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A five-pointed star (☆), geometrically an equilateral concave
decagon In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of ...

decagon
, is a common
ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popul ...

ideogram
in modern culture. Comparatively rare in classical
heraldry Heraldry () is a discipline relating to the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology Vexillology () is the study of the history, symbolism and usage of flag A fla ...
, it was notably introduced for the
flag of the United States The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag or the U.S. flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with ...

flag of the United States
in the Flag Act of 1777 and since has become widely used in flags. It has also become a symbol of fame or "
stardom ''Stardom'' is a 2000 Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Denys Arcand and written by J.Jacob Potashnik and Arcand. It stars Jessica Paré and Dan Aykroyd. It tells the story of a young girl who tries to cope with her rise to stardom after bei ...
" in Western culture, among other uses. If the
collinear In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of ...
edges are joined together a
pentagram A pentagram (sometimes known as a pentalpha, pentangle, pentacle A pentacle (also spelled and pronounced as ''pantacle'' in Thelema Image:Crowley unicursal hexagram.svg, upAleister Crowley's rendition of the unicursal hexagram, perhaps ...

pentagram
is produced.


History of use


Early history

The
Egyptian hieroglyph Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent ...
representing "star" had five points (N14 ), while the "star" sign in Mesopotamian
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
had eight.
Sopdet Sopdet is the Egyptian language, ancient Egyptian name of the star Sirius and its personification as an Egyptian pantheon, Egyptian goddess. Known to the Greeks as Sothis, she was conflated with Isis (goddess), Isis as a goddess and Anubis as ...

Sopdet
, the Egyptian personification of the star
Sirius Sirius () is the list of brightest stars, brightest star in the night sky. Its name is derived from the Ancient Greek language, Greek word (, 'glowing' or 'scorching'). The star is designated α Canis Majoris, Latinisation of name ...

Sirius
, is always shown with the five-pointed star hieroglyph on her head. The star (or '' mullet'') is comparatively rare in medieval heraldry, but from an early time, the five-pointed star was preferred in English and Scottish heraldry (e.g. in the
Dering Roll The Dering Roll is the oldest English roll of arms surviving in its original form. It was made between 1270 and 1280 and contains the coat of arms of 324 knights, starting with two illegitimate children of John, King of England, King John. Sir Edwa ...
, c. 1270), while the preferred number of points in German heraldry was six. The star in the coat of arms of the
De Vere family The House of de Vere were an English aristocratic family who derived their surname from Ver, Manche, Ver (department Manche, canton Gavray), in Lower Normandy, France. The family's Normans, Norman founder in England, Aubrey de Vere I, Aubrey (Albe ...
was in legend attributed to the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Muslim conqu ...
, when "a white star ..did light and arrest upon the standard of Aubre de Vere". The de Vere star is notorious in English history, because in the
Battle of Barnet The Battle of Barnet was a decisive engagement in the Wars of the Roses The Wars of the Roses were a series of fifteenth-century English civil wars for control of the throne of England, fought between supporters of two rival cadet branch ...
in 1471, the white star of the
Earl of Oxford Earl of Oxford is a dormant title in the Peerage of England, first created for Aubrey de Vere, 1st Earl of Oxford, Aubrey de Vere by the Empress Matilda in 1141. De Vere family, His family was to hold the title for more than five and a half cent ...
was mistaken for the
white rose The White Rose (german: Weiße Rose, ) was a non-violent Nonviolence is the personal practice of not causing harm to one's self and others under every condition. It may come from the belief that hurting people, animals and/or the environm ...
of
Edward IV Edward IV (28 April 1442 – 9 April 1483) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the from about 8 ...
by the
Earl of Warwick Earl of Warwick is one of the most prestigious titles in the peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a general sense, are nobility Nobility is a social class normally ...

Earl of Warwick
, so that he erroneously attacked his own ally, losing the battle, which probably changed the outcome of the entire
War of the Roses The Wars of the Roses were a series of fifteenth-century English civil warsThis is a list of civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country ...
.


Modern flags and emblems

The five-pointed stars on the
flag of the United States The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag or the U.S. flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with ...

flag of the United States
were introduced in the Flag Act of 1777. The Flag Act did not specify any particular arrangement, number of points, nor orientation for the stars and the arrangement. Some flag makers arranged the stars into one big star, in a circle or in rows and some replaced a state's star with its initial. One arrangement features 13 five-pointed stars arranged in a circle, with the stars arranged pointing outwards from the circle (as opposed to up), the so-called
Betsy Ross flag The Betsy Ross flag is an early design of the flag of the United States The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag or the U.S. flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen eq ...

Betsy Ross flag
. The American flag shown in the painting ''
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis The ''Surrender of Lord Cornwallis'' is an oil painting by John Trumbull. The painting was completed in 1820, and hangs in the United States Capitol rotunda, rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The painting depicts the surr ...

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis
'' by
John Trumbull John Trumbull (; June 6, 1756November 10, 1843) was an American artist of the early independence period, notable for his historical paintings of the American Revolutionary War, of which he was a veteran. He has been called "The Painter of the R ...

