Last modified: 2009-11-07 by ivan sache
Keywords: aegean state |
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Alleged flag of the Aegean State, 1912, design and existence unconfirmed - Image by Christian Kretowicz, 26 August 2009
I had read some online sources which said that the Dodecanese islands proclaimed a state before the Italian occupation, which commenced 27 April, but all the published books, journals, and contemporary newspapers I've found mention only the attempt in June 1912, after the Italian occupation. Nothing about any prior attempt, or "Federation of the Dodecanese" from any source to which I'd give a lot of credence.
Further, from what I have read, the Italians initial aims did not include annexing the Dodecanese. The invasion was undertaken for strategic reasons, to block any Turkish attempt to send reinforcements to Libya, which was Italy's intended annexation. The occupation of the isles stretched out longer than planned - first as a bargaining chip to guarantee Turkish compliance with theterms of the peace treaty; secondly because of the unsettled conditions around the Balkan Wars; then because of Italo-Ottoman belligerence in WWI. After the war Italy was going to cede the Dodecanese to Greece in return for a free hand on the coast of southern Anatolia. It wasn't until the aftermath of Ataturk's victories thwarted those plans that Italy actually annexed the Dodecanese.
The full text of the proclamation of the "Aegean State" issued on the island of Patmos, on 17th June 1912, can be found on page 329 of "The Island of Roses and her Eleven sisters, or the Dodecanese from the Earliest Time Down to the Present Day" (Michael D. Volonakis; Macmillan and Co.; London; 1922) - the book can be found online at Google Books
Ned Smith, 24 August 2009
The book Feasts of Memory says it was a white flag on blue, with a portrait of the god Apollo.
The aforementioned proclamation indeed says: "... VI. Give as symbol of this State a blue flag intersected in the middle by a white cross and, as emblem, the portrait of Appollon Helios."
Unfortunately, no illustration was provided - and we must remember that at this point we don't know if one was ever done; let alone whether an actual flag was ever produced.
Clause VI in the proclamation, while a bit ambiguous, does seem to read as if the emblem was meant to be a separate item, and not part of the flag.
The Italian occupation authorities rejected the islanders' proclamation, forced their congress to disband, and arrested some of the leaders. So I would conclude it as almost certain that they would not allow the flying of this flag. Heck, one source I read said the Italian occupiers even forbade the Greeks to paint their houses blue and white.
Ned Smith, 29 August 2009
I've found in my old paper files a drawing of the flag labeled as: "Aegean State - June 1912" which Mr. Alfred Znamierowski kindly let me copy from his enormous files in the early 1980s while he resided in Point Loma, San Diego, California. It is a blue flag with the wide white cross centered on it. Possibly, there was a version with Appolon Helios displayed on that white cross also, but how the emblem could look - - I have no idea.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 26 August 2009