cross (heraldry)
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A number of
cross symbol
cross symbol
s were developed for the purpose of the emerging system of
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 ...
, which appeared in Western Europe in about 1200. This tradition is partly in the use of the
Christian cross The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus on a large wooden cross, is a renowned religious symbol, symbol of Christianity. It is related to the crucifix (a cross that includes a ''corpus'', usually a three-dimensio ...

Christian cross
an emblem from the 11th century, and increasingly during the age of the
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...

Crusades
. Many cross variants were developed in the classical tradition of heraldry during the late medieval and early modern periods. Heraldic crosses are inherited in modern iconographic traditions and are used in numerous
national flag A national flag is a flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production o ...

national flag
s.


History

The
Christian cross The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus on a large wooden cross, is a renowned religious symbol, symbol of Christianity. It is related to the crucifix (a cross that includes a ''corpus'', usually a three-dimensio ...

Christian cross
emblem (
Latin cross A Latin cross or ''crux immissa'' is a type of cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lin ...

Latin cross
or
Greek cross This is a list of Christian cross variants. The Christian cross The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus on a large wooden cross, is a renowned religious symbol, symbol of Christianity. It is related to th ...

Greek cross
) was used from the 5th century, deriving from a T-shape representing the
gibbet A gibbet is any instrument of public execution (including guillotine A guillotine ( , also , ) is an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (p ...
(''
stauros ''Stauros'' () is a 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 population is appro ...
'', ''crux'') of the
crucifixion of Jesus The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; e ...
in use from at least the 2nd century. The
globus cruciger #REDIRECT Globus cruciger The ''globus cruciger'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as ...

globus cruciger
and the
staurogram The staurogram (⳨), also monogrammatic cross or ''tau-rho'', is a ligature Ligature may refer to: * Ligature (medicine), a piece of suture used to shut off a blood vessel or other anatomical structure ** Ligature (orthodontic), used in dent ...

staurogram
is used in Byzantine coins and seals during the Heraclian period (6th century). Under the
Heraclian dynasty The Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Co ...
(7th century), coins also depict simply crosses potent,
patty A patty or burger (in British English) is a flattened, usually round, servingServing may refer to: * Serving size * Providing a non-material good, as in the work of a servant * Supplying customers with food and drink, as in the work of a wait ...
or pommy. The cross was used as a
field sign {{Distinguish, field mark A field sign is an unofficial differencing mark worn on a combatant's clothing to show the difference between friend and foe or a combatant and a civilian. Examples *A tabard in the livery colors of a lord and bearing hi ...
by the Christian troops during the
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...

Crusades
. In 1188, Kings
Henry II of England Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (french: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, was King of England from 1154 until his death in 1189. He was the first king of the House of Plantagenet. ...

Henry II of England
and
Philip II of France Philip II (21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223), byname Philip Augustus (french: Philippe Auguste), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: l ...

Philip II of France
agreed to launch the
Third Crusade The Third Crusade (1189–1192) was an attempt by three European monarchs of Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monothei ...
together, and that Henry would use a white cross and Philip a red cross. The red-on-white cross came to be used by the
Knights Templar The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon ( la, Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar, or simply the Templars, was a Catholic military order (so ...
, and the white-on-red one by the
Knights Hospitaller The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem ( la, Ordo Fratrum Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani), commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller (), was a medieval and early modern Catholic The Catholic Church, ...

Knights Hospitaller
(also white-on-black); the
Teutonic Order The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (official names: la, Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, german: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly the Te ...
used a black-on white version. Early cross or spiral-like shield decorations, not necessarily with Christian symbolism, are already found on depictions of shields of the 11th century.
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 ...
emerged in western Europe at the start of the 13th century out of earlier traditions. The basic variants of the red-on-white (termed the
Cross of Saint George The Cross of Saint George (russian: Георгиевский крест) is a state decoration of the Russian Federation. It was initially established by Imperial Russia where it was officially known as the Decoration of the Military Order of ...

Cross of Saint George
) and the white-on-red crusaders' cross were continued independently in the
flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crochetin ...

flag
s of various states in the 13th and 14th century, including the Duchy of
Genoa Genoa ( ; it, Genova ; locally ; lij, Zêna ; English, historically, and la, Genua) is the capital of the Regions of Italy, Italian region of Liguria and the List of cities in Italy, sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived ...

