The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys (plural: fleurs-de-lis, or fleurs-de-lys)[pron 1] is a stylized lily (in French, fleur means "flower", and lis means "lily") that is used as a decorative design or motif. Many of the Catholic saints of France, particularly St. Joseph, are depicted with a lily. Since France is a historically Catholic nation, the fleur-de-lis became "at one and the same time, religious, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in French heraldry.[4]

The fleur-de-lis is represented in Unicode at U+269C (⚜) in the Miscellaneous Symbols block.

Fleur de lys (or)
A fleur-de-lis


Arms of the Kingdom of France (Ancien)
The arms of the Kingdom of France (France Ancienne): Azure, semy of fleur-de lis or
Arms of the Kingdom of France (Moderne)
The arms of France Moderne (1376–1469): Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or

While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context, and continues to appear in the arms of the King of Spain (from the French House of Bourbon) and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and members of the House of Bourbon. It remains an enduring symbol of France which appears on French postage stamps, although it has never been adopted officially by any of the French republics. According to French historian Georges Duby, the three petals represent the three medieval social estates: the commoners, the nobility, and the clergy.[5]

It remains unclear where the fleur-de-lis originated, though it has retained an association with French nobility. It is widely used in French city emblems as in the coat of arms of the city of Lille, Saint-Denis, Brest, Clermont-Ferrand, Boulogne-Billancourt and Calais. Some cities that had been particularly faithful to the French Crown were awarded a heraldic augmentation of two or three fleurs-de-lis on the chief of their coat of arms; such cities include Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Reims, Le Havre, Angers, Le Mans, Aix-en-Provence, Tours, Limoges, Amiens, Orléans, Rouen, Argenteuil, Poitiers, Chartres and Laon among others. The fleur-de-lis was the symbol of Île-de-France, the core of the French kingdom. It has appeared on the coat-of-arms of other historical provinces of France including Burgundy, Anjou, Picardy, Berry, Orléanais, Bourbonnais, Maine, Touraine, Artois, Dauphiné, Saintonge and the County of La Marche. Many of the current French departments use the symbol on their coats-of-arms to express this heritage.

In Italy, the fleur de lis, called giglio, is mainly known from the crest of the city of Florence. In the Florentine fleurs-de-lis,[f] the stamens are always posed between the petals. Originally argent (silver or white) on gules (red) background, the emblem became the standard of the imperial party in Florence (parte ghibellina), causing the town government, which maintained a staunch Guelph stance, being strongly opposed to the imperial pretensions on city states, to reverse the color pattern to the final gules lily on argent background.[6] This heraldic charge is often known as the Florentine lily to distinguish it from the conventional (stamen-not-shown) design. As an emblem of the city, it is therefore found in icons of Zenobius, its first bishop,[7] and associated with Florence's patron Saint John the Baptist in the Florentine fiorino. Several towns subjugated by Florence or founded within the territory of the Florentine Republic adopted a variation of the Florentine lily in their crests, often without the stamens.

The heraldic fleur-de-lis is still widespread: among the numerous cities which use it as a symbol are some whose names echo the word 'lily', for example, Liljendal, Finland, and Lelystad, Netherlands. This is called canting arms in heraldic terminology. Other European examples of municipal coats-of-arms bearing the fleur-de-lis include Lincoln in England, Morcín in Spain, Wiesbaden in Germany, Skierniewice in Poland and Jurbarkas in Lithuania. The Swiss municipality of Schlieren and the Estonian municipality of Jõelähtme also have a fleur-de-lis on their coats.

In Malta, the town of Santa Venera has three red fleurs-de-lis on its flag and coat of arms. These are derived from an arch which was part of the Wignacourt Aqueduct that had three sculpted fleurs-de-lis on top, as they were the heraldic symbols of Alof de Wignacourt, the Grand Master who financed its building. Another suburb which developed around the area became known as Fleur-de-Lys, and it also features a red fleur-de-lis on its flag and coat of arms.[8]

Coat of arms of Serbia
Greater coat of arms of Serbia
Coat of Arms of Florence
Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998)
Arms of Bosnia used from 1992 until 1998; a revived symbol of Tvrtko I of the House of Kotromanić

The coat of arms of the medieval Kingdom of Bosnia contained six fleurs-de-lis, understood as the native Bosnian or Golden Lily, Lilium bosniacum.[9] This emblem was revived in 1992 as a national symbol of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and was the flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1998.[10] The state insignia were changed in 1999. The former flag of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina contains a fleur-de-lis alongside the Croatian chequy. Fleurs also appear in the flags and arms of many cantons, municipalities, cities and towns. It is still used as official insignia of the Bosniak Regiment of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[11]

In the United Kingdom, a fleur-de-lis has appeared in the official arms of the Norroy King of Arms for hundreds of years. A silver fleur-de-lis on a blue background is the arms of the Barons Digby.[12]

In English and Canadian heraldry the fleur-de-lis is the cadence mark of a sixth son.[13]

In Mauritius, slaves were branded with a fleur-de-lis, when being punished for escaping or stealing food.[14]

The Welsh poet Hedd Wyn used Fleur de Lys as his pen name when he won his chair at the National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru), the national poetry contest.

Fleurs-de-lis appear on military insignia and the logos of many organizations. During the 20th century the symbol was adopted by various Scouting organizations worldwide for their badges. Architects and designers use it alone and as a repeated motif in a wide range of contexts, from ironwork to bookbinding, especially where a French context is implied.

The symbol is also often used on a compass rose to mark the north direction, a tradition started by Pedro Reinel. The dark code was an arrangement of controls received in Louisiana in 1724 from other French settlements around the globe, intended to represent the state's slave populace. Those guidelines included marking slaves with the fleur-de-lis as discipline for fleeing.[15]


Clovis recevant la fleur de lys - XVe siècle
15th-century manuscript illumination of an angel sending the fleurs-de-lis to Clovis. From the Bedford Hours in the British Library, London.

