Different dimensions of a standard bearer exist. Standards today are usually the same in size as small flags. The following are some of the most common standards used.
Strictly speaking, the word bearer refers to the person carrying the flag / ensign / standard. However, the term is sometimes utilized for the flag as well.
Standard / Flag Size Guide
The dimensions often depend on the occasion. The most frequently used are 3′ x 5, 4′ x 6′ and 5′ x 8′. These sizes are often used for flags set on poles. The ones carried by a bearer are a bit smaller than this. Some ensigns are small while others are oversized.
Function of the Bearer
Regardless of the dimensions of a standard bearer, the role is the same. The bearer is a soldier or civilian who has the flag or emblem. It is not always a flag. In some cases, the ensign is made up of a mobile but inflexible image. This is frequently honored as a symbol of the state (i.e., a flag).
It can also be a military unit symbol or a sign of personal status (that of a king, prince, etc). The duty may be permanent or occasional. An example of an occasional duty is of a bearer in a parade. The permanent type is often the one in the battlefield. During battle, a bearer may be assigned to lead the charge while carrying the nation’s flag.
Different terms are used denoting the kind of standard the bearer is carrying. During Roman times, the standard was called Aqula. Other standards used during Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine times were Bandum, Vexillum, Signum, Semaphoros and Draco. The term flag bearer is synonymous with the one used for those bearing standards.
The Roman Standard
Various dimensions of a standard bearer were carried by Roman soldiers. The ensign bearer was part of the junior officers in the centurion. The standards were crucial in holding units together. Lots of standards and ensigns were used by the Romans. This made it easier for soldiers to see them. These standards served various roles. They were used as recognition signals, signaling troops and as rallying points.
Standards were also used for religious rituals by Roman soldiers. They were regarded as sacred. They symbolized the military’s soul. Some of the most widely used were the signa, Banners, and Manus. The Banner came in various sizes and served numerous purposes.