Dragon Flag of Wessex


5 in stock

Description of the Product

Wessex was the Anglo-Saxon kingdom which gave birth to the united English nation. When the Romano-British territory was in the grip of the Anglo-Saxon invasion from 450 onwards, the Saxon forces who formed the kingdom of Wessex would have encountered the Roman military cohort standard. It is likely they adopted this emblem from them either as a symbol of their ultimate triumph over their enemy, or perhaps in simple recognition of the device’s intrinsic splendor. Dragons or similar serpentine creatures were often venerated by ancient peoples, including Celts in Britain. The significance of the dragon theme in both Celtic and Germanic culture would have made adaptation of this military standard easy.

A military standard depicting the gold dragon of Wessex was used in battle by the West Saxons in wars against Mercians, Vikings and Normans alike, and is one of the few surviving emblems from the time of the Saxon kingdoms. Following the Viking raids of the 800’s the whole of England was brought under one rule. This meant that the West Saxon kingdom of Wessex was transformed into the Kingdom of England in 927. After the Norman invasion the Norman kings soon did away with the great earldoms of the late Anglo-Saxon period, so 1066 marks the extinction of Wessex as a political unit.

The original war standards of Romans, Celts and Anglo-Saxons were “windsocks” held aloft on a spear, serpentine in form, with small wings. Such dragon standards are also seen borne by the English army on the Bayeux tapestry. With the development of heraldry in the ensuing centuries, physical objects, such as windsocks, were replaced by illustrations on cloth.

After the Battle of Hastings the victorious Normans also adopted the dragon standard – it was used by Richard I, Henry III, Edward I and Henry V. During Richard I’s crusade “The terrible standard of the dragon is borne in front unfurled”, and at Crecy King Edward III raised his “unconquered standard of the Dragon Gules (red)” and it appeared yet again at Agincourt. It can be argued that because of its appearance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 as the standard of the English army, the golden dragon flag was effectively England’s first national flag.

The flag is double sided, and made of durable indoor/outdoor nylon. 93cm x 150cm (36.6” x 59”) with metal grommets.

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