Best Answer

Today the word "banner" is used generally for any type or shape of flag or large poster; in medieval times it meant a very specific and particular type of flag and was just one of many different kinds: banners, banderoles, gonfalons, gonfanons, pennons, pennoncells, standards, streamers, and guidons.

Most people are unaware that there were many different grades of knight, each rank being allowed to carry (or have someone else carry) a specific and strictly-controlled type of flag.

At the very bottom of the grade system were knights bachelor, originally landless and therefore poor knights who had little or no experience of battle. They carried a pennoncelle attached to their spear - a small square or rectangular flag with two, three or more triangular tails on the edge opposite the spear; many of these can be seen on the Bayeux Tapestry carried by Norman knights. Higher grades of knight bachelor carried a pennon, usually a flag about 3 feet long and triangular in shape.

On becoming an experienced and trusted knight banneret, the knight was entitled to remove these triangular tails, leaving just the square or rectangular flag which was called a banner, carrying the same device as shown on the shield. This was carried in different sizes by increasingly higher grades of knight and might be fringed around the edge.

The next level of knights were of very high status and included royalty, their male relatives and most trusted barons. They carried (actually someone else carried for them) flags called standards, which were extremely long, narrow, tapering and swallow-tailed at the end. A royal standard could be 33 feet long. They did not display coats of arms, but the animal or other crests, livery colours, badges and mottoes of the family.

The purpose of the banner was to indicate the presence of a prticular knight on the battlefield; it served as a rallying-point for his own household troops and (since it symbolised the man himself) its loss was considered extremely shameful. It was from these banners that heralds in the opposing armies could identify the coats of arms (and therefore the names) of the important knights in the enemy ranks and where they were positioned.

User Avatar

Wiki User

โˆ™ 2011-04-25 21:06:08
This answer is:
User Avatar
Study guides
See all Study Guides
Create a Study Guide

Add your answer:

Earn +20 pts
Q: What was the purpose and history of medieval banners?
Write your answer...
Related questions

What did medieval marketplace banners look like?

How the heck do you expect me to know?!

What are some websites where one can have church banners made?

Most printers would make a banner for any purpose including Church banners. However bespoke Church banners can be purchased from Christian Banners and Outreach, or there is a video on eHow that shows how to make one.

What were the purpose of medieval shields?

the purpose of a medieval shield was protect them from swords, arrows, blows and projectiles.

When did Medieval History Magazine end?

Medieval History Magazine ended in 2005.

When was Medieval History Magazine created?

Medieval History Magazine was created in 2003.

When was Journal of Medieval History created?

Journal of Medieval History was created in 1975.

What was the purpose of much of medieval art?

The purpose of medieval art was to to teach religion to people who could not read or write

Purpose of a medieval crossbow?

It was a weapon.

What was the purpose of a medieval dinner?


How do castles have something to do with medieval history?

Who is most important in medieval history - kings and emperors. Where do they live - in castles.

What comes before medieval history?

Ancient history

What has the author Jody Enders written?

Jody Enders has written: 'Murder by accident' -- subject(s): Drama, Medieval, History, History and criticism, Intention in literature, Medieval Drama, Theater, Violence in the theater 'Rhetoric and the origins of medieval drama' -- subject(s): Drama, Medieval, Forensic oratory, History, History and criticism, Law in literature, Medieval Drama, Medieval Rhetoric, Rhetoric, Medieval, Theater

What has the author Meera Singh written?

Meera Singh has written: 'Medieval history of India' -- subject(s): History 'Medieval History of India'

What is the purpose of catapults?

Destroying medieval buildings.

What was the sole purpose of a medieval dinner?


Where is medieval Japan located?

in history

What was the purpose of medieval fairs and mankets?

The purpose was to sell goods and have a bit of fun.

The history of RuneScape?

Runescape is just a medieval game, based in medieval times.

What is the purpose of banners and signs?

Banners and signs are typically used to advertise things such as products, stores, sales, events and political campaigns, or bring to attention something to the viewer, such as road signs. Banners are more often than not advertising, while signs may not always be advertisement.

How were religious medieval plays made more interesting?

they hung up banners on the arcs, they burnt inscences- and they acted out the poems with a lot of enthusiasm.

What has the author Muriel Joy Hughes written?

Muriel Joy Hughes has written: 'Women healers in medieval life and literature' -- subject(s): History, History of Medicine, History, Medieval, Literature and medicine, Medicine, Medieval, Medieval History, Medieval Medicine, Physicians in literature, Physicians, Women, Women, Women healers in literature, Women in literature, Women physicians

What has the author Madeleine Pelner Cosman written?

Madeleine Pelner Cosman has written: 'Fabulous Feasts' -- subject(s): Cookery, European, Cookery, Medieval, European Cookery, Food habits, History, Medieval Cookery, Social history 'Medieval holidays & festivals' -- subject(s): Civilization, Medieval, Festivals, History, Holidays, Juvenile literature, Manners and customs, Medieval Civilization, Social history 'Medieval medical malpractice'

Brief History of English social Literature during medieval period?

History of English social literature during medieval period

Babarnama as a source of history?

Describe the babarnama as a source of medieval history

What was the main purpose of the catapult?

Destroying medieval buildings

People also asked

How many daughter cells are produced from each parent cell during meiosis?

View results

How do you take a pictures on imvu?

View results

How does accounting provide relevant data to users?

View results

What country was most responsible for the change in US foreign policy in the 18th century?

View results

What is the difference between a Black Hawk and a Pave Hawk?

View results