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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (Scallop Shell - Scythian Cap)

Last modified: 2020-03-14 by rob raeside
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In heraldry see ‘escallop’.

[Scallops] [Scallops]
Flag and Arms of Morissen, Switzerland (fotw & Wikipedia)

1) (adj) Where the edges of a flag are cut into repeated semi-circular shapes - an indented edge.
2) (adj) The term may also be used when the top edge of a shield is seen with two (or more) semi-circular cut-outs (see also ‘shield’).

[scalloped shield] [indented edge example] [indented edge example]
Example; Two Merchant Flags, Portugal 16th/17th Century (fotw)

Please note however, that a division line within a flag or shield is not scalloped, but is more correctly described as either engrailed or invected (see ‘engrailed’ and 'invected').

A cross with arms of equal width, whose horizontal arm runs along the centre of the flag, but whose vertical arm is off-centred towards the hoist – a Nordic, horizontal Latin or off-centred Cross.

[Norway - Scandinavian cross] [Sweden] [Åland Islands] [Shetland Islands] [Scandinavian cross]
National Flag of Norway (fotw); National Flag of Sweden (fotw); Flag of the Åland Islands, Finland (fotw); Flag of the Shetland Islands, Scotland (fotw); National Flag of Finland (fotw)

Please note that this term should only be used for those flags which are from, or have a connection with the Scandinavian region, otherwise see ‘off-centred cross 2)

See ‘off-centred cross 2)’.

horizontal Latin cross - Stavropol
Flag of Stavropol, Russia (fotw)

The heraldic term for a (or the) small ecclesiastical banner (or banners) fixed to the top of a bishop’s crosier (see also ‘banderole’), ‘crozier’ and ’stringed’).

[scarf example] [scarf example] [scarf example] [Svetla] [Svetla]
Arms of Biberach, Germany (ICH); Flag and Arms of Opatovice, Czechia (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag and Arms of Světlá , Czechia (fotw)

An ornamental rod or wand, and originally symbolic of a monarch’s temporal power (see also ‘crown’ and ‘orb’).

[Engelberg] [Montenegro] [Montenegro]
Flag of Engelberg, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Montenegro (fotw)

See 'tugh 1)’ and its following note.

Source: National Music Museum, used with permission

See ‘cross pattée’ and ‘cross-couped’.


1) A type of flag, now obsolete, which shows a strip along its top edge that extends beyond the fly to become a tongue (see also ‘engrailed fly’, 'palm', ‘square-tongued’, ‘stepped fly’ and ‘tongue(s) 1)’).
2) A form of flag where a triangular tongue extends from the upper fly corner of the flag – but see note a) below.
3) The tail or tongue as described above.

[Schwenkel]  Tetouan, Morocco schwenkel  
Flag of Zurich c1400, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Tetouan, Morocco 1968 - 1976 (fotw); Flag of Beni Mellal, Morocco 1968 – 1976 (fotw)

With regard to 2), the Editors suggest that the term “tongue”(as referenced above) should be used where this projection forms an integral part of the flag as referenced above and illustrated below.
b) Definition 3) is based upon the original German this term refers only to the tail.

Wloclawek, Poland
Flag of Wloclawek City, Poland (fotw)

The term for an oriental sword with a single-edged curved blade and plain cross guard, whose blade is often seen widening from hilt to tip – but see ‘sabre’ and its following note.

scimitar scimitar scimitar scimitar scimitar
State Arms of Finland (fotw); Flag and Arms of Virovitica, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Bengal, India c1865 (fotw); Arms of Charneca, Portugal (fotw)

A term for the representation of an animal or engine-driven device for the lifting of water from one level to another (see also ‘waterwheel’ and ‘windmill).

Scoop wheel Scoop wheel Scoop wheel Scoop wheel Scoop wheel
Flag of Santa Comba, Portugal (fotw); Arms and Flag of Friúmes e Paradela, Portugal (ICH & fotw); Arms and flag of Bensafrim, Portugal (ICH & fotw)

See ‘St Andrew's Cross 2)’.

Scottish saltire
National flag of Scotland (fotw)

A usually narrow ribbon of varying length and elaboration; it is normally (but not exclusively) placed below the shield in a set of armorial bearings or an emblem, and is inscribed with a motto or the name of a state or other entity – a ribbon – but see ‘ribbon scroll 2)’ (also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘emblem’ and ‘motto’).

Brunei flag Brunei arms New Jersey New Jersey arms
The National Flag and Emblem of Brunei (fotw); The Flag and Arms of The State of New Jersey, US (fotw)

See ‘cap of liberty’.

[Scythian cap flag]
Flag of Pereira, Chile (

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