The fleur de lis is widely thought to be a stylized version of the species Iris pseudacorus, or Iris florentina.[16][17]

However, the lily (genus lilium, family Liliaceae) and the iris (family Iridaceae) are two different plants, phylogenetically and taxonomically unrelated. Lily (in Italian: giglio) is the name usually associated with the stylized flower in the Florentine heraldic devices. Decorative ornaments that resemble the fleur-de-lis have appeared in artwork from the earliest human civilizations. According to Pierre-Augustin Boissier de Sauvages, an 18th-century French naturalist and lexicographer:[18]

The old fleurs-de-lis, especially the ones found in our first kings' sceptres, have a lot less in common with ordinary lilies than the flowers called flambas [in Occitan], or irises, from which the name of our own fleur-de-lis may derive. What gives some colour of truth to this hypothesis that we already put forth, is the fact that the French or Franks, before entering Gaul itself, lived for a long time around the river named Leie in the Flanders. Nowadays, this river is still bordered with an exceptional number of irises —as many plants grow for centuries in the same places—: these irises have yellow flowers, which is not a typical feature of lilies but fleurs-de-lis. It was thus understandable that our kings, having to choose a symbolic image for what later became a coat of arms, set their minds on the iris, a flower that was common around their homes, and is also as beautiful as it was remarkable. They called it, in short, the fleur-de-lis, instead of the flower of the river of lis. This flower, or iris, looks like our fleur-de-lis not just because of its yellow colour but also because of its shape: of the six petals, or leaves, that it has, three of them are alternatively straight and meet at their tops. The other three on the opposite, bend down so that the middle one seems to make one with the stalk and only the two ones facing out from left and right can clearly be seen, which is again similar with our fleurs-de-lis, that is to say exclusively the one from the river Luts whose white petals bend down too when the flower blooms.

Iris compared with fleur-de-lis ornament in French [19]

The heraldist François Velde is of the same opinion.[20]

However, a hypothesis ventured in the 17th c. sounds very plausible to me. One species of wild iris, the Iris pseudacorus, yellow flag in English, is yellow and grows in marshes (cf. the azure field, for water). Its name in German is Lieschblume (also gelbe Schwertlilie), but Liesch was also spelled Lies and Leys in the Middle Ages. It is easy to imagine that, in Northern France, the Lieschblume would have been called "fleur-de-lis." This would explain the name and the formal origin of the design, as a stylized yellow flag. There is a fanciful legend about Clovis which links the yellow flag explicitly with the French coat of arms.

Sauvages' hypothesis seems to be supported by the archaic English spelling fleur-de-luce[21] and by the Luts's variant name Lits.

It has consistently been used as a royal emblem, though different cultures have interpreted its meaning in varying ways. Gaulish coins show the first Western designs which look similar to modern fleurs-de-lis.[22] In the East it was found on the gold helmet of a Scythian king uncovered at the Ak-Burun kurgan and conserved in Saint Petersburg's Hermitage Museum.[23]

There is also a statue of Kanishka the Great, the emperor of the Kushan dynasty in 127–151 AD, in the Mathura Museum in India, with four modern Fleurs-de-lis symbols in a square emblem repeated twice on the bottom end of his smaller sword.

Another (debated) hypothesis is that the symbol derives from the Frankish Angon. The angon, or sting, was a typical Frankish throwing spear.

A possibly derived symbol of Frankish royalty was the bee, of similar shape, as found in the burial of Childric I, whose royal see of power over the Salian Franks was based over the valley of the Lys. Another heraldic tradition, going back to at least the 17th century, identifies the emblem of the Childric as a frog or toad (crapaud) rather than a bee. Antoine Court de Gébelin writing in 1781 identified the toad as the emblem of the Ripuarian Franks, representing their origin from the marshlands.[24]

Childeric's bees

The golden bees/flies discovered in the tomb of Childeric in 1653

Sceau de Philippe Auguste. - Archives Nationales - SC-D157

Seal of Philippe Auguste (1180)

Royal symbol

Charlemagne, by Albrecht Dürer, the anachronistic coat-of-arms above him show the German eagle and the French Fleur-de-lis.

Frankish to the French monarchy

The graphic evolution of crita to fleur-de-lis was accompanied by textual allegory. By the late 13th century, an allegorical poem by Guillaume de Nangis (d. 1300), written at Joyenval Abbey in Chambourcy, relates how the golden lilies on an azure ground were miraculously substituted for the crescents on Clovis' shield, a projection into the past of contemporary images of heraldry. Through this propagandist connection to Clovis, the fleur-de-lis has been taken in retrospect to symbolize all the Christian Frankish kings, most notably Charlemagne.

The fleur-de-lis' symbolic origins with French monarchs may stem from the baptismal lily used in the crowning of King Clovis I.[25] The French monarchy possibly adopted the Fleur-de-lis for its royal coat of arms as a symbol of purity to commemorate the conversion of Clovis I,[26] and a reminder of the Fleur-de-lis ampulla that held the oil used to anoint the king. So, the fleur-de-lis stood as a symbol of the king's divinely approved right to rule. The thus "anointed" Kings of France later maintained that their authority was directly from God. A legend enhances the mystique of royalty by informing us that a vial of oil—the Holy Ampulla—descended from Heaven to anoint and sanctify Clovis as King,[27] descending directly on Clovis or perhaps brought by a dove to Saint Remigius. One version explains that an angel descended with the Fleur-de-lis ampulla to anoint the king.[28] Another story tells of Clovis putting a flower in his helmet just before his victory at the Battle of Vouillé.[20] Through this connection to Clovis, the fleur-de-lis has been taken to symbolize all the Christian Frankish kings, most famously Charlemagne.

