Ewww it wasn't a affirmative post, was a question
The material that I got before start with my shields says something about the diference of a flag and a shield.
Originally Posted by aquarits
And keep saying that when a flag born, mean lose the one particular power of a republic for a society featured domain. For a city, lose the shield mean answer directly to the government and not be ruled by a specific social group.
Wut it says is something easy to define, if some place use a shield to define the ruling, it is lands from somene, if have a flag it is a city with some way democratic or not to define the organization.
Crests have a diferent felling, when a place have a spacial feature like a soccer team, university or a industry, they create a crest for this and move it for one flag to show, sometimes it is so cool that ppl forget the original flag making the 'fantasy' flag almost official.
It was wut I found before work with my shields and I got confused when I saw a flag using a shield.
Oh I see what you're saying.
That's a sociological *theory* that applies to many (not all) groups of people.
The way it works is something like...
You have a large group of people, ruled by 1 person/family.
Each person (well, noble-families, anyway) has their own CREST which goes on... everything, usually... Their *shields* their clothing, their dishes :P Showoffs.. anyway... They also, in SOME societies, have to fly the CREST/banner of their ruler... especially in times of war. It shows that they support the person/family who is above them.
Remember, this is only *some* societies.
What happens is, as the hierarchy collapses, fewer people are "above" you, less importance is placed on individual crests, and the display on banners and flags is more often simply the crest (or a *simplified* crest) of that ruling body.
It's a way of unifying a group of people that was once divided.
The crest could be simplified over time, or eventually, eliminated completely. Or it could take on characteristics of other ruling bodies that come before or after.
When a *type* of government (be it king, council, president, whatever) is overthrown, often the first thing done is to replace the symbol of their power - that's the crest- on as many things as possible... including the flag.
The USA, for example, took and decided on its' own flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes, to represent 13 colonies. More stars were added as it grew.
But once a large *country* is established, the divisions within that country usually fall back on developing its' own symbol. So each state or province, duchy or earldom, might have its' own flag. Then even smaller bodies of governance want in on the action, and develop their own symbol.
And since the "states" group incorporates the nation's symbol (typically) into their own, it's usually more detailed. And the counties incorporate the state's symbol into their flag, which is now even more detailed. And the cities incorporate the counties.... and so on.
So in that type of society, you can get pretty intricate flags as you get to the city/town level.
In some societies, you can't have your own flag... has to be the nation's flag.
In some societies, (especially militaristic societies) emphasis is still placed on simplicity and contrast... to make your BANNERS (not always the same as flags, but sometimes) more visible.
Banners are often simplified versions of the crest/symbol of whoever is in charge.
"Shield" in the context of flags/crests is simply the *shape* of what the crest or symbol is placed on. It might be a different shape... an oval, or circle, or a diamond... it depends on what society you're in and *who/what* the flag is meant to represent.
Trivia: In many societies, women couldn't place their crests/symbols on a shield... they placed it on a lozenge with a different shape - often round. Cities, countries and the like are often referred to as female, so in the USA they typically (though the reason is lost to most) use a round shape to illustrate their SEAL which is then placed on the flag :P
Anyway, yes, you're right, by the time you get to a more advanced society, most flags have been combined/simplified, but not all. There's no hard and fast rule for it, because it all depends on the sociology of the country/city/whatever, and its' history.
We think of flags, usually, with bright, contrasting colors, because originally, the flags, as banners, had to display the crest of certain leaders, and they had to be able to be seen and recognized far across battlefields.
But not all societies started that way, and even those who did, often had to find ways of distinguishing, say, the first son (a general) and second son (a general) of the same family... and so flags/banners/crests might get more complicated with time, rather than less. :P
It all gets very confusing if you try to make any sense out of it at all, because, as I saaid, each society is different.
I hope that didn't confuse you even more, I'm horrible at explaining things! >.<
Thanks for the responses, everyone. No decision has been made yet, so more comments are still welcome.
Anyway, some answers from me. I'll try to deal with the responses in the order they came, so first up...
Darkseed, the bridge doesn't appear on the flag for a very simple reason: it was built 100 years after the flag came into use. I think that answers that one, but you also mentioned...
