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Turkey in the "Book of All Kingdoms" (late 14th century)

Last modified: 2013-03-27 by ivan sache
Keywords: book of all kingdoms | natalia | satalia | corincho | troy | cross (red) | cunio | semiso | samsun | trebizond | eagle: double-headed (yellow) | ferandelfia | philadelphia | atologo | hexagram (black) | palolimen | sakaria |
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The "Book of All Kingdoms"

The "Book of All Kingdoms" [f0fXX], of 1350, tells the voyages of an anonymous Castilian friar and is illustrated with 113 flag images, referred to (though seldom described) in the text.

António Martins, 3 November 2007

The Hakluyt Society edition (1912) [f0f12] of the "Book" notes that there are three to four texts, which were designated as "R" [f0fXXr], "N" [f0fXXn] and "S" [f0fXXs]. "R" is the more modern and has 41 leaves; "N" has 67 leaves, but incomplete and appears to be from the latter XVth century, while the "S" codex is the most complete and in the national library in Madrid. The Society notes that there are differences in the codices. The Hakluyt Society version is translated from the edition produced in 1877 by Don Marcos Jimeñez de la Espada [f0f77], who appears to have used the "S" codex and gave each codex its designation.

Phil Nelson, 19 November 2007


"Province of Turkey"

[Flag of the Province of Turkey]

Flag of the "Province of Turkey" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 December 2009

The 39th flag mentioned and (more or less) illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to Turkey, la provincia de la Turquía, la cual antigua mente dezían Asia la Menor, do son muchas provincias departidas e muchos señoríos (the province of Turkey, which in ancient times was called Asia Minor, where are many subdivided provinces and many lordships).
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows an empty flag outline, in the ogival default shape of this source. The edge of the flag is dashed, so it does not seem to be a plain white flag. I have no idea where this comes from, as the text mentions an image.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: E el rey d'esta provincia á por señales un pendón atal (And the king of this province has for device a pendon like this).

António Martins, 19 November 2007


"Natalia" / "Satalia" (Antalya?)

[Flag of Natalia]

Flag of "Natalia" / "Satalia" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 December 2009

The 38th flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" [f0fXX] is attributed to "Natalia", apparently Antalya, a town in south-western Turkey.
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a white flag with five horizontal purple wavy stripes and over all a black thin hexagram; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: El rey d'esta Natalia á por señales un pendón con ondas blancas e cárdenas, e cerca de la vara un signo atal (The king of this Natalia has for device a pendon with purple and white waves, and near the rod a symbol like this). This description contradicts the image, which has the hexagram roughly centered.

António Martins, 19 November 2007

The text of the "Book" translated in National Geographic (1917) [gmc17] refers to the Solomon's seal as the name of the device, so I thought that the original text would have included such attribution - as the translated text provides description under quotation marks. The translated text seems to attribute this flag to "Satalia", a town in Naturi province, Anatolia. With so much diifference in names and details of spelling, I question weather the writers of the National Geographic translation had the same original text in front of them as the one used for the Spanish transcription in 2005. Several variations of the book might have already been published in the 14th century and subsequently copied.

Željko Heimer, 19 November 2007

The Hakluyt Society version [f0f12] of the "Book" lists "Satalia" for the attribution and shows the image as above, as well as the description of "bars wavy and argent purpure and all over the Seal of Solomon".

Phil Nelson, 19 November 2007


"Corincho"

[Flag of Corincho]

Flag of "Corincho" - Image by António Martins, 19 November 2007

The 40th flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is apparently attributed to the town of "Corincho". The anonymous author of the "Book" reports he sailed along the Turkish (southern) shore to the town of Candebor, then to the town of Antroceta, and then to the town of Corincho. He further notes that there are a lot of provinces nearby (Escapadocia, Felicia, Boescia, Vitilia, Gala, Cililidia, Frigia, Panfilia, and Isauria), and then describes the flag of the king of "this" land.
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a black flag with a white cross throughout and four small crosses couped on each quadrant; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: El rey d'esta tierra á por señales un pendón prieto con cinco cruzes blancas atales (The king of this land has for device a black pendon with five crosses like this).

