A saltire, also called Saint Andrew's Cross or the crux decussata, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross, like the shape of the letter X in Roman type. The word comes from the Middle French sautoir, Middle Latin saltatoria ("stirrup").
From its use as field sign, the saltire came to be used in a number of flags, in the 16th century for Scotland and Burgundy, in the 18th century also as the ensign of the Russian Navy, and for Ireland. Notable 19th-century usage includes some of the flags of the Confederate States of America. It is also used on seals, and as a heraldic charge in coats of arms.
A warning sign in the shape of a saltire is also used to indicate the point at which a railway line intersects a road at a level crossing. In Unicode, a decussate cross is encoded at U+2613 ☓ SALTIRE (HTML
☓). See X mark for similar symbols that might be more accessible.
The saltire is one of the so-called ordinaries, geometric charges that span throughout (from edge to edge of) the shield. As suggested by the name saltire ("stirrup"; in French: sautoir, in German: Schragen), the ordinary in its early use was not intended as representing a Christian cross symbol. The association with Saint Andrew is a development of the 15th to 16th centuries. The Cross of Burgundy emblem originates in the 15th century, as a field sign, and as the Saint Andrew's Cross of Scotland was used in flags or banners (but not in coats of arms) from the 16th century, and used as naval ensign during the Age of Sail.
When two or more saltires appear, they are usually blazoned as couped (cut off). For example, contrast the single saltire in the arms granted to G. M. W. Anderson[a]—with the three saltires couped in the coat of Kemble Greenwood.[b]
A field (party) per saltire is divided into four areas by a saltire-shaped "cut". If two tinctures are specified, the first refers to the areas above (in chief) and below (in base) the crossing, and the second refers to the ones on either side (in the flanks).[d] Otherwise, each of the four divisions may be blazoned separately.
The phrase in saltire or saltirewise is used in two ways:
Division of the field per saltire was notably used by the Aragonese kings of Sicily beginning in the 14th century (Frederick the Simple), showing the pales of Aragon and the "Hohenstaufen" eagle (argent an eagle sable).
The Flag of Scotland, called The Saltire or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a blue field with a white saltire. According to tradition, it represents Saint Andrew, who is supposed to have been crucified on a cross of that form (called a crux decussata) at Patras, Greece.
Prior to the Union the Royal Scots Navy used a red ensign incorporating the St Andrew's Cross; this ensign is now sometimes flown as part of an unofficial civil ensign in Scottish waters. With its colours exchanged (and a lighter blue), the same design forms part of the arms and flag of Nova Scotia (whose name means "New Scotland").
The Cross of Burgundy, a form of the Saint Andrew's Cross, is used in numerous flags across Europe and the Americas. It was first used in the 15th century as an emblem by the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. The Duchy of Burgundy, forming a large part of eastern France and the Low Countries, was inherited by the House of Habsburg on the extinction of the Valois ducal line. The emblem was therefore assumed by the monarchs of Spain as a consequence of the Habsburgs bringing together, in the early 16th century, their Burgundian inheritance with the other extensive possessions it inherited throughout Europe and the Americas, including the crowns of Castile and Aragon. As a result, the Cross of Burgundy has appeared in a wide variety of flags connected with territories formerly part of the Burgundian or Habsburg inheritance. Examples of such diversity include the Spanish naval ensign (1506-1701), the flag of Carlism (the nineteenth century Spanish conservative movement), the flag of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam and municipality of Eijsden and the flag of Chuquisaca in Bolivia.
The international maritime signal flag for M is a white saltire on a blue background, and indicates a stopped vessel. A red saltire on a white background denotes the letter V and the message "I require assistance".
The Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza also use a blue saltire on a white field, with their coats-of-arms at the hub. The flags of the Spanish island of Tenerife and the remote Colombian islands of San Andrés and Providencia also use a white saltire on a blue field.
Saltires are also seen in several other flags, including the flags of Grenada, Jamaica, Alabama, Florida, Jersey, Logroño, Vitoria, Amsterdam, Breda, Katwijk, Potchefstroom and Valdivia, as well as the former Indian princely states of Khairpur, Rajkot and Jaora.
The design is also part of the Confederate Battle Flag and Naval Jack used during the American Civil War (see Flags of the Confederate States of America). Arthur L. Rogers, designer of the final version of the Confederate National flag, claimed that it was based on the saltire of Scotland.
