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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (S Pennant - Saint Patrick's Cross)

Last modified: 2017-06-21 by rob raeside
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S (or SAFETY AFLOAT) PENNANT
In US naval usage, a triangular pennant that is flown (from the port or starboard yardarm when in port) to indicate that the vessel has won an annual safety award competition (see also ‘award flag’).

[safety pennant]
Safety Afloat Pennant, USN (seaflags)


SABRE (or SABER)
In UK and US tradition and some others, a sword with a full handguard, and a curved single-edged blade (originally) designed for use by mounted troops – but see note below.

[saber example] [saber example] [saber example] [saber example] [saber example] [saber example]
Flag and Arms of Cyców, Poland (fotw); Flag and Arms of Dobre, Poland (fotw); Flag and Arms of Szepietowo, Poland (fotw)

Please note that in some Central and East European usage the term is used to describe a sword with a curved single-edged blade but with a plain cross guard as illustrated below – but see ‘scimitar’.

[saber example]  [saber example]
Čavle (Municipality, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia)


SABLE
The heraldic term for the colour black – see ‘tinctures’ (also ‘rule of tincture’).

[colour example]

Please note that this term has a wider use than is detailed above, and the Editors recommend that a heraldic dictionary be consulted if further details are required.


SAFE CONDUCT FLAG
1) A special flag of internationally recognized design – such as that of the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal and others – which (by international agreement) protects personnel engaged in medical succour, ambulances, civil and field hospitals and hospital ships against military action – a Geneva Convention flag, or flag of protection (see also ‘international flag’ and ‘supra-national flag’).
2) The Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal and other recognized flag designs (together with arm brassards or painted symbols) are also used to indicate the facilities and personnel of these organisations rendering aid to the survivors and casualties of natural or human disasters (see also ‘international flag’ and ‘supra-national flag’).

IRCRC flags
Red Cross Flag Red Crescent Flag Red Crystal Flag (fotw)

Please note that on 8 December 2005 the International Committee of the Red Cross adopted a Protocol (Protocol III) authorizing a red crystal (diamond shape) as an additional non-religious and politically neutral symbol, however, please also note that the flags of the Red Cross and of its associated organizations are at the same time international flags, safe conduct, flags of protection and Geneva Convention flags.


SAFETY FLAG
1) In Japanese usage one of several green and white flags symbolizing safe conditions in various situations (see also ‘weather flag 2)’.
2) See ‘beach flag’ and ‘storm warning flag’ (also ‘airfield safety flag’ and ‘red flag 1)’).

safety flag safety flag safety flag
Safety Flag for General Use, Japan (fotw); Health Flag; Japan (fotw); Health and Safety Flag, Japan (fotw)


SAILING SHIP (or SAILING VESSEL)
1) In traditional English heraldry see ‘antique ship’.
2) In vexillology and in modern heraldry the term for a wind-powered (and usually sea-going) vessel regardless of type.

sailing ship sailing ship sailing ship sailing ship sailing ship sailing ship
Arms and Flag of Belgrade, Serbia (Wikipedia & fotw); Flag of Elmshorn, German (fotw); Flag and Arms of Paimpol, France (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag of Quebec City, Canada (fotw)

Please note with regard to 2) that to individually list the many types of sailing vessel is beyond the remit of this dictionary, however, please see ‘caravel’ and its following note.

sailing ship sailing ship
The Arms and Flag of Velas, Portugal showing a caravel (fotw)


SAILOR’S MAST
In largely German usage, a flag pole or mast (most often) erected ashore for the multiple display of barge or inland waterway related flags for decorative purposes, and equipped with a long gaff and yard – a display mast or bargemen’s association display mast (see also ‘dress ship’, ‘gaff’, ‘stayed mast’ and ‘yard’).

Please note that this term is a translation of the German schiffermast, and that use of such masts seems to be restricted to associations of bargemen or similar.


SAINT ANDREW’S CROSS
1) See ‘saltire’.
2) A white saltire on a blue field – the national flag of Scotland or the Scottish saltire (see also, ‘St. George's Cross 2)’, ‘St. Patrick's Cross’ and ‘union jack 1)’).
3) A blue saltire on a white field – the naval ensign of the Russian Federation (and formerly of the Russian Empire) - a St. Andrew's ensign, Andreevskiĭ, Andreevsky or Ahndreeyeeskeey.

Scotland Russian naval ensign
National Flag of Scotland (fotw); Naval Ensign of Russia (fotw)

Please note that whilst the term St George's Cross generally refers only to a red cross on a white field, the Cross of St Andrew, due to a tradition that the saint was crucified on a diagonal cross, has come to be regarded by many as a saltire of any colour or metal on a field of any colour or metal. Although this is considered inaccurate in English heraldic or vexillological usage, it is common in countries and languages where a term equivalent to “saltire” does not exist.


