Flag of Greece

The national flag of Greece, popularly referred to as the "sky-blue - white" or the "blue-white" (Greek: Γαλανόλευκη or Κυανόλευκη), officially recognised by Greece as one of its national symbols, is based on nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white. There is a blue canton in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross; the cross symbolises Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the established religion of the Greek people of Greece and Cyprus. The blazon of the flag is Azure, four bars Argent; on a canton of the field a Greek cross throughout of the second. The official flag ratio is 2:3.[1] The shade of blue used in the flag has varied throughout its history, from light blue to dark blue, the latter being increasingly used since the late 1960s. It was officially adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus on 13 January 1822.

According to popular tradition, the nine stripes represent the nine syllables of the phrase "Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος" ("Freedom or Death"), the five blue stripes for the syllables "Ελευθερία" and the four white stripes "ή Θάνατος".[2] The nine stripes are also said to represent the letters of the word "freedom" (Greek: ελευθερία).[2] There is also a different theory, that the nine stripes symbolise the nine Muses, the goddesses of art and civilisation (nine has traditionally been one of the numbers of reference for the Greeks).[2]

Blue and white have been interpreted as symbolising the colours of the famed Greek sky and sea.[3]

Flag of Greece
Names"I Galanolefki" (The Blue and White), "I Kyanolefki" (The Azure and White)
UseNational flag and ensign
Adopted22 December 1978 (Naval Ensign 1822–1978, National Flag 1969–70; 1978 to date)
DesignNine horizontal stripes, in turn blue and white; a white cross on a blue square field in canton.


The origins of today's national flag with its cross-and-stripe pattern are a matter of debate. Every part of it, including the blue and white colors, the cross, as well as the stripe arrangement can be connected to very old historical elements;[4] however, it is difficult to establish "continuity", especially as there is no record of the exact reasoning behind its official adoption in early 1822.

It has been suggested by some Greek historians that the current flag derived from an older design, the virtually identical flag of the powerful Cretan Kallergis family. This flag was based on their coat of arms, whose pattern is supposed to be derived from the standards of their claimed ancestor, Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas (963–969 AD). This pattern (according to not easily verifiable descriptions) included nine stripes of alternating blue and white, as well as a cross, assumed to be placed on the upper left.[5] Although the use of alternating blue and white - or silver - stripes on (several centuries-old) Kallergis' coats of arms is well documented, no depiction of the above described pattern (with the nine stripes and the cross) survives.

The stripe-pattern of the Greek flag is visibly similar to that used (though with different colors) in several other flags that have appeared over the centuries, most notably that of the British East India Company's pre-1707 flag or the flag of the United States.

Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire

Byzantine imperial flag, 14th century, square
This design, from the 14th century during the Palaiologan dynasty, is the only attested flag of the Byzantine Empire.

Flags as they are known today did not exist in antiquity. Instead, a variety of emblems and symbols (semeion, pl. semeia) were used to denote each state and were for example painted on the hoplite shields. The closest analogue to a modern flag were the vexillum-like banners used by ancient Greek armies, such as the so-called phoinikis, a cloth of deep red, suspended from the top of a staff or spear. It is not known to have carried any device or decoration though.

The Byzantines, like the Romans before them, used a variety of flags and banners, primarily to denote different military units. These were generally square or rectangular, with a number of streamers attached.[6] Most prominent among the early Byzantine flags was the labarum. In the surviving pictorial sources of the middle and later Empire, primarily the illustrated Skylitzes Chronicle, the predominating colours are red and blue in horizontal stripes, with a cross often placed in the centre of the flag. Other common symbols, prominently featuring on seals, were depictions of Christ, the Virgin Mary and saints, but these represent personal rather than family or state symbols. Western European-style heraldry was largely unknown until the last centuries of the Empire.[7]

There is no mention of any "state" flag until the mid-14th century, when a Spanish atlas, the Conosçimiento de todos los reynos depicts the flag of "the Empire of Constantinople" combining the red-on-white Cross of St George with the "tetragrammatic cross" of the ruling house of the Palaiologoi, featuring the four betas or pyrekvola ("fire-steels") on the flag quarters representing the imperial motto Βασιλεύς Βασιλέων Βασιλεύων Βασιλευόντων ("King of Kings Reigning over those who Rule").[8] The tetragrammatic cross flag, as it appears in quarters II and III in this design, is well documented. In the same Spanish atlas this "plain" tetragrammatic cross flag is presented as (among other places in the Empire) "the Flag of Salonika" and "the real Greece and Empire of the Greeks (la vera Grecia e el imperio de los griegos)". The (quartered) arrangement that includes the Cross of St. George is documented only in the Spanish atlas, and most probably combines the arms of Genoa (which had occupied Galata) with those of the Byzantine Empire, and was most probably flown only in Constantinople.[4] Pseudo-Kodinos records the use of the "tetragrammatic cross" on the banner (phlamoulon) borne by imperial naval vessels, while the megas doux displayed an image of the emperor on horseback.[9]

