Page created: 18th August 2000|
Last updated: 29th June 2012
The FAME are pages devoted to systematic and scientific study of flags and coats of arms. Such symbols often bear stong political and other messages. Inclusion of those symbols here does not mean that the author support or approve the ideas they may stand for.
The Flags & Arms of the Modern Era
To present the information on flags in the best, shortest and most concise way, on these pages are used many graphical symbols and abbreviations. Many of those symbols are standardised and adopted by the International Federation of Vexillologic Associations (FIAV, Federation International de Associations Vexillologique), and those are used as a rule in many specialised publications. Such symbols enable quick and easy identification of various flag aspects (ratio, usage rules and manners, accuracy of images, identification of colours in black/white pictures and so on). Except the FIAV symbols, here are used also some others, again many of those are common among vexillologist on the Internet and their Web pages, and also on the site of the Flag of the World (FOTW) vexillologic mailing list.
The flags used to indicate nationality may be divided by their usage in six basic groups - by their usage on land or sea, and by whom is hoisting them (private persons, state or military). The flag identification system based on this division was popularized by W. Smith in several of his vexillologic books (see bibliography) and this is the system adopted by FIAV. Among the FOTW members this system is often referred to as "six dots in grid" or the FIS - Flag Identification System. The original system by W. Smith consists of a group of dots in grid of two rows and three columns. The upper row indicates the usage on land, and the lower row the use on sea (actually including lakes, rivers etc.). The first column indicates the use by private persons [C for Civil], middle one for use by state/government agencies [S of State], and the rightmost indicates the military use [W from War]. In text-only publications the dots in grid may be efficiently replaced by six letters, three and three with the same meaning (this system introduced the author to FOTW in 1996).
The basic patter is, therefore, ,
i.e. in text mode CSW/CSW,
indicating that the flag is used by private persons, state and military on land (i.e. a flag) and sea (i.e. an ensign). If one or more dots are missing (or an asterisk replaces the letter) indicates that this flag is not used for that particular purpose.
Some of the basic combinations are shown here:
|C**/***||Civil Flag||used by private persons on land|
|*S*/***||State Flag||used by state institutions on land|
|**W/***||War Flag||used by military on land (army)|
|***/C**||Civil Ensign||used on private vessels (merchant ensign)|
|***/*S*||State Ensign||used on state owned vessels|
|***/**W||War Ensign||used by navy|
|CS*/***||Civil and State Flag||used by private persons and state on land|
|*SW/***||State and War Flag||state services and military on land|
|CSW/***||National Flag||used for all purposes on land|
|***/CSW||National Ensign||used for all purposes on vessels|
|CSW/CSW||National Flag and Ensign||used for all purposes on land and sea|
As a further addition to this system (but not adopted by FIAV) is inclusion of an additional row above others, to indicate the air flags (also called ensigns). E.g.:
|**W/***/***||Air War Ensign||used by military air force (on planes when on ground and on their installations)|
Except the "dots in grid" symbols the FIAV system (FIS) contains some other symbols to indicate some other characteristics of flags:
Normal*: Flag in "normal" use, without special observations. Horizontal hoisting.|
Vertical*: Flag used hoisted vertically from a crossbar (as a banner).|
Proposal: Flag proposal - design that was never used in practice.|
Reconstruction: Image shown according to wage description or other insufficient source.|
Variant: One of two or more versions of the same basic design.|
Alternate: One of two or more flags that may be used, in general or under certain circumstances, for the same function.|
De facto: Flag in use, but without legal provision.|
Historical*: Flag used previously, but the official usage is discontinued.|
Two-sided: Reverse is not of the same design as pictured.|
Reverse: Design of the reverse of two-sided flag.|
|Sinister hoist: Obverse, or the main flag side, is seen when the hoist is pictured on the viewer's right.|
Construction sheet*: showing the relative ratio of the design elements.|
Detail*: Picture of an enlarged detail.|
Under Construction*: image shown as a sketch for information until replaced with better one|
* Additional symbols not adopted by FIAV.
The ratio of the pictured flag is printed in bold font, e.g. 1:2. The approximate ratio is indicated with a wavy dash (a tilde) 2:3~, but it is not always indicated if the approximation is based from some more complex but known ratio, or if it is an approximation based on the reported flags seen in use. In some cases the ratio that is particularly doubtful is marked with a questionmark 3:4 ?.
The first number in the ratio denotes the hoist side - as a rule the side along left edge of the picture, except for the vertically hoisted flags - where the hoist side is the upper one. The second number is the length of the flag, the fly side, i.e. the length from the hoist (or point at which the flag is attached to hoist) to the fly end.
Since 1993 the Croatian legislation allows the units of local self-government (counties, cities and communities) to have their coat of arms and flag,
however these may be used only after they are approved by a central state authority (depending on the government structure in various times this being
the Ministry of Administration, the Central State Office for Administration or the Ministry of Justice, Administration and Local Self-Government).
Within this authority, since 1994 a "Heraldic Commission" (the Commission for approval of coats of arms and flags to units of local self-governemnt)
was formed, with strict guidelines and rules governing the design style and other related issues. An adopted coat of arms and a flag may be legaly used
only after the adoption of such approval. However, a number of units uses their symbols without obtaining such approval or indeed inspite of it being
refuzed. If information is available, it is indicated that the design was not approved, but is (or was) used to some degree.
The Heraldic Comission does not provide publicly available lists of approved symbols, their design or the dates. The dates provided here are obtained
from the approval documents provided by the units of local self-goverment either though making them publicly available in the local media or providing them
to the author upon inquiery. Also some designers occasionally publish their designs that were approved or the fact is mentioned in media without providing
explicit dates. Such cases are being indicated as approved with unknown date.
While the approval should in theory follow the adoption of symbols by the relevant bodies of the units of local self-government (county, city or community aseembly), occasionally the units formally adopt the symbols only after obtaining the approval.
Regulations on local symbols::
- Pravilnik o postupku za utvrđivanje grba i zastave jedinica lokalne samouprave, 11. listopada 1994., Narodne novine, br. 80/1994, 2. studenog 1994.
- Pravilnik o dopuni Pravilnika o postupku za utvrđivanje grba, i zastave jedinice lokalne samouprave, 11. travnja 1995., Narodne novine, br. 26/1995, 20. travnja 1995.
- Pravilnik o postupku davanja odobrenja grba i zastave jedinici lokalne samouprave, 29. lipnja 1998., Narodne novine, br. 94/1998, 10. srpnja 1998.
- Pravilnik o izmjenama Pravilnika o postupku davanja odobrenja grba i zastave jedinici lokalne samouprave, 21. svibnja 2004., Narodne novine, br. 68/2004, 26. svibnja 2004.
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