Anne Roes (1937) identifies a design consisting of two crossing diagonal lines in a rectangle, someties with four dots or balls in the four quarters, as an emblem or vexillum (standard) of Persepolis during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC. Roes also finds the design in Argive vase painting, and still earlier in button seals of the Iranian Chalcolithic. Roes also notes the occurrence of a very similar if not identical vexillum which repeatedly occurs in Gaulish coins of c. the 2nd to 1st century BC, in a recurring design where it is held by a charioteer in front of his human-headed horse. A large number of coins of this type (118 out of 152 items) forms part of the Les Sablons hoard of the 1st century BC, discovered in Le Mans between 1991 and 1997, associated with the Cenomani.
The same design is found on coins of Christian Roman emperors of the 4th to 5th centuries (Constantius II, Valentinian, Jovian, Gratianus, Valens, Arcadius, Constantine III, Jovinus, Theodosius I, Eugenius and Theodosius II). The letter Χ (Chi) was from an early time used as a symbol for Christ (unrelated to the Christian cross symbol, which at the time was given a T-shape). The vexillum on imperial coins from the 4th century was sometimes shown as the Labarum, surmounted by or displaying the Chi-Rho monogram rather than just the crux decussata. The emblem of the crux decussata in a rectangle, sometimes with four dots or balls, re-appears in coins the Byzantine Empire, in the 9th to 10th centuries. Roes suggested that early Christians endorsed its solar symbolism as appropriate to Christ.
The association with Saint Andrew develops in the late medieval period. The tradition according to which this saint was crucified on a decussate cross is not found in early hagiography. Depictions of Saint Andrew being crucified in this manner first appear in the 10th century, but do not become standard before the 17th century. Reference to the saltire as "St Andrew's Cross" is made by the Parliament of Scotland (where Andrew had been adopted as patron saint) in 1385, in a decree to the effect that every Scottish and French soldier (fighting against the English under Richard II) "shall have a sign before and behind, namely a white St. Andrew's Cross".
The diagonal cross (decussate cross) or X mark is called "saltire" in heraldic and vexillological contexts.
A black diagonal cross was used in an old European Union standard as the hazard symbol for irritants (Xi) or harmful chemicals (Xn). It indicated a hazard less severe than skull and crossbones, used for poisons, or the corrosive sign.
A diagonal cross known as "crossbuck" is used as the conventional road sign used to indicate the point at which a railway line intersects a road at a level crossing, called a in this context. A white diagonal cross on a blue background (or black on yellow for temporary signs) is displayed in UK railway signalling as a "cancelling indicator" for the Automatic Warning System (AWS), informing the driver that the received warning can be disregarded.
In Cameroon, a red "X" placed on illegally constructed buildings scheduled for demolition is occasionally referred to as a "St Andrew's Cross". It is usually accompanied by the letters "A.D." ("à détruire"—French for "to be demolished") and a date or deadline. During a campaign of urban renewal by the Yaoundé Urban Council in Cameroon, the cross was popularly referred to as "Tsimi's Cross" after the Government Delegate to the council, Gilbert Tsimi Evouna.
In traditional timber framing a pair of crossing braces is sometimes called a saltire or a St. Andrews Cross. Half-timbering, particularly in France and Germany, has patterns of framing members forming many different symbols known as ornamental bracing.
The Cross of Burgundy (Spanish: Cruz de Borgoña; Aspa de Borgoña) or the Cross of Saint Andrew (Spanish: Cruz de San Andrés), a saw-toothed (raguly) form of St. Andrew's cross, was first used in the 15th century as an emblem by the Valois Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled a large part of eastern France and the Low Countries as effectively an independent state. The Duchy of Burgundy was inherited by the House of Habsburg on the extinction of the Valois ducal line. The emblem was then assumed by the monarchs of Spain as a result of the Habsburgs bringing together, in the early 16th century, their Burgundian inheritance with the other extensive possessions they inherited throughout Europe and the Americas, including the crowns of Castile and Aragon, where the cross got a global impact, being found nowadays in different continents.
