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Greece: Flags of uncertain status

Last modified: 2001-06-01 by
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1820 ensign

[Unidentified Greek ensign, 1820]scanned by John Harland

The French etcher Jean-Jérôme Baubean published two books of maritime etchings c. 1810-1820.
Among 200 images, two show Greek merchant vessels. They fly an ensign with a cross reaching the ensign edges.Each quarter includes a smaller cross. Therefore, the ensign looks like the Jerusalem ensign, the Malta Grand Master's ensign, or a Vatican's banner. Anyway, the represented ensign does not show the crosses with a T ending the arms.
The caption of the plate is: 'Corvette marchande grecque, venant de mouillir', which translates as: "Greek merchant corvette lying at anchor".
At that time, Greek was under Ottoman rule, and the crosses with their Christian symbolic look weird.

John Harland, 9 August 2000

An analogous flag is labelled 'flag of Jerusalem' in J.Siebmacher`s Flaggenbuch (Nurnberg, 1878).

Victor Lomantsov, 19 August 2000

If the flag was white and the crosses red, I believe that this flag came from the Franciscan Order. It looks like the flag of the Custody of the Franciscan Order in Levant and Holy Land.

Jaume Ollé, 26 August 2000

We also have to remember that the Greeks' fight for independence became very popular among the Romantic cenacles in Western Europe (especially after Lord Byron's death in Missolonghi in 1824 and the monumental painting of Delacroix entitled Scènes of the slaughters in Scio, showed to the Salon in Paris in 1824). It is possible that an enthusiastic artist did some false interpretation of a reported ensign.

Ivan Sache, 26 August 2000

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