A saltire, also called Saint Andrew's Cross or the crux decussata,is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross, like the shape of the letter X in Roman type. The word comes from the Middle French sautoir, Medieval Latin saltatoria ("stirrup").
From its use as field sign, the saltire came to be used in a number of flags, in the 16th century for Scotland and Burgundy, in the 18th century also as the ensign of the Russian Navy, and for Ireland. Notable 19th-century usage includes some of the flags of the Confederate States of America. It is also used in the flag of Jamaica and on seals, and as a heraldic charge in coats of arms.
The term saltirewise or in saltire refers to heraldic charges arranged as a diagonal cross. The shield may also be divided per saltire, i.e. diagonally.
A warning sign in the shape of a saltire is also used to indicate the point at which a railway line intersects a road at a level crossing.
The saltire is important both in heraldry, being found in many coats of arms, and in vexillology, being found as the dominant feature of multiple flags.
The saltire is one of the so-called ordinaries, geometric charges that span throughout (from edge to edge of) the shield. As suggested by the name saltire ("stirrup"; in French: sautoir , in German: Schragen ), the ordinary in its early use was not intended as representing a Christian cross symbol. The association with Saint Andrew is a development of the 15th to 16th centuries. The Cross of Burgundy emblem originates in the 15th century, as a field sign, and as the Saint Andrew's Cross of Scotland was used in flags or banners (but not in coats of arms) from the 16th century, and used as naval ensign during the Age of Sail.
When two or more saltires appear, they are usually blazoned as couped (cut off). For example, contrast the single saltire in the arms granted to G. M. W. Anderson—with the three saltires couped in the coat of Kemble Greenwood.
Diminutive forms include the fillet saltire,usually considered half or less the width of the saltire, and the saltorel, a narrow or couped saltire.
A field (party) per saltire is divided into four areas by a saltire-shaped "cut". If two tinctures are specified, the first refers to the areas above (in chief) and below (in base) the crossing, and the second refers to the ones on either side (in the flanks).Otherwise, each of the four divisions may be blazoned separately.
The phrase in saltire or saltirewise is used in two ways:
Division of the field per saltire was notably used by the Aragonese kings of Sicily beginning in the 14th century (Frederick the Simple), showing the pales of Aragon and the "Hohenstaufen" eagle (argent an eagle sable).
The Flag of Scotland, called The Saltire or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a blue field with a white saltire. According to tradition, it represents Saint Andrew, who is supposed to have been crucified on a cross of that form (called a crux decussata) at Patras, Greece.
The Saint Andrew's Cross was worn as a badge on hats in Scotland, on the day of the feast of Saint Andrew. 
In the politics of Scotland, both the Scottish National Party and Scottish Conservative Party use stylised saltires as their party logos, deriving from the flag of Scotland.
Prior to the Union the Royal Scots Navy used a red ensign incorporating the St Andrew's Cross; this ensign is now sometimes flown as part of an unofficial civil ensign in Scottish waters. With its colours exchanged (and a lighter blue), the same design forms part of the arms and flag of Nova Scotia (whose name means "New Scotland").
The Cross of Burgundy, a form of the Saint Andrew's Cross, is used in numerous flags across Europe and the Americas. It was first used in the 15th century as an emblem by the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. The Duchy of Burgundy, forming a large part of eastern France and the Low Countries, was inherited by the House of Habsburg on the extinction of the Valois ducal line. The emblem was therefore assumed by the monarchs of Spain as a consequence of the Habsburgs bringing together, in the early 16th century, their Burgundian inheritance with the other extensive possessions they inherited throughout Europe and the Americas, including the crowns of Castile and Aragon. As a result, the Cross of Burgundy has appeared in a wide variety of flags connected with territories formerly part of the Burgundian or Habsburg inheritance. Examples of such diversity include the Spanish naval ensign (1506-1701), the flag of Carlism (a nineteenth century Spanish conservative movement), the flag of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam and municipality of Eijsden, the flag of Chuquisaca in Bolivia and the flags of the US states of Florida and Alabama.
The Gascony does not have any institutional unity since the 11th century, hence several flags are currently used on the territory. The legend says that this flag appeared in the time of pope Clément III to gather the Gascons during the Third crusade (12th century). That flag, sometimes called "Union Gascona" (Gascon Union), contains the St Andrew's cross, the patron saint of Bordeaux and the red color of English kingdom, who reigned over Gascony from 12th to mid-15th century.
