Last modified: 2008-07-19 by dov gutterman
Keywords: italy | sicily | sicilia | trinacria |
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image by Roberto Breschi from CISV
Sicily Coat of Arms is taken from <www.regione.sicilia.it>, located by Jarig Bakker 1999
The gonfalon and the coat of arms were adopted on the 28th July 1990. The coat of arms is a XIXc. French shield divided per bend or and gules with a three-legged emblem charged with the head of a gorgon in flesh color. The gonfalon is quartered yellow and red with on a blue field a XIXc. French shield quartered: in the first, azure a bend checkered argent and gules; in the second, argent a crowned eagle sable; in the third, argent the three-leggs emblem in flesh color; in the fourth or four pales gules flanked by two crowned eagles sable on a field argent. The words Regione siciliana appear in white under. There isnt any official flag.
Pascal Vagnat, 22 September 1998
Sicily adopted 20 July 1982 arms and gonfanon. 17 May 1988 the arms were modified (I don't have information about the gonfanon, but perhaps was never manufactured). 15 December 1988 was adopted the current design of arms that were included in the gonfanon.
Jaume Olle , 25 September 1998
These dates are strange. The only date I have is the one I gave: 28th July 1990. The law didn't abolish a former one
Pascal Vagnat, 26 September 1998
The flag on top is listed under number 56 at the chart "Flags of Aspirant Peoples" [eba94] as : "Sicily (Sicilia) - South Italy." - Banner of the arms described above.
Ivan Sache , September 1999
Law 1 dated 4 Jauary 2000 adopting the regional flag (until now the flag was only unofficial) was published in "Gazzeta ufficiales della regione siciliana" in issue 1 year 54, dated in palermo Friday 7 Januay 2000. The flag is 2:3 and the emblem (stemma) is 3/5 of the flag
Article 1 of the law dated 28 July 1990 is ammended in order to add the flag as "simboli uffficiale della Regione" (official symbol of the region)
Flag must be hoisted at 15 May (autonomy day) 25 May (date of the first sesion of the regional assembly) and when is disposed by the president of the region
Flag is dispalyed in the outside of the Regional Assembly, Presidency of the region, central and peripherical offices of the regional government and their dependences, dependencies under control of the region, houses of the sicilian provinces, and in the sicilian communes (also in Sicilian university and scholastic institute). It also must be hoisted when people vote for the regional assembly, in the votation hedquartes and dependencies.
Source: Official gazette posted to me by Mario Dalcieri
Jaume Olle', 18 June 2000
There is the flag (or gonfalone) with the coat of arms in the center. The arms are described as: French shield quartered: in the first, azure a bend checkered argent and gules; in the second, argent a crowned eagle sable; in the third, argent the three-leggs emblem in flesh color; in the fourth or four pales gules flanked by two crowned eagles sable on a field argent. The words Regione siciliana appear in white under.
Dirk Schonberger, 31 October 2000
Outside a coffee shop near my home in Brookline (MA), USA, is a flag which it is divided diagonally yellow over red (yellow was uppermost and not red as in the official flag) . The owner said it was "the flag of Sicily" and that the device thereon (which I could not see, the flag hanging just the wrong way) was the "trinacria". The official Sicilian flag is diagonally red over yellow and has a full CoA in the center. Is the one at the coffee shop an unofficial variant or an official one or just an error?
Al Kirsch, 10 August 2000
Currently the Trinacria is a bit different and certainly is diagonally divided red and yellow. Until some months ago a flag with arms was "de facto" flag, but in year 2000 a new flag was adopted, with a different CoA.
Jaume Olle', 10 August 2000
This is the official Sicilian flag, finally approved by a recent law in the Sicilian Parliament.
Daniel Taddone, 8 November 2000
It is not exactly, but very close. Image in a issue 18 of Flag report.
Jaume Olle', 11 November 2000
On Sicily, I didrepeatedly see the regional flag of Sicily - the red and yellow diagonal bicolor with the Trinacria at the center; One finds it in front of hotels, a few shops and flying from city halls. The same design (as a shield) is worn by police as lapel insignia in their service uniform.
