Flag of Benin Empire may be the best flag depicting a decapitation in the history of the world

This flag, for the long-defunct Benin Empire, may just be the ne plus ultra of sigils. I think that when I am god-emperor of some distant land, I shall install it as my standard.

Flag of the Benin Empire (via Kottke)


  1. Corsica’s flag has a decapitated black enemy king, just the head, which is blindfolded. Sorta sells the island, don’t it?

    1. @wobblesthegoose
      The thing that makes Mozambique’s flag striking is that it depicts an unusually modern weapon for a symbol. Look at the Great Seal of the United States and find a bird of prey clutching arrows.

      But where other symbols might be explained away as depicting preparedness for outside threats, this flag demonstrates naked violence–making it the most honest banner for government I’ve seen.

  2. I like how the guy being decapitated looks like he could have been offering a handshake at the time. We come in peac…

    1. Actually, I thought it looked like the decapitatee was doing some sort of song and dance number. I guess it the kingdom was a tough audience for vaudeville.

  3. I wish I knew about this when I was doing my grade 10 French project on Benin. Tracing this onto an overhead transparency would have been so much more awesome than my list of major exports.

  4. A friend once told me that my flag would be a minotaur fucking a centaur. I don’t know what that says about me, but I always envisioned it looking a lot like this.

  5. It’s not bad, but it needs to be contemporized. There’s plenty of room in that red field for bold white capital letters reading PWNED or LOL STFU.

    1. This is not , and never has been, the flag of any Benin Empire.

      And you know this because…..?

  6. @ Darcy Casselman – IIRC this is from the 17th c Benin Empire, a former state in Nigeria, not the republic of Benin / Dahomey = not from what is modern-day Benin.

  7. Is the guy on the left holding a sword or is that the T-1000?

    I personally always liked the shipwreck on the Bermuda flag. Some countries would try to gloss over the fact that they were (quite literally) founded by accident, but not them.

  8. Is it certain that the flag image is in the public domain? You might have to pay compensation to the Obo, of the House of Chiefs, for the use of the image. Or permission may be denied and you could be served with a take down notice! Take down that flag, imperialist oppressor!

  9. Gabriel?

    On dit ‘Nec plus ultra’, oui. On dit aussi ‘NE plus ultra’. Les deux sont tout a fait superduper et supercool. Peut être pas en France, mais pour le monde entiere d’ailleures, ca marche tres bien, merci beaucoup, bon nuit et au revoir.


  10. History lesson — the person depicted on the left with the sword is Benin. What is less known is that the person depicted on the right is named Jerry, and the country used to be named for them both.

  11. That beats the hell out of the pussy Canadian and American flags. Maple leaves and stars? Sounds like multi-colored marshmallow bits.

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