In the tome 14 of the Grande Encyclopédie, published in France between 1886 and 1902 by Henri Lamirault, it is written that
during the hard times of the Hundred Years' War and the terrible struggles between the Armagnacs, representing the national party (white cross) and the Burgundians, allied to the English (red cross and red Saint-Andrews' cross), the flag of the victorious English ends up gathering, in 1422, under Henri VI, on its field the white and red crosses of France and England, the white and red Saint-Andrew's crosses of Guyenne and Burgundy.
That saltire is also represented in the pattern of some talenquères in many bullrings in Gascony.
The naval ensign of the Imperial Russian (1696–1917) and Russian navies (1991–present) is a blue saltire on a white field.
The international maritime signal flag for M is a white saltire on a blue background, and indicates a stopped vessel. A red saltire on a white background denotes the letter V and the message "I require assistance".
The flags of the Colombian archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia and the Spanish island of Tenerife also use a white saltire on a blue field. The Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza also use a blue saltire on a white field, with their coats-of-arms at the hub.
Saltires are also seen in several other flags, including the flags of Grenada, Jamaica, Alabama, Florida, Jersey, Logroño, Vitoria, Amsterdam, Breda, Katwijk, Potchefstroom, The Bierzo and Valdivia, as well as the former Indian princely states of Khairpur, Rajkot and Jaora.
The design is also part of the Confederate Battle Flag and Naval Jack used during the American Civil War (see Flags of the Confederate States of America). Arthur L. Rogers, designer of the final version of the Confederate National flag, claimed that it was based on the saltire of Scotland.The saltire is used on modern-day Southern U.S. state flags to honour the former Confederacy.
Anne Roes (1937) identifies a design consisting of two crossing diagonal lines in a rectangle, sometimes with four dots or balls in the four quarters, as an emblem or vexillum (standard) of Persepolis during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC. Roes also finds the design in Argive vase painting, and still earlier in button seals of the Iranian Chalcolithic. Roes also notes the occurrence of a very similar if not identical vexillum which repeatedly occurs in Gaulish coins of c. the 2nd to 1st century BC, in a recurring design where it is held by a charioteer in front of his human-headed horse.A large number of coins of this type (118 out of 152 items) forms part of the Les Sablons hoard of the 1st century BC, discovered in Le Mans between 1991 and 1997, associated with the Cenomani.
The same design is found on coins of Christian Roman emperors of the 4th to 5th centuries (Constantius II, Valentinian, Jovian, Gratianus, Valens, Arcadius, Constantine III, Jovinus, Theodosius I, Eugenius and Theodosius II). The letter Χ (Chi) was from an early time used as a symbol for Christ (unrelated to the Christian cross symbol, which at the time was given a T-shape). The vexillum on imperial coins from the 4th century was sometimes shown as the Labarum, surmounted by or displaying the Chi-Rho monogram rather than just the crux decussata. The emblem of the crux decussata in a rectangle, sometimes with four dots or balls, re-appears in coins the Byzantine Empire, in the 9th to 10th centuries. Roes suggested that early Christians endorsed its solar symbolism as appropriate to Christ.
The association with Saint Andrew develops in the late medieval period. The tradition according to which this saint was crucified on a decussate cross is not found in early hagiography. Depictions of Saint Andrew being crucified in this manner first appear in the 10th century, but do not become standard before the 17th century.Reference to the saltire as "St Andrew's Cross" is made by the Parliament of Scotland (where Andrew had been adopted as patron saint) in 1385, in a decree to the effect that every Scottish and French soldier (fighting against the English under Richard II) "shall have a sign before and behind, namely a white St. Andrew's Cross".
The diagonal cross (decussate cross) or X mark is called "saltire" in heraldic and vexillological contexts.
A black diagonal cross was used in an old European Union standard as the hazard symbol for irritants (Xi) or harmful chemicals (Xn). It indicated a hazard less severe than skull and crossbones, used for poisons, or the corrosive sign.
The Maria Theresa thaler has a Roman numeral ten to symbolize the 1750 debasement of the coinage, from 9 to 10 thalers to the Vienna mark (a weight of silver).
A diagonal cross known as "crossbuck" is used as the conventional road sign used to indicate the point at which a railway line intersects a road at a level crossing, called a in this context. A white diagonal cross on a blue background (or black on yellow for temporary signs) is displayed in UK railway signalling as a "cancelling indicator" for the Automatic Warning System (AWS), informing the driver that the received warning can be disregarded.