In the 14th-century French writers asserted that the monarchy of France, which developed from the Kingdom of the West Franks, could trace its heritage back to the divine gift of royal arms received by Clovis. This story has remained popular, even though modern scholarship has established that the fleur-de-lis was a religious symbol before it was a true heraldic symbol.[29] Along with true lilies, it was associated with the Virgin Mary, and in the 12th century Louis VI and Louis VII started to use the emblem, on sceptres for example, so connecting their rulership with this symbol of saintliness and divine right. Louis VII ordered the use of fleur-de-lis clothing in his son Philip's coronation in 1179,[30] while the first visual evidence of clearly heraldic use dates from 1211: a seal showing the future Louis VIII and his shield strewn with the "flowers".[31] Until the late 14th century the French royal coat of arms was Azure semé-de-lis Or (a blue shield "sown" (semé) with a scattering of small golden fleurs-de-lis), but Charles V of France changed the design from an all-over scattering to a group of three in about 1376.[a][b] These two coats are known in heraldic terminology as France Ancient and France Modern respectively.

Fleur de Lis wall
Fleur-de-lis on an old concrete wall

In the reign of King Louis IX (St. Louis) the three petals of the flower were said to represent faith, wisdom and chivalry, and to be a sign of divine favour bestowed on France.[32] During the next century, the 14th, the tradition of Trinity symbolism was established in France, and then spread elsewhere.

In 1328, King Edward III of England inherited a claim to the crown of France, and in about 1340 he quartered France Ancient with the arms of Plantagenet, as "arms of pretence". [c] After the kings of France adopted France Modern, the kings of England adopted the new design as quarterings from about 1411.[33] The monarchs of England (and later of Great Britain) continued to quarter the French arms until 1801, when George III abandoned his formal claim to the French throne.

King Charles VII ennobled Joan of Arc's family on 29 December 1429 with an inheritable symbolic denomination. The Chamber of Accounts in France registered the family's designation to nobility on 20 January 1430. The grant permitted the family to change their surname to du Lys.

France Modern

France Modern remained the French royal standard, and with a white background was the French national flag until the French Revolution, when it was replaced by the tricolor of modern-day France. The fleur-de-lis was restored to the French flag in 1814, but replaced once again after the revolution against Charles X of France in 1830.[d] In a very strange turn of events after the end of the Second French Empire, where a flag apparently influenced the course of history, Henri, comte de Chambord, was offered the throne as King of France, but he agreed only if France gave up the tricolor and brought back the white flag with fleurs-de-lis.[34] His condition was rejected and France became a republic.

Other European monarchs and rulers

Bosnian king Tvrtko I's gold coin (14th century) reverse – with the Bosnian state fleur-de-lis coat of arms. (GLORIA TIBI DEUS SPES NOSTRA)
Arms of Anjou- Coat of Arms of Spain Template
Anjou Coat of Arms, the Bourbon House of Spain

Fleurs-de-lis feature prominently in the Crown Jewels of England and Scotland. In English heraldry, they are used in many different ways, and can be the cadency mark of the sixth son. Additionally, it features in a large amount of royal arms of the House of Plantagenet, from the 13th century onwards to the early Tudors (Elizabeth of York and the de la Pole family.)

The tressure florycounterflory (flowered border) has been a prominent part of the design of the Scottish royal arms and Royal Standard since James I of Scotland.[e]

          The treasured fleur-de-luce he claims
          To wreathe his shield, since royal James
               —Sir Walter Scott
                The Lay of the Last Minstrel[35]

In Italy, fleurs-de-lis have been used for some papal crowns[g] and coats of arms, the Farnese Dukes of Parma,[36] and by some doges of Venice.

The fleur-de-lis was also the symbol of the House of Kotromanić, a ruling house in medieval Bosnia allegedly in recognition of the Capetian House of Anjou, where the flower is thought of as a Lilium bosniacum.[h] Today, fleur-de-lis is a national symbol of Bosniaks.[i]

Other countries include Spain in recognition of rulers from the House of Bourbon. Coins minted in 14th-century Romania, from the region that was the Principality of Moldova at the time, ruled by Petru I Mușat, carry the fleur-de-lis symbol.[37]

As a dynastic emblem it has also been very widely used: not only by noble families but also, for example, by the Fuggers, a medieval banking family.

Three fleurs-de-lis appeared in the personal coat of arms of Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt who ruled the Malta between 1601 and 1622. His nephew Adrien de Wignacourt, who was Grandmaster himself from 1690 to 1697, also had a similar coat of arms with three fleurs-de-lis.


Fleur de lys du québec
The French Canadian version of the fleur-de-lys

Fleurs-de-lis crossed the Atlantic along with Europeans going to the New World, especially with French settlers. Their presence on North American flags and coats of arms usually recalls the involvement of French settlers in the history of the town or region concerned, and in some cases the persisting presence there of a population descended from such settlers.

The fleur-de-lis appears on the Canadian coat of arms, the flag of Quebec as well as the flags of the cities of Montreal, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières. It is also featured on the personal flag used by the Queen of Canada.[38] There are many French-speaking people in other Canadian provinces for whom the fleur-de-lis remains a symbol of their cultural identity. Franco-Ontarians, for example, feature the fleur-de-lis prominently on their flag.

In Saskatchewan the Western Red Lily appears on the provincial flag and is sometimes used as a symbol of the province. Some representations resemble a fleur de lis but the traditional version itself is rarely used.

In the US, the fleur-de-lis symbols tend to be along or near the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. These are areas of strong French colonial empire settlement. Some of the places that have it in their flag or seal are the cities of St. Louis,[m] Louisville, Detroit, Mobile, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. On 9 July 2008, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law making the fleur-de-lis an official symbol of the state.[39] Following Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, the fleur-de-lis has been widely used in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana, as a symbol of grassroots support for New Orleans' recovery.[40] It has also become the symbol for the identity of the Cajuns and Louisiana Creole people, and their French heritage.