The Spanish monarchs continued to use it in their own arms after the Burgundian house was part of the Spanish Crown, and even after due to the extinction of the House of Burgundy. From 1506 to 1701 it was used by Spain as a naval ensign, and up to 1843 as the land battle flag, and still appears on regimental colours, badges, shoulder patches and company guidons. The emblem also continues to be used in a variety of contexts in a number of European countries and in the Americas, reflecting both the extent of Valois Burgundy and the former Habsburg territories.Flag of Alabama
The current flag of the state of Alabama (the second in Alabama state history) was adopted by Act 383 of the Alabama state legislature on February 16, 1895:
The flag of the State of Alabama shall be a crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white. The bars forming the cross shall be not less than six inches broad, and must extend diagonally across the flag from side to side." – (Code 1896, §3751; Code 1907, §2058; Code 1923, §2995; Code 1940, T. 55, §5.)
The cross of St. Andrew referred to in the law is a diagonal cross, known in vexillology as a saltire. Because the bars must be at least six inches (150 mm) wide, small representations of the Alabama flag do not meet the legal definition.Flag of Amsterdam
The flag of Amsterdam is the official flag for Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. The current design of the flag depicts three Saint Andrew's Crosses and is based on the escutcheon in the coat of arms of Amsterdam.
Design journalist Roman Mars declared it during a TED Talk in 2015 to be the most "badass" city flag in the world, as well as an example to others. He particularly praised the simplicity and popular appeal that led to its widespread use.Flag of Burundi
The original national flag of Burundi was adopted after the country's independence from Belgium on 1 July 1962. It went through several revisions and now consists of a white saltire which divides the field into alternating red and green areas. The center of the saltire merges into a white disk, on which there are three red solid six-pointed stars outlined in green. The current ratio is 3:5, which was changed from 2:3 until 27 September 1982.Flag of Florida
The flag of Florida consists of a red saltire on a white background, with the state seal superimposed on the center. The design was approved by popular referendum November 6, 1900. The flag's current design has been in use since May 21, 1985, after the state seal was graphically altered and officially sanctioned for use by state officials.
In 2001, a survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) placed Florida's flag 34th in design quality out of the 72 Canadian provincial, U.S. state and U.S. territorial flags ranked.Flag of Jamaica
The flag of Jamaica was adopted on 6 August 1962, the original Jamaican Independence Day, the country having gained independence from the British-protected Federation of the West Indies. The flag consists of a gold saltire, which divides the flag into four sections: two of them green (top and bottom) and two black (hoist and fly). It is the only current national flag in the world that does not feature any of the colours red, white, or blue.Flag of Jersey
The flag of Jersey is composed of a red saltire on a white field. In the upper quadrant the badge of Jersey surmounted by a yellow "Plantagenet crown". The flag was adopted by the States of Jersey on 12 June 1979, proclaimed by Queen Elizabeth II on 10 December 1980 and first officially hoisted on 7 April 1981.Flag of Nova Scotia
Created in 1858, the flag of Nova Scotia is a banner of the coat of arms of Nova Scotia, which were granted to the Scottish colony by King Charles I in 1625.
The flag of the modern Canadian province, a blue saltire on a white field (background), is a simple figure-ground reversal of the flag of Scotland (a white saltire, Saint Andrew's cross, on a blue field), charged with an inescutcheon bearing the royal arms of Scotland, a gold shield with a red lion rampant surrounded by a loyal double tressure (a double border decorated with fleurs de lis).
The similarity to the Scottish flag reflects the province's name, which is Latin for "New Scotland". Nova Scotia was one of the few British colonies to be granted its own coat of arms, and the flag is the only one of the original Canadian provinces dating back to before confederation.
Despite continuous usage of the flag to represent Nova Scotia since 1858, the flag was only recognized by the provincial government of Nova Scotia as the official provincial flag in May 2013, through the Provincial Flag Act, after an eleven-year-old girl researching a project realized that no one had recognized the flag officially in 155 years of usage.The flag is ranked #12 in the North American Vexillological Association's survey of North American state and provincial flags.Flag of Scotland
The Flag of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: bratach na h-Alba; Scots: Banner o Scotland, also known as St Andrew's Cross or the Saltire) consist of a white saltire (X-shaped cross) in a blue field.