Genoa
, the Electorate of
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle The Moselle ( , ; german: Mosel ; lb, Musel ) is a river A river i ...
, the Bishopric of
Constance Constance may refer to: Places *Konstanz Konstanz (, , locally: ; also written as Constance in English) is a with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of in the south of . The city houses the and was the residence o ...
and the Kingdoms of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
and
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia (, ; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by ...
, which last two had special devotions to St George. on one hand; and
Savoy Savoy (; frp, Savouè ; french: Savoie is a cultural-historical region in the Western Alps it, Alpi occidentaligerman: Westalpen , photo=Mont Blanc from Punta Helbronner, 2010 July.JPG , photo_caption=Mont Blanc Mont Blanc (french: Mont ...
, the
war flag A war flag, also known as a military flag, battle flag, or standard, is a variant of a national flag A national flag is a flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network ...

war flag
of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
and (possibly from the latter)
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
and
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
on the other. The cross appears as heraldic charge in the oldest
rolls of arms Roll or Rolls may refer to: Movement about the longitudinal axis * Roll (flight), motion about the longitudinal axis of an aircraft ** Roll, an aerobatic maneuver ** Roll program, an aerodynamic maneuver performed in a rocket launch * Roll (ship) ...
, from about 1250. A roll of arms of the 13th century (the reign of
Henry III of England Henry III (1 October 1207 – 16 November 1272), also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death in 1272. The son of John, King of England, King John and Isabella o ...

Henry III of England
) lists the coats of arms of various noblemen distinguished by crosses of different tinctures: *'' Le Conte de Norffolk, d'or a ung crois de goulez'' (viz. red on gold); *'' Piers de Sauvoye, goules ung crois d'argent'' (white on red): this is attributed, Peter's funerary monument displays an
eagle Eagle is the common name for many large birds of prey Birds of prey, also known as raptors, include species of bird Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high ...
on his shield; *'' Robert de Veer d'argent a la crois de goulz'' (red on white). Glover's Roll (British Museum Add MS 29796), a 16th-century copy of a roll of arms of the 1250s has depictions of various heraldic crosses, including the ''or a cross gules'' of the
earl of Norfolk Earl of Norfolk is a title which has been created several times in the Peerage of England The Peerage of England comprises all peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a ge ...
, ''gules, a cross argent'' of Peter of Savoy, ''argent a cross gules'' of Robert de Veer, ''gules a cross flory
vair Vair (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...

vair
'' of Guillaume de Forz, Comte d'Aumale, ''gules a cross fleury argent'' of Guillaume Vescy, ''gules a cross saltire engrele'' of Fulke de Escherdestone, ''argent a cross fleury azure'' of
John Lexington Sir John Lexington (or Lexinton or Lessington; also de Lexington) (died 1257) was a baron and royal official in 13th century England. He has been described as having been Lord Chancellor, but other scholars believe he merely held the royal seals wh ...
, ''azure three crosses or'' of William de Sarren, ''or a cross gules, five scallops argent'' of Ralph Bigod, ''gules a cross fourchy argent'' of Gilbert de Vale, ''argent a cross fleury sable'' of John Lamplowe, ''or a cross saltire gules, a chief gules'' of
Robert de Brus The name Robert is an ancient Germanic given name Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic lang ...
, ''gules a cross saltire argent'' of
Robert de Neville Robert de Neville, 2nd Baron Neville of Raby (c. 1223–1282), was a medieval English nobleman. Background The Neville family in England go back to at least the 11th century, and the historian Horace Round speculated that they were part of the ...
, ''or a cross voided gules'' of Hamond (Robert) de Crevecoeur, and ''azure a cross or, four lions rampant or'' of Baudouin Dakeney. In addition, the Glover Roll has ''semy of crosses crosslet'' as a tincture in several coats of arms. The desire to distinguish one's coat of arms from others led to a period of substantial innovation in producing variants of the basic Christian cross by the early 14th century (in England, the reign of
Edward II Edward II (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327), also called Edward of Caernarfon, 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. A ...

