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Sámos (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2013-06-15 by ivan sache
Keywords: samos | cross (white) | cross (red) |
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Presentation of Sámos

The municipality of Sámos (33,814 inhabitants in 2001; 47,740 ha) is made of the island of the same name, located off the western coast of Turkey. The island is mostly known for its sweet wines.

Ivan Sache, 2 February 2005

The Greeks rebells controlled Sámos during the War of Independence, but it was returned to the Ottoman Empire in 1830, with special conditions. The Principality of Samos was created in December 1832, under Ottoman sovereignty. The island lived in peace until 1908, when the islanders revolted against Turkey. Prince Andrew Kopasis followed an anti-Greek policy and was murdered on 22 May 1912. His successor, Gregory Vegleris, was pro-Greek.
In May 1912, Turkey withdrew its army from the island when the war against Italy broke out and in September the Greek islanders, led by Themistocles Sofoules, revolted again. Vegleris escaped and on 24 November 1912 the island was incorporated to Greece.
In 1925 there was a conflict and some discussion about the proclamation of the independence of the island, but nothing happened.

Jaume Ollé, 26 September 1996

Quoting the Vathi website:

Themistocles Sofoules is one of the most eminent personalities of Sámos, during the last twelve-year period of the Principality. (...) In September 1912, Sámos revolted under his leadership and on 11 November 1912 the island's national assembly declared its union with "the free Greek Kingdom".
The union was formally established in March, 1913. For two years, until 1914, the Temporary Government of Sámos ruled the island, having Themistocles Sofoules as President. From that moment on, Sámos became an integral part of the Greek state.

Jan Mertens, 2 January 2004

Sámos during the Greek War of Independence

The flag of the fleet from Sámos is blue with a red border. At bottom is a red crescent, pointing downward. Atop the crescent is a red cross in the middle, a red spear on the right. To the left of the cross is a yellow coiled snake. In the upper left corner is a white boat anchor.

According to the Naval Museum of Chania (Crete), the cross stands for Christendom (Greece), the crescent for Islam (Turkey), the snake for wisdom, knowledge and reason, the anchor for stability, the spear for power and the bird for the help from God.
The combination of these elements probably represents the resurrection of the Greek nation: the cross overpowers the crescent moon. To bring about a successful fight however power (the spear) was required, as well as stability and perseverance (anchor), knowledge and wisdom (snake), and God's help through faith and religion (bird).

The book Hellenic flags [k7k97] explains that the flag of the fleet from Sámos knew several variants, still with the same elements, cross, crescent, etc... The bird is in fact an owl biting the tongue of the snake. The red border symbolizes the blood of the Turks, the anchor the hope for the successful outcome of the cause, the cross stands for faith in justice and the owl for prudence. Of course various interpretations of these elements exist and have existed.

Bruce Tindall & Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999

Principality of Sámos (1832-1912)

Principality of Samos

Flag of the Principality of Sámos - Image by Herman De Wael, 26 September 1996

The book Hellenic flags [k7k97] shows the flag of the Principality of Sámos, officially used from 1834 to 24 November 1912, as divided by a white cross, with red upper quarters and blue lower quarters.

Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999

The German flag chart Die Flaggen der Kriegs- und Handels-Marinen aller Staaten der Erde (The flags of the navies and merchant navies of all the states of the world, Moritz Rühl, Leipzig, 9th edition, no year given but showing the flag of French president Émile Loubet, 1899-1906) labels this flag Handelsflagge (civil ensign).

Jan Mertens, 22 December 2003

[Samos (incorrect version)]

Other reported flag of the Principality of Sámos - Image by Željko Heimer, 22 December 2003

A red over blue flag with a small white cross near the hoist is shown as the flag of Sámos by Lloyd's House Flags and Funnels, 1912 [llo12], available online on the Mystic Seaport Library website.

Ned Smith, 22 December 2003

The aforementioned German flag chart Die Flaggen der Kriegs- und Handels-Marinen aller Staaten der Erde shows this flag as Staatsflagge (state flag), but with the cross as thick as on the "civil ensign".

Jan Mertens, 22 December 2003

[Princely standard]         [Princely standard]

Standard of the Prince of Sámos
Left, after Hellenic flags [k7k97] - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999
Right, after Fezvi Kurtoğlu [kur92] - Image by Jaume Ollé, 8 October 1996

The standard of the Prince of Sámos was blue with in the center a triangle charged with a Greek cross. Some sources says that the triangle is white and the cross red, whereas other sources show a red triangle and a white cross.

Jaume Ollé & Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999

On a Samos website, the two images on top show the island's flag and the princely flag held by a policeman. The last image on the sixth row (inauguration of horse tram, 1905) shows the island's flag together with the princely flag. If we compare the various hues on these flags, may we not conclude that the cross-bearing triangle was indeed white?

The aforementioned German flag chart Die Flaggen der Kriegs- und Handels-Marinen aller Staaten der Erde shows the Prince's standard as a blue flag with a white triangle charged with a red cross, the cross being much smaller than on the image shown above.

Jan Mertens, 2 January 2004