Bay 116 - Saints Christopher & Nicaise / St Denis with the Oriflamme

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Panel B2 - St Denis giving the Oriflamme to Jean Clement of Le Mez

 © Stuart Whatling, 2009


The Oriflamme was the ancient standard of the Vexin, supposedly dyed in the blood of St Denis and kept in his abbey to the north of Paris. Phillip Augustus adopted the flag as his battle standard, actively employing it as a symbol of Capetian identity. It was carried at the Battle of Bouvines (27 July 1214), when the fledgling French kingdom defeated an alliance of Imperial and English troops. A custom developed that whenever the King was going off to war, his standard-bearer (the Porte-Oriflamme) would collect the flag in person from the Abbot of St Denis. In this window, St Denis himself (identified by his titulus - S[anctus] DIONYSIVS) is shown symbolically handing the banner to a knight identified by his arms (which are repeated in the panel beneath) as Jean Clement of Mez, who was appointed Marshall of France in 1214.