Edward II
). The great number of variants of crosses, and the deep history of such variants (going back to the 14th century or earlier) results in confusing and often contradictory terminology. In the
heraldry of the Holy Roman Empire Over its long history, the Holy Roman Empire used many different heraldry, heraldic forms, representing its states of the Holy Roman Empire, numerous internal divisions. Imperial coat of arms Coats of arms of Holy Roman Emperors The ''Rei ...
, the cross is comparatively rare in the coats of arms of noble families, presumably because the plain heraldic cross was seen as an
imperial symbol
imperial symbol
(for the same reason, the eagle was rarely used as a charge because it
represented the empire
represented the empire
), but in the 14th century the plain cross is used in the seals and flags of several
prince-bishopric A prince-bishop is a bishop who is also the civil ruler of some Secularity, secular principality and sovereignty. Thus the principality or Hochstift, prince-bishopric ruled politically by a prince-bishop could wholly or largely overlap with his ...
s, including
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle The Moselle ( , ; german: Mosel ; lb, Musel ) is a river A river i ...
,
Constance Constance may refer to: Places *Konstanz Konstanz (, , locally: ; also written as Constance in English) is a with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of in the south of . The city houses the and was the residence o ...
and
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...
. Looking back on the Crusades as the foundational period of knighthood, the badge of the cross became strongly associated with the idealized Christian
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In so ...

knight
of romance, as expressed by Spenser (''
Faerie Queene ''The Faerie Queene'' is an English epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem Narrative poetry is a form of poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature that uses aesth ...
'' book 1, canto 1): :"And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore, :The deare remembrance of his dying Lord, :For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore, :And dead, as living ever, his ador'd: :Upon his shield the like was also scor'd. The black-on-white cross worn by the
Teutonic Knights The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (official names: la, Ordo domus Sanctae Mariae Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum; german: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly known ...
was granted by
Innocent III Pope Innocent III ( la, Innocentius III; 1160 or 1161 - 16 July 1216, born Lotario dei Conti di Segni (anglicized as Lothar of Segni Segni (, ) is an Italy, Italian town and ''comune'' located in Lazio. The city is situated on a hilltop in the ...

Innocent III
in 1205. The coat of arms representing the grand master (''Deutschmeisterwappen'') is shown with a golden
cross fleury A cross fleury (or flory) is a cross adorned at the ends with flowers in heraldry. It generally contains the fleur-de-lis, trefoils, etc. Synonyms or minor variants include ''fleuretty'', ''fleuronny'', ''floriated'' and ''flourished''. In early ...
or
cross potent A cross potent (plural: crosses potent), also known as a crutch cross, is a form of heraldic cross A number of cross symbols were developed for the purpose of the emerging system of heraldry, which appeared in western Europe in about 1200. This ...
superimposed on the black cross, with the
imperial eagle The eagle is used in heraldry as a charge (heraldry), charge, as a supporter, and as a Crest (heraldry), crest. Heraldic eagles can be found throughout world history like in the Achaemenid Empire or in the present Republic of Indonesia. The Euro ...

imperial eagle
as a central inescutcheon. The golden cross fleury overlaid on the black cross becomes widely used in the 15th century. A legendary account attributes its introduction to
Louis IX of France Louis IX (25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270), commonly known as Saint Louis or Louis the Saint, was King of France from 1226 to 1270, and the most illustrious of the House of Capet, Direct Capetians. He was Coronation of the French monarch, c ...

Louis IX of France
, who on 20 August 1250 granted the master of the order this cross as a variation of the
Jerusalem cross The Jerusalem cross (also known as "five-fold Cross", or "cross-and-crosslets") is a heraldic cross A number of cross symbols were developed for the purpose of the emerging system of heraldry, which appeared in western Europe in about 1200. This t ...

Jerusalem cross
, with the
fleur-de-lis The fleur-de-lis, also spelled fleur-de-lys (plural ''fleurs-de-lis'' or ''fleurs-de-lys''), is a lily (in French, and mean 'flower' and 'lily' respectively) that is used as a decorative design or symbol. The fleur-de-lis has been used in the ...

fleur-de-lis
symbol attached to each arm. While this legendary account cannot be traced back further than the early modern period (Christoph Hartknoch, 1684) there is some evidence that the design does indeed date to the mid 13th century. The black cross patty was later used for military decoration and insignia by the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
and gave rise to the cross patty in the German ''
Reichskriegsflagge The term Reichskriegsflagge (, ) refers to several war flag A war flag, also known as a military flag, battle flag, or standard, is a variant of a national flag A national flag is a flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile ...
'' and the
Iron Cross The Iron Cross (german: Eisernes Kreuz, , abbreviated EK) was a military decoration Military awards and decorations are distinctions given as a mark of honor for military heroism, meritorious or outstanding service or achievement.Unit ...