Ottoman period

Graeco-Ottoman banner
The merchant vessel Panagia tis Ydras, built 1793, flying the Graeco-Ottoman flag.
Agios Nikolaos and Poseidon
Agios Nikolaos (1797) and Poseidon (1815), belonging to the Anargyros brothers from Spetses, flying variants of the Russian flag

During the Ottoman rule several unofficial flags were used by Greeks, usually employing the Byzantine double-headed eagle (see below), the cross, depictions of saints and various mottoes.[4] The Christian Greek sipahi cavalry employed by the Ottoman Sultan were allowed to use their own, clearly Christian flag, when within Epirus and the Peloponnese. It featured the classic blue cross on a white field with the picture of St. George slaying the dragon, and was used from 1431 until 1639, when this privilege was greatly limited by the Sultan. Similar flags were used by other local leaders. The closest to a Greek "national" flag during Ottoman rule was the so-called "Graeco-Ottoman flag" (Γραικοθωμανική παντιέρα), a civil ensign Greek Orthodox merchants (better: merchants from the Greek-dominated Orthodox millet) were allowed to fly on their ships, combining stripes with red (for the Ottoman Empire) and blue (for Orthodoxy) colours. After the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, Greek-owned merchant ships could also fly the Russian flag.

During the uprising of 1769 the historic blue cross on white field was used again by key military leaders who used it all the way to the revolution of 1821. It became the most popular Revolution flag, and it was argued that it should become the national flag. The "reverse" arrangement, white cross on a blue field, also appeared as Greek flag during the uprisings. This design had apparently been used earlier as well, as a local symbol (a similar 16th or 17th century flag has been found near Chania).

A military leader, Yiannis Stathas, used a flag with white cross on blue on his ship since 1800. The first flag featuring the design eventually adopted was created and hoisted in the Evangelistria monastery in Skiathos in 1807. Several prominent military leaders (including Theodoros Kolokotronis and Andreas Miaoulis) had gathered there for consultation concerning an uprising, and they were sworn to this flag by the local bishop.[2]

Spachides Flag

Flag used by the Greek sipahis of the Ottoman army between 1431 and 1619

Roman (Orthodox Christian) Merchant Flag 1453-1793

Civil ensign for merchant ships owned by Ottoman subjects belonging to the Greek Orthodox (Rum) millet

Bandera de Samos

Civil flag and ensign of the Principality of Samos (1835–1912)

Flag of the Septinsular Republic

Flag of the Septinsular Republic (1800–1807), the first autonomous modern Greek state

Flag of Cretan State

National flag and ensign of the Cretan State

Flag of the Free State of Ikaria

FIAV historical.svgFlag of the Free State of Icaria

War of Independence

Rigas Feraios flag manuscript

The flag of Greece as drawn by Rigas Feraios in his manuscripts.


Bishop Germanos of Patras blessing the flag of the Greek revolutionaries at the Monastery of Agia Lavra, part of a popular legend regarding the start of the revolution of 1821, although it never actually happened.

Prior and during the early days of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829), a large variety of flags was designed, proposed and used by various Greek intellectuals in Western Europe, local leaders, chieftains and regional councils. Aside from the cross, many of these flags featured saints, the phoenix (symbolising the rebirth of the Greek nation), mottoes such as "Freedom or Death" (Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος) or the fasces-like emblems of the Philiki Etaireia, the secret society that organised the uprising.

Flag of Rigas Feraios

The Flag of Greece, as proposed by Rigas Feraios in 1797


Flag of the Sacred Band

Alexander Ypsilantis flag (obverse)

The flag of Alexander Ypsilantis

Andreas Lontos Flag (Revolution1821)

The flag of Andreas Londos

Filiki Eteria flag

Flag of the Filiki Eteria

Mani Flag (Greece)

Flag of the Maniots

Greek Independence 1821

Very widespread flag used from 1769 to the War of Independence

Miaoulis flag

The first flag of admiral Andreas Miaoulis

1821 Flag of Gazis

Flag of Anthimos Gazis


Used in Thessaly, created also by Anthimos Gazis


Flag of Hydra island

1821 Flag of Spetses

Flag of Spetses island

Halkidiki flag (1821)

Flag of Chalkidiki


Old land flag of Greece
The old land flag, still flying over the Old Parliament House in Athens.

