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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (Scallop Shell - Scythian Cap)

Last modified: 2016-05-23 by rob raeside
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See ‘escallop’.

Flag of Morissen, Switzerland (fotw)

1) (adj) Where the edges of a flag are cut into repeated semi-circular shapes - an indented edge.
2) (adj) The term may also be used when the top edge of a shield is seen with two (or more) semi-circular cut-outs (see also ‘shield’).

[scalloped shield] [indented edge example] [indented edge example]
Example; Two Merchant Flags, Portugal 16th/17th Century (fotw)

Please note however, that a division line within a flag or shield is not scalloped, but is more correctly described as either engrailed or invected (see ‘engrailed’ and 'invected').

A cross with arms of equal width, whose horizontal arm runs along the centre of the flag, but whose vertical arm is off-centred towards the hoist – a Nordic, horizontal Latin or off-centred Cross.

[Norway - Scandinavian cross] [Sweden] [Åland Islands] [Shetland Islands] [Scandinavian cross]
From left: National Flag of Norway (CS); National Flag of Sweden (CS); Åland Islands, Finland (fotw); Shetland Islands, Scotland (fotw); Unofficial Flag of Swedish People of Finnish Descent (Elias Granqvist)

Please note that this term should only be used for those flags which are from, or have a connection with the Scandinavian region, otherwise see ‘off-centred cross 2)

See ‘off-centred cross 2)’.

[Domingos Martins]
Domingos Martins, Brazil (fotw)

The heraldic term for a (or the) small ecclesiastical banner (or banners) fixed to the top of a bishop’s crosier (see also ‘banderole’).

[Svetla] [Svetla] [Abtwil, Aargau] [scarf example] [scarf example]
Flag and Arms of Světlα , Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of Abtwil, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Vila Nova de Sao Bento, Portugal (Klaus-Michael Schneider)

A symbolic/ornamental rod or wand, and largely (but by no means exclusively) the symbol of a monarch’s temporal power (see also ‘crown’ and ‘orb’).

[Montenegro] [Montenegro] [Engelberg]  [Moldova] [Moldova]
Flag and Arms of Montenegro (fotw); Flag of Engelberg, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Moldova (fotw)

See 'tugh 1)’ and its following note.

Source: National Music Museum, used with permission

See ‘cross pattée’ and ‘cross couped’ in ‘appendix VIII’.


1) A type of flag, now obsolete, which shows a strip along its top edge that extends beyond the fly to become a tongue (see also ‘tongue(s) 1)’).
(see also ‘engrailed fly’, 'palm', ‘square-tongued’, ‘stepped fly’ and ‘tongue(s)’).
2) A form of flag where a triangular tongue extends from the upper fly corner of the flag – but see note a) below.
3) The tail or tongue as described above.

[Schwenkel]  Tetouan, Morocco schwenkel  
15th C Flag of Zurich, Switzerland (CS); Flag of Tetouan, Morocco 1968 - 1976 (fotw); Flag of Beni Mellal, Morocco 1968 – 1976 (fotw)

With regard to 2), the Editors suggest that the term “tongue”(as referenced above) should be used where this projection forms an integral part of the flag as referenced above and illustrated below.
b) Definition 3) is based upon the original German this term refers only to the tail.

Wloclawek, Poland
Flag of Wloclawek City, Poland (fotw)

The term for an oriental sword with a single-edged curved blade and plain cross guard, whose blade is often seen widening from hilt to tip – but see ‘saber’ and its following note.

scimitar scimitar scimitar scimitar scimitar
Flag of Karelia, Finland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Virovitica, Croatia (fotw); Arms and Flag of Charneca, Portugal (fotw)

See ‘St Andrew's Cross 2)’.

Scottish saltire
National flag of Scotland (fotw)

A usually narrow ribbon of varying length and elaboration; it is normally (but not exclusively) placed below the shield in a set of armorial bearings or an emblem, and is inscribed with a motto or the name of a state or other entity – a ribbon – but see ‘ribbon scroll 2)’ (also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘emblem’ and ‘motto’).

Brazil president Brazil arms Brunei flag Brunei arms New Jersey New Jersey arms
The Presidential Flag and National Emblem of Brazil (fotw); The National Flag and Emblem of Brunei (fotw); The Flag and Arms of The State of New Jersey, US (fotw)

See ‘cap of liberty’.

[Scythian cap flag]
Flag of Pereira, Chile (

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