A standard-bearer is a person (soldier or civilian) who bears an emblem called or standard, i.e. either a type of flag or an inflexible but mobile image, which is used (and often honoured) as a formal, visual symbol of a state, prince, military unit, etc.

This can either be an occasional duty, often seen as an honour (especially on parade), or a permanent charge (also on the battlefield); the second type has even led in certain cases to this task being reflected in official rank titles such as Ensign and Cornet.

Many terms exist, often specifying the type of standard borne (in various cases named in parentheses after the bearer).

In antiquity


  • Pharaonic nome-emblems (many also the name of such province)

Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine

Cfr. also :

  • Adiutor signorum
  • Aedes
  • Antesignanus
  • Aquilae natalis
  • Deposita ad signa
  • Labarum
  • Postsignanus
  • Vexillatio




Team USA marches in the parade of athletes around BC Place stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the XXI Olympic Winter Games, February 12, 2010, in Vancouver. The athlete standard-bearer is Mark Grimmette