Because the European monarchies, allied in the so-called "Concert of Europe", were suspicious towards national or social revolutionary movements such as the Etaireia, the First Greek National Assembly, convening in January 1822, took steps to disassociate itself from the Etaireia's legacy and portray nascent Greece as a "conventional", ordered nation-state.[2] As such not only were the regional councils abolished in favour of a central administration, but it was decided to abolish all revolutionary flags and adopt a universal national flag. The reasons why the particular arrangement (white cross on blue) was selected, instead of the more popular blue cross on a white field, remain unknown.[2]

On 15 March 1822, the Provisional Government, by Decree Nr. 540, laid down the exact pattern: white cross on blue (plain) for the land flag; nine alternate-coloured stripes with the white cross on a blue field in the canton for the naval ensign; and blue with a blue cross on a white field in the canton for the civil ensign (merchant flag).[1][2] On 30 June 1828, by decree of the Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias, the civil ensign was discontinued, and the cross-and-stripes naval ensign became the national ensign, worn by both naval and merchant ships.[2] This design became immediately very popular with Greeks and in practice was often used simultaneously with the national (plain cross) flag.

On 7 February 1828 the Greek flag was internationally recognised for the first time by receiving an official salutation from British, French, and Russian forces in Nafplio, then the capital of Greece.[10]

Flag of Greece (1822-1978)

Greek flag on land, 1822–1969 and 1975–78

Flag of Greece

National flag for use abroad and as the civil ensign. Since 1978 the sole national flag of Greece

Greek merchant navy flag

Civil ensign used from 1822 to 1828

Historical evolution

Specifications for the Flag of Greece (1833)
The first official specifications for the war flag or naval ensign, published 3 June 1833.

After the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece in 1832, the new king, Otto, added the royal Coat of Arms (a shield in his ancestral Bavarian pattern topped by a crown) in the centre of the cross for military flags (both land and sea versions).[1] The decree dated 4 (16) April 1833 provided for various maritime flags such as the war flag or naval ensign (set at 18:25), pennant, royal standard (set at 7:10) and civil ensign (i.e. the naval ensign without coat of arms).[11] A royal decree dated 28 August 1858 provided for details on the construction and dimensions concerning the flags described in the 1833 decree and other flags. After Otto's abdication in 1862, the royal coat of arms was removed.

In 1863, the 17-year old Danish prince William was selected as Greece's new king, taking on the name George I. A royal decree dated 28 December 1863 introduced crowns into the various flags in place of the coat of arms.[12] Similar arrangements were made for the royal flags, which featured the coat of arms of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg on a square version of the national flag. A square version of the land flag with St. George in the centre was adopted on 9 April 1864 as the Army's colours.[2][13] The exact shape and usage of the flags was determined by Royal Decree on 26 September 1867.[2][14] By a new Royal Decree, on 31 May 1914, the various flags of Greece and its military were further regulated. By this decree, the flag with the crown was adopted for use as a state flag by ministries, embassies and civil services, while the sea flag (without the crown) was allowed for use by private citizens.[2]

On 25 March 1924, with the establishment of the Second Hellenic Republic, the crowns were removed from all flags.[2] On 20 February 1930, the national flag's proportions were established at a 2:3 ratio, with the arms of the cross being "one fifth of the flag's width". The land version of the national flag was to be used by ministries, embassies, and in general by all civil and military services, while the sea flag was to be used by naval and merchant vessels, consulates and private citizens. On 10 October 1935, Georgios Kondylis declared that the monarchy had been restored. By decree of 7 November 1935, the 31 May 1914 decree was restored.[15] Thereby, the crown was restored on the various flags.[2] The crown was again removed by the military dictatorship in 1967, following the aborted counter-coup and subsequent self-exile of King Constantine II on 13 December. The sea flag was established as the sole national flag in 1969, using a very dark shade of blue, and on 18 August 1970, the flag ratio was changed to 7:12.[2]

After the restoration of democracy in August 1974, the land flag was restored for a while (per Law 48/1975 and Presidential Decree 515/1975, on effect on 7 June 1975) until 1978.[2]

Naval Ensign of Greece (1833-1858)

FIAV historical.svgNaval ensign (1833–1858)
Proportions: 18:25

Naval Ensign of Greece (1858-1862)

FIAV historical.svgNaval ensign (1858–1862)
Proportions: 2:3

State Flag of Greece (1863-1924 and 1935-1973)

FIAV historical.svgState flag (1863–1924 and 1935–73)

Naval Ensign of Greece (1863-1924 and 1935-1970)

FIAV historical.svgNaval ensign (1863–1924 and 1935–73)

Flag of Greece (1970-1975)

FIAV historical.svgNational flag (1970–1975)

Theories regarding the blue and white colours

Greek flag-Santorini
It is widely believed that the colours of the Greek flag come from the blue of the sky and the white of the waves.

Several Greek researchers[5][16][17] have attempted to establish a continuity of usage and significance of the blue and white colours, throughout Greek history.

Usages cited include the pattern of blue and white formations included on the shield of Achilles,[16][4] the apparent connection of blue with goddess Athena, some of Alexander the Great's army banners,[5] possible blue and white flags used during Byzantine times,[16][4] supposed coats of arms of imperial dynasties and noble families, uniforms, emperors' clothes, patriarchs' thrones etc.,[5][17] 15th century versions of the Byzantine Imperial Emblems [4] and, of course, cases of usage during the Ottoman rule and the Greek revolution.

On the other hand, the Great Greek Encyclopedia notes in its 1934 entry on the Greek flag that "very many things have been said for the causes which lead to this specification for the Greek flag, but without historical merit".[10]

Current flag of Greece

Flag of Greece (construction)
Construction sheet of the national flag
Vertical flag of Greece (correct)
Correct vertical display
Vertical flag of Greece (incorrect)
Incorrect vertical display
Flag of Greece (parade)
The flag as used on parade

In 1978 the sea flag was adopted as the sole national flag, with a 2:3 ratio.[18] The flag is used on both land and sea is also the war and civil ensign, replacing all other designs surviving until that time. No other designs and badges can be shown on the flag. To date, no specification of the exact shade of the blue colour of the flag has been issued. Consequently, in practice hues may vary from very light to very dark. The Greek Flag Day is on 27 October.

The old land flag is still flown at the Old Parliament building in Athens, site of the National Historical Museum, and can still be seen displayed unofficially by private citizens.


Greece Cyprus flags cross finials Agioi Anargyroi Pafos
Flags of Greece and Cyprus being flown on flagpoles with cross finials in front of Agioi Anargyroi Church, Pafos

The use of the Greek flag is regulated by Law 851.[19] More specifically, the law states that:

  • When displayed at the Presidential Palace, the Hellenic Parliament, the ministries, embassies and consulates of Greece, schools, military camps, and public and private ships as well as the navy, the flag must:
  1. Fly from 8am until sunset,
  2. Be displayed on a white mast topped with a white cross on top of a white sphere,
  3. Not be torn or damaged in any way. If the flag is damaged, it should be burned in a respectful manner.
  • The flag can be displayed by civilians on days specified by the ministry of internal affairs, as well as in sporting events and other occasions of the sort.
  • When displayed vertically, the canton must be on the left side of the flag from the point of view of the spectator.
  • The flag should never be:
  1. Defaced by means of writing or superimposing any kind of image or symbol upon it,
  2. Used to cover a statue. In that case, cloth in the national colours must be used,
  3. Hung from windows or balconies without the use of a mast,
  4. Used for commercial purposes,
  5. Used as a logo for any corporation or organization, even at different proportions.
  6. When placed on top of a coffin, the canton must always be on the right of the person's head.


The government has not specified exactly which shade of blue should be used for the flag, and as such flags with many varying shades exist. In the most recent legislation regarding the national flag, the colours mentioned are:

Because of the use of the word 'cyan' (Greek: κυανός, Kyanos), which can also mean 'blue' in Greek, the exact shade of blue remains ambiguous. Although it implies the use of a light shade of blue, such as on the flag of the United Nations, the colours of the Greek flag tend to be darker, especially during the dictatorship and in recent years, with the exception of the years of the rule of King Otto, when a very light shade of blue was used. Consequently, the shade of blue is largely left to the flagmakers to decide, as shown in the table below.

Official colour (White) Official colour (Blue) Colour system Source Year URL
     White      286 C Pantone Album des Pavillons 2000 [20]
     0% - 0% - 0% - 0%      100% - 60% - 0% - 5% CMYK Album des Pavillons 2000 [20]
     #ffffff      #005bae Hex Album des Pavillons 2000 [20]
     White      285 Pantone 2008 Summer Olympics Flag Manual 2008 [21]
     #ffffff      #2175d8 Hex 2008 Summer Olympics Flag Manual 2008 [21]
     #ffffff      #004C98 Hex 2012 Summer Olympics Flag Manual 2012 [22]
     White      Reflex Blue Pantone 2012 Summer Olympics Flag Manual 2012 [22]

Flag days

No Day decorations in Poros.

Law 851/1978 sets the general outline for when the specific days on which the flag should be raised. Raising the flag on national or local public holidays is mandatory for everyone, from 8am until sunset.[19] For national holidays, this applies country-wide, but on local ones it only applies to those areas where the said holiday is being celebrated.[19] Additionally, the flag may also be flown on days of national mourning, half-mast. The Minister of the Interior has the authority to proclaim flag days if they are not already proclaimed, and proclaiming regional flag days is vested with the elected head of each regional unit (formerly prefectures).[19]

Top of Mount. Imerovigli
Greek flag on the top of Mount Imerovigli, Othonoi
Νational flag days in Greece
Date Name Reason
25 March 25th of March Anniversary of the traditional start date for the Greek War of Independence.[23]
28 October Ochi Day (No Day) Anniversary of the refusal to accept the Italian ultimatum in 1940.[23]
17 November Polytechnic Day Anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising against the military junta (school holiday).[24]

Although 17 November is not an official national holiday, Presidential Decree 201/1998 states that respects are to be paid to the flag on that particular day.[24]

Military flags

Army and Air Force War Flag

The War flag (equivalent to regimental colours) of the Army and the Air Force is of square shape, with a white cross on blue background. On the centre of the cross the image of Saint George is shown on Army war flags and the image of archangel Michael is shown on Air Force war flags.[1]

In the Army war flags are normally carried by infantry, tank and special forces regiments and battalions, by the Evelpidon Military Academy, the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy and the Presidential Guard when in battle or in parade.[25] However, flying a war flag in battle is unlikely with current warfare tactics.

War flag of the Hellenic Army

Army regimental war flag

Flag of the Hellenic Air Force (1973-1978)

Air Force and civil air ensign, 1973–1978

Naval and civil ensigns

The current naval and civil ensigns are identical to the national flag.

The simple white cross on blue field pattern is also used as the Navy's jack and as the base pattern for naval rank flags. These flags are described in Chapter 21 (articles 2101–30) of the Naval Regulations. A jack is also flown by larger vessels of the Hellenic Coast Guard.

Units of Naval or Coast Guard personnel in parade fly the war ensign in place of the war flag.[26]

Naval Jack of Greece

Naval jack of Greece

Naval rank flag of the Prime Minister of Greece

Naval rank flag of the Prime Minister of Greece

Greek Navy Admiral Flag

Naval rank flag for a full Admiral

Hellenic Coast Guard Flag

Coast Guard ensign (1964–1980)

Other uniformed services

In the past a war flag was assigned to the former semi-military Hellenic Gendarmerie, which was later merged with Cities Police to form the current Hellenic Police. The flag was similar to the Army war flag but showing Saint Irene in place of Saint George.[26]

Since the Fire Service and the Hellenic Police are considered civilian agencies, they are not assigned war flags. They use the National Flag instead.[27] Identical rules were applied to the former Cities Police. However, recently the Police Academy has been assigned a war flag, and they paraded for the first titme with this flag on Independence Day, March 25, 2011. The flag is similar to the Army war flag, with the image of St George replaced with that of Artemius of Antioch.[28]

Flag of the Head of State

Throughout the history of Greece, various heads of state have used different flags. The designs differ according to the historical era they were used in and in accordance with the political scene in Greece at the time. The first flag to be used by a head of state of Greece was that of King Otto of Greece.

Following the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece in 1832, the 17-year old Bavarian prince Otto was selected as king for the newfound monarchy. A royal decree dated 4 (16) April 1833 prescribed a number of maritime flags, including the royal standard. This flag, set at a 7:10 ratio, was a variant of the Greek white-cross-on-blue and featured the ancestral coat of arms of the Wittelsbach dynasty at its centre. The construction and dimensions of this flag was further described by a decree dated 28 August 1858, which also changed the proportions of the flag from 7:10 to 3:2. Following Otto's abdication in 1862, the Wittelsbach coat of arms would subsequently be removed.

In 1863, the 17-year old Danish prince William was selected as Greece's new king, taking on the name George I. A royal decree dated 28 December 1863 prescribed that the king's standard would retain the same dimensions and basic design of the previous flag. At the flag's centre, the royal coat of arms of the new dynasty (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg) would feature. By a new royal decree of 3 June 1914, the distinguishing flags to be utilised by the various members of the royal family were described. The king's flag was defined as being square in shape and, as in previous flags, featured the coat of arms of the king on a Greek white-cross-on-blue. As the king at the time, Constantine I, was made a field marshal the previous year, the coat of arms on his flag featured a heraldic representation of the Marshal's baton in twos, crossed behind his coat of arms.

With the establishment of the Second Hellenic Republic in 1924, the king's flag was made redundant. In 1930, a presidential decree described the president's flag as being a square version of the usual cross flag, devoid of any distinguishing markings.

On 10 October 1935, Georgios Kondylis declared that the monarchy had been restored and the 3 June 1914 decree was restored by decree of 7 November 1935. This flag, and the flags of other members of the royal family, was replaced the following year with new designs. Unlike previous designs, all flags now featured the coat of arms of the dynasty at its centre and would be distinguished by the number of crowns present at each of the four corners of the flags: The flag of the king featured a crown on each of the corners of the flag. This was the last design of a royal standard to be adopted prior to the eventual formal abolition of the monarchy in 1973.

