Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding
The Anglo-Dutch wars were a series of conflicts fought between the Dutch Republic and England. They predominantly occurred in the second half of the 17th century over trade and overseas colonies. All the battles were fought at sea. There were further battles in the 18th and 19th centuries, which were victories for the British and are considered to be separate conflicts; the English and the Dutch were both participants in the 16th-century European Wars of Religion between the Catholic Habsburg Dynasty and the opposing Protestant states. At the same time, as the Age of Exploration dawned, the Dutch and English both sought profits overseas in the New World. In the early 1600s, the Dutch, while continuing to fight the Eighty Years' War with the Catholic Habsburgs began to carry out long-distance exploration by sea; the Dutch innovation in the trading of shares in a joint-stock company allowed them to finance expeditions with stock subscriptions sold in the United Provinces and in London. They founded colonies in North America and Indonesia.
They enjoyed continued success in privateering—in 1628 Admiral Piet Heyn became the only commander to capture a large Spanish treasure fleet. With the many long voyages by Dutch East India men, their society built an officer class and institutional knowledge that would be replicated in England, principally by the East India Company. By the middle of the 17th century, the Dutch had replaced the Portuguese as the main European traders in Asia. In particular, by taking over most of Portugal's trading posts in the East Indies, the Dutch gained control over the hugely profitable trade in spices; this coincided with the enormous growth of the Dutch merchant fleet, made possible by the cheap mass production of the fluyt sailing ship types. Soon the Dutch had Europe's largest mercantile fleet, with more merchant ships than all other nations combined, possessed a dominant position in European trade, as well as further afield. In 1648 the United Provinces concluded the Peace of Münster with Spain. Due to the division of powers in the Dutch Republic, the army and navy were the main base of power of the Stadtholder, although the budget allocated to them was set by the States General.
With the arrival of peace, the States General decided to decommission most of the Dutch military. This led to conflict between the major Dutch cities and the new Stadtholder, William II of Orange, bringing the Republic to the brink of civil war; the Stadtholder's unexpected death in 1650 only added to the political tensions. In the 16th century Elizabeth I of England built up her navy in order to carry out long-range "privateering" or piracy missions against the Spanish Empire's global interests, exemplified by the attacks by Francis Drake on Spanish merchant shipping and its harbours. To provide a pretext for ongoing hostilities against Spain, Elizabeth assisted the Dutch Revolt against the Kingdom of Spain by signing the Treaty of Nonsuch in 1585 with the new Dutch state of the United Provinces. After the death of Elizabeth, Anglo-Spanish relations began to improve under James the First, the peace of 1604 ended most privateering actions. Underfunding led to neglect of the Royal Navy. Catholic sympathiser Charles I of England made a number of secret agreements with Spain, directed against Dutch sea power.
He embarked on a major programme of naval reconstruction, enforcing ship money to finance the building of such prestige vessels as HMS Sovereign of the Seas. But fearful of endangering his relations with the powerful Dutch stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, his assistance to Spain was limited in practice to allowing Habsburg troops on their way to Dunkirk to make use of English shipping. However, in 1639, when a large Spanish transport fleet sought refuge in the English Downs anchorage off the town of Deal in Kent, Charles chose not to protect it against a Dutch attack. Meanwhile, in the New World, naval forces from the Dutch New Netherlands and the English Massachusetts Bay Colony contested much of America's north-eastern seaboard; the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642 began a period in which England's naval position was weakened. Its navy was internally divided, he revamped the navy by expanding the number of ships, promoting officers on merit rather than family connections, cracking down on embezzlement by suppliers and dockyard staff, thereby positioning England to mount a global challenge to Dutch trade dominance.
The mood in England grew belligerent towards the Dutch. This stemmed from old perceived slights: the Dutch were considered to have shown themselves ungrateful for the aid they had received against the Spanish by growing stronger than their former English protectors. There were new points of conflict: with the decline of Spanish power at the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, the colonial possessions of the Portuguese Empire and even those of the Spanish Empire itself were up for grabs. Cromwell feared the influence of both th
Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text, it encompasses the religion and culture of the Jewish people. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. Judaism encompasses a wide body of texts, theological positions, forms of organization; the Torah is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, supplemental oral tradition represented by texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth largest religion in the world. Within Judaism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah; this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the Sadducees and Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period.
