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Vexillology

Vexillology studies flags, their form and usage. The person who studies flags is called vexillologist. The term was coined around 1960 by Whitney Smith, currently the foremost vexillologist in the world and author of many books and articles on this subject.

The word vexillology is a synthesis of the Latin word "vexillum" and the suffix "-logy" which we know from other sciences (biology, geology, sociology, psychology ...). See List_of_ologies.

The Roman "vexillum" was the only cloth flag of classical Rome; it was used for a variety of purposes (flag of a cavalry unit; one of the legion flags; flag of a temporarily detached unit; and others). It consisted of a square piece of cloth (usually of red or purple colour; frequently with inscriptions or images) hanging from a crossbar on a spear.

Vexillologists are active in several national associations under the umbrella of the FIAV (Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques). Every two years the FIAV organizes an international congress (2003 at Stockholm). The WWW activity of vexillologists centers around the Flags of the World (FOTW) website and mailing list.

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