Norman Martin, 26 November 2000
According to Roberto Breschi the official flag is charged with the shield. However since the diagonal line on the shield isn't connected the the diagonal line of the flag, this official flag is rarely used and the flag in use is the one without with the shield.
Dov Gutterman, 2 August 2001
Sicily now possesses an officially recognised flag, adopted by the regional Sicilian parliamnet on 4 January 2000 (the first law of the year decreed the adoption of a "new" flag). This flag is composed of a field divided reddish-orange over golden yellow, with at its centre the symbol of the trinacria in its own colour and the proportions 2:3, the emblem being three-fifths of the flag.
Why was a field divided red and yellow chosen?
The first red and yellow Sicilian flag dates from the anti-French rising of Sicilian Vespers on 30 March 1282 (the revolt of the Sicilians against King Charles d'Anjou, which would bring to the throne Pierre III of Aragon. In effect, the cities of Palermo and Corleone would be the first to rise agains the Angevins; Palermo also possessed a red civic flag (still the current one) while that of Corleone was yellow. Some sources also indicate that yellow is the colour of independence, while the red is that of the revolution... Moreover, several red and yellow flags existed in different forms, although unofficial until 4 Jan 2000, the date of adoption of the actual flag.
What is the trinacria?
In the 7th and 8th centuries BC, the Greeks sailing in the Mediterranean Sea discovered a large unknown island, with three promontories, which they called Trinacria, "the land with three points". Sicily was formerly called Trinacria, in reference to its triangular shape. This name is found in "The Divine Comedy", by Dante, (Paradise, VIII, 67-68): "And beautiful Trinacria, shrouded, from Pachino to Paloro, on the edge of the gulf".
The trinacria, which has become the symbol of Sicily, is a representation derived from Greek mythology, and is composed of three elements:
- three legs joined in the centre, forming a triskelion ('of 3 legs' bent at the knee) in reference to the triangular shape of the island and its three headlands: Cap Peloro (Messina province, in the northeast), Cap Passero (near Syracuse, in the south) and Cap Lilibeo (near Marsala, in the west). The triskelion is one of the most ancient symbols known to humanity; it is found on coins dating from the 6th and 8th centuries BC.
- the head of Medusa (one of the three Gorgons, marine gods, whose name means "sovereign"), with two wings at their sides, and whose hair is replaced by snakes. In the myth, Medusa is born young and beautiful but too proud of her magnificent hair. To punish her for her vanity, and to be united with Poseidon, the god of the sea, not far from the temple that was dedicated to him, the goddess Athena, daughter of Zeus, transformed her to a frightening monster whose hair is made of hissing and striking snakes. She is mortal, unlike her two sisters, but difficult to approach for her eyes change anyone she look on into stone. Medusa was overcome by Perseus who cut off her head and offers it to Athena who has carried it since in her tunic or her shield (l'égide??). This horrible head was often represented in art (sculpture, mosaic and coins): for example this Gorgon head can be found in a mosaic at Tindari, dating from the third century BC, and also on facades of temples or the entrances to some buildings. She also adorns shields for, according to the myth, the head of Medusa preserved its same deadly power after death, its power was therefore loaned to petrify the enemy. The Greek myth personified, through the Gorgons, the idea of obscure primitive and uncontrolable forces, more ancient than the human race itself. Only the power of purification by the gods could combat it. But Medusa did not possess only negative characteristics, a mixture of good attributes existed to oppose the forces of evil and the bad fate appears also in this myth.
- 3 heads of wheat, recalling that, in Roman times, Sicily was a very fertile land, nicknamed the "granary of Italy".
The flag must be hoisted on 15 May (independence day), 25 May (date of the first session of the Regional Assembly), on the decision of the president of the region and during elections. It is seen outside the regional assembly, the regional presidential residence, at central offices and regional government annexes, in the provincial chambres, and in Sicilian communes (also in the universities and educational establishments).
Sophie Rault (translated by Rob Raeside), 12 April 2004
The emblem at the center of the flag is an image of one of the Hormitans, a mythological creature with a head and three legs which closely resembles the arms of the Isle of Man. The Hormisdans were believed by the Ancients to be the prinordial inhabitants of Sicily.
