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Macedonia: The 1992-1995 flag

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by
Keywords: sun: vergina | sun: 16 rays (yellow) | proposal | lion (yellow) | mountain (blue) | error | controversy |
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Macedonia 1992 flagby Željko Heimer

See also:

Adoption of the flag

At independence in 1992, the flag of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia was retained until it was replaced with the flag with the so-called sun of Vergina.

Željko Heimer, 18 November 1999

The controversy with Greece

The Greek point of view

Greece protests against the use of "Greek" symbols and names made by Macedonian Government. Among these controversial symbols there is the device (like a sun) which appears in the middle of the Macedonian flag.

Why does Greece object to the use of the "Vergina Sun" on the FYROM flag?
The Vergina Sun, the emblem of Philip's dynasty, symbolizes the birth of our nation. It was the first time (4th century BC) that the Greek mainland (city-states and kingdoms) with the same language, culture, and religion were united against the enemies of Asia in one league. At the same time the fractured Greek world grew conscious of its unity. And, in this sense, we have never been apart since then. The "Sun" was excavated in Greece in 1978, and it is sacred to us.

Source: rec.culture.europe: FAQ about Macedonia written according to the Greek point of view

Giuseppe Bottasini, 28 August 1995

Most of the above claims are of course highly controversial. This emblem was found on tomb 2 at Kutlush (to give Vergina its pre ethnically cleansed name). However there is no agreement that this is the tomb of Philip II nor that this emblem (which appears with a variety of numbers of arms) was either the dynastic emblem of the Argeads (the ruling house of Macedonia) or of the country itself. The emblem isn't specifically Greek or Macedonian - it is found in the Near East thousands of years before it turns up in Europe and ironically features as a decorative motif on one of the reliefs of Persian Immortal Guardsman found at Darius' palace at Susa.

Andy Fear, 28 August 1995

In the book Handbuch der Ornamentik by F.S. Meyer (Leibniz 1927, reprint Berlin 1997), there is an ornament that is quite similar to the Vergina sun of the first Macedonian flag, with this main difference - the 16 rays are not of the same size, eight main rays are "inscribed" into a square (so diagonal rays are longer then horizontal and vertical), while the "minor" 8 are shorter and inscribed into a circle. The ornament is captioned:

Uraniskus einer griechischen Deckenkassette. Propyläen in Athen.

Željko Heimer, 12 September 1999

The Macedonian point of view

Citation of an interview to Kiro Gligorov, President of FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), about the national flag:

Q: In the quarrel with Greece, what's more important: the name of the State (that Greece wants to contain no reference to "Macedonia") or the flag (Greece does not like it because it contains the Vergina sun, a symbol related to Alexander the Great)? A: The name of the State.
Q: Therefore you are ready to change the flag.
A: We can try to make an agreement on anything but the name of the State.

Source: Limes 3/95, quoted by Giuseppe Bottasini, 28 August 1995

The final agreement

Greece recognizes Macedonia's sovereignty and will lift its embargo, while Macedonia will change its flag and amend its constitution to stress that it has no claims on Greek territory.
Greece and Macedonia have 30 days to implement these measures, and the agreement will remain in effect for seven years or until a definitive accord is signed.

Source: OMRI, 14 September 1995, quoted by Jan Oskar Engene, 15 September 1995

Here is the relevant bit of the interim agreement between Greece and Macedonia in which Macedonia agrees to give up its flag:

Article 7, Paragraph 2.
Upon entry into force of this Interim Accord, the Party of the Second Part [Macedonia] shall cease to use in any way the symbol in all its forms displayed on its national flag prior to such entry into force.

Josh Fruhlinger, 17 September 1995

Flag proposals, 1992

[Macedonian flag as originally designed]by Sacha Shopov.

The above image shows the Macedonian flag as originally designed. Due to political pressures, the government of the Republic of Macedonia has proposed to eliminate the blue in the center, which is present in this image nonetheless, for completeness.

Sacha Shopov, 6 November 1996

1993 proposal 1by António Martins

1993 proposal 2by António Martins

After the break-up of Yugoslavia a new unofficial flag was used: red with a golden lion; a proposal with four horizontal stripes (black, red, black, red) with the golden lion in the center was never adopted. I think that the proposal is a reminiscent of the 1903 proposal.

Jaume Ollé, 6 November 1996

Atlas Universal Planeta (Spain) has a section "Flags of the World", two full-colored plates at the end of the book. For Macedonia, the Atlas shows a red flag with a yellow lion shifted near the hoist.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 22 June 2004

This flag has never been an official but was used by the VMRO-DPMNE party.

Jovan Jonovski (President of the Macedonian Heraldry Society), 24 June 2004

Erroneous reports of the flag

The Dorling-Kindersley Pocket Flag Book [udk97] claims that at independence in 1992 Macedonia retained the red flag but added a gold star in a gold sun, which was soon changed to the sun of Vergina. In fact, there was no interim flag matching that description.

Nozomi Kariyasu & Željko Heimer, 18 November 1999

Erroneous reportby Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán

The Atlas Universal (Vox, Barcelona, 1993)shows a map for each country of the world, with basic data and its respective flag. For Macedonia, the Atlas shows a red flag with a a five-top blue mountain in the canton.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 22 June 2004

This flag is purly an invention of the editor of the Atlas or his source. I assume that the author of this imaginary flag most likely used the mountains from the Macedonian coat of arms.

Jovan Jonovski (President of the Macedonian Heraldry Society), 24 June 2004

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