1 an inspiring symbol or ideal that serves as a rallying point in a struggle
2 a red or orange-red flag used as a standard by early French kings
EtymologyFrom Old French oriflambe, oriflamme, in medieval Latin auriflamma, "golden flame", from aurum, gold, + flamma, flame.
- In the context of "historic": The red silk banner of St Denis, which the abbot of St Denis gave to French kings as they rode to war.
- Any banner, idea or principle which serves as a
rallying point for those involved in a struggle.
- 1963, Please remember that the vocabulary of our readers isn’t very extensive, so don’t go using words like ‘oriflamme’ or ‘inelectable’. — Anthony Burgess, Inside Mr Enderby
It was originally the sacred banner of the Abbey of St. Denis, a monastery near Paris. The banner was red or orange-red and flown from a lance. It was suggested that the lance was originally the important object, with the banner a decoration - but that this changed over time. Its colour stems from the legend of it being dipped in the blood of the recently-beheaded St. Denis. The Oriflamme later became the royal standard of the King of France, and it was carried at the head of the king's forces whenever they met another army in battle. The bearer of the standard, the Porte Oriflamme, became an office (like that of Marshal or Constable) and a great honour, as it was an important and very dangerous job to take charge of such a visible symbol in battle.
Originally Latin, aurea flamma, it translates to "flame of gold."
"Oriflamme" is also the name of a short story written by Tennessee Williams in 1944. It is an incredibly beautiful and poetic piece of prose, the concept of the oriflamme used to perfection.
It was mentioned in the eleventh century ballad the Chanson de Roland as a royal banner, first called Romaine and then Montjoie.
Notable Bearers of the Oriflamme
oriflamme in Danish: Oriflamme
oriflamme in German: Oriflamme
oriflamme in Finnish: Oriflamme
oriflamme in French: Oriflamme
oriflamme in Icelandic: Gulleldurinn
oriflamme in Hungarian: Oriflamme
oriflamme in Dutch: Oriflamme
oriflamme in Polish: Oriflamme
oriflamme in Slovenian: Oriflamme