SAINT ANDREW’S ENSIGN
See ‘St Andrew’s cross 3)’ above.

[Russian naval ensign]
Naval Ensign of Russia (fotw)


SAINT ANTHONY’S CROSS
In heraldry see ‘cross tau’.

[St. Anthony's cross] [St. Anthony's cross]
Flag and Arms of Sint Anthonis, The Netherlands (fotw)


SAINT CATHERINE'S WHEEL
A representation of the torture wheel upon which, according to Christian tradition, St Catherine is reputed to have been executed – a wheel of St Catherine, a torture or bladed wheel (see also ‘waterwheel’).

[St. Catherine's wheel] [St. Catherine's wheel] [St. Catherine's wheel] [St. Catherine's wheel] [St. Catherine's wheel] [St. Catherine's wheel]
Flag and Arms of Ryglice, Poland (fotw); Flag of St Catherine’s College Cambridge, UK (fotw); Flag of Ueken, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Vila Facaia, Portugal (fotw)


SAINT CUTHBERT'S CROSS
A cross pattée rounded having a detailed centre, and representing the pectoral cross of St Cuthbert (see also ‘cross pattée’ and ‘rounded cross’)

[St. Cuthbert's cross] [St. Cuthbert's cross] [St. Cuthbert's cross]
Flag of Durham County, UK (fotw); Arms of Newcastle University, UK (official website); Flag of Kirkcudbrightshire, UK (Philip Tibbetts)

Please note that a “pectoral cross” is one of the badges of office worn by a bishop.


SAINT GEORGE-TYPE CROSS
See ‘cross 1)’ (also ‘St George’s Cross 3)’).

[Blanes Spain]
Flag of Blanes, Spain (fotw)


SAINT GEORGE'S CANTON
See ‘canton of St. George’.

[Russian naval ensign]
Flag of the Honourable East India Company c1650, England


SAINT GEORGE’S CROSS
1) Generically, see ‘cross 1)’.
2) Specifically, the Cross (as above) of St George - the national flag of England and the flag of the ancient Republic of Genoa - a Cross of St George. (see also ‘canton of St. George’, ‘St. Andrew's Cross’ and ‘St George’s ensign’, ‘St. Patrick's Cross’ and ‘union jack 1)’).
3) Any red cross on a white field - but see note b) below.

[England] [Guernsey] [Genoa, Italy] [Genoa, Italy] [Sardinia, Italy]
From left: National Flag of England (fotw); Flag of Guernsey (fotw); Arms and Flag of Genoa, Italy (fotw); Flag of Sardinia, Italy

Notes
a)
Any cross of St George whose arms are of equal length is also a Greek cross (see also 'Greek cross').
b) In Balkan and Central European usage a white cross on red is also sometimes referred to as the Cross of St George.

[Donji Miholjac, Croatia] [Donji Miholjac, Croatia]
Arms and flag of Donji Miholjac, Croatia (Željko Heimer)


ST GEORGE’S ENSIGN
In English later British RN usage now obsolete, the term to describe a white ensign charged with a Cross of St George overall (as per the present pattern), and formerly used in order to differentiate it from one having a plain fly (see also ‘canton of St. George’ and ‘St George’s Cross 2)’ and ‘white ensign 1)’).

[British White Ensign] [British White Ensign] [British White Ensign] [British White Ensign]
From left: White Ensign, England 1702 – 1707; With Plain Fly c1630 - 1707; White Ensign, UK 1707 – 1801; With Plain Fly 1707 – c1730 (CS)

Please note that white ensigns bearing a Cross of St George overall were introduced in 1702 and were at first restricted to use outside home waters, however, the version with a plain fly had disappeared by 1744.


SAINT JAMES’ CROSS
See ‘cross of Santiago’.

[Order of St. James]
Cross of the Order of Santiago (fotw)


SAINT NINO'S CROSS
A cross, both of whose horizontal arms point downwards and considered symbolic of the Georgian Orthodox Church – a grapevine cross – but see note below (also ‘cross 2)’ and ‘orthodox cross’).

St. Nino's Cross St. Nino's Cross St. Nino's Cross
Flag of Ninotsminda, Georgia (fotw); Flag of Sighnaghi, Georgia (fotw); Flag of Kaspi, Georgia (fotw)

Please note that the flag of the Georgian Orthodox Church may (occasionally) be charged with a cross of this type, however, when it is hoisted from a conventional flagpole the downward sloping arms will point towards the fly.

St. Nino's Cross
Flag of the Georgian Orthodox Church bearing a St Ninn’s Cross (Tomislav Todorovic)


SAINT PATRICK'S CROSS
A red saltire on a white field (see also 'saltire', and 'St Andrew's Cross 2)', ‘St. George's Cross 2)’) and ‘union jack 1)’).

Please note that this saltire has no known links to the saint, but when adopted for the British Union Flag was a symbol of the knightly Order of St Patrick (see also ‘union jack’).


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