The president's flag is currently prescribed by Presidential Decree 274/1979.[29]

Greek flag with monogram of King Otto

Flag with the monogram of King Otto of Greece (1833–1862)

Naval Royal Standard of Greece (1833-1858)

The Royal Standard of Greece (1833–1858)

Naval Royal Standard of Greece (1858-1862)

The Royal Standard of Greece (1858–1862)

Greek Royal Flag 1863

The Royal Standard of Greece (1863-1913)

Standard of King George I of Greece (1863-1913)

Flag of King George I of Greece (1863–1913)

Royal Standard of the Kingdom of Greece (1914 pattern)

Flag of King Constantine I of Greece in his capacity as a Field Marshal (1914–1917 and 1920–1922)

Flag of the President of Greece (1924–1935)

Flag of the President of Greece (1924–1935)

Royal Standard of the Kingdom of Greece (1936-1967)

Flag of the King of Greece (1936–1973)

Presidential Standard of Greece (1973-1974)

Flag of the President of Greece (1973–1974)

Flag of the President of Greece

Flag of the President of Greece (1979–present)

Double-headed eagle

Palaeologoi eagle
The double-headed eagle was the symbol of the Palaiologoi dynasty.

One of the most recognisable (other than the cross) and beloved Greek symbols, the double-headed eagle, is not a part of the modern Greek flag or coat of arms (although it is officially used by the Greek Army, the Church of Greece, the Cypriot National Guard and the Church of Cyprus, and was incorporated in the Greek coat of arms in 1926 [4]). One suggested explanation is that, upon independence, an effort was made for political — and international relations — reasons to limit expressions implying efforts to recreate the Byzantine Empire. Yet another theory is that this symbol was only connected with a particular period of Greek history (Byzantine) and a particular form of rule (imperial). More recent research has justified this view, connecting this symbol only to personal and dynastic emblems of Byzantine Emperors.

Some Greek sources have attempted to establish links with ancient symbols: the eagle was a common design representing power in ancient city-states, while there was an implication of a "dual-eagle" concept in the tale that Zeus left two eagles fly east and west from the ends of the world, eventually meeting in Delphi, thus proving it to be the centre of the earth. However, there is virtually no doubt that its origin is a blend of Roman and Eastern influences. Indeed, the early Byzantine Empire inherited the Roman eagle as an imperial symbol. During his reign, Emperor Isaac I Comnenus (1057–59) modified it as double-headed, influenced by traditions about such a beast in his native Paphlagonia in Asia Minor (in turn reflecting possibly much older local myths). Many modifications followed in flag details, often combined with the cross. After the recapture of Constantinople by the Byzantine Greeks in 1261, two crowns were added (over each head) representing — according to the most prevalent theory — the newly recaptured capital and the intermediate "capital" of the empire of Nicaea. There has been some confusion about the exact use of this symbol by the Byzantines; it appears that, at least originally, it was more a "dynastic" and not a "state" symbol (a term not fully applicable at the time, anyway), and for this reason, the colours connected with it were clearly the colours of "imperial power", i.e., red and yellow/gold.

After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire nonetheless, the double-headed eagle remained a strong symbol of reference for the Greeks. Most characteristically, the Orthodox Church continues to use the double-headed eagle extensively as a decorative motif, and has also adopted a black eagle on yellow/gold background as its official flag.

After the Ottoman conquest, however, this symbol also found its way to a "new Constantinople" (or Third Rome), i.e. Moscow. Russia, deeply influenced by the Byzantine Empire, saw herself as its heir and adopted the double-headed eagle as its imperial symbol. It was also adopted by the Serbs, the Montenegrins, the Albanians and a number of Western rulers, most notably in Germany and Austria.

