# Generalized flag variety

In mathematics, a **generalized flag variety** (or simply **flag variety**) is a homogeneous space whose points are flags in a finite-dimensional vector space *V* over a field **F**. When **F** is the real or complex numbers, a generalized flag variety is a smooth or complex manifold, called a **real** or **complex** **flag manifold**. Flag varieties are naturally projective varieties.

Flag varieties can be defined in various degrees of generality. A prototype is the variety of complete flags in a vector space *V* over a field **F**, which is a flag variety for the special linear group over **F**. Other flag varieties arise by considering partial flags, or by restriction from the special linear group to subgroups such as the symplectic group. For partial flags, one needs to specify the sequence of dimensions of the flags under consideration. For subgroups of the linear group, additional conditions must be imposed on the flags.

In the most general sense, a generalized flag variety is defined to mean a **projective homogeneous variety**, that is, a smooth projective variety *X* over a field **F** with a transitive action of a reductive group *G* (and smooth stabilizer subgroup; that is no restriction for **F** of characteristic zero). If *X* has an **F**-rational point, then it is isomorphic to *G*/*P* for some parabolic subgroup *P* of *G*. A projective homogeneous variety may also be realised as the orbit of a highest weight vector in a projectivized representation of *G*. The complex projective homogeneous varieties are the compact flat model spaces for Cartan geometries of parabolic type. They are homogeneous Riemannian manifolds under any maximal compact subgroup of *G*, and they are precisely the coadjoint orbits of compact Lie groups.

Flag manifolds can be symmetric spaces. Over the complex numbers, the corresponding flag manifolds are the Hermitian symmetric spaces. Over the real numbers, an *R*-space is a synonym for a real flag manifold and the corresponding symmetric spaces are called symmetric *R*-spaces.