António Martins, 19 November 2007


"Troy"

[Flag of Troy]

Flag of "Troy" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 22 November 2007

The 41st flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to "Troy", as "Troia".
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a horizontally divided flag, the upper half white with a red cross throughout and the bottom half yellow with a red square centered on it; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: E sus señales son un pendón a meitades, la una meitad blanca con una cruz bermeja tal, e la otra meitat amarilla con una cuadra bermeja atal (And his device is a pendon in halves, the one half white with such a red cross and, and the other half yellow with a red square like this).

António Martins, 19 November 2007

Is it clear in the source that this is supposed to be the flag of Troy? National Geographic (1917) [gmc17] labels it the flag of "Turquia". But reading the excerpt they cite makes me wonder if both might be misattributions because of the author's ambiguity - he starts by saying he came to "the city they call Feradelfia or Feradelfin (Philadelphia), which marches on that of Troy, which in ancient times King Menelaus of Greece destroyed. Troy was the head of all that Asia Minor which they now call Turquia, and its device is ..."
I wonder if the author actually meant for that to be the flag of Philadelphia, and a later copyist added punctuation around a parenthetical aside about Troy and Turkey, creating a false sentence structure not originally intended.
The author states Troy was destroyed in ancient times. It would be surprising if an Islamic Turkey had a cross on its flag. Philadelphia (now Alasehir, Turkey) however, was the last Byzantine outpost in Asia Minor to fall. For over 60 years prior to its capture in 1390 by the Turks it existed as a Christian-ruled enclave surrounded entirely by Turkish emirates. So at the time the Book of Knowledge was compiled it would make sense for Philadelphia's flag to bear a cross.

Ned Smith, 20 November 2007

Hardly anything is clear about this subject but here is the quote from the 2005 Spanish scholar, illustrated, transcription of one of the manuscripts (which one?) of the "Book":
Salé d'esta Corincho e fui a una cibdat que dizen Feradelfia o Feradelfin, la cual confina con los términos de Troya, la que destruyó el rey Menalao de Grecia. E antiguamente esta Troya era cabeça de toda Asia la Menor, que agora dizen Turquía.
So, your assumption of this being the flag of "Filadelfia" still makes sense but the convoluted phrasing above does not add, nor does it subtract, credence to it.

António Martins, 20 November 2007


"Cunio"

[Flag of Cunio]

Flag of "Cunio" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 18 December 2009

The 42nd flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to "Cunio".
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a white flag with four red horizontal wavy stripes; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: El rey dende á por señales son un pendón con ondas blancas e berjemas tales (The king thereof has for device a pendon with white and red waves like this).

António Martins, 20 November 2007


"Lesser Armenia"

[Flag of Lesser Armenia]

Flag of "Lesser Armenia" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 December 2009

The 45th flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to "Lesser Armenia", in present day south central Turkey. Note that, in this source, this image comes 45th but the 45th text obviously describes obviously the 44th flag, Cyprus.
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows an empty flag outline, in the ogival default shape of this source. The edge of the flag is dashed, so it does not seem to be a plain white flag. I have no idea where this comes from, as the text mentions an image.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: El rey dende á estas señales (The king thereof has his device).

António Martins, 20 November 2007


"Semiso" (Samsun)

[Flag of Semiso]

Flag of "Semiso" (Samsun) - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 8 December 2009

The 102nd flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to "Semiso", identified as Samsun in the Hakluyt Society edition (1912) [f0f12] of the "Book".
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a white flag with a smallish central emblem; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source. The emblem consists of three superimposed elements, all outlined in black: a white top-pointing equilateral triangle, with a bottom-poiting equilateral triangle, and a yellow four-petal flower.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: E el rey dende ha por señales un pendón blanco con un signo tal como este (And the king has for his device a white flag with a sign like this).
According to the Hakluyt Society edition (1912) [f0f12] of the "Book", the above image matches manuscript "S" [f0fXXs].