Flag of the Greek Orthodox Church

FIAV historical.svgFlag of the Greek Orthodox Church

See also


  1. ^ a b c d The Flag, from the site of the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra: Η καθιέρωση της ελληνικής σημαίας ("The adoption of the Greek flag"), Hellenic Army General Staff, 2003
  3. ^ The Flag Bulletin, Volumes 15–17, Flag Research Center, 1976, p. 63: "Greeks wanted this color for their flag because they have always looked at the blue sky and the blue ocean."
  4. ^ a b c d e f g L. S. Skartsis, Origin and Evolution of the Greek Flag, Athens 2017 ISBN 978-960-571-242-6
  5. ^ a b c d N. Zapheiriou, Η Ελληνική Σημαία από τους αρχαίους χρόνους μέχρι σήμερα (The Greek Flag from Antiquity to Present), Eleftheri Skepsis, Athens 1995 (reprint of original 1947 publication) ISBN 960-7199-60-X
  6. ^ Emperor Maurice, Strategikon, II.14
  7. ^ Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. pp. 472, 999. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  8. ^ Byzantine Heraldry, from Heraldica.org
  9. ^ Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. pp. 472–473. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  10. ^ a b Ἑλλάς - Ἑλληνισμὸς [Greece - Hellenism]. Μεγάλη Ἐλληνικὴ Ἐγκυκλοπαιδεῖα (in Greek). 10. Athens: Pyrsos Co. Ltd. 1934. p. 242.
  11. ^ Government of Greece (3 June 1833). "Περί της Πολεμικής και Εμπορικής Σημαίας του Βασιλείου" [Regarding the Naval and Commercial Flag of the Kingdom]. Government Gazette. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  12. ^ royal decree dated 28 December 1863. Gazette 5/1864, 3-2-1864, pages 16-17
  13. ^ Gazette 16/1864, 25-4-1864, p. 85
  14. ^ Gazette 61/1867, 19-10-1867, pages 700-701
  15. ^ ΦΕΚ 541/1935, dated 12.11.1935, page 2656
  16. ^ a b c V. Tzouras, Η Ελληνική Σημαία, Μελέτη Πρωτότυπος Ιστορική (The Greek Flag, Original Historic Study), A. Lantzas, Kerkyra 1909
  17. ^ a b E. Kokkoni and G. Tsiveriotis, Ελληνικές Σημαίες, Σήματα-Εμβλήματα (Greek Flags, Signs and Emblems), Athens 1997 ISBN 960-7795-01-6
  18. ^ Law 851/21-12-1978 On the national Flag, War Flags and the Distinguishing Flag of the President of the Republic, Gazette issue A-233/1978.
  19. ^ a b c d Law 851 (in Greek) Archived 2013-01-20 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ a b c Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctives. Brest, France: S.H.O.M.; 2000. p. 238.
  21. ^ a b Flag Manual. Beijing, China: Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Protocol Division; 2008. p. B15.
  22. ^ a b Flags and Anthems Manual. London, United Kingdom: London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited; 2012. p. 47.
  23. ^ a b Procedural time limits - Greece
  24. ^ a b Presidential Decree 201/1998
  25. ^ O. Zotiadis (January 2001). "Greek". Military Review. Hellenic Army General Staff.
  26. ^ a b Presidential Decree 348 /17-4-1980, On the war flags of the Armed Forces and the Gendarmerie Corps, Gazette issue A-98/1980.
  27. ^ Presidential Decree 991/7-10-1980, Specification of the size of the National Flag born by the Coast Guard, Cities Police and Fire Service and the length of its staff, Gazette issue A-247/1980.
  28. ^ Σχολή Αξιωματικών Ελληνικής Αστυνομίας
  29. ^ published in Gazette A, 78, dated 17.04.1979, p.726

Further reading

  • I. Nouchakis, Η Σημαία μας (Our Flag), Athens 1908.

External links

Action of 4 April 1941

The Action of 4 April 1941 was a naval battle fought during the Atlantic Campaign of the Second World War. A German commerce raider encountered a British auxiliary cruiser and sank her with heavy losses after an hour of fighting.


The Anthora is a paper coffee cup design that has become iconic of New York City daily life. Its name is a play on the word amphora.

The cup was originally designed by Leslie Buck of the Sherri Cup Co. in 1963, to appeal to Greek-owned coffee shops in New York City, and was later much copied by other companies. The original Anthora depicts an image of an Ancient Greek amphora, a Greek key design on the top and bottom rim, and the words "WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU" in an angular typeface resembling ancient Greek, for example with an E resembling a capital sigma ("Σ", a letter pronounced like English "s"). The blue and white colors were inspired by the flag of Greece. The cup subsequently became the metropolitan area's definitive coffee-to-go cup.Sales of the cup reached 500 million in 1994 (when it was by far the most popular design for the company's cups), but had fallen to about 200 million cups annually by 2005. One New York Times writer in 1995 called the Anthora "perhaps the most successful cup in history". By 2007 it was mentioned in passing in a New York Times television review as "one of those endangered artifacts".The trademark was acquired by the Solo Cup Company, which licenses sales of the cup. The Anthora coffee cup is featured in movies and television shows that are set in New York such as Goodfellas, The Sopranos, Archer, Brooklyn 99, NYPD Blue, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, the Law & Order franchise, Marvel's Daredevil, and Flight of the Conchords.

Buck never made royalties from his design, but as a salesman he was well-remunerated for the success of the product. When he retired from Sherri Cup Co. in 1992, he was presented with 10,000 Anthoras printed with a testimonial inscription. After Buck's death in 2010, a New York Times writer described the motto on the cup as having "welcome intimations of tenderness, succor and humility".