In Cameroon, a red "X" placed on illegally constructed buildings scheduled for demolition is occasionally referred to as a "St Andrew's Cross". It is usually accompanied by the letters "A.D." ("à détruire"—French for "to be demolished") and a date or deadline. During a campaign of urban renewal by the Yaoundé Urban Council in Cameroon, the cross was popularly referred to as "Tsimi's Cross" after the Government Delegate to the council, Gilbert Tsimi Evouna.
In traditional timber framing a pair of crossing braces is sometimes called a saltire or a St. Andrew's Cross.Half-timbering, particularly in France and Germany, has patterns of framing members forming many different symbols known as ornamental bracing.
Unicode encoded various decussate crosses under the name of saltire, they are U+2613☓SALTIRE (HTML
☓), U+1F7A8🞨THIN SALTIRE (HTML
🞨), U+1F7A9🞩LIGHT SALTIRE (HTML
🞩), U+1F7AA🞪MEDIUM SALTIRE (HTML
🞪), U+1F7AB🞫BOLD SALTIRE (HTML
🞫), U+1F7AC🞬HEAVY SALTIRE (HTML
🞬), U+1F7AD🞭VERY HEAVY SALTIRE (HTML
🞭) and U+1F7AE🞮EXTREMELY HEAVY SALTIRE (HTML
The flag of Scotland is the national flag of Scotland, which consists of a white saltire defacing a blue field. The Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, is the correct flag for all private individuals and corporate bodies to fly. It is also, where possible, flown from Scottish Government buildings every day from 8:00 am until sunset, with certain exceptions.
The coat of arms of Nova Scotia is the heraldic symbol representing the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is the oldest provincial achievement of arms in Canada, and the oldest British coat of arms in use outside Great Britain. It is blazoned as follows: Argent, a saltire azure charged with an escutcheon of the Royal Arms of Scotland.
Ordinaries in heraldry are sometimes embellished with stripes of colour alongside them, have lumps added to them, shown with their edges arciform instead of straight, have their peaks and tops chopped off, pushed up and down out of the usual positions, or even broken apart.
The flag of Spain, as it is defined in the Constitution of 1978, consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow stripe being twice the size of each red stripe. Traditionally, the middle stripe was defined by the more archaic term of gualda, and hence the popular name la Rojigualda (red-weld).
In heraldry, an ordinary is a simple geometrical figure, bounded by straight lines and running from side to side or top to bottom of the shield. There are also some geometric charges known as subordinaries, which have been given lesser status by some heraldic writers, though most have been in use as long as the traditional ordinaries. Diminutives of ordinaries and some subordinaries are charges of the same shape, though thinner. Most of the ordinaries are theoretically said to occupy one-third of the shield; but this is rarely observed in practice, except when the ordinary is the only charge.
The coat of arms of Sunderland is the official heraldic arms of the City of Sunderland.
The coat of arms of Alabama depicts a shield upon which is carried the symbols of the five states which have at various times held sovereignty over a part or the whole of what is now Alabama. These are the ancient coat of arms of France, the ancient coat of arms of Crown of Castile for Spain, the modern Union Jack of the United Kingdom and the battle flag of the Confederate States of America. On an escutcheon of pretence is borne the shield of the United States. The crest of the coat represents a ship which brought the French colonists who established the first permanent European settlements in the territory. Below is the state motto: Audemus jura nostra defendere, meaning "We dare defend our rights."
The coat of arms of the King of Spain is the heraldic symbol representing the monarch of Spain. The current version of the monarch's coat of arms was adopted in 2014 but is of much older origin. The arms marshal the arms of the former monarchs of Castile, León, Aragon, and Navarre.
The blazon of the coat of arms of the Princess of Asturias is given by a Royal Decree 979 on 30 October 2015 which was an amendment of the Royal Decree 1511 dated Madrid 21 January 1977, which also created her guidon and her standard.
The Cross of Burgundy or the Cross of Saint Andrew, a saw-toothed form of St. Andrew's cross, was first used in the 15th century as an emblem by the Valois Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled a large part of eastern France and the Low Countries as effectively an independent state. The Burgundian Low Countries were inherited by the Habsburgs, who adopted the flag at the extinction of the Valois ducal line and continued to use it as one of their many symbols up to the 18th century. With the Burgundian Habsburgs coming to power in Spain in the 16th century, the emblem served as a naval ensign of the Spanish Empire up to 1701, and up to 1843 as the land battle flag, acquiring a global impact throughout Europe and the Americas in the possessions of the Spanish crowns of Castile and Aragon. It is found nowadays in different continents and still appears on regimental colours, badges, shoulder patches and company guidons. The use of the emblem in a variety of contexts, in a number of European countries and in the Americas, reflects the historical extent of Burgundian, Habsburg, and Spanish territories.