António Martins, 23 December 2007


"Empire of Trebizond"

[Flag of Trebizond]

Flag of the "Empire of Trebizond" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 January 2010

The 101st flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to the Empire of Trebizond, which lasted from 1204 to 1461, and was located in current north-eastern coastal Turkey.
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a red flag with a yellow double-headed, displayed eagle, with black details; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: E el emperador de Trapesonda ha por señales un pendón bermejo con un águila de oror con dos cabeças d'esta manera (The Emperor of Trapesonda has for his device a red flag with a golden two-headed eagle - translation as provided in the Hakluyt Society edition (1912) [f0f12] of the "Book").
The Hakluyt Society edition shows this flag as #85 (on plate 18 between p. 56-57), quoting manuscript "S" [f0fXXs], image just like shown above.

António Martins, 22 December 2007

"Ferandelfia" (Philadelphia / Alaşehir) - "Faya"

[Flag of Ferandelfia]

Flag of "Ferandelfia" (Philadelphia / Alaşehir) and "Faya" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 December 2009

The 105th flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to the towns of Ferandelfia and Faya; the former may be Philadelphia, current Alaşehir, Turkey.
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a white flag with four stripes of (in grey shade used for) purple (cárdena) and near the hoist a red Latin cross patty; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: El rey d'estas cibdades ha por señales un pendón con vandas blancas e cárdenas e cerca de la vara una cruz bermeja e el campo blanco tal (The king of these cities has for device a pendon with white and purple septs, and near the pole a red cross and the field white).
The Hakluyt Society edition (1912) [f0f12] of the "Book" quotes a significantly different text: "The king has for his device a flag parted per pale, argent and azure and on a field argent a cross gules", surely due to diverging content of the origonal manuscripts. It shows this as #84 (on plate 18 between p. 56-57), quoting manuscript "S" [f0fXXs], image just like shown above, including the greyish stripes.
Likewise, the presentation differs. While the Hakluyt Society edition mentions "... Feradelfia, and found a rich and well supplied city", the Spanish transcription gives more details, Ferandelfia de que ya conté de suso, e dende fui a Faya, una rica cibdad e abondada (Ferandelfia of which I already told, thence I went to Faya, a rich and well-supplied city), then proceeding to describe the flag of "these cities".

António Martins, 24 December 2007


"Kingdom of Atologo"

[Flag of Atologo]

Flag of the "Kingdom of Atologo" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 9 February 2009

The 106th flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to the "Kingdom of Atologo", located possibly in current northern coastal Turkey.
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a red flag with a black disk; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: E el rey dende ha por señales un pendón bermejo e en medio una rueda prieta d'esat manera (The King has for his device a red flag charged with a black wheel - translation as provided in the Hakluyt Society edition (1912) [f0f12] of the "Book").

António Martins, 22 December 2007


"Palolimen" (Sakaria)

[Flag of Palolimen]

Flag of "Palolimen" - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 23 December 2009

The 104th flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed to "Palolimen", identified in the Hakluyt Society edition (1912) [f0f12] as "Sakaria, near Scutari". Scutari can be many modern places, but this one was surely the current Scutari / Üsküdar in north central Turkey (Roman Bithynia). Sakaria / Sakarya is the name of a river and a province in modern Turkey.
The 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription of the "Book" [f0f05] shows a white flag with a red emblem, consisting of a red crescent pointing to the hoist off set to the fly and a device consisting of a vertical bar ending in a ring on the top and in the base a an arm of a cross patty, with a shorter such element attached to its hoist side lacking the ring; the flag is shown in the ogival default shape of this source.
The anonymous author of the "Book" describes the flag thusly: El rey dende ha por señales vt. infra (The King thereof has for device see below). The Hakluyt Society edition (1912) of the "Book" does not include this sentence.
This flag appears five times in the Spanish transcription of the "Book", as the 61st, 104th, 107th, 109th and 110th flags.

António Martins, 24 December 2007