The fleur-de-lis appears on the coat of Guadeloupe, an overseas département of France in the Caribbean, Saint Barthélemy, an overseas collectivity of France, and French Guiana. The overseas department of Réunion in the Indian Ocean uses the same feature. It appears on the coat of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius which was named in honour of King Louis XV. On the coat of arms of Saint Lucia it represents the French heritage of the country.

Coats of arms and flags

Arms of the Kingdom of France (Ancien)

^ French royal arms before 1376 (France ancienne): Azure semé-de-lis or

Arms of the Kingdom of France (Moderne)

^ French royal arms after 1376 (France moderne): Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or

Royal Arms of England (1340-1367)

^ The arms of the Kings of England from 1340 to c.1411, quartering France ancienne. The French arms are quartered as arms of pretence and in precedence (1st & 4th) to the paternal Plantagenet arms as a statement in recognition of the quasi-feudal superiority of the royal French arms to the arms of Plantagenet

Drapeau de la Louisiane septentrionale

^ Flag of French Renaissance

Pavillon royal de France

^ Standard of the French royal family prior to 1789 and from 1815 to 1830

Royal Standard of the King of France

^ Flag of the Kingdom of France

Naval Flag of the Kingdom of France (Civil Ensign)

Naval Flag of the Kingdom of France

Royal Standard of King Louis XIV

Flag of New France.

Flag of Royalist France

Flag of French Royalist faction during the French Revolution (not confirmed)

Flag of Hungary (1301-1382)

Flag of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1301 to 1382

Flag of Spain

Flag of Spain

Coat of arms of Kingdom of Bosnia

^ Coat of Arms of medieval Bosnian ruling family Kotromanić

Coat of Arms of Peter Paul Rubens

Arms of Peter Paul Rubens and his family

Canadian Coat of Arms Shield

The Arms of Canada from 1957

Blason famille it Farnese01

Arms of the Farnese family.


Fleur-de-lis on the coat of arms of Ýñigo-Genio family, Or, six fleur-de-lis in orle, five gules and one in chef azure.

Augmented Arms of Medici

The augmented coat of arms of the Medici, Or, five balls in orle gules, in chief a larger one of the arms of France (viz. Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or) was granted by Louis XI in 1465.

Blason chateaubriant

Armes of the Châteaubriant Family, concession of Saint Louis "Notre sang teint les bannières de France". In reality, there is no objective proof for the statement.

Blason famille fr Thouars

Arms of the Thouars Family. The reverse of the arms of France.

Fitzpatrick of Ossary

Arms of the Fitzpatrick (Mac Giolla Phádraig) family of Upper Ossory[41] The French augmentation in the chief appears to date from the time of Barnaby Fitzpatrick as Edward VI's ambassador to France.

Wappen Wiesbaden

Fleurs-de-lis on the coat of arms of Wiesbaden


^ Fleur-de-lis of Florence

Coat of Arms of Pope Paul VI

^ Fleur-de-lis in the coat of arms of Pope Paul VI


Fleur-de-lis on the coat of arms of Lincoln

Escut de Sagunt

Fleur-de-lis on the coat of arms of Sagunt


Fleurs-de-lis on the coat of arms of Turku

Drapeau de l'Acadie occidentale

Flag of Aroostook county in Maine

Drapeau fransaskois 2

Flag of Fransaskois

Flag of Fleur-de-Lys, Malta

Flag of Fleur-de-Lys, Malta

Flag of Santa Venera

Flag of Santa Venera, Malta

Symbolism in religion and art

Albarello fleur-de-lys Louvre UCAD4288
Fleur-de-lis on 14th century Syrian albarello.

In the Middle Ages, the symbols of lily and fleur-de-lis overlapped considerably in Christian religious art. Michel Pastoureau, a historian, says that until about 1300 they were found in depictions of Jesus, but gradually they took on Marian symbolism and were associated with the Song of Solomon's "lily among thorns" (lilium inter spinas), understood as a reference to Mary. Other scripture and religious literature in which the lily symbolizes purity and chastity also helped establish the flower as an iconographic attribute of the Virgin. It was also believed that the fleur-de-lis represented the Holy Trinity.[42][43]

In medieval England, from the mid-12th century, a noblewoman's seal often showed the lady with a fleur-de-lis, drawing on the Marian connotations of "female virtue and spirituality".[44] Images of Mary holding the flower first appeared in the 11th century on coins issued by cathedrals dedicated to her, and next on the seals of cathedral chapters, starting with Notre Dame de Paris in 1146. A standard portrayal was of Mary carrying the flower in her right hand, just as she is shown in that church's Virgin of Paris statue (with lily), and in the centre of the stained glass rose window (with fleur-de-lis sceptre) above its main entrance. The flowers may be "simple fleurons, sometimes garden lilies, sometimes genuine heraldic fleurs-de-lis".[31] As attributes of the Madonna, they are often seen in pictures of the Annunciation, notably in those of Sandro Botticelli and Filippo Lippi. Lippi also uses both flowers in other related contexts: for instance, in his Madonna in the Forest.

The three petals of the heraldic design reflect a widespread association with the Holy Trinity, with the band on the bottom symbolizing Mary. The tradition says that without Mary you can not understand the Trinity since it was she who bore the Son.[45] A tradition going back to 14th century France[22] added onto the earlier belief that they also represented faith, wisdom and chivalry. Alternatively, the cord can be seen as representing the one Divine Substance (godhood) of the three Persons, which binds Them together.

"Flower of light" symbolism has sometimes been understood from the archaic variant fleur-de-luce (see Latin lux, luc- = "light"), but the Oxford English Dictionary suggests this arose from the spelling, not from the etymology.[46]


Fence, Buckingham Palace London April 2006 077
Fleurs-de-lis on railings at Buckingham Palace

In building and architecture, the fleur-de-lis is often placed on top of iron fence posts, as a pointed defence against intruders. It may ornament any tip, point or post with a decorative flourish, for instance, on finials, the arms of a cross, or the point of a gable. The fleur-de-lis can be incorporated in friezes or cornices, although the distinctions between fleur-de-lis, fleuron, and other stylized flowers are not always clear,[19][47] or can be used as a motif in an all-over tiled pattern, perhaps on a floor. It may appear in a building for heraldic reasons, as in some English churches where the design paid a compliment to a local lord who used the flower on his coat of arms. Elsewhere the effect seems purely visual, like the crenellations on the 14th-century Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan. It can also be seen on the doors of 16th-century Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

Modern usage

Some modern usage of the fleur-de-lis reflects "the continuing presence of heraldry in everyday life", often intentionally, but also when users are not aware that they are "prolonging the life of centuries-old insignia and emblems".[48]

The British Army in the United Kingdom 1939-45 H12824
A soldier of the Manchester Regiment with their fleur-de-lis badge on his helmet, in 1941.


Fleurs-de-lis are featured on military badges like those of the United States the New Jersey Army National Guard unit 112th Field Artillery (Self Propelled) (part of the much larger 42nd Infantry Division Mechanized)has it in the upper left side of their Distinctive Unit Insignia. Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 62nd Medical Brigade, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the Corps of Cadets at Louisiana State University. It is also featured by the Israeli Intelligence Corps, and the First World War Canadian Expeditionary Force. In the British Army, the fleur-de-lis was the cap badge of the Manchester Regiment from 1922 until 1958, and also its successor, the King's Regiment up to its amalgamation in 2006. It commemorates the capture of French regimental colours by their predecessors, the 63rd Regiment of Foot, during the Invasion of Martinique in 1759.[49] It is also the formation sign of the 2nd (Independent) Armored Brigade of the Indian Army which was known as 7th Indian Cavalry Brigade in First World War, received the emblem for its actions in France.[50]


The fleur-de-lis is used by a number of sports teams, especially when it echoes a local flag. This is true with the teams from Quebec (Nordiques (ex-NHL), Montreal Expos (ex-MLB) and Montreal Impact (MLS)), the teams of New Orleans, Louisiana (Saints (NFL), Pelicans (NBA), and Zephyrs (PCL)), the Serie A team Fiorentina, the Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98 (also known as Die Lilien – The Lilies), the Rugby league team Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, the NPSL team Detroit City FC and the Louisiana Soccer Association.

Marc-André Fleury, a Canadian ice hockey goaltender, has a fleur-de-lis logo on his mask. The UFC Welterweight Champion from 2006 to 2013, Georges St-Pierre, has a tattoo of the fleur-de-lis on his right calf. The IT University of Copenhagen's soccer team ITU F.C. has it in their logo.[51] France uses the symbol in the official emblem on the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.[52]


The emblem appears in coats of arms and logos for universities (like the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Saint Louis University and Washington University in Missouri) and schools such as in Hilton College (South Africa), St. Peter, Minnesota, Adamson University and St. Paul’s University in the Philippines. The Lady Knights of the University of Arkansas at Monticello have also adopted the fleur de lis as one of the symbols associated with their coat of arms. The flag of Lincolnshire, adopted in 2005, has a fleur-de-lis for the city of Lincoln. It is one of the symbols of the American sororities Kappa Kappa Gamma and Theta Phi Alpha, the American fraternities Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Alpha Mu, as well as the international co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. It is also used by the high school and college fraternity Scouts Royale Brotherhood of the Philippines.


Boy Scout Association 1920-1967
An early version of the Scout emblem, used in the United Kingdom before 1967

The fleur-de-lis is the main element in the logo of most Scouting organizations. The symbol was first used by Sir Robert Baden-Powell as an arm-badge for soldiers who qualified as scouts (reconnaissance specialists) in the 5th Dragoon Guards, which he commanded at the end of the 19th century; it was later used in cavalry regiments throughout the British Army until 1921. In 1907, Baden-Powell made brass fleur-de-lis badges for the boys attending his first experimental "Boy Scout" camp at Brownsea Island.[53] In his seminal book Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell referred to the motif as "the arrowhead which shows the North on a map or a compass" and continued; "It is the Badge of the Scout because it points in the right direction and upward... The three points remind you of the three points of the Scout Promise",[54] being duty to God and country, helping others and keeping the Scout Law. The World Scout Emblem of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, has elements which are used by most national Scout organizations. The stars stand for truth and knowledge, the encircling rope for unity, and its reef knot or square knot, service.[55]

Other uses

The symbol may be used in less traditional ways. After Hurricane Katrina many New Orleanians of varying ages and backgrounds were tattooed with "one of its cultural emblems" as a "memorial" of the storm, according to a researcher at Tulane University.[56] The US Navy Blue Angels have named a looping flight demonstration manoeuvre after the flower as well, and there are even two surgical procedures called "after the fleur."

American automobile manufacturer Chevrolet takes its name from the racing driver Louis Chevrolet, who was born in Switzerland. But, because the Chevrolet name is French, the manufacturer has used the fleur-de-lis emblems on their cars, most notably the Corvette, but also as a small detail in the badges and emblems on the front of a variety of full-size Chevys from the 1950s, and 1960s. The fleur-de-lis has also been featured more prominently in the emblems of the Caprice sedan.

A fleur-de-lis also appears in some of the logos of local Louisiana media. Such as in the logo of WGNO-TV, the local ABC-affiliated television station in New Orleans, and WVUE-TV, the local Fox-affiliated television station in New Orleans.

The fleur-de-lis is one of the objects to drop during the New Year's Eve celebrations in New Orleans.

New Orleans sludge metal band Crowbar use it as a logo. It's appeared on every album cover since Lifesblood for the Downtrodden and is sometimes incorporated into the artwork (on The Serpent Only Lies as a snake and on Sever the Wicked Hand as a sword's hilt).

In fiction

The symbol has featured in modern fiction on historical and mystical themes, as in the bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code and other books discussing the Priory of Sion. It recurs in French literature, where examples well known in English translation include Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier, a character in The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, and the mention in Dumas's The Three Musketeers of the old custom of branding a criminal with the sign (fleurdeliser). During the reign of Elizabeth I of England, known as the Elizabethan era, it was a standard name for an iris, a usage which lasted for centuries,[57] but occasionally refers to lilies or other flowers. It also appeared in the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole on a sign composed by the protagonist.

The lilly, Ladie of the flowring field,
The Flowre-deluce, her louely Paramoure

A variation on the symbol has also been used in the Star Wars franchise to represent the planet of Naboo.

See also


Explanatory notes

  1. ^ /ˈflɜːr də ˈliː(s)/; French: [flœʁ də lis]. The Oxford English Dictionary gives both pronunciations for English. In French, Larousse[1] and Robert[2] have the former: [lis]. The CNRTL[3] has that pronunciation for the plant itself, but, following Barbeau-Rodhe 1930, [li] for the compound fleur-de-lis.


  1. ^ Dictionnaire de la Langue Française, Lexis, Paris, 1993
  2. ^ Petit Robert 1, Paris, 1990
  3. ^ http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/lis
  4. ^ Michel Pastoureau (1997). Heraldry: Its Origins and Meaning. Thames and Hudson. p. 98. ISBN 0-500-30074-7.
  5. ^ Georges Duby, France in the Middle Ages 987–1460: From Hugh Capet to Joan of Arc
  6. ^ Luciano Artusi, Firenze araldica, pp. 280, Polistampa, Firenze, 2006, ISBN 88-596-0149-5
  7. ^ Hall, James (1974). Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-433316-7. p.124.
  8. ^ "Fleur-de-Lys". Fleur-de-Lys Administrative Committee. 18 November 2012. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1992-1998". Flagspot.net. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1992-1998". Flagspot.net. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  11. ^ http://www.mpr.gov.ba/userfiles/file/Biblioteka/zakoni/hr/ZAKON%20O%20ZASTAVI%20BiH/Zakon%20o%20zastavi%20BiH%20-%2019%20-%2001.pdf
  12. ^ Moncrieffe, Ian, and Pottinger, Don. Simple Heraldry Cheerfully Illustrated. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd. p. 54.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Moncrieffe, Ian, and Pottinger, Don. Simple Heraldry Cheerfully Illustrated. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd. p. 20.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ Bernardin de Saint-PierreJourney to Mauritius, p. 15, at Google Books
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 May 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Stefan Buczacki The Herb Bible: The definitive guide to choosing and growing herbs, p. 223, at Google Books
  17. ^ McVicar, Jekka (2006) [1997]. Jekka's Complete Herb Book (Revised ed.). Bookmark Ltd. ISBN 1845093704.
  18. ^ Pierre Augustin Boissier de Sauvages (1756). Languedocien Dictionnaire François. p. 154. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle – Tome 5, Flore – Wikisource" (in French). Fr.wikisource.org. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  20. ^ a b Velde, François. "The Fleur-de-lis". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  21. ^ Fleur-de-lis
  22. ^ a b Michel Pastoureau, Heraldry: its origins and meaning p.99
  23. ^ [1] Archived 28 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ John Thomas, Elpis Israel (1851), 339–342.
  25. ^ Ellen J. Millington, Heraldry in History, Poetry, and Romance, London, 1858, pp. 332-343.
  26. ^ Lewis, Philippa & Darley, Gillian (1986) Dictionary of Ornament
  27. ^ Ralph E. Giesey, Models of Rulership in French Royal Ceremonial in Rites of Power: Symbolism, Ritual, and Politics Since the Middle Ages, ed. Wilentz (Princeton 1985), p. 43.
  28. ^ Michel Pastoureau: Traité d'Héraldique, Paris, 1979
  29. ^ Michel Pastoureau (1997), Heraldry: Its Origins and Meaning, 'New Horizons' series. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 99–100.
  30. ^ Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry, London, 1909, p. 274.
  31. ^ a b Michel Pastoureau (1997), Heraldry: Its Origins and Meaning, 'New Horizons' series. London: Thames & Hudson. p. 100.
  32. ^ Joseph Fr. Michaud; Jean Joseph François Poujoulat (1836). Nouvelle collection des mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de France: depuis le XIIIe siècle jusqu'à la fin du XVIIIe; précédés de notices pour caractériser chaque auteur des mémoires et son époque; suivis de l'analyse des documents historiques qui s'y rapportent. Éditeur du Commentaire analytique du Code civil. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  33. ^ Fox-Davies
  34. ^ Pierre Goubert (12 April 2002). The Course of French History. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-203-41468-2. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  35. ^ Sir Walter Scott (1833) The Complete Works of Sir Michael Scott, Volume 1 of 7, Canto Fourth, VIII, New York: Conner and Cooke
  36. ^ Cahoon, Ben. "Italian States to 1860 P - V". www.worldstatesmen.org. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  37. ^ Petru Musat Coins image
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ [2] Archived 27 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ [3]
  41. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-11-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ "The Fleur-de-Lys". Heraldica.org. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  43. ^ Post, W. Ellwood (1986). Saints, Signs, and Symbols. Wilton, Connecticut: Morehouse-Barlow. p. 29.
  44. ^ Susan M. Johns, Noblewomen, Aristocracy and Power in the Twelfth-Century Anglo-Norman Realm (Manchester 2003) p130
  45. ^ Church Symbolism – F. R. Webber, Ralph Adams Cram – Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  46. ^ A "fanciful derivation", Oxford English Dictionary (1989)
  47. ^ Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle – Tome 5, Flore
  48. ^ Michel Pastoureau, Heraldry: its origins and meaning p.93-94
  49. ^ Shepperd, Alan (1973), The King's Regiment, Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN 0-85045-120-5 (p. 39)
  50. ^ "Bharat Rakshak :: Land Forces Site – Armoured Formations". Archived from the original on 29 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  51. ^ https://www.facebook.com/itufc
  52. ^ https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2017-09-19/Getty/AFP_SK356.jpg
  53. ^ Walker, Colin (March 2007). "The Evolution of The World Badge". Scouting Milestones. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  54. ^ Baden-Powell, Robert Scouting for Boys, Arthur Pearson, (Campfire Yarn No. 3 – Becoming a Scout)
  55. ^ Troop 25. "Origin of the World Scouting Symbol "Fleur-de-lis"". Web. USA: Troop 25, Scouting of America. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  56. ^ "New Orleans LA Living & Lifestyle". NOLA.com. 1 November 2011. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  57. ^ OED
  58. ^ "The Faerie Queene: Book II". Archived from the original on 4 December 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.

