Oriflamme (from Latin aurea flamma "gold flame" or "gold fire") is the imperial and war flag of the French kings from the 12th to the beginning of the 15th century . It is the church banner of the Abbey of Saint-Denis and was carried in front of the king in battle in the Middle Ages to symbolize the presence of St. Dionysius of Paris .
The appearance of the oriflame varies in medieval depictions. Sometimes it is shown as a simple red banner, sometimes with a golden sun, flames and stars or with the lettering S.DENIS. On the red banner that can be seen today in Saint-Denis, the words MONTJOIE and ST-DENIS are applied next to a gold cross. It is often assumed that the oriflamme was identical to the banner of Charlemagne , the Montjoie.
Under the Frankish kings of the Carolingians and the early Capetians , the gray-blue banner of the Abbey of Saint-Martin of Tours (Chape de St. Martin - Cloak of St. Martin) was the preferred symbol of identification on the battlefield. But after part of the County of Vexin ( Vexin français ) fell to the crown in 1077 and the kings took over the protection of the Abbey of Saint-Denis, the ideological connection between the two institutions began. This was promoted by the fact (or legend) that St. Dionysius of Paris was the heavenly patron saint of France and could therefore be considered a natural ally of the French king.
The Oriflamme was first waged at the Battle of Brémule in 1119. There King Ludwig VI suffered . the fat one, however, a defeat against the English king Heinrich I. Beauclerc . One of the closest friends and advisers of Ludwig VI. was the abbot Suger of Saint-Denis , who had promoted the ideological proximity of his abbey to royalty. In 1124 Ludwig VI. lead the Oriflamme to a first victory when he marched with an army against Emperor Heinrich V , who withdrew without a fight in view of the overwhelming power at Metz .
On June 12, 1248, King Ludwig IX. the banner from the hands of the legate Odo von Châteauroux to lead it on the sixth crusade . Jean de Joinville reported the loss of the banner when the Crusaders landed on the coast of Egypt in 1249.
With the defeat in the Battle of the Golden Spurs against the Flemings in 1304 she was born again, then from the Marshal de Miles Noyers in the victories in the battles of Mons-en-Pévèle 1304 and Cassel 1328. In the great battles of the Hundred Years War was they were also worn, but these battles always ended in devastating defeats for France. The standard bearers also lost their lives: in Crécy in 1346 it was Guy de la Trémoille and in Poitiers in 1356 it was the knight Geoffroy de Charny . Between the years 1372 and 1382 the Baron Pierre de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam officiated as standard bearer, presumably leading the Oriflamme in the victorious battle of Roosebeke in 1382 . During the devastating defeat at the Battle of Azincourt (October 25, 1415), the oriflamme was last used as a war banner. Its bearer, the knight Guillaume Martel, was killed.
After that, the banner remained in the fund of the Saint-Denis Abbey. Talleyrand reported that the oriflamme, along with other traditional symbols of royalty, was last presented to the public on the occasion of the Federation Festival in 1790. A symbolic connection between the Ancien Régime and the new order created by the French Revolution was to be committed there. Allegedly, the red of the banner was included in the tricolor of the French Republic , while the blue came from the Chape de St. Martin and the white from the flag of the Bourbons .
Since 2010, the Louvre in Paris has shown the 3 by 3 meter rear section of a throne canopy in a large hall , which was probably used for the coronation of Charles VII in 1429 in Reims . The carpet shows a gold-embroidered, twelve-ray oriflame on a red background, which is decorated with 60 straight rays and 72 gold stars. Two angels float below, carrying a crown with a lily wreath.