The meaning of the eagle and the fish (the bird was originally meant to be more like a seagull or albatross, but the best picture I found was of an osprey, so an eagle it is). My thoughts originally were that these animals were signifiers not of some virtues or symbols, but of the people themselves. Just as the kangaroo and emu represent Australia (for obvious reasons), and the Cross of St George represents England, the bird and fish are common emblems for the people (and their culture) living along this stretch of coastline. That said, your suggestion about the eagle is also perfect for the city: strength and freedom. Birdseye began its existence as a bandit encampment, and has always prided itself on its independence. Furthermore, the city is indeed wealthy (originally from stolen loot, mostly), and has in recent times become a prominent trading town (thanks to the flying machines, called decolines), so I'll give some thought to your other ideas. And then you mentioned...
Researching heraldry. Usually, I would jump at the opportunity, but I tend to get too absorbed in anything I research, and that would make the matter of the flag take months, rather than a few days/a week, so I thought I'd go with aesthetics and gut feeling (which let me down, hence needing to ask peoples' opinions :)). Thanks for your comments; much appreciated.
Madcowchef: thanks for your opinion. I'll bear it in mind.
Jalyha 1: thanks for the suggestion. I'll bear it in mind, too.
Aquarits: I don't mean to be rude, but I had some difficulty understanding your posts, so if I didn't quite get the point, I can only apologise. From what I did understand, I think Jalyha explained it quite well (pat yourself on the back Jalyha, that was indeed a good explanation).
The city was, at first, a bandit camp (as stated above). Consequently, the population robbed a nearby caravan, taking huge amounts of the most prized goods--gold, silver and jewels (that is why the Jewellers' Guild is so prominent today). It also meant that every nearby country ruler hated them, and they were frequently targeted by slavers and other raiders. They became the victims of their own success: as their wealth increased, they became the prize for other aspiring bandits, and they suffered as a result. About 250 years ago, the city began looking for a way to become legitimate, and so they imitated the customs of neighbouring countries (including developing the flag/coat of arms under discussion). They did not have any princely ruler at that time. They governed themselves by way of a council, so the coat of arms is not that of a family or prince, but the city as a whole (like I said, they were imitating the customs of others, and may have misunderstood how heraldry works). More than a hundred years later, they entered a personal union with a nearby king (I'm terrible at names, and so most of these places/nations/people etc are still anonymous), whereby the king's second son would be appointed prince regent of Birdseye (head of state), but Birdseye could retain self-government in the form of the council and the Portreeve (mayor; head of government).
So, I don't know if that explains things clearly enough, but, as I said above, I'm happy for this discussion to continue. Thanks again to everyone who responded.
Actually... having heard that, I'd remove the crown from the mantling around the shield, if you use that on the flag.
Crowns are for rulers, *(in almost every society that's used them) and while your council might not have understood this when they devised their flag, the king would undoubtedly have set them straight. So unless they incorporated his family's crest somehow (and maybe even then) I'm sure they would have been.... encouraged... to change it.
Just a logical opinion, of course... perhaps your society works differently, or the king didn't care, or just wanted gold, or whatever, but it would have to be explained away, and it's always easier to fix before then, yes? :)
You might use a helm (since they were trying to intimidate bandits) instead of a crown, but I'd try to (either use nothing there, or) find something unique to represent your city. A circlet of gold coins, or a captain's hat (for the trade ships) or something instead :)
Actually I forgot to mention the part about the crown. Thanks for reminding me. The crown was added AFTER the Contract of Union, at the request of the monarch, to represent his son, and future members of his family.
The idea of a ring of coins or a captains hat is pretty good, though.
If the crown represents the ruler/king, you'd typically need something that said *which* ruler/king, because if you don't, people would assume the city had her own king... but again, that might be a sociological bias as well... especially if your other lands have emperors or pharoahs or chieftans or something, and there's only one king..
maybe.. idk :P
Just thought I would point out the unusual-ness :)
Actually there's a whole chapter in a book I had been reading (I'll try to find it again) about spotting fake heraldry through the use of the wrong crown or helm :P But again, that's this world and not yours :P
Two new update pictures. All the buildings on the Bridge are now complete, and I've done about 1/4 of the scaffolding. The images show the current state of the scaffolding (from afar and from up close). Comments and suggestions, as always, are welcome.
About the heraldry, I'd quite like to read that chapter, Jalyha, if you can find it. As I said above, I don't know much about heraldry, but sometimes I can spend too much time thinking about something, and therefore get nothing done. If the flag ends up being historically implausible, then, I don't mind.
Wow, your work on those views and all the stairs is very impressive!
Agreed. Absolutely insane. Impressive, but insane.
And I'll look for the book again. :D