External links

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 armory it is not consistently distinguished from the cross patonce.

Flag of Fort Wayne, Indiana

The flag of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was adopted as the city's official flag by City Council on June 26, 1934. The pall design includes two diagonal white stripes (from the bottom left and top left corners) converging in the circular center to form a horizontal white stripe. Red silhouettes of a Miami Native American head (center left), a French fleur-de-lis (top right), and a British lion (bottom right) grace a navy blue field. A red blockhouse is located at the center of the converging stripes, with the settlement's founding date and city name.

Flag of St. Louis

The flag of St. Louis, Missouri, consists of a solid red background and three thick, wavy lines colored blue and white extending from the top left corner, bottom left corner, and center right edge. Upon the intersection of these lines there is a yellow disk containing a blue fleur-de-lis. The flag was designed by Yale University professor Theodore Sizer and officially adopted in 1964.In a 2004 poll on the North American Vexillological Association website, St. Louis’ flag was voted the fifth best design among United States city flags.

Fleur-de-Lis (DC Comics)

Fleur-de-Lis is a fictional character, a comic book secret agent published by DC Comics. She debuted in Infinity, Inc. #34 (January 1987), and was created by Len Wein, Randy Lofficier and Ross Andru.

Fleur-de-lis Trail

The Fleur-de-lis Trail is a scenic roadway located on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. It is approximately 263 km long and runs along the southeastern part of the island through an Acadian region.

Fleur-de-lis in Scouting

The fleur-de-lis is the main element in the logo of most Scouting organizations, representing a major theme in Scouting: the outdoors and wilderness. The three petals or leaves represent the threefold Scout Promise (Duty to God and Country, Duty to Self, Duty to Others) in much the same way as the three leaves of the trefoil represent the threefold promise for the Guides. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, explained that the Scouts adopted the fleur-de-lis symbol from its use in the compass rose because it "points in the right direction (and upwards) turning neither to the right nor left, since these lead backward again." The two small five-point stars stand for truth and knowledge. Together their ten points represent the ten original Scout laws. The reef knot or square knot represents the strength of World Scouting. The rope is for the unity of Scouts throughout the world. The ring holding the petals together represents the bond of brotherhood.

Fleur de Lis Ball

The Fleur de Lis Ball is a formal cotillion ball in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, for adolescents of affluent society around the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, started in 1958 by a group of Catholic upper-class women. It teaches etiquette and ballroom skills to young debutante women and men. Four years of classes end with the Fleur de Lis Ball itself, which benefits Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. Female guests wear white debutante gowns with gloves, and are escorted and presented to the Archbishop of St. Louis.

Fleur de Lis Handicap

The Fleur de Lis Handicap is an American Thoroughbred horse race run annually in mid-June at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The race is open to fillies and mares, age three and up, willing to race one and one-eighth miles on the dirt. This Grade II event currently carries a purse of $200,000 added.

Since its inaugural running in 1975, the Fleur de Lis Handicap has been contested at various distances:

1 mile (8 furlongs): 1975–1976

​1 1⁄16 miles (8.5 furlongs): 1977–1982

​1 1⁄8 miles (9 furlongs): 1983–present

Fleur de Lys, St Albans

The Fleur de Lys (or Lis) was a public house in French Row, St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. The building has a C18th brick facade, but it dates from the Middle Ages and is listed grade II with Historic England. The building was refurbished and renamed "The Snug" in 2007, to become part of the Snug bar chain.


For the French symbol and other uses of Fleur-de-lis, see Fleur-de-lis (disambiguation)

Flor-de-Lis is a Portuguese folk music group which represented Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia, following their victory in the 45th edition of Festival da Canção, with the song "Todas as ruas do amor" (English: All the streets of love). It qualified for the final from the first semi final where it finished 15th.


The Florentine florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard during that time. It had 54 grains of nominally pure or 'fine' gold (3.5368 grams, 0.1125 troy ounce) with a purchasing power difficult to estimate (and variable) but ranging according to social grouping and perspective from approximately 140 to 1000 modern US dollars. The name of the coin comes from the flower of the Giglio bottonato, which is represented at the head of the coin.The "fiorino d'oro" of the Republic of Florence was the first European gold coin struck in sufficient quantities since the seventh century to play a significant commercial role. As many Florentine banks were international supercompanies with branches across Europe, the florin quickly became the dominant trade coin of Western Europe for large-scale transactions, replacing silver bars in multiples of the mark (a weight unit equal to eight troy ounces).

In the fourteenth century, a hundred and fifty European states and local coin-issuing authorities made their own copies of the florin. The most important of these was the Hungarian forint, because the Kingdom of Hungary was a major source of European gold (until mining in the New World began to contribute to the supply in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, most of the gold used in Europe came from Africa).