Iron Cross
and
Pour le Mérite The ' (; , ) is an order of merit An order of merit is an honorific order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being ...

Pour le Mérite
orders. The Nordic cross is an 18th-century innovation derived from cross flags adapted as swallow-tailed (or triple-tailed)
pennon A pennon or pennant is a flag that is larger at the Hoist (flag), hoist than at the Fly (flag), fly. It can have several shapes, such as triangular, tapering or triangular swallowtail. It was one of the principal three varieties of flags carrie ...
s used as
civil ensign A civil ensign is an ensign An ensign is the national flag flown on a vessel to indicate nationality. The ensign is the largest flag, generally flown at the stern (rear) of the ship while in port. The naval ensign (also known as war ensign), u ...
s; the first official introduction of such a flag was in a regulation of 11 June 1748 describing the Danish civil ensign (''Koffardiflaget'') for merchant ships. The Danish design was adopted for the flags of
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
(civil ensign 1821) and
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
(1906), both derived from a common ensign used during the
Union between Sweden and Norway Sweden and Norway or Sweden–Norway ( sv, Svensk-norska unionen; no, Den svensk-norske union(en)), officially the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, and known as the United Kingdoms, was a personal union A personal union is the comb ...
1818–1844,
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#N ...

Iceland
(1915) and
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
(1917).


Ordinary cross

The blazon ''Cross'' without any addition signifies a heraldic ordinary, a pale and a fess of equal widths conjoined, the width being typically one-fifth of the shield (or one third of the shield when charges are placed on the cross).James Parker
''A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry'' (1894)
The four arms should be of equal length (forming a
Greek cross This is a list of Christian cross variants. The Christian cross The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus on a large wooden cross, is a renowned religious symbol, symbol of Christianity. It is related to th ...

Greek cross
), as far as possible within the shape of the
shield A shield is a piece of personal armour held in the hand, which may or may not be strapped to the wrist or forearm. Shields are used to intercept specific attacks, whether from melee weapon, close-ranged weaponry or projectiles such as arrows, ...
, and they meet in the center (fesse-point) of the shield, except when it is abased (lowered) in the presence of a
chief Chief may refer to: Title or rank Military and law enforcement * Chief master sergeant Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rank An enlisted rank (also known as an enlisted grade or enlisted rate) is, in ...
. The plain ''cross of gules in a field argent'' is termed the
Cross of Saint George The Cross of Saint George (russian: Георгиевский крест) is a state decoration of the Russian Federation. It was initially established by Imperial Russia where it was officially known as the Decoration of the Military Order of ...
. The ordinary cross may further be modify in its ''flection'' (i.e. modification of its edges as ''engrailed'' (''engreslée''), ''embattled'' (''bretessée''), ''indented'' (''denchée''), ''invected'' (''cannelée''), ''wavy'', (''ondée''), ''raguly'' (''écotée''), ''dancetty'' or ''dantelly'' (''denché'', ''émanchée''), and so on. French heraldic terminology is even more diverse, with many synonyms leading to some confusion."we are met with the difficulty of many synonyms occurring, for practically the same form is often much varied by incorrect drawing, and much confusion has arisen from blunders of heraldic writers in misreading or misunderstanding the terms employed." Parker (1894). File:Blason famille fr de Savoie.svg, Gules a cross argent (
Savoy Savoy (; frp, Savouè ; french: Savoie is a cultural-historical region in the Western Alps it, Alpi occidentaligerman: Westalpen , photo=Mont Blanc from Punta Helbronner, 2010 July.JPG , photo_caption=Mont Blanc Mont Blanc (french: Mont ...
) File:Horizontaal gedeeld kruis.svg, Or a cross per fess gules and azure File:Blason ville fr Dinard (Ille-et-Vilaine).svg, Vert a cross
ermine Ermine may refer to three species of mustelid The Mustelidae (; from Latin ''mustela'', weasel) are a family of carnivorous A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals f ...
, in each quarter a pale gules (
Dinard Dinard (; br, Dinarzh, ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Dinard'') is a Communes of France, commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine Departments of France, department, Brittany (administrative region), Brittany, northwestern France. Dinard is on the Côte d' ...
) File:Sable croix engrelée d'or.svg, Sable a cross engrailed or File:Kryzius 02 Sachmatinis.png, Or [''tenné''] a cross chequy gules and sable File:Blason de la famille du Peloux de Saint Romain.svg, Argent a saltire engrailed azure File:Arms of John Michael Allen-Petrie.svg, Azure a saltire embattled parted [voided] or (Rouge Croix Pursuivant, John Allen-Petrie) File:Breedvoetig kruis met afgevlakte voeten.svg, Or a cross patty throughout sable
The ordinary cross may also be varied in its tincture, it may be ''party'', or ''chequy, compony, counter-compony, fretty, trellised, vair maçonnée'' and so on. It may also be of two tinctures, e.g. party per fesse, per pale, or per cross (equivalent to quarterly), mostly in connection with the partition of the field (i.e. counter-charged). The term quarter-pierced (quarterly pierced) is used when the center of the cross has a separate tincture. Some heraldists have used quarter-voided or square-pierced for cases where the center of the cross is given the tincture of the field, or alternatively ''chequy of nine panes'' (French ''équipollée''). A Quadrate (heraldry), cross quadrate has a square at the intersection point. File:Rond doorboord kruis.svg, Argent a cross azure pierced of the field File:Vierkant doorboord kruis.svg, Argent a cross vert quarter pierced of the field File:BullerArms.PNG, Sable on a cross argent quarter pierced of the field four eagles displayed of the first (Buller baronets, Buller) File:ArmsOfBonnellofPurleigh.tif, Argent a cross gules quarterly pierced nine crosses crosslet, three, three, and three counterchanged (the first quarter ermine for distinction) ( (Mary Ann Harvey Bonnell 1841) The cross voided (also ''une fausse croix'') has the same tincture of the field with only a narrow border outlining the limbs. This is equivalent to superimposing one cross upon another (''croix chargée'', or ''remplie'') when the second cross is of the tincture of the field. File:Cross voided wiki.jpg, Argent a cross voided sable File:Traliekruis.svg, Or a cross triple parted vert File:Opstina Nova Crnja mali.png, A cross triple parted fretted in the municipal coat of arms of Nova Crnja (Serbia) File:Hjelmeland komm.svg, A saltire triple parted fretted in the municipal coat of arms of Hjelmeland (Norway) A voided cross might also be blazoned as fimbriated. Fimbriated crosses are more common in vexillology, e.g. the fimbriated crosses in the national flags of the Union Jack, United Kingdom, of Flag of Norway, Norway and of
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#N ...