John Trumbull
(c. 1820, depicting an event of 1781) shows twelve stars arranged along the outline of a rectangle with an additional star in the center. Five-pointed stars became more frequently used in the 19th century. The
coat of arms of Valais The coat of arms of the Swiss canton of Valais is in red and white, divided vertically with thirteen five-pointed stars in opposite colours (''Per pale argent and gules 13 mullet (heraldry), mullets counterchanged''). The stars represent the thirt ...
, adopted for the
Rhodanic Republic The Rhodanic Republic, also known as the Republic of Valais (French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République ...
(1802), was designed with twelve five-pointed stars. The
flag of Chile The flag of Chile consists of two equal-height horizontal bands of white and red, with a blue square the same height as the white band in the canton (flag), canton, which bears a white five-pointed star in the center. It was adopted on 18 Octo ...

flag of Chile
, introduced in 1817, has a single five-pointed star known as ''La Estrella Solitaria'' (The Lone Star). The similar
flag of Texas The flag of Texas is the official flag of the U.S. state of Texas Texas (, ; : ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the region of the . At 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2020, it is the s ...

flag of Texas
was introduced in 1839. The
star and crescent #REDIRECT Star and crescent The star and crescent is an iconographic symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy), object, or wikt:relationship, relationship. ...

star and crescent
used by the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
was shown with an eight-pointed stars in early forms (18th century), but was changed to a five-pointed star in the Ottoman flag, official flag in 1844. Numerous other national or regional flags adopted five-pointed star designs in the later 19th to early 20th century, including flag of Venezuela, Venezuela (1859), flag of Honduras, Honduras (1866), flag of the Philippines, Philippines (1898), flag of Cuba, Cuba (1902), flag of Panama, Panama (1925), flag of Jordan, Jordan (1928) and Flag of Pakistan, Pakistan (1947). The Flag of Minnesota and 1901 Maine Flag both utilized the 5-pointed design. The five-pointed star also came to be widely used in military badges in the 19th century. A red star was used as the badge of XII Corps (Union Army), XII Corps of the Union Army in the American Civil War, while VII Corps (Union Army), VII Corps used a five-pointed star star and crescent, in a crescent. In 1916, a five-pointed red star was used by the U.S. Army Signal Corps' aviation section. The U.S. tradition of barnstars, decorative five-pointed stars attached to buildings, appears to have arisen in Pennsylvania after the Civil War, and became widespread by the 1930s. The Swiss Swiss franc, 1 and 2 francs coins introduced in 1874/5 showed the figure of Helvetia surrounded by 22 stars, enumerating the Swiss cantons (in 1983 changed to 23 stars to reflect the creation of the canton of Jura). The green five-pointed star used as a Esperanto symbols, symbol of Esperanto was first proposed in 1890. The five-pointed Red Star as a symbol of communism was adopted during the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922, but its exact origin is unclear. The red star was featured on the state emblem of the Soviet Union since 1923 and has been in use in North Korea since 1948. Another variant is a yellow (golden) star on red background, as on the state emblem of Vietnam (1945) and the People's Republic of China (1949), as well as on the flags of most Communist countries. In the 1930s, red luminescent Kremlin stars were installed on five towers of the Moscow Kremlin, replacing gilded eagles that had symbolized Imperial Russia. Since then, it is customary to install similarly looking red stars atop New Year trees in the Soviet Union, a tradition that continues to this day in Russia. In the Emblem of Italy, adopted in 1947, the five-pointed star represents the "Stella d’Italia, Star of Italy". The Flag of Europe, designed in 1955 on behalf of the Council of Europe (CoE) and adopted by the European Communities in 1985 (and thus inherited as the flag of the European Union upon its creation in 1993) has a circle of twelve Or (heraldry), yellow (gold) star (heraldry), stars on a azure (heraldry), blue (azure) field.


Other uses in modern culture

The use of "star" for theatrical lead performers dates to 1824, giving rise to the concept of "stardom" in the film industry. The Hollywood Walk of Fame, where famous entertainers are honored with pink terrazzo five-pointed stars along Hollywood Boulevard, was introduced in 1958. In association football, there is a tradition of using Star (football badge), five-pointed stars in team badges to represent victories. The first team to adopt such a star was Juventus F.C., Juventus, in 1958, to represent their tenth Italian Football Championship and Serie A title. The star was later formally adopted by some organisations as a symbol for ten titles, and the ratio of one star for ten titles has become the most common arrangement. Five-pointed stars may be used on elevators to indicate the ground level or lobby of a building. They are also used on various police, fire, and paramedic badges.


Relation to the pentagram

As a symbol or emblem, the five-pointed star, or ''mullet of five points'', arises from classical heraldry, and it shares none of the esoteric or occult associations given to the
pentagram A pentagram (sometimes known as a pentalpha, pentangle, pentacle A pentacle (also spelled and pronounced as ''pantacle'' in Thelema Image:Crowley unicursal hexagram.svg, upAleister Crowley's rendition of the unicursal hexagram, perhaps ...

pentagram
, or "Seal of Solomon", since at least the Renaissance magic, Renaissance period. The two emblems are frequently associated, or identified, in contemporary conspiracy theories, especially referencing the use of five-pointed stars in the flags of the Flag of the United States, United States and Flag of the European Union, European Union.e.g. Flavio Barbiero, ''The Secret Society of Moses: The Mosaic Bloodline and a Conspiracy Spanning Three Millennia'' (2010)
p. 345


List of national flags


See also

*Arabic star *List of symbols *Pentagram *Red star, the international symbolism of socialism. Also used by United States pioneering military aircraft in early 1916 *Star (glyph) *Star (heraldry) *Star polygon *Star polygons in art and culture *Starfish *The Five Star Stories *United States military aircraft national insignia, which have mostly used five-pointed stars since 1916


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Five-Pointed Star Types of polygons 5 (number) Star symbols Heraldic charges National symbols of the United States Visual motifs