The design of the original Florentine florins was the distinctive fleur-de-lis badge of the city on one side and on the other a standing and facing figure of St. John the Baptist wearing a hair shirt. On other countries' florins, the inscriptions were changed (from "Florentia" around the fleur, and the name of the saint on the other), and local heraldic devices were substituted for the fleur-de-lis.

Later, other figures were often substituted for St. John. On the Hungarian forints, St. John was re-labelled St. Ladislaus, an early Christian king and patron saint of Hungary, and a battle axe substituted for the original's sceptre. Gradually the image became more regal looking.

The weight of the original fiorino d'oro of Florence was chosen to equal the value of one lira (i.e. a nominal silver pound of 20 soldi or 240 denari) in the local money of account in 1252. However, the gold content of the florin did not change while the money of account continued to inflate; by 1500, a florin was worth seven Florentine lire. The values of other countries' money continually varied against each other, reinforcing the florin's utility as a common measure of value for foreign exchange transactions.


Grobbendonk (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣrɔbə(n)dɔŋk]) is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Antwerp (Dutch: Antwerpen). The municipality comprises the towns of Bouwel and Grobbendonk proper. On January 1, 2006, Grobbendonk had a total population of 10,747. The total area is 28.36 km² which gives a population density of 379 inhabitants per km².

The official flag of Grobbendonk was adopted in 1989. In terms of heraldry, the flag is quartered, I and IV argent, three hills vert, a bird sable (specifically a raven), II and III gules three fleur-de-lis argent.

HMS Hampshire (1741)

HMS Hampshire was a 50-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built to the 1733 proposals of the 1719 Establishment dimensions at Ipswich, and launched on 13 November 1741.On 29 March 1742 she was under the command of Captain Thomas Limeburner when she captured Galgo, a Spanish privateer sloop of 12 guns and 12 patereros (swivel guns). She had a crew of 140 men, some of whom were English. She was a new vessel, only 14 months old, belonging to San Sebastián, and had taken 21 prizes. The Royal Navy apparently briefly took Galgo into service under her existing name.

In January 1743 Limeburner and Hampshire captured two more privateers, one of the same strength as Galgo. The other was armed with 15 guns and swivels, and had a crew of 124 men.

On 17 October 1760 Hampshire, Boreas and Lively intercepted five French vessels in the Windward Passage. On 18 October Lively captured the French 20-gun corvette Valeur. Boreas captured the frigate Sirenne, and Hampshire chased the merchant frigate Prince Edward on shore where her crew set fire to her, leading her to blow up. Prince Edward was armed with 32 guns and had a crew of 180 men under the command of Captain Dubois.

On 19 October, Hampshire, with Lively and Valeur, cornered the King's frigate Fleur de Lis in Freshwater Bay, a little to leeward of Port-de-Paix; her crew too set her on fire. Fleur de Lis was also armed with 32 guns, and had a crew of 190 men under the command of Captain Diguarty. The merchant frigate Duc de Choiseul, of 32 guns and 180 men under the command of Captain Bellevan, escaped into Port-de-Paix. The two merchant frigates carried cargoes of sugar and indigo.

Reliquary Crown of Henry II

The so-called Crown of Henry II is a medieval crown which came from the reliquary of the saint Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor (972–1024) at Bamberg Cathedral, though it is not thought to date from close to his lifetime. After the process of German Mediatisation, Bamberg became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the crown was transferred to the treasury of the Munich Residenz, where it still can be seen today.

This lily crown consists of six plates which are joined together by hinges fixed with pins. Each of the plates carries a large fleur-de-lis. The pins are surmounted by praying angels standing on acanthus leaves. Four of the segments and all fleur-de-lis are adorned with precious stones while two carry antique cameos. The decoration of the frame with foliage work seems to be of later date than the frame. Due to fitting slots at the front and back segment it is possible to add an imperial arch and cross to the frame. One theory states that the crown was made for the reliquary in the 14th century but it may also be a crown of Frederick II that came into the possession of Bamberg Cathedral via Henry VII and Louis IV.

Rouge Herald Extraordinary

Rouge Herald of Arms Extraordinary (French: Héraut Rouge extraordinaire) is the title of one of the officers of arms at the Canadian Heraldic Authority in Ottawa. Herald Extraordinary is an honorary position reserved for people who have made notable contributions to Canadian heraldry. Like the other heralds at the Authority, the name is derived from the Canadian river of the same name.

The colour of the herald's badge is appropriately red (rouge), and the five fleur-de-lis symbolize the French voyageurs who used the river to travel into the interior of what is now Ontario. The fleur-de-lis also form a stylized white central rose, indicative of "York", the old name of Toronto.

The office was created on 27 October 2006.

Royal badges of England

In heraldry, the royal badges of England comprise the heraldic badges that were used by the monarchs of the Kingdom of England.

Heraldic badges are distinctive to a person or family, similar to the arms and the crest. But unlike them, the badge is not an integral component of a coat of arms, although they can be displayed alongside them. Badges are in fact complete and independent and can be displayed alone. Furthermore, unlike the arms and crest, which are personal devices that could only be displayed by the owner, the badge could be easily borne by others, in the form of a cognizance or livery badge, to be worn by retainers and adherents. Badges are displayed on standards and personal objects, as well as on private and public buildings to show ownership or patronage.

The Fascination of the Fleur de Lis

The Fascination of the Fleur de Lis is a 1915 American silent drama film directed by Joe De Grasse and featuring Lon Chaney. A print of the film survives in a private collection in the United Kingdom.

World Scout Emblem

The World Scout Emblem is the emblem of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and is worn by Scouts and Scouters around the world to indicate their membership. Each national Scout organization determines the manner is which the emblem is worn.


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