Eugene Ipavec, 3 February 2008
Here is the text of the law, translated into English from the French version available on the En-Sicile website:
Law of the Sicilian Regional Assembly about the Sicilian flag:
Adoption of the flag of the Region. Prescription for use and display.
The Assembly has approved,
The Regional President promulgates the following law:
Article 1. Adoption of the flag
1. The flag shall be made of a rectangular cloth charged in the middle with the emblem of the Sicilian Region, which shows a flesh-coloured triskell with the Gorgona and the spikes, as prescribed by article 2 of Regional law from 28 July 1990, 1/. The size of the emblem shall be 3/5 of the flag height. The flag shall have the same colours scraleet and yellow as the Sicilian coat of arms, arranged in the same way.
2. The flag height shall be 2/3 of its length.
3. A ribbon bearing the colours of the Italian Republic shall be tied to the staff just below the finial.
Article 2. Official symbols of the Region
1. Article 1 of the Regional law from 28 June 1990, 12/, shall be superseded by the following:
2/ The official symbols of the Region shall be:
a) the flag
b) the emblem
c) the gonfanon
Article 3. Display of the flag
1. In the Region, the display of the Regional flag is mandatory:
a) on 15 May, day of the Sicilian Autonomy, for the anniversary of the promulgation of the Regional Statutes;
b) on 25 May, for the anniversary of the first session of the Sicilian Regional Assembly;
c) upon the Regional President's disposal, [source not clear] deliberation of the Regional Council, when there are important events.
2. In the cases listed above, the flag of the Region shall be displayed out of the public buildings and the headquarters of the Regional Assembly, the Presidency of the Region, the central and peripherical offices of the Regional Administration, the Regional agencies, the municipal agencies placed under the vigilance or the control of the region, the Regional provinces and the municipalities.
3. The flag of the Region shall also be displayed in the headquarters of the institutions and organs listed in article 5, in the same circumstances of display.
Article 4. Modes of display of the flag
1. In the Region, when the Regional flag is displayed out of public buildings as prescribed by the present law, it shall be displayed along with the flags of the Italian Republic and the European Union.
2. In the cases listed above, when the three flags are diplayed together, they shall have the same size and be placed at the same height. The central position shall be allocated to the flag of the Italian Republic, with the flag of the European Union on its right and the flag of the Sicilian Region on its left.
Article 5. Places dedicated to the display of the flag
1. Excluding provision of article 2 of the law from 5 February 1998, /22, the flag of the Region shall be displayed outside the following buildings:
a) the headquarters of the Sicilian Regional Assembly during the sessions of the Assembly, even if the sessions go on after sundown;
b) the headquarters of the Regional Council during the sessions of the Assembly, even if the sessions go on after sundown;
c) the headquarters of the provincial and communal councils during the meetings of the respective councils;
d) the headquarters of the presidencies of the regional provinces and the syndicates of municipalities during the meeting of the respective councils;
e) the headquarters of the rectorates and faculties of the Sicilian universities, for the start of the new academic year, during class hours;
f) the headquarters of Sicilian schools of any level, for the start of the new academic year, during class hours;
g) the buildings used as electoral headquarters for the election to the Sicilian Regional Assembly, during voting hours.
Article 6. Preminence
1. Excluding the provisions of the national law that regulates the modes of use and display of the flags of the Italian Republic and the European Union, during ceremonies which take place in the Region, the flag of the Region shall have preminence over the gonfaloin, the standard, the municipal emblem bearing the name, of the provinces and municipalities. The flag shall be hoisted on a mast in a public room and be placed at the honour place on the right of the presidency's table.
Article 7. Protection
1. The flag of the Region shall not be hoisted in a bad state.
2. The display of the Sicilian Regional flag by private individuals is allowed, provided the flag has the correct shape.
Article 8. Schedule for the display of the flag
1. Excluding the cases mentioned in the present law or in the provisions of the national law, the display of the flag of the Region outside the public buildings shall be scheduled from 8 AM to sundown.
2. When the flag remains displayed after sundown, it must be adequatly illuminated.
Article 9. Special cases
1. The flag displayed outside the public buildings as a sign of mourning shall be half-staffed, and two pieces of black veil can be placed on the top of the finial.
