A royal banner, mentioned in the 11th century Chanson de Roland; legend says the oriflamme was given to Blessed Charlemagne by the pope, though there is no historical evidence of this. As Eudes, who became king in 888, was Abbot of Saint Martin, the azure banner strewn with gold fleur-de-lis from the church of Saint Martin of Tours was the earliest military standard of the Frankish monarchy, remaining the symbol of royalty until the 14th century when the white standard of Saint Joan of Arc was adopted. From the time of King Louis VI, however, the oriflamme of the Abbey of Saint Denis, supposedly depicting flames and gold stars on a fiery background, replaced the oriflamme of Saint Martin as ensign of war. Oriflammes having little similarity succeeded one another through the centuries. At the battles of Poitiers in 1356 and Agincourt in 1415 the oriflamme fell into the hands of the English; after the Hundred Years’ War it was no longer borne on the battlefield.

MLA Citation

  • “oriflamme”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 September 2010. Web. 28 October 2021. <http://catholicsaints.info/oriflamme/>