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Home » Directory » Hungarian Heritage Museum Toronto » Historic flags of Hungary 
Hungarian Heritage Museum Toronto

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Historic flags of Hungary

Family and royal banner of the House of Arpad, reconstruction

The two flags were reconstructed on the basis of portrayals of the period. They follow the pattern of medieval banners, the heraldic, rectangular flags. The textile parts substitute for the escutcheons. The earlier one with the patriarchal cross appeared during the reign of Bela III. As his coat-of-arms the king had chosen the patriarchal cross of Byzantine origin, which was placed on the red escutcheon of the Arpads. The triple mound under the cross appeared later.

The red-argent striped flag appeared during the reign of Bela's sons, Imre and Andras II, as a revival of the coat-of-arms of the previous kings. The flags and coat-of-arms were used parallel to each other throughout the Middle Ages by kings from the House of Arpad and other dynasties in Hungary, as well.

The two coat-of-arms have made up today's Hungarian national arms, their colours are today's national colours.
Angevin royal banner, reconstruction

Banner used during the reign of Charles Robert and Louis the Great, made up of the family colours of the Angevins and Arpads. The latter symbolised the Angevin's legal claim to the throne.
Flag of Hunyadi Janos, complete reconstruction

Neither authentic portrayal, nor description of the great commander's flag had remained. The basis of the heraldic flag's reconstruction is a coat-of-arms donated to Hunyadi in 1453.
The so-called "Black Army" banner, reconstruction

This characteristic flag with a forked tail was reconstructed after a miniature in Philostratus Chronicle, one of the Corvinas, representing the 1485 entry of Corvin Janos, son of king Matthew, into Vienna. The black colour of the flag used to be white (argent) in fact, but the argent paint had become oxidised. The reconstruction preserves the original colour.
Second Lieutenant's standard of the Nagyszalonta Haiduks, around 1600, replica

The unusual shaped flag symbolizes the victory of the Haiduks (the lion) over the imperial forces (the eagle).
Standard of Prince Bethlen Gabor, 1615, reconstruction

This large-size flag with a forked tail is ornamented with "tounges of flame" symbolizing the spilt blood of Jesus. In the cartouche the elements of the Transylvanian coat-of-arms surround the Bethlen family coat-of-arms. "Gabor, Prince of Transylvania in God's grace" is written on the flag. The reconstruction was based on the drawing of the 1896 Millennium exhibition catalogue.
Flag of the insurrectionists of Nyitra County, 1660, reconstruction

On the obverse of the red flag with a forked tail - ornamented with tongues of flame - the coat-of-arms of Nyitra County - St.Ladislas fighting with Cumanian warrior - is displayed. The legend on it is "The flag of Nyitra County - Virtue and Concord". On the reverse the crucified Jesus is portrayed and there is the following legend: "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES" (In this sign the victory will be yours) - 1660".
According to the tradition the flag was present at the siege of Buda in 1686. The basis of the reconstruction was a drawing in the volume on Nyitra County from the series "Counties and Towns of Hungary".
Princely standard of Thokoly Imre, end of the 17th century, complete reconstruction

The famous hussar leader 'marched under golden standards'. The reconstruction evokes the shape and ornamentation of contemporary Transylvanian flags.The blue and red colours of the observe and reverse repeat the colours of the family coat-of-arms on the observe.
Flag of Prince Rakoczi's hussars, 1706, replica

The green flag with a forked tail is ornamented with tongues of flame (resembling tulips, in fact), which was a rare feature at that time. On the observe the Hungarian coat-of-arms with leaves and the legend 'PRO LIBERTATE' (For the freedom), one of the mottoes of the war of independence are represented. On the reverse there is the Rakoczi coat-of-arms and the date 1706.
Flag of the Baranyai hussar regiment, first third of 18th century

On the observe of this flag thought to be the regiment colours of the formation established in 1688 the Hungarian coat-of-arms is placed on the chest of the imperial eagle, on the reverse there is the red mantled Holy Mary with the infant Jesus. The later introduced symbols of the regimental colours in the imperial-royal army are already present on this flag. The forked tail shape of flags was characteristic of the Hungarian hussar formations in the army until the end of the century.
Flag of the insurrectionists of Pest County, 1797, replica

On the observe of this painted flag of the noble insurrectionists taking part in the war against the French the coat-of-arms of Hungary and Pest County are represented in the same catouche, on the reverse is Holy Mary portrayed. The forked tail shape among county flags remained throughout the 19th century.
Honved cavalry standard after the dethronement, 1849, replica

The piece is probably the most well-known among the irregular, i.e. not centrally donated flags, one of those that became national relics during the 1848-1849 war of independence. This standard of an unknown cavalry formation bears all the stamps of the flags in the war of independence: it is trimmed with white, green and red triangles ('teeth'). On its reverse there is a Regina Caelis portrayal, on the observe the so-called 'Kossuth' coat-of-arms. Above the coat-of-arms, in place of the crown, the most characterisitic symbols of the war of independence, the sword and the wreath, are displayed.
The 1848 honved flags served as bases for all the Hungarian military standards later on.

Infantry standard M 1938

This infantry standard was used in World War II. It was manufactured following the pattern of honved flags, however, in place of the trimming triangles there are tongues of flame, which had been applied from the 18th century on. The coat-of-arms on the flag is the Hungarian national arms used by the army between the two World Wars.

Cavalry standard M 1949/1.

This standard bearing the 'Kossuth' coat-of-arms on both sides was the flag applied for the shortest period in Hungarian history. It was introduced for the Democratic Honved Army at the beginning of 1949. From September of the same year the new, so called 'Rakosi' coat-of-arms of the People's Republic was placed on the flag. From 1950 the colour of the flags was red.

 
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