Oriflamme (Auri flamma, or fanon. i.e. flame of gold) was a red flag of sendal, carried on a lance shafted with gilt-copper. It was preserved in the abbey of St. Denis, to which it belonged; and was taken by the kings of France, on occasions of great emergency, from, the altar of that abbey, and on such occasions it was always consecrated and blessed. Louis VI received the oriflamme A.D. 1119 and 1125, and a writer of that period speaks of this as an ancient custom of the French kings. The consecration of a knight's pennon or gonfanon was indeed an essential feature in the solemn religious ceremonial by which he was elevated to the rank of knighthood in those ages. The consecration of standards for an army or a regiment is merely a different form of the same general idea. SEE KNIGHT-HOOD. The oriflamme is said to have been lost at Agincourt, in the Flemish wars, by Philip de Valois. It passed with the county of Vexin, the counts having been the protectors of the Church, and became the standard of France in the time of Phiip I. Other accounts state that it was last seen in the battle- field in the time of Charles I; and Felibrin says that in 1535 it was still kept in an abbey, but was almost devoured by moths. The oriflamme was charged with a saltire wavy, or with rays issuing from the center crossways. In later times it became the ensign of the French infantry. The name seems also to have been given to other flags; according to Sir N. H. Nicolas, the oriflamme borne at Agincourt was an oblong red flag, split into five parts. See Walcott, Sacred Archaeology, s.v.; Student's History of France, p. 132. SEE JOAN OF ARC.

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