Phaleristics, from the Greek mythological hero Phalerus (Greek: Φάληρος, Phaleros) via the Latin phalera ('heroics'), sometimes spelled faleristics, is an auxiliary science of history and numismatics which studies orders, fraternities, and award items, such as medals, ribbons, and other decorations.
The subject includes orders of chivalry (including military orders), orders of merit, and fraternal orders. These may all in turn be official, national, state entities, or civil, religious, or academic-related ones. The field of study also comprises comparative honour systems, and thus in a broader sense also history (art history), sociology, and anthropology.
In terms of objects, these include award items such as medals and their accessories, ribbon bars, badges, pins, award certificate documentation, etc., and phaleristics may also designate the field of collecting related items.Although established as a scientific sub-discipline of history, phaleristics usually studies orders and decorations "detached from their bodies".
King George VI loved the study of phaleristics, going to the extent of personally overseeing his uniform designs and ribbon placements. He is known to have designed a few British military decorations for the Royal Navy.The Russian phalerist Julius Iversen studied orders and medals in the 19th century.
The Iron Cross was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire (1871–1918) and Nazi Germany (1933–1945). King Frederick William III of Prussia established it on 17 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars. The award was backdated to the birthday of his late wife, Queen Louise. Louise was the first person to receive this decoration (posthumously). The recommissioned Iron Cross was also awarded during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, and World War II. The Iron Cross awarded during World War II has a swastika in the center. The Iron Cross was usually a military decoration only, though there were instances awarded to civilians for performing military functions, such as Hanna Reitsch, who received the Iron Cross 2nd Class and Iron Cross 1st Class, and Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg, who received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class, for being civilian test pilots during World War II.
Military awards and decorations are distinctions given as a mark of honor for military heroism, meritorious or outstanding service or achievement. A decoration is often a medal consisting of a ribbon and a medallion.
A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are given as awards. They may be intended to be worn, suspended from clothing or jewellery in some way. They may be struck like a coin by dies or die-cast in a mould.
The George Medal (GM), instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI, is a decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, awarded for gallantry "not in the face of the enemy" where the services were not so outstanding as to merit the George Cross.
The Distinguished Conduct Medal, post-nominal letters DCM, was established in 1854 by Queen Victoria as a decoration for gallantry in the field by other ranks of the British Army. It is the oldest British award for gallantry and was a second level military decoration, ranking below the Victoria Cross, until its discontinuation in 1993 when it was replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. The medal was also awarded to non-commissioned military personnel of other Commonwealth Dominions and Colonies.
The Order of Saint George is today the highest purely military decoration of the Russian Federation. Originally established on 26 November 1769 Julian as the highest military decoration of the Russian Empire for commissioned officers and generals by Empress Catherine the Great. After the 1917 Russian Revolution it was awarded by the White movement anti-communist forces under Alexander Kolchak until their collapse in 1921. The order was revived in the Russian Federation on 8 August 2000 by Decree №1463 of the President of Russia. The current award criteria were amended on 7 September 2010 by Presidential Decree 1099.
The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) was a military decoration awarded until 1993 to personnel of the Royal Navy and members of the other services, and formerly to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, up to and including the rank of Chief Petty Officer, for bravery and resourcefulness on active service at sea.
To be mentioned in dispatches describes a member of the armed forces whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which their gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described.
The Air Force Medal (AFM) was a military decoration, awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force and other British Armed Forces, and formerly to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy". The award was discontinued in 1993 when all ranks became eligible for the Air Force Cross (AFC) as part of the reform of the British honours system.
The Canadian Forces' Decoration is a Canadian award bestowed upon members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have completed twelve years of military service, with certain conditions. By convention, it is also given to the Governor General of Canada upon his or her appointment as viceroy, which includes the title of Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada. The decoration is awarded to all ranks, who must have a good record of conduct during the final eight years of claimed service.
The orders, decorations, and medals of Canada comprise a complex system by which Canadians are honoured by the country's sovereign for actions or deeds that benefit their community or the country at large. Modelled on its British predecessor, the structure originated in the 1930s, but began to come to full fruition at the time of Canada's centennial in 1967, with the establishment of the Order of Canada, and has since grown in both size and scope to include dynastic and national orders, state, civil, and military decorations; and various campaign medals. The monarch in right of each Canadian province also issues distinct orders and medals to honour residents for work performed in just their province. The provincial honours, as with some of their national counterparts, grant the use of post-nominal letters and or supporters and other devices to be used on personal coats of arms.
The Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst, post-nominal letters DTD, is a South African military decoration. It was instituted in 1920 as a retrospective award for Boer officers of the 1899–1902 Second Boer War.
Orders, decorations and medals of Bulgaria are regulated by the law on the Orders and Medals of the Republic Of Bulgaria of 29 May 2003.
The Efficiency Medal was instituted in 1930 for award to part-time warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men after twelve years of efficient service on the active list of the Militia or the Territorial Army of the United Kingdom, or of the other Auxiliary Military Forces throughout the British Empire. At the same time a clasp was instituted for award to holders of the medal upon completion of further periods of six years of efficient service.
The Efficiency Decoration, post-nominal letters TD for recipients serving in the Territorial Army of the United Kingdom or ED for those serving in the Auxiliary Military Forces, was instituted in 1930 for award to part-time officers after twenty years of service as an efficient and thoroughly capable officer. The decoration superseded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration, the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration and the Territorial Decoration.
The Efficiency Decoration , post-nominal letters ED, was instituted in 1930 for award to efficient and thoroughly capable part-time officers in the Citizen Force of the Union of South Africa after twenty years of service. The decoration superseded the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration.
The Awards and decorations of the German Armed Forces are decorations awarded by the German Bundeswehr, the German government, and other organizations to the German military and allied forces. Modern era German military awards have been presented since the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949.
An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. When the token is a medal, ribbon or other item designed for wearing, it is known as a decoration.
The Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct is a distinctive South African version of the British Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military). It was awarded to members of the Permanent Force of the Union of South Africa who had completed eighteen years of reckonable service.
The Sash of the Three Orders is a decoration that combines the insignia of the Grand Crosses of the Military Orders of Christ, Aviz and St. James of the Sword. It is the symbol of the Portuguese presidential magistracy, in their capacity as the fount of the Portuguese honours system; therefore, it cannot be conferred on nationals or foreigners, nor can it be used outside the exercise of office of the President.