Some examples of different Roman military flags and insignia. The regimental insignia were of almost religious significance to Roman soldiers.
Military flags in ancient Rome were called “signum” or “vexillum”. To raise the flag was said “vexillum tollere” and to lower it before someone “alicui vexillum submittere”
Ancient Roman military flags and insignia were of almost religious significance for Roman soldiers. A banner around which the legions could group and find strength. To be defended with their lives.
There were different types of Roman flag: The more important insignia were closer to symbols on a spear shaft topped by an end piece such as eagle or open hand, not a textile hanging on a pole. The ‘vexillum’, meaning small sail, was like a simple rectangular or square sail hanging from a mast and cross-beam.
During the different periods of ancient Roman history the insignia changed but some remained popular such as an open hand, gods such as Mars, or a variety of animals. The Eagle – symbol of the god Jupiter – lasted until the switch to Christianity as state religion. The Chi-Rho symbol gathered importance after that.
Typical questions about ancient Roman military flags:
Was there a Roman kingdom flag? There wasn’t a single flag though the major insignia would have been the eagle of Jupiter.
What was the roman republic flag?
With the Roman republic the number of legionaries and size of the army grew thanks to the Marian reforms. The number of different regimental flags also increased. The Eagle remained a primary emblem of the power of Rome.
Was there a roman empire flag?
As the empire grew so too did the size of the army and numbering became frequent. The shift to Christianity saw the emergence of the Chi-Rho symbol of Christ as opposed to the Eagle.
Were there different flags for western and eastern roman empires?
Yes, particularly as the western part of the empire fell and the eastern empire, referred to us as Byzantine empire, evolved new art styles and symbolism.
What was the flag of the holy roman empire?
The holy Roman empire was a later evolution starting around the year 800AD with a strong north-European bias. A typical insignia was the two headed eagle.