I agree standards were useful to keep fighting units together, but I think more importantly, the standard bearer always stayed with the leader so their men knew where he was. They needed to protect him &
look to him for orders. If the standard fell, that meant they were without command. The standard of the general (often the king) was particularly vital. If it fell, the battle, with few exceptions, was lost. With no
one to follow the men lost heart & would usually try to flee.
The expression “rally around the flag” means to protect the leader, in America we more commonly use it to mean honoring our country or preserving the Constitution. “Raise up a standard,” means to lead into battle; “take up the fallen standard” means to take over someone’s failed cause; and “captured their flag” means an indisputable triumph. (The general’s private detatchment would make every effort to gather up a fallen standard. To let the enemy capture it was the ultimate shame. Not only was it viewed as cowardice, but there were periods when such bitter defeat was believed to be a sign from God of the entire people’s moral inferiority.
[[ I have edited the link so it works. – CKDextHavn ]]
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