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Vexillum of the Roman army
Vexillum bearer ( Ephesus )

Vexillum ( Latin , plural vexilla ) was a standard of the Roman army . As the only Roman field characters ( Signum ) was the vexillum of fabric and is therefore forerunner of today's flags and flags . The square piece of fabric hung from a cross piece of wood that was attached to a carrying pole. The flag was usually dyed red and some of it showed inscriptions and images.

The vexillum was used by a variety of different units: on the one hand by the legionary cavalry ( equites legionis ) and auxiliary units , on the other hand also by temporary delegations (detachments), which were accordingly also called vexillatio . Presumably the vexillum was also one of the three main standards of the entire legion , next to the legionary eagle ( aquila ) and imago .

The vexillum also served as a signal flag or was given to high-ranking officers as a military distinction, e.g. B. Marcus Agrippa .


The vexillum was carried by the vexillarius (also called vexillifer ). As vexillarii , however, members of a vexillatio as well as the veterans who performed their reserve service ( sub vexillo ) after the end of their actual service period ( sub aquila ) were also referred to .

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Web links

Commons : Vexilla  - collection of images, videos and audio files