Modern branches of Judaism such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. Today, the largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition, the significance of the State of Israel. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin and unalterable, that they should be followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism promoting a more traditionalist interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Special courts enforced Jewish law. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the rabbis and scholars who interpret them.
The history of Judaism spans more than 3,000 years. Judaism has its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions; the Hebrews and Israelites were referred to as "Jews" in books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel". Judaism's texts and values influenced Abrahamic religions, including Christianity and the Baha'i Faith. Many aspects of Judaism have directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law. Hebraism was just as important a factor in the ancient era development of Western civilization as Hellenism, Judaism, as the background of Christianity, has shaped Western ideals and morality since Early Christianity. Jews are an ethnoreligious group including those born Jewish, in addition to converts to Judaism. In 2015, the world Jewish population was estimated at about 14.3 million, or 0.2% of the total world population. About 43% of all Jews reside in Israel and another 43% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe, other minority groups spread throughout Latin America, Asia and Australia.
Unlike other ancient Near Eastern gods, the Hebrew God is portrayed as solitary. Judaism thus begins with ethical monotheism: the belief that God is one and is concerned with the actions of mankind. According to the Tanakh, God promised Abraham to make of his offspring a great nation. Many generations he commanded the nation of Israel to love and worship only one God, he commanded the Jewish people to love one another. These commandments are but two of a large corpus of commandments and laws that constitute this covenant, the substance of Judaism. Thus, although there is an esoteric tradition in Judaism, Rabbinic scholar Max Kadushin has characterized normative Judaism as "normal mysticism", because it involves everyday personal experiences of God through ways or modes that are common to all Jews; this is played out through the observance of the Halakha and given verbal expression in the Birkat Ha-Mizvot, the short blessings that are spoken every time a positive commandment is to be fulfilled.
The ordinary, everyday things and occurrences we have, constitute occasions for the experience of God. Such things as one's daily sustenance, the day itself, are felt as manifestations of God's loving-kindness, calling for the Berakhot. Kedushah, nothing else than the imitation of God, is concerned with daily conduct, with being gracious and merciful, with keeping oneself from defilement by idolatry and the shedding of blood; the Birkat Ha-Mitzwot evokes the consciousness of holiness at a rabbinic rite, but the objects employed in the majority of these rites are non-holy and of general character, while the several holy objects are non-theurgic. And not only do ordinary things and occurrences bring with them the experience of God. Everything that happens to a man evokes that exp
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, worldviews, sanctified places, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, commemoration or veneration, festivals, trances, funerary services, matrimonial services, prayer, art, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, symbols and holy places, that aim to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, other things.
Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion; the religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs; the study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief. Religion is derived from the ultimate origins of which are obscure. One possible interpretation traced to Cicero, connects lego read, i.e. re with lego in the sense of choose, go over again or consider carefully.
The definition of religio by Cicero is cultum deorum, "the proper performance of rites in veneration of the gods." Julius Caesar used religio to mean "obligation of an oath" when discussing captured soldiers making an oath to their captors. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder used the term religio on elephants in that they venerate the sun and the moon. Modern scholars such as Tom Harpur and Joseph Campbell favor the derivation from ligare bind, connect from a prefixed re-ligare, i.e. re + ligare or to reconnect, made prominent by St. Augustine, following the interpretation given by Lactantius in Divinae institutiones, IV, 28; the medieval usage alternates with order in designating bonded communities like those of monastic orders: "we hear of the'religion' of the Golden Fleece, of a knight'of the religion of Avys'". In the ancient and medieval world, the etymological Latin root religio was understood as an individual virtue of worship in mundane contexts. In general, religio referred to broad social obligations towards anything including family, neighbors and towards God.
Religio was most used by the ancient Romans not in the context of a relation towards gods, but as a range of general emotions such as hesitation, anxiety, fear. The term was closely related to other terms like scrupulus which meant "very precisely" and some Roman authors related the term superstitio, which meant too much fear or anxiety or shame, to religio at times; when religio came into English around the 1200s as religion, it took the meaning of "life bound by monastic vows" or monastic orders. The compartmentalized concept of religion, where religious things were separated from worldly things, was not used before the 1500s; the concept of religion was first used in the 1500s to distinguish the domain of the church and the domain of civil authorities. In the ancient Greece, the Greek term threskeia was loosely translated into Latin as religio in late antiquity; the term was sparsely used in classical Greece but became more used in the writings of Josephus in the first century CE. It was used in mundane contexts and could mean multiple things from respectful fear to excessive or harmfully distracting practices of others.