Iceland
. The German ''Balkenkreuz'', introduced originally as identification for German Luftstreitkräfte in 1918 and later used as a vehicle emblem by the Wehrmacht, if used heraldically might be blazoned as a cross double fimbriated, or as a voided cross superimposed by a second cross. The "Bundeswehr cross" is a variant of the ''Balkenkreuz'' using a cross patty.


Named variants


Equal limbs


Unequal limbs


Additional charges

In some cases, a separate name is given to the ensemble of a heraldic cross with four additional charges in the angles.


Flags

Flags with crosses are recorded from the later Middle Ages, e.g. in the early 14th century the ''insignia cruxata comunis '' of the city of Genoa, the red-on-white cross that would later become known as St George's Cross, and the white-on-red cross of the ''Reichssturmfahne'' used as the war flag of the Holy Roman Emperor possibly from the early 13th century. Crosses on flags become more widespread in the Age of Sail, as maritime flags, and from this tradition develop into
national flag A national flag is a flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production o ...

national flag
s in the 18th to 19th century, the British Union jack, Union flag (as naval flag) was introduced in 1606, after the Union of the Crowns. The Nordic cross is a modern cross variant used on rectangular flags only, introduced for rectangular
civil ensign A civil ensign is an ensign An ensign is the national flag flown on a vessel to indicate nationality. The ensign is the largest flag, generally flown at the stern (rear) of the ship while in port. The naval ensign (also known as war ensign), u ...
s for Flag of Denmark, Denmark in 1748. This is to be distinguished from the (rare) heraldic charge of a horizontal Latin cross, known as the "Cross of Saint Philipp". Several national flags are based on late medieval war flags, including the white-on-red crosses of the flag of Denmark and the flag of Switzerland. The elongated Nordic cross originates in the 18th century due to the rectangular shape of maritime flags. The Red Cross flag originates in 1906 as a colour-switched version of the flag of Switzerland.


References

*William Wood Seymour
"The Cross in Heraldry"
''The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art'' (1898). {{Heraldry Crosses in heraldry, Christian symbols Heraldic charges