I had to look up the word “vexillology” in the dictionary the other day. I found out that it is the study of flags. Merriam-Webster told me that but I confirmed the definition also with britannica who added this interesting information.
The colours and designs of national flags are usually not arbitrarily selected but rather stem from the history, culture, or religion of the particular country. Many flags can be traced to a common origin, and such “flag families” are often linked both by common traditions and by geography. The oldest European flags still in use are those that display the Christian cross, which was first extensively used in the Crusades. In addition to the British flag, the Union Jack, flags with crosses are used by Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Greece, and Switzerland. Following the introduction of heraldry into Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries, European royalty adopted coats of arms that soon became the basis of their flags. These heraldic devices have largely disappeared from modern national flags, but the colours used in the coats of arms are still the colours of the flags of Poland, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Luxembourg, and Monaco. The flags of Austria and the tiny states of San Marino and Liechtenstein still display the heraldic devices themselves.
Among the better known of Europe’s striped flags was the red-white-blue flag of the Netherlands. Because of its use in that country’s long war for independence from Spain, the flag and its colours became associated with the concepts of liberty and a republican form of government. This association was greatly reinforced by France’s adoption of the same colours, but with vertical instead of horizontal stripes, following the French Revolution of 1789. The newly independent United States’ choice of these colours for the Stars and Stripes, however, was based on its former affiliation with Britain and the colours of the Union Jack. Other nations in Europe and in South and Central America selected tricolours of their own to express their adherence to the principles of liberty, equality, and…
If you have never visited the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts its worth the trip. Not only are the exhibits wonderful and the library extensive but the special lectures and music presentations are frosting on the cake.
The area around Lexington, where I grew up, is steeped in Revolutionary War history. Bedford, MA next door to Lexington, a domicile of mine along with Lexington, has one of the earliest Revolutionary War flags supposedly carried by the Bedford Minutemen. Inscribed prominently in the flag are the words Vince Aut Morire – victory or death. At my 40th High School reunion we all received magnetic Bedford flags.
This all goes to show that our colonial history and Freemasonry are closely intertwined. When you red about one the other crops up.