It was contrasted with the Greek word deisidaimonia which meant too much fear. The modern concept of religion, as an abstraction that entails distinct sets of beliefs or doctrines, is a recent invention in the English language; such usage began with texts from the 17th century due to events such the splitting of Christendom during the Protestant Reformation and globalization in the age of exploration, which involved contact with numerous foreign cultures with non-European languages. Some argue that regardless of its definition, it is not appropriate to apply the term religion to non-Western cultures. Others argue that using religion on non-western cultures distorts what people believe; the concept of religion was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, despite the fact that ancient sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, others did not have a word or a concept of religion in the original languages and neither did the peopl
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U. S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches, it has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force. The U. S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, established during the American Revolutionary War and was disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter.
The U. S. Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers, it played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The US Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world; the 21st century U. S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, it is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in U. S. foreign and military policy. The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy; the Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations is the most senior naval officer serving in the Department of the Navy.
The mission of the Navy is to maintain and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The U. S. Navy is a seaborne branch of the military of the United States; the Navy's three primary areas of responsibility: The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war. The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy; the development of aircraft, tactics, technique and equipment of naval combat and service elements. U. S. Navy training manuals state that the mission of the U. S. Armed Forces is "to be prepared to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations in support of the national interest." As part of that establishment, the U. S. Navy's functions comprise sea control, power projection and nuclear deterrence, in addition to "sealift" duties, it follows as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, with it, everything honorable and glorious.
Naval power... is the natural defense of the United States The Navy was rooted in the colonial seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors and shipbuilders. In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own Massachusetts Naval Militia; the rationale for establishing a national navy was debated in the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, make it easier to seek out support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned the ocean-going schooner USS Hannah to interdict British merchant ships and reported the captures to the Congress. On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships. S. Navy; the Continental Navy achieved mixed results.
In August 1785, after the Revolutionary War had drawn to a close, Congress had sold Alliance, the last ship remaining in the Continental Navy due to a lack of funds to maintain the ship or support a navy. In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized the Navy to celebrate its birthday on 13 October to honor the establishment of the Continental Navy in 1775; the United States was without a navy for nearly a decade, a state of affairs that exposed U. S. maritime merchant ships to a series of attacks by the Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U. S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U. S. Revenue-Marine, the primary predecessor of the U. S. Coast Guard. Although the USRCS conducted operations against the pirates, their depredations far outstripped its abilities and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 that established a permanent standing navy on 27 March 1794; the Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797, the first three were brought into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, USS Constitution.
Due to his strong posture on having a strong standing Navy during this period, John Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy". In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France. From 18
A pennon or pennant is a flag, larger at the hoist than at the fly. It can have several shapes, such as tapering or a burgee, it was one of the principal three varieties of flags carried during the Middle Ages. Pennoncells and streamers or pendants are minor varieties of this style of flag; the pennon is a flag resembling the guidon in shape, but only half the size. It does not contain any coat of arms, but only crests and heraldic and ornamental devices. Pennon comes from the Latin penna meaning "a wing" or "a feather"; the pennon was sometimes pointed, but more forked or swallow-tailed at the end. In the 11th century, the pennon was square, the fly end being decorated with the addition of pointed tongues or streamers, somewhat similar to the oriflamme. During the reign of Henry III, the pennon acquired the distinctive swallow-tail, or the single-pointed shape. Another version of the single-pointed pennon was introduced in the 13th century. In shape this was a scalene triangle, obtained by cutting diagonally the vertically oblong banner.
The pennon was a purely personal ensign. It was the flag of the knight bachelor, as apart from the knight banneret, carried by him on his lance, displaying his personal armorial bearings, set out so that they stood in correct position when he couched his lance for charging. A manuscript of the 16th century in the British Museum, which gives detailed particulars as to the size and bearings of the standards, banners and pennoncells, says "a pennon must be two yards and a half long, made round at the end, contain the arms of the owner," and warns that "from a standard or streamer a man may flee but not from his banner or pennon bearing his arms." A pennoncell was a diminutive pennon carried by the esquires. Pennons were used for any special ceremonial occasion, more at state funerals. For instance, there were "XII doz. penselles" among the items that figured at the funeral of the Duke of Norfolk in 1554, in the description of the lord mayor's procession in 1555, it reads "two goodly pennes decked with flags and streamers, a 1000 penselles."
