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Dictionary of Vexillology: T (Tab - Teutonic Cross)

Last modified: 2022-09-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A small piece of leather sewn into the sleeve of a flag fastened to a screw head protruding from the staff, and designed to keep an indoor flag, parade flag or military colour from slipping (see also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘sleeve 2)’).

Please note that this is an alternative to a grommet and clip or decorative nails as methods of fixing a parade flag or military colour to its staff. It should be noted also however, that the practice of tying a parade flag or military colour to its staff, or affixing it with metal rings, is not entirely obsolete (see also ‘ties’).

1) In US army usage, a trumpet banner - see ‘bannerette’.
2) The formal surcoat worn by a herald on ceremonial occasions, and emblazoned with those arms appropriate to the particular office involved (see also ‘coat of arms 2)’).

Court of Lord Lyon King of Arms, Scotland (International Heraldry)

A small flag, frequently mounted on a cross bar whose staff and stand make it suitable for display on a desk or podium – a desk flag (see also ‘banneret 1)’, ‘flaglet’ and ‘handwaver’).

[table flag example]
Table Flag of Gračišće, Croatia (fotw and CS)

1. The nautical term for a line which is spliced into (or attached to) a grommet or eyelet at the foot of a flag’s hoist for securing it to its halyard (see also ‘grommet 1)’, ‘halyard’, ‘hoist 2)’, ‘Inglefield clips’, ‘splice’ and ‘tackline’).
2. A term for the lower hoist corner of a flag (see also ‘hoist 2)’).

See ‘belaying pin’.

Belaying pin example
Tack/Belaying Pins (Wikipedia)

A nautical term for a length of halyard fitted with Inglefield clips at both ends which is used to separate different signal hoists on the same halyard (see also ‘halyard’, ‘hoist 2)’ ‘Inglefield clips’ and 'tack').

Two or more projections extending from the fly of a flag or the bottom edge of a gonfalon, hanging flag or banner, either varying in width/length or of even size, sometimes triangular or possibly straight-sided with rounded, triangular or squared ends – tongues (See also ‘gonfalon’, ‘multiitailed’, ‘swallow-tail(ed)’ and ‘triangular-ended tails’.

[tails]  [tails]  [tails]
Gonfalon/Ceremonial Flags of Kumrovec, Breznički Hum and Baska, Croatia (fotw)

A term for the Arabic inscription Allahu Akbar or “God is Great” that has appeared on several Arab Flags and can currently be seen on those of Iran and Iraq (see also ‘shahada’ and ‘zulficar’).

[Iraq - Takbir example] [Iran - Takbir example] [Waziristan Resistance Movement - Takbir example]
National Flag of Iraq (fotw); National Flag of Iran (fotw); Flag of the Waziristan Resistance Movement c1930, Pakistan (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘armed’ (also ‘membered’).

[taloned example] [taloned example]
Arms and Flag of Brandenburg, Germany (fotw)

A metal implement attached to a flagpole (particularly one set at an angle from a building) that clasps a flag and prevents it wrapping itself around the pole (see also ‘flag pole’, ‘flag spreader’, ‘outrigger pole’ and ‘weighted fly’).

The German term for a “Latin cross fitchy” – see ‘cross fitchy’ and ‘Latin cross’.

[Tanzenspitzkreuz example] 

See ‘broad command pennant’, ‘broad pennant’, ‘burgee 1)’, ‘burgee 2)’ and ‘burgee command pennant’.

[tapered swallowtail][tapered swallowtail] [tapered swallowtail]
Broad Pennant, Norway (fotw); Burgee of the Bourne Yacht Club, US (fotw); Burgee Command Pennant, USN (sea flags)

Please note that (in addition to the references given above) this term may also be applied to the flag of the state of Ohio.

Flag of the State of Ohio, US (fotw)

A decoration of twisted fabric or metal, often surrounding a wooden core and hanging from a cord, attached to a staff or directly onto a flag – especially a colour or parade flag (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘cord(s) 1)’, ‘lanyard 1)’ and ‘parade flag 2)’).

Ceremonial Flag of Abedim-Moncao (detail), Portugal (fisisco)

The German term for a cross pattée - ‘cross pattée

[Tatzenkreuz example]
Flag of Cortaillod, Switzerland (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘cross tau’.

[tau cross flag]
Flag of L’Albiol, Spain (fotw)

1) In British RN usage now obsolete, the flag devised by Captain Sir Home Popham in 1800, and raised prior to a signal hoist to indicate whether the following flags were to be deciphered using a signal book or by his vocabulary code (see also ‘code pennant’, ‘finishing flag’, 'preparative' and ‘signal flag’).
2) Marryat’s 1817 code (of signals for the merchant service) also showed a telegraph flag - but see note b) below (also ‘Marryat's code’).

[telegraph flag] [telegraph flag]
Telegraph Flag in Popham’s Code; Telegraph Flag in Marryat’s Code (fotw)

a) With regard to 1), this system formed the basis of the RN naval code for over 100 years.
b) Regarding 2), exactly how this flag was in used in Marryat’s code cannot be confirmed at the present time, however, it is not unreasonable to assume a similar meaning to that in Popham.

See 'semaphore 2)'.

1) Generically a red cross of varying design representing the Medieval Order of the Knights Templar – see ‘bauceant’ and ‘balcanifer’.
2) Specifically, the cross of the Portuguese branch of the above order – see ‘rounded cross’.

[templar cross] [templar cross]
A Templar Cross (Wikipedia); Flag of Vila Chã de Braciosa, Portugal (fotw).

That flag whose colours and/or design form the model upon which other flags are based – an archivexillum (see also ‘core flag’ and ‘flag family’).

[template flag - Berlin] [template flag - Berlin] [template flag - Berlin]
Flag of Berlin, Germany, together with those of The Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf District and Mitte District of that city (fotw)

A heraldic term for the colour orange – see ‘mixed tinctures’.

[colour example]

See ‘coat of arms’.

territorial arms - Altay
Arms of Altay Territory, Russia (ICH)

See ‘sub-national flag’.

Altay flag
Flag of Altay Territory, Russia (fotw)

A heraldic term for the colour of earth - see ‘proper’.


A cross of varying design, but always black on a white field, and symbolic of the German Order of The Brothers of St Mary of Jerusalem, - see ‘iron cross’.

Grand Master of the Teutonic Order Teutonic Cross
Flag and Arms of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order c1500 (fotw)

Please note that this term should only be used when the cross so described has a direct connection to the Teutonic Order.

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