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SPANISH FLAGS

An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 1
by Ian Heath


95.      SPANISH FLAGS

95a is a banner from a 14th century ms., displaying the arms of Castile and León, being quarterly 1 & 4 gules, a castle triple-towered or, 2 & 3 argent, a lion rampant sable. 95b and c are the royal standards of Aragon and Portugal respectively. 95b, dating to c. 1400, is here striped horizontally in red and gold, though Aragon's arms were actually paly (i.e. striped vertically). Portugal's flag is white, with 5 blue escutcheons charged with plates (i.e. silver roundles), and a red bordure charged with gold castles and the ends of a green cross fleury (signifying King Joá's former position as Master of the Order of Avis; his dynasty ruled Portugal from 1383).

95d is the standard of the Order of Calatrava, comprising a red cross fleury on a white field, from the Alba Bible. Standards of Alcántara and Avis were the same, but with the cross in green. 95e and f are flags of the Order of Santiago. 95e is their red damask battle-flag depicting St James mounted on a white horse and is taken from a late-12th century ms. 95f, on the other hand, is from an early-16th century source and is red with a white cross and brown escallops; other sources refer to an escallop being borne 'below the guard' of the Order's espada badge, and a print of c. 1520 actually shows the Order's device as an espada centred within an escallop.

95g and h are the flags of the Moslem states of Granada and Tlemcen respectively, as depicted in Iresques of Majorca's map of 1375. 95g is an orange/red colour with black Arabic script, while his white with a gold crescent. 95i is another Granadine flag, from the same source as figure 98. Granadine armies, like their Christian counterparts, were usually accompanied in battle by a plethora of flags, 22 being captured in the Battle of Lucena for example.
[See royal standards of Portugal in the Pastrana Tapestries of Alfonso V, late 15th centuries]



Next: 96 & 97. GRANADINE CAVALRYMEN, 14th-15th CENTURIES in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath