Naval signal code Language in Yeia | World Anvil

Naval signal code


  The Naval signal code was invented by the Ikarian Imperial Navy in the first century AP as a way of issuing orders to a vast fleet., from its flagship.   In the past, when the Imperial navy operated in small squadrons the orders like turning to one direction, change formation or attack an specific target where issued from ship to ship via speakers. As the squadrons grew in size forming entire task forces or regional navies numbering dozens or even hundreds of ships speakers became quite ineffective and a new way need to be invented.   The Imperial Navy came up with a new idea in the 120s AP coinciding with a program of expansion of the Ikarian navy. This new method of communicating information and issuing commands to other ships will be copied by most of the great navies of Yeia in the centuries to come. This system was based by signals made by flags, lanterns and, after the invention of Gunpowder by cannon fire.   The Ikarians used it with great success during the Seris-Ikarian war in the 3rd century AP against the Imperial Seris Navy (despite the defeat at that war), were they managed to defeat this navy with very impressive victories. The Seris fleet was able to secure the crossing of the Suris Strait only thanks to an storm that prevented the Imperial Navy to exit their ports.   The Navy of the Republic of Valia also used this code system when it defeated the Seris navy in the 6th century, and thus achieving full independence for the young republic.    

How the code works

  As it has been said, orders according to this new system were issued with flags, lanterns and cannon fire.  


  This is the most common type of issuing signals to other ships. The position of the flags and the arms of the person who is wielding the flags has different meanings. For example:  
  • T shape posture of the sailor with the flags: The ship that the sailor is issuing orders to must turn and place itself behind the ship from which the sailor is moving the flags.
  • Yellow flag up and red flag pointing to your boat: Your ship must turn right
  • Yellow glag up and reg flag pointing to the left: Your ship must turn left.
  • Both flags crossed over the sailor’s head: Stop rowing
  • Moving both flags upwards and downwards: Ramming speed.


  This method is usually done during the night replacing the flags with magical lanterns or lanterns with a lot of fireflies inside. These lanterns are designed as a box with bars that go up and down with a lever, producing flashes of light. the number of flashes can mean different things, for example:  
  • Two flashes: Message understood
  • 3 flashes/pause/2 flashes: Enemy spotted
  • 4 flashes: turn right
  • 3 flashes: turn left
  • 1/pause/4 flashes: careful with the rocks
  • 5 flashes: prepare artillery pieces

Cannon fire

With the invention of gunpowder and cannons (which were first used by the Ikarian navy after the 5th century and later by its successor states), a new way of communication between ships appeared. This method is mainly used by war galleys armed with cannons and also by carracks and by the new type of ships invented by the Blatians, the galleons.   Cannon fire is mostly used for communicating the number of approaching enemy ships. One cannon shot means one ship, 10 means 10 enemy ships etc... . According to the regulations of the Imperial Blatian Navy, when such report is done by a ship the rest of the ships of the fleet, including the flag ships has to shoot one salvo that means: Message understood. If this answer is not done, then the ship that is communication this report must repeat the cannonade.    

Navies that use this code

  Aside from cannon fire that is only used by the navies of the Kingdom of Cloudia, the Blatian Empire and the Republic of Valia , this system has been widely adopted by many powerful navies thanks to having sent their admirals and officers to training in the Imperial Naval Academy in Blati, the most advanced in the known world.   Among the navies that use this naval code we found the Stormitian and Wesdalandian navies (Both rivals in the Storm Sea, famous for their naval arms race), the navies of the Kingdom of Oronia and Steplia (both fighting for predominance in the Thyssalis Sea) and the Royal Green Elf Navy and the Ducal Navy of Liwal.   Nowadays some Seris admirals are trying to convince their Emperor to send a group of officers to Blati in order to study and adopt this successful system of communication.

Cover image: Blatian carrack by Pieter Bruegel the Elder


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28 Jul, 2023 23:19

It's fun that there are many ways to signal. I love picturing the lanterns the most.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet