make the Flag Consideration Panel’s “long list” which incorporates the (a Māori koru-stylised) Union Flag in the canton.

ἐν τούτῳ νίκα

Confederate soldiers and the new Southern Flag within the fallen Fort Sumter, South Carolina, April 1861; salted paper print, Gilder Lehrman Collection.
Confederate soldiers and the new Southern Flag within the fallen Fort Sumter, South Carolina, April 1861; salted paper print, Gilder Lehrman Collection.

The fourth day of March was an eventful day in the Provisional Capital of the Confederate States of America, as well as in Washington. At half past three P.M., on yesterday, the Flag of the Confederate States of America was flung out to the breeze from the staff of the Capitol and as its proud folds gradually unclosed, it seemed to wave defiance to the Northern wind that came rushing down from the Potomac laden with threats of Abolition coercion. A large concourse of spectators had assembled on Capitol Hill, and the number would doubtless have been trebled had it been possible to have given an earlier announcement of the ceremony, Miss L.C.T. Tyler, one of the fair descendants of the Old Dominion, and a granddaughter of the venerable Ex-President of the late United States, had been selected to perform the principal part upon this occasion. When the time had arrived for raising the banner, Miss Tyler steadily and with heart throbbing with patriotic emotion, elevated the flag to the summit of the staff, cannon thundered forth a salute, the vast assemblage rent the air with shouts of welcome, and the people of the South had for the first time a view of the Southern flag. Ere there was time to take one hasty glance at the national ensign, the eyes of all were upturned to gaze at what would perhaps at any time have attracted unusual attention; but on this occasion seemed really a Providential omen. Scarcely had the first report from the salute died away, when a large and beautifully defined circle of blue vapor rose slowly over the assemblage of Southern spirits there assembled to vow allegiance to the Southern banner, rested for many seconds on a level with the Flag of the Confederate States, then gradually ascended until lost in the gaze of the multitude. It was a most beautiful and auspicious omen, and those who look with an eye of faith to the glorious future of our Confederacy, could not but believe that the same God that vouchsafed to the Christian Emperor the cross in the heavens as a promise of victory, had this day given to a young nation striving for Liberty a Divine augury of hope and national durability.

The Flag of the Confederate States was the work of the Committee appointed by Congress, none of the designs sent by individuals as models having been thought suitable. It consists of three bars of red and white. The upper red, middle white, and lower red. The lower bar extends the whole width of the flag, and just above it, next to the staff on the upper left hand corner of the flag is a blue Union with the seven stars in a circle. The design is simple, easily recognized, and sufficiently distinct from the old Gridiron. Long may it wave over a free prosperous and United people.

Montgomery Weekly Advertiser, 6 March 1861.

Ensign Struck off Cherbourg

Second National Confederate Flag from the C.S.S. Alabama, held by family tradition to be the flag struck during the 19 June 1864 battle with the U.S.S. Kearsarge. Given by Captain Raphael Semmes to Hugh Rowland Beaver in 1864.
Second National Confederate Flag from the C.S.S. Alabama, held by family tradition to be the flag struck during the 19 June 1864 battle with the U.S.S. Kearsarge. Given by Captain Raphael Semmes to Hugh Rowland Beaver in 1864.

Some ten or fifteen minutes after the commencement of the action our spanker gaff was shot away, and our ensign came down by the run. This was immediately replaced by another at the mizenmast-head. Official Report of Captain Semmes.

It was the boast of Admiral Semmes that nothing was saved, when the Alabama was sunk off Cherbourg by the Kearsage, that might be a trophy for the victors. In fact his boat’s flag was saved and that he presented to Rowland Beaver in return for his hospitality at Singapore. The flag still exists, probably the only tangible relic of one of the great raiders in naval history. It is a large white flag, the top corner next the flagstaff being red with a St. Andrew’s cross of blue imposed on it. On the cross are thirteen white stars, representing the original thirteen United States. An Anglesey Sea Captain by Hugh Beaver, Anglesey Antiquarian Society Transactions (1928).

Continue reading “Ensign Struck off Cherbourg”

These Gifts I Bring Thee

The Red Ensign of the Dominion of Newfoundland.
The Red Ensign of the Dominion of Newfoundland.

The badge consists of Mercury, the god of Commerce and Merchandise, presenting to Britannia a fisherman who, in a kneeling attitude, is offering the harvest of all the sea. Above the device in a scroll are the words ‘Terra Nova’, and below the motto Hæc Tibi Dona Fero or “These gifts I bring thee.” The seal was redesigned by Adelaine Lane, niece of Governor Sir Cavendish Boyle.

Gwenn-ha-Du

The Gwenn-ha-Du flag of Brittany ("white and black" in Breton) waved during a protest in Quimper (Kemper) on 2 November 2013 against the government's so-called "eco-tax," a controversial environmental tax on heavy goods vehicles. Farmers, food sector workers, fishermen, and others wore red caps resembling the 17th century revolt against King Louis XIV’s fiscal policies.
The Gwenn-ha-Du flag of Brittany (“white and black” in Breton) waved during a protest in Quimper (Kemper) on 2 November 2013 against the government’s so-called “eco-tax,” a controversial environmental tax on heavy goods vehicles. Farmers, food sector workers, fishermen, and others wore red caps resembling the 17th century revolt against King Louis XIV’s fiscal policies.

Long May It Sway, O’er Bight and Bay

The "Pink, White and Green" Newfoundland Tricolour flag.
The “Pink, White and Green” Newfoundland Tricolour flag.

The pink, the rose of England shows,
The green St. Patrick’s emblem, bright
While in between, the spotless sheen
of Andrew’s cross displays the white.

Then hail the pink, the white, the green,
Our patriot flag long may it stand.
Our Sirelands twine, their emblems trine,
To form the flag of Newfoundland!

Fling out the flag, o’er creek and cragg,
Pink, white and green, so fair, so grand.
Long may it sway o’er Bight and Bay,
Around the shores of Newfoundland!

What’er betide, our Ocean Bride
That nestles ‘midst Atlantic’s foam
Still far and wide, we’ll raise with pride
Our native flag, o’er hearth and home.

Should e’er the hand of fate demand
Some future change in our career:
We ne’er will yield: on flood or field
The flag we honour and revere!

Fling out the flag, o’er creek and cragg;
Pink, white and green, so fair, so grand.
Long may it sway, o’er Bight and Bay,
Around the shores of Newfoundland!

Archbishop Michael F. Howley of St. John’s, The Flag of Newfoundland, 1902.

God Guard Thee, Newfoundland

The Newfoundland Tricolour. The "Pink, White and Green" flag first appeared in the 1880s or 1890s and was based on the colours of the Catholic fraternal group the Star of the Sea Association, which was formed in St. John's in 1871. The official colour of the Star of the Sea Association, rose (a liturgical colour and one rare in vexillology), replacing the orange panel of the Protestant William of Orange.
The Newfoundland Tricolour. The unofficial “Pink, White and Green” flag first appeared in the 1880s or 1890s and was based on the colours of the Catholic fraternal group the Star of the Sea Association, which was formed at St. John’s in 1871. Nearly identical to the Irish Tricolour, the official colour of the Star of the Sea Association, rose (a liturgical colour and one rare in vexillology), replaces the orange panel of the Protestant William of Orange.

When sun rays crown thy pine clad hills,
And summer spreads her hand,
When silvern voices tune thy rills,
We love thee, smiling land.
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, smiling land.

When spreads thy cloak of shimmering white,
At winter’s stern command,
Thro’ shortened day, and starlit night,
We love thee, frozen land.
We love thee, we love thee
We love thee, frozen land.

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore,
And wild waves lash thy strand,
Thro’ spindrift swirl, and tempest roar,
We love thee windswept land.
We love thee, we love thee
We love thee windswept land.

As loved our fathers, so we love,
Where once they stood, we stand;
Their prayer we raise to Heaven above,
God guard thee, Newfoundland
God guard thee, God guard thee,
God guard thee, Newfoundland.

Ode to Newfoundland,
composed by Governor Sir Cavendish Boyle in 1902.

Confed’rate Forever

TSLAC 306-4059, Confederate First National Flag; Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
TSLAC 306-4059, Confederate First National Flag; Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

May our states of the South never sever
But companions of freedom e’er be;
May they flourish Confed’rate forever,
The boast of the brave and the free.

Dixie, The Land of King Cotton, words by Captain Hughes, music by John Hill Hewitt.

Cruz de la Victoria

Flag of the Principality of Asturias.
Flag of the Principality of Asturias.

Curious Pan-Celtic Flag

Pan-Celtic flag of unknown provenance; a collage of the supposed "seven modern Celtic nations"; the flags of Galicia, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Wales, the Isle of Man, and Cornwall, with a super-imposed triskelion.
Pan-Celtic flag of unknown provenance; a collage (perhaps more properly a gyronny) of the supposed “seven modern Celtic nations”; the flags of Galicia, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Wales, the Isle of Man, and Cornwall, with a super-imposed triskelion.