Byzantine flags and insignia
For most of its history, the Byzantine Empire did not know or use heraldry in the West European sense. Various emblems (Greek: σημεία, sēmeia; sing. σημείον, sēmeion) were used in official occasions and for military purposes, such as banners or shields displaying various motifs such as the cross or the labarum. The use of the cross, and of images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and various saints is also attested on seals of officials, but these were personal rather than family emblems.