2. The two pieces of black veil shall be mandatory when the flag is born during public funeral.
1. The present law shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Sicilian Region.
2. Everyone shall respect the law and enforce it as a law of the Sicilian Region.
Palermo, 4 January 2000
Ivan Sache, 27 July 2004
image by Mello Luchtenberg, 29 July 2002
Based on a photo from <www.dieli.net/SicilyPage/MapsAndSymbols/banner.html>.
Mello Luchtenberg, 29 July 2002
image by Jaume Olle', 10 August 2000
Sicily has an official symbol, the Trinacria, something like the device of Isle of Man.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 22 November 1995
Curiously enough, there has been some academic work done to establish whether there is a connection between the Manx and Sicilian three-legged emblem. I think the consensus is that it is just a coincidence. There's a theory that the Sicilian legs reflect the island's supposed triangular shape, but I think that's a little weak given the historical vagueness of maps of the island. One difference between the two emblems is that the Manx legs are always armored, currently in full armor and historically in chain mail. The Sicilian legs, however, are always bare - which may be a reflection on the climatic differences between the Med and the Irish Sea! In its traditional form the Sicilian device had a Mesusa's head at the junction of the three legs. Make of that symbolism what you will!
Stuart Notholt, 9 October 1996
The flag (a red and yellow stripes of Catalonia, with a "Trinacria" in the canton was used in the last times of the WWII. Later was used a yellow flag with the "Trinacria". On 20 July 1982 were adopted the arms and the gonfalon The suposed flag should be diagonal yellow and red with the shield in the center. Similar one is reported in the australian poster of aspirant peoples .On 17 May 1988 a variation was operate in the arms and perhaps the flag was little changed (a diagonal blue narrow stripe between yellow and red was added). In December 1988 a discusion was started for regioanl symbols. After very complicate administrative resolutions a similar previous flag (the one without blue stripe), arms and gonfanon were adopted 28 July 1990.
Jaume Olle', 3 August 1997
Also on view (in Athens BTW) as part of an advertisement to visit Sicily for the Universiad later this month. The triskelion is shown upon a bhutanese-style flag, square.
Herman De Wael, 6 August 1997
According to the World Encyclopedia of Flags, by A. Znamierovski, 1999: 'The triskelion (from the Greek "three-legged") is one of the oldest symbols known to mankind. The earliest representations of it were found in prehistoric rock carvings in northern Italy. It also appears on Greek vases and coins from the 6th and 8th centuries BC., and was revered by Norse and Sicilian peoples. The Sicilian version has a representation of the head of Medusa in the center. The Manx people believe that the triskelion came from Scandinavia. According to Norse mythology, the triskelion was a symbol of the movement of the sun through the heavens.'
Jarig Bakker , 27 April 2000
I am interested to find out if there is a Norse connection between the two three legged flags of the Isle of Man and Sicily?
I have seen a few comparisons between the two, but none point to a very important similarity. Norwegian Vikings settled the Isle of Man and had a kingdom there until the 13th Century, While the Normans (descendant of Norwegian Vikings) created a kingdom in Sicily themselves in the 11th and 12th Centuries.So is this the same symbol? Was it brought to Sicily by the Normans as part of their Scandinavian territory?
Mike Jones, 30 September 2002
Around the years 1060/1090, Sicily, where several emirs ruled before, was conquered by the Normans that established a dinasty. This can be the orign of the trinacria?
Jaume Olle', 1 October 2002
image by jl cepero c, 22 September 2005
Based on photos of the yellow flag of Terra and Liberazione,(Sicilian Independentist).
jl cepero c, 22 September 2005
image from <www.duesicilie.org>
This movement for the autonomy of the whole southern Italy uses vertical RYR flag At <www.duesicilie.org> and at: <www.duesicilie.org/manifestoNF-eng.html> a vertical RY flag.
Jarig Bakker, 23 October 1999
While visiting <www.duesicilie.org>, I noticed that they are using now a red over yellow flag with a Coat of Arms (not the same as on the region official flag) with inscription on the red stripe
Dov Gutterman, 13 August 2000