Saint Patrick's Saltire or Saint Patrick's Cross is a red saltire on a white field. In heraldic language, it may be blazoned "argent, a saltire gules". The Saint Patrick's Flag is a flag composed of Saint Patrick's Saltire. The origin of the saltire is disputed. Its association with Saint Patrick dates from the 1780s, when the Anglo-Irish Order of Saint Patrick adopted it as an emblem. This was a British chivalric order established in 1783 by George III. It has been suggested that it derives from the arms of the powerful Geraldine or FitzGerald dynasty. Most Irish nationalists and others reject its use to represent Ireland as a "British invention" "for a people who had never used it".
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image. The verb to blazon means to create such a description. The visual depiction of a coat of arms or flag has traditionally had considerable latitude in design, but a verbal blazon specifies the essentially distinctive elements. A coat of arms or flag is therefore primarily defined not by a picture but rather by the wording of its blazon. Blazon is also the specialized language in which a blazon is written, and, as a verb, the act of writing such a description. Blazonry is the art, craft or practice of creating a blazon. The language employed in blazonry has its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax, which becomes essential for comprehension when blazoning a complex coat of arms.
The coat of arms of Kropyvnytskyi is one of the city's symbols reflecting its past and the controversies of its history.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was the heir of four of Europe's leading royal houses. He first inherited the Burgundian Netherlands, which came from his paternal grandmother, Mary of Burgundy. Charles was then the first sole monarch of Spain, inheriting the kingdoms first united by his maternal grandparents, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. Finally, on the death of his paternal grandfather, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, he inherited the Habsburg lands in Austria. His coat of arms, representing much of the land he inherited, is blazoned as follows:
Quarterly: I and IV grand-quarterly i and iv great-grand-quarterly 1 and 4 gules a three towered castle Or masoned sable and ajouré azure, 2 and 3 argent a lion rampant purpure crowned Or langued and armed gules, ii per pale, dexter per fess, in chief Or four pallets gules, in base gules a cross, saltire, and orle of chains linked together Or and a centre point vert, sinister party per pale argent a cross potent and four crosslets Or impaling barry of eight gules and argent, iii per pale, dexter per fess, in chief Or four pallets gules, in base gules a cross, saltire, and orle of chains linked together Or and a centre point vert, sinister per saltire, 1 and 4 Or four pallets gules, 2 and 3 argent an eagle displayed sable ; II and III grand-quarterly, i gules a fess argent, ii azure semy-de-lis Or a bordure compony argent and gules, iii bendy of six Or and azure a bordure gules, iv sable a lion rampant Or langued and armed gules, overall at the fess point of the quarter an inescutcheon Or a lion rampant sable armed and langued gules impaling argent an eagle displayed gules, armed, beaked, and langued Or ; enté en point argent a pomegranate proper seeded gules, supported, sculpted and slipped vert.Supporters: A bicephalous eagle displayed sable imperially crowned proper in front of a saltire ragulée gules, the whole between two columns argent issuing from the sea proper in base, the one to dexter crowned imperially proper, the one to sinister crowned with the Royal Crown of Spain proper. The motto, PLVS VLTRA or PLVS OVLTRE, wraps around the columns.
The flag of Carillon was flown by the troops of General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm during the Battle of Carillon, which was fought by the French and Canadian forces against those of the British in July 1758 at Fort Carillon.
A number of cross symbols were developed for the purpose of the emerging system of heraldry, which appeared in Western Europe in about 1200. This tradition is partly in the use of the Christian cross an emblem from the 11th century, and increasingly during the age of the Crusades. Many cross variants were developed in the classical tradition of heraldry during the late medieval and early modern periods. Heraldic crosses are inherited in modern iconographic traditions and are used in numerous national flags.
The Coat of arms of the Prince of Spain was set out in the Spanish Decree 814 of 22 April 1971, by which the Rules for Flags, Standards, Guidons, Banners, and Badges were adopted.
The Coat of arms of the London Borough of Brent is the official arms of the London Borough of Brent. It was granted on 1 September 1965.
The coat of arms of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham was granted to the then London Borough of Hammersmith on 1 March 1965, but the motto changed languages in 1969. The subsequent change of names to Hammersmith and Fulham on 1 January 1980 did not affect the arms.
The flag and coat of arms of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta display a white cross on a red field, ultimately derived from the design worn by the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades.