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Scotland Flag and The Royal Flag of Scotland
The Flag of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: bratach na h-Alba; Scots: Banner o Scotland), also known as St Andrew’s Cross or the Saltire, is the national flag of Scotland. As the national flag, the Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly. It is also, where possible, flown from Scottish Government buildings every day from 8am until sunset, with certain exceptions.
According to legend, the Christian apostle and martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, was crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras, (Patrae), in Achaea. Use of the familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, first appears in the Kingdom of Scotland in 1180 during the reign of William I. It was again depicted on seals used during the late 13th century, including on one used by the Guardians of Scotland, dated 1286.
Using a simplified symbol which does not depict St. Andrew’s image, the saltire or crux decussata, (from the Latin crux, ‘cross’, and decussis, ‘having the shape of the Roman Numeral X’), began in the late 14th century. In June 1385, the Parliament of Scotland decreed that Scottish soldiers serving in France would wear a white Saint Andrew’s Cross, both in front and behind, for identification.
The Royal Flag of Scotland is called the Royal Flag, because it is now used as the Royal Coats of Arms, but it was not always that way. If it is on a flagpole it is the Royal Flag, if it is just hanging up, it is the Royal Banner of Scotland. There was a time when Scotland had no Coats of Arms, and symbols, but they were influenced by outside countries.
We just blogged about the Beast of Gotland. The Carruthers, then called Ashman, came to Scotland in 400 A.D. Their arrived in boats that were beautifully carved, and their jewelry and trinkets were all decorated with their symbols.
Their shields always lined the side of their boats with beautifully painted symbols on each one.
These same types of images can still be seen in the museums on Gotland today. They were brought to Scotland with the Ashman in 400 AD and nothing in Scotland compared to that point.
Now we have what we see as the evolution of these symbols in Scotland.
Scandinavian Scotland refers to the period which Vikings and Norse settlers, mainly Scandinavians, and their descendants colonized parts of what is now the periphery of modern Scotland. Viking influence in the area commenced in the late 8th century, and hostility between the Scandinavian Earls of Orkney and the emerging thalassocracy of the Kingdom of the Isles, the rulers of Ireland, Dál Riata and Alba, and intervention by the crown of Norway were recurring themes.
Scandinavian Scotland Flag
Thorfinn Sigurdsson’s rule in the 11th century included expansion well into north mainland Scotland and this may have been the zenith of Scandinavian influence. The obliteration of pre-Norse names in the Hebrides and Northern Isles, and their replacement with Norse ones was almost total although the emergence of alliances with the native Gaelic speakers produced a powerful Norse-Gael culture that had wide influence in Argyll, Galloway and beyond.
An unbroken line of Norse earls of Orkney ended in 1213 AD.
1100 AD the symbol of The Golden Lion was first used in battle when the Scandinavians used it in the Baltic Crusades.
1100 AD, William the Conqueror, gave the Carruthers their colors of gold and red. These were a universal color of heraldry. These colors were used by many countries throughout Europe, especially in battle.
Richard Coeur de Lion
Richard, Coeur de Lion, or the Lionhearted, used the symbol of the three lions or leopards, when he went off to the crusades. He was born in England, where he spent his childhood; before becoming king, however, he lived most of his adult life in the Duchy of Aquitaine, in the southwest of France. Following his accession, he spent very little time, perhaps as little as six months, in England. When he returned to England, The Three Golden Lions were prominently displayed. The Golden Lion, alone, was used in France for centuries, where it is reasonable to see that Richard used the Three Golden Lions, now the Royal Arms of England.
Ancient coats of arms lion
A form of these arms was used by King William the Lion in the 12th century, though no trace of them can be made out on his seal. However, a lion Ancient coats of can clearly be made out on the seal of his son, Alexander II. Over the years many writers have claimed them to be much older; even Alexander Nisbet, considered to be one of the more reliable Scottish heralds, claims that a lion was first adopted as a personal symbol by the legendary Fergus, with the royal tressure being added in the reign of Achaius.
Throughout the ages the arms passed from monarch to succeeding monarch with only slight variations in detail. In some early examples the lion holds a sword or wears a crown, and the royal tressure has sometimes been interpreted as an orle or bordure. Many of these relatively minor variations will have resulted from the individual efforts of stonemasons, weavers, artists and sculptors throughout the ages in their attempts to create a facsimile of the arms of the period, as well as mistakes and misinterpretations on the part of foreign heraldic artists.
German Knights 14th century
Macedonia Coats of Arms
In the reign of James III, the Scottish Parliament made a curious attempt to get rid of the royal tressure, passing an act stating that “the King, with the advice of the three Estates ordained that in time to come there should be no double tressure about his arms, but that he should bear whole arms of the lion without any more”. This state of affairs does not appear to have lasted very long, with James III soon re-instating the royal tressure, first without its top, and then in its original form.
When Mary, Queen of Scots, married Francis, Dauphin of France, in 1558, Mary’s Royal arms of Scotland were impaled with those of the Dauphin, whose arms were themselves quartered with those of Scotland to indicate his status as King consort of Scotland. When Francis ascended to the throne of the Kingdom of France in 1559 as King Francis II, the arms were again altered to indicate his status as King of France, with those of Mary also being altered to reflect her elevated status as Queen consort of France.
Following the death of Francis in 1560, Mary continued to use the arms showing Scotland and France impaled, (with a minor alteration of the arms to reflect her change of status from queen-consort to Queen dowager), until her marriage to Henry, Lord Darnley, in 1565. (Such symbolism was not lost upon Queen Elizabeth I of England, given that the English monarchy had for centuries held a historical claim to the throne of France, symbolized by the arms of France having been quartered with those of England since 1340). Following the marriage to Darnley, the arms of Scotland reverted to the blazon which had preceded the marriage to Francis.
Union of the Crowns
On the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1603, James VI, inherited the thrones of England and Ireland. The arms of England were quartered with those of Scotland, and a quarter for Ireland was also added. At this time the King of England also laid claim to the French throne, therefore the arms of the Kingdom of England were themselves already quartered with those of the Kingdom of France. James used a different version of his royal arms in Scotland and this distinction in royal protocol continued post the Acts of Union of 1707. (Today, the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom used in Scotland continue to differ from those used elsewhere).
During the reign of King Charles II, the royal arms used in Scotland were augmented with the inclusion of the Latin motto of the Order of the Thistle, the highest Chivalric order of the Kingdom of Scotland.
The motto of the Order of the Thistle, Nemo me impune lacessit, appears on a blue scroll overlying the compartment. (Previously, only the collar of the Order of the Thistle had appeared on the arms).
The addition by King Charles of Nemo me impune lacessit ensured that the blazon of his Royal arms used in Scotland complemented that of his Royal arms used elsewhere, in that two mottoes were displayed. The blazon used elsewhere had included the French motto of the arms, Dieu et mon droit, together with the Old French motto of the Order of the Garter, the highest Chivalric order of the Kingdom of England. The motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense, appears on a representation of the garter surrounding the shield. Henceforth, the versions of the Royal arms used in Scotland and elsewhere were to include both the motto of the arms of the respective kingdom and the motto of the associated order of chivalry.
From the accession of the Stuart dynasty to the throne of the Kingdom of Ireland in 1603, the Royal Arms have featured the harp, or Cláirseach, of Ireland in the third quadrant, the style of the harp itself having been altered several times since. The position of King of Ireland ceased with the passage by the Oireachtas of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, when the office of President of Ireland (which had been created in late 1937) replaced that of the King of Ireland for external as well as internal affairs. The Act declared that the Irish state could be described as a republic, following which the newly created Republic of Ireland left the British Commonwealth. However, the modern versions of the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland used both in Scotland and elsewhere, and also the arms of Canada, continue to feature an Irish harp to represent Northern Ireland.
Changes to the blazon of the arms
Following the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1558, the blazon of the royal arms of Scotland included elements from the arms of:
The Kingdom of France, (1559–1565)
Following the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the blazon of the royal arms of Scotland included elements from the arms of:
The Kingdom of England, (1603–1707)
The Kingdom of Ireland, (1603–1707)
Following the reign of Charles II, King of Scots, the blazon of the royal arms of Scotland included upon a blue scroll overlying the compartment, the motto of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle; Nemo me impune lacessit, and elements from the arms of:
Following the Acts of Union of 1707, the blazon of the royal arms of Great Britain used in Scotland included elements from the arms of:
The Kingdom of Ireland (1707–1800)
The Electorate of Hanover, (1714–1800)
Following the Act of Union of 1800, the blazon of the royal arms of the United Kingdom used in Scotland included elements from the arms of:
The Kingdom of Hanover, (1814–1837)
Following the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, the modern royal arms of the United Kingdom were adopted.
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