As the national flag, the Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly. It is also, where possible, flown from Scottish Government buildings every day from 8am until sunset, with certain exceptions.Use of the flag is first recorded with the illustration of a heraldic flag in Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount's Register of Scottish Arms, circa 1542. It is possible that this is based on a precedent of the late 15th century, the use of a white saltire in the canton of a blue flag reputedly made by Queen Margaret, wife of James III (1451–1488).Flag of the United Kingdom
The national flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Jack, also known as the Union Flag.The current design of the Union Jack dates from the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801. It consists of the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England), edged in white, superimposed on the Cross of St Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which are superimposed on the Saltire of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland). Wales is not represented in the Union Flag by Wales's patron saint, Saint David, as at the time the flag was designed Wales was part of the Kingdom of England.
The flag's standard height-to-length proportions are 1:2. The war flag variant used by the British Army modifies the proportions to 3:5 and crops two of the red diagonals.
The earlier flag of Great Britain was established in 1606 by a proclamation of King James VI and I of Scotland and England. The new flag of the United Kingdom was officially created by an Order in Council of 1801, reading as follows:
The Union Flag shall be azure, the Crosses saltire of Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick quarterly per saltire, counter-changed, argent and gules, the latter fimbriated of the second, surmounted by the Cross of Saint George of the third fimbriated as the saltire.Ordinary (heraldry)
In heraldry, an ordinary (or honourable ordinary) is a simple geometrical figure, bounded by straight lines and running from side to side or top to bottom of the shield. There are also some geometric charges known as subordinaries, which have been given lesser status by some heraldic writers, though most have been in use as long as the traditional ordinaries. Diminutives of ordinaries and some subordinaries are charges of the same shape, though thinner. Most of the ordinaries are theoretically said to occupy one-third of the shield; but this is rarely observed in practice, except when the ordinary is the only charge (as in the coat of arms of Austria).
The terms ordinary and subordinary are somewhat controversial, as they have been applied arbitrarily and inconsistently among authors, and the use of these terms has been disparaged by some leading heraldic authorities. In his Complete Guide to Heraldry (1909), Arthur Charles Fox-Davies asserted that the terms are likely inventions of heraldic writers and not of heralds, arguing the "utter absurdity of the necessity for any [such] classification at all," and stating that the ordinaries and sub-ordinaries are, in his mind, "no more than first charges."Paul Lawrie Matchplay
The Paul Lawrie Match Play was a golf tournament on the European Tour that was played from 2015 to 2017 in Europe. The inaugural tournament was played from 30 July to 2 August 2015 at Murcar Links Golf Club in Aberdeen. The tournament's host was eight-time European Tour winner and 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie.The event was a 64-man single-elimination match play tournament, with one round played on each of the first two days and two rounds on the last two. The European Tour's exemption categories were used to select most of the field, with four spots reserved for invitations and three for the leading three non-exempt players in the Race to Dubai rankings. The thirty-two players in the field who were highest in the Race to Dubai were seeded one to thirty-two and prevented from facing each other in the first round; the remainder were randomly drawn into the bracket.
After changing title sponsor every year and relocating from Scotland to Germany in 2017, the tournament was quietly dropped from 2018 European Tour calendar probably due to financial reasons.Saint Patrick's Saltire
Saint Patrick's Saltire or Saint Patrick's Cross is a red saltire (X-shaped cross) on a white field, used to represent the island of Ireland or Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. In heraldic language, it may be blazoned Argent, a saltire gules. Saint Patrick's Flag (Bratach Naomh Pádraig) is a flag composed of Saint Patrick's Saltire.
The red saltire's association with Saint Patrick dates from the 1780s, when the Order of Saint Patrick adopted it as an emblem. This was a British chivalric order established in 1783 by George III. It has been suggested that it derives from the arms of the powerful Geraldine or FitzGerald dynasty. Most Irish nationalists reject its use to represent Ireland as a "British invention".After its adoption by the Order of Saint Patrick, it began to be used by other institutions. When the 1800 Act of Union joined the Kingdom of Ireland with the Kingdom of Great Britain, the saltire was added to the British flag to form the Union Flag still used by the United Kingdom. The saltire has occasionally served unofficially to represent Northern Ireland and been considered less contentious than other flags flown there.Saltire Prize
The Saltire Prize, named after the flag of Scotland, is the national award for advances in the commercial development of marine energy.
To be considered for the £10 million award teams must demonstrate, in Scottish waters, a commercially viable wave or tidal stream energy technology "that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output over the set minimum hurdle of 100GWh over a continuous 2 year period using only the power of the sea."