Among the items that ran the total cost of the funeral of Oliver Cromwell up to an enormous sum of money, there is the mention of 30 dozen of pennoncells a foot long and costing 20 shillings a dozen, 20 dozen of the same kind of flags at 12 shillings a dozen. The streamer, so called in Tudor days but now better known as the pennant or pendant, was a long, tapering flag, which it was directed "shall stand in the top of a ship or in the forecastle, therein be put no arms, but the man's cognisance or device, may be of length 20, 30, 40 or 60 yards, is slit as well as a guidon or standard". Among the fittings of the ship that took Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, to France in the reign of Henry VII was a "great streamer for the ship 40 yards in length 8 yards in breadth". Besides the white ensign, ships commissioned in the Royal Navy fly a long streamer from the maintopgallant masthead. This, called a pennant, is the sign of command, is first hoisted when a captain commissions his ship; the pennant, the old "pennoncell", was of three colours for the whole of its length, towards the end left separate in two or three tails, so continued until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
Now, however the pennant is a long white streamer with the St George's cross in the inner portion close to the mast. Pennants have been carried by men-of-war from the earliest times, prior to 1653 at the yard-arm, but since that date at the maintopgallant masthead. There are other navies that fly pennant in a similar manner; the commissioning pennant in ships may end in a point, but they can be forked, in which case it is called a banderole. Pennants are associated with American sports teams, such as Major League Baseball and college sports teams. In Australian rules football, a pennant is awarded to the winner of major competitions. For many years, this was the only prize given; as a result, a League Championship is referred to as a "pennant", as in, "The Giants win the Pennant!" And in Australian football, a premiership can be referred to as a "flag". In the Netherlands, an orange pennon is always used on the King's Day, it is flown alongside the standard Dutch flag. The Dutch provinces each have a pennon as well.
Campaign streamer Heraldic standard Household pennants of Finland Pennant Pennant OED staff. "banderol | bandrol | bannerol, n.". Oxford English Dictionary. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1885. Rutt, John Towill, ed. "Cromwell's death and funeral order", Diary of Thomas Burton esq, volume 2: April 1657 – February 1658, Institute of Historical Research, pp. 516–530Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Swinburne, H Lawrence. "Flag". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 10. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 456–459
An ensign is the national flag flown on a vessel to indicate citizenry. The ensign is the largest flag flown at the stern of the ship while in port; the naval ensign, used on warships, may be different from the yacht ensign. Large versions of naval ensigns called; the ensign differs from the jack, flown from a jackstaff at the bow of a vessel. In its widest sense, an ensign is just other standard; the European military rank of ensign, once responsible for bearing a unit's standard derives from it. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, derives from the command of a unit or units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, is a general officer. In Arab armies, "ensign" is a unit title equivalent to a Western brigade, as a rank is equivalent to a divisional commander. Ensigns, such as the ancient Roman ensigns in the Arch of Constantine, are not always flags. In nautical use, the ensign is flown on a boat to indicate its appartenance. While this includes its nationality, it may well indicate more information rather than being the national flag itself.
This is common for commonwealth and European countries. Ensigns are at the stern flagstaff when in port, may be shifted to a gaff or mast amidships when the ship is under way, becoming known as a steaming ensign. Vexillologists distinguish three varieties of a national flag when used as an ensign: A civil ensign is worn by merchant and pleasure vessels. In some countries the yacht ensign, used on recreational boats or ships instead of merchant vessels, differs from the civil ensign. A state ensign or government ensign is worn by government vessels, such as coast guard ships. A naval ensign is used by a country's navy. Many countries do not distinguish among these uses, employ only one national flag and ensign in all cases. Other countries use different ensigns; such ensigns are regulated and indicate if the vessel is a warship, a merchant ship, a ship under contract to carry mail, or a yacht, for example. Several Commonwealth countries' national flags had their origin in the ensigns of their original colonising power, the United Kingdom.
Most notable of these national flags are those of Australia, New Zealand, several smaller island nations. It is very that the original design from which the flag of the United States developed was influenced by the British Red Ensign or the flag of the East India Company. With the creation of independent air forces and the growth in civil aviation in the first half of the 20th century, a range of distinguishing flags and ensigns were adopted; these may be divided into civil air ensigns. In heraldry, an ensign is the ornament or sign, such as the crown, coronet, or mitre, borne above the charge or arms. Distinguishing mark Maritime flag