The symbols and adventures of the Greek flag

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The Kefalonia Pulse

From the private flames of ’21 to the establishment of our official national symbol. Every king added something, every state change made changes, and every fifty years its dimensions changed. The flag of the land and sea, the crown, the saints and the golden ball on its pole.

On January 27, 1978, the great adventure of the Greek flag was completed, beginning with the revolution of 1821. On this date, the government of Constantine Karamanlis established by law the single formula we know today, namely the nine white and blue stripes at its upper left end.

When the revolution of ’21 broke out, each chieftain made his own flamboyant and each region had its own flag. They had all the cross, but the other designs and colors were at will. They put on the Byzantine biceps, the regenerated palm tree, anchors, the purple, sometimes the pirate’s black when mounted on boats or local saints embroidered on it. This was perfectly normal, since pre-revolutionary Greece had strong self-government structures and a strong sense of local authority. Also, each chieftain was the sole master of his own military body who maintained by his own means, so he considered it perfectly normal to have his own flamboyant.

As for the pattern of the classic Greek flag we know, with the blue, white and big cross in the middle, there is a revolutionary legend about its creation. According to him, in the capture of Tripolitsa, Papaflesas cut the inside of his blue robe, put a chieftain to cut two strips of his white skirt and made the blue flag with the white cross in the middle.

Its shape and colors in two versions were decided by the National Assembly of Epidaurus in 1822. The blue with the big cross in the center was designated the flag of the land and the one with the stripes and the small cross on the left as the flag of the sea. And the flag of the sea had two versions, the martial and the commercial. The Merchant Navy’s flag was a mere inversion of the Navy’s colors, its cross being blue and its white background. The life of this flag was short, only six years. In 1828, the flag of the sea became unified, as it was recognized that merchant ships had also taken part in the national liberation struggle with self-sacrifices similar to those of the martial arts and that they also provided valuable services to the nation.

As for the symbolisms, they are obvious. The flag symbolizes the relationship of the Greek nation with Orthodoxy, blue is the color of the sea that surrounds us and white is the color of its waves. Throughout our history, every king has added or subtracted something to the state flag, and every state change in the country has had its effect on the national symbol.

Otto made the flag blue darker to resemble the national color of Bavaria and added the royal emblems. During the reign of George I the royal crown was placed in the center of the cross and in 1864 it entered the flags of the infantry bearing the figure of St. George. Royal emblems and crowns were removed twice, in the banishment of Otto in 1862 and in the interwar period of ruthless democracy (1924-1935), when the Venizelians ousted the king. The royal symbols were restored as soon as Kondylis restored the kingdom.

In 1930 a golden bullet with a cross on top was added to the web of the infantry and evangelical flag. Also, when the junta of the colonels broke with the king in 1967, he removed the crown from the flags, which he never returned. Many adventures also had the dimensions of the flag. Each time the symbols or colors changed, the dimensions also changed, as everything in the national symbol had to be specified in detail.

By decree of 1930 the scale was 2 to 3, the junta was changed to 7 to 12, to be 2 to 3 in 1978. This Greek patent to have more than one flag or flag with many versions.

Since 1978, the only change has been in 1980, when the image of Michael Archangel was added to the aviation flag.


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