The Saltire Prize is open to any individual, team or organisation from across the world who believes they have wave or tidal energy technology capable of fulfilling the challenge. Applications can be submitted between March 2010 and January 2015. Already there are five competitors registered.Saltire Society
The Saltire Society is a membership organisation which aims to promote the understanding of the culture and heritage of Scotland. Founded in 1936, the society was "set up to promote and celebrate the uniqueness of Scottish culture and Scotland’s heritage, and to reclaim Scotland’s place as a distinct contributor to European and international culture." The society organises lectures and publishes pamphlets, and presents a series of awards in the fields of art, architecture, literature and history.The society is based in Edinburgh, with branches in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Glasgow, Helensburgh, the Highlands, Kirriemuir and New York City. The current president is the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Sally Mapstone.Saltire Society Literary Awards
The Saltire Society Literary Awards are made annually by the Saltire Society. The awards seek to recognise books which are either by "living authors of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland," or which deal with "the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation." The awards have been described as "the premiere prize for writing by Scots or about Scotland."The first Saltire Society Book Award was given in 1937, the year after the Saltire Society was established. No awards were given after 1939 due to the Second World War, and the next award was made 1956. The History Book of the Year award was inaugurated in 1965. In 1982 sponsorship was obtained and since then the awards have been made annually. First books have been recognised since 1988, and in 1998 the award for Scottish Research Book of the Year was established. The Saltire Society currently presents awards in the four following categories:
Scottish Book of the Year
Scottish First Book of the Year
Scottish History Book of the Year
Scottish Research Book of the YearIn addition, an annual student travel bursary is awarded to a creative writing graduate, and the Ross Roy Medal is awarded for the best PhD thesis on a subject related to Scottish literature. A one-off Homecoming Book of the Year award was made in 2009 to celebrate the "Year of homecoming": the award was presented to American professor Donald Worster for his biography of John Muir, A Passion for Nature.St. Andrew's Cross
Saint Andrew's cross or Andrew Cross may refer to:
Saltire, X-shaped cross in heraldry and vexillologySt. Andrew's Cross usually refers to following specific flags:
Flag of Scotland, white saltire on a blue field
Flag of Alabama, red saltire on a white field
the battle flag of Forrest's Cavalry Corps, blue and white saltire on a red field
Flag of New Spain
Cross of Burgundy
Russian Navy Ensign, blue saltire on a white field
St. Andrew's cross (philately), an otherwise blank area on a sheet of stamps, which is printed with a cross
Saint Andrew's Cross (BDSM), X-shaped cross in BDSM dungeons
Argiope (spider), the "St Andrew's Cross spider"
St Andrews Cross, a street junction in Plymouth, United Kingdom
St Andrew's Cross, Glasgow, a street junction in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in the form of a saltire
Hypericum hypericoides, flowering plant commonly called St. Andrew's Cross
Andrew Cross Award for UK religious journalism
The Crossbuck, at level crossingsUnion Jack
The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The flag also has official status in Canada, by parliamentary resolution, where it is known as the Royal Union Flag. Additionally, it is used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas territories. The Union Flag also appears in the canton (upper flagstaff-side quarter) of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or dominions, as well as the state flag of Hawaii.
The claim that the term Union Jack properly refers only to naval usage has been disputed, following historical investigations by the Flag Institute in 2013.The origins of the earlier flag of Great Britain date back to 1606. James VI of Scotland had inherited the English and Irish thrones in 1603 as James I, thereby uniting the crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland in a personal union, although the three kingdoms remained separate states. On 12 April 1606, a new flag to represent this regal union between England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree, according to which the flag of England (a red cross on a white background, known as St George's Cross), and the flag of Scotland (a white saltire on a blue background, known as the Saltire or St Andrew's Cross), would be joined together, forming the flag of England and Scotland for maritime purposes. King James also began to refer to a "Kingdom of Great Britaine", although the union remained a personal one.
The present design of the Union Flag dates from a Royal proclamation following the union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. The flag combines aspects of three older national flags: the red cross of St George for the Kingdom of England, the white saltire of St Andrew for Scotland (which two were united in the first Union Flag), and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Ireland.
Notably, the home country of Wales is not represented separately in the Union Flag, as the flag was designed after the invasion of Wales in 1282. Hence Wales as a home country today has no representation on the flag; it appears under the cross of St George, which represents the former Kingdom of England (which included Wales).
Conventional elements of coats of arms
(with black and