Banner of arms

A banner of arms is a type of heraldic flag which has the same image as a coat of arms, i.e. the shield of a full heraldic achievement, rendered in a square or rectangular shape of the flag.The term is derived from the terminology of heraldry but mostly used in vexillology. Examples of modern national flags which are banners of arms are the flags of Austria, Iraq, and Switzerland.

The banner of arms is sometimes simply called a banner, but a banner is in a more strict sense a one of a kind personal flag of a nobleman held in battle.

Blue and White

Blue and White may refer to:

The Israeli flag

The Flag of Greece

"Blue and White" (University of Toronto fight song)

"Blue and White" (Duke fight song)

The Blue and White, a magazine written by undergraduates at Columbia University

Power Macintosh G3 (Blue & White)

Toronto Maple Leafs or Blue and White, a National Hockey League team

Blue and White (album), a 1984 album by guitarist Doug Raney

Flag of Cyprus

The national flag of Cyprus (Greek: σημαία της Κύπρου simea tis Kipru; Turkish: Kıbrıs bayrağı) came into use on 16 August 1960, under the Zurich and London Agreements, whereby a constitution was drafted and Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state. The flag was designed by art teacher İsmet Güney. The flag deliberately chose peaceful and neutral symbols in an attempt to indicate harmony between the rival Greek and Turkish communities, an ideal that has not yet been realized. In 1963, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities separated because of Cypriot intercommunal violence.

The state flag features the shape of the entirety of the island, with two olive branches below (a symbol of peace) on white (another symbol of peace). The olive branches signify peace between the Greeks and Turks. The map on the flag is a copper-orange colour, symbolising the large deposits of copper ore on the island, from which it may have received its name. Former President of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides described the flag as "the most innocent flag in the world" because "no one died for it".

Flag of Macedonia (Greece)

The flag of Macedonia (Greek: Σημαία της Μακεδονίας) represents a Vergina Sun with 16 rays in the centre of a blue field. This flag, as well as the Vergina Sun, is commonly used as an unofficial symbol of the Greek region of Macedonia and its subdivisions. It is also used by organisations of the Greek Macedonian diaspora, such as the Pan-Macedonian Association chapters of the United States and Australia, as well as numerous commercial enterprises and private citizens.

The Vergina Sun is an official state emblem of Greece, and the Greek government proceeded to lodge a copyright claim as a state symbol at the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1995. No such provisions have been made for the flag of Macedonia however, which remains unofficial.

It is unclear when the flag was adopted, but it was most likely in use by the late 1980s after the archaeological discovery of the star by Manolis Andronikos in Vergina. The similarity of the first flag of North Macedonia, then the Republic of Macedonia, following its independence from Yugoslavia 1992 had the same design as the flag of Greek Macedonia, but on a red background with proportions 1:2. This caused controversy in Greece, which was already using that symbol for its own province of Macedonia, and the Republic of Macedonia changed its flag to the current design in 1995.

Flag of the Greek Orthodox Church

The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Mount Athos, and also the Greek Orthodox Churches in the diaspora under the Patriarchate use a black double-headed eagle in a yellow field as their flag or emblem.

The eagle is depicted as clutching a sword and an orb with a crown above and between its two heads. An earlier variant of the flag, used in the 1980s, combined the double-headed eagle design with the blue-and-white stripes of the flag of Greece.The design is sometimes dubbed the "Byzantine imperial flag", and is considered—inaccurately—to have been the actual historical banner of the Byzantine Empire. The double-headed eagle was historically used as an emblem in the late Byzantine period (14th–15th centuries), but not on flags; rather it was embroidered on imperial clothing and accoutrements by both the Palaiologos emperors of the Byzantine Empire and the Grand Komnenos rulers of the Empire of Trebizond, descendants of the Byzantine imperial family of the same name. The actual flag of the Palaiologan-era Byzantine Empire was based on the tetragrammatic cross in gold on a red background. This design also forms the basis for another flag used by the Orthodox Church of Greece, with the added inscription of TOYTῼ NIKA (i.e. in hoc signo vinces).

Government of Greece

Government of Greece (officially: Government of the Hellenic Republic; also Greek Government or Hellenic Government) is the government of the Third Hellenic Republic, reformed to its present form in 1974.The head of government is the Prime Minister of Greece. He recommends ministers and deputy ministers to the President of the Republic for an appointment. The prime minister, the ministers, and the alternate ministers belong to the Ministerial Council, the supreme decision-making committee. Usually, ministers and alternates sit in the Parliament. They are accountable to the Constitution. Deputy ministers are not members of the government.

Other collective government bodies, apart from the Ministerial Council, are the Committee on Institutions, the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence and others, including particular government policy issues.

Greece at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Greece competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from 9 to 25 February 2018, with four competitors in two sports. As the founding nation of the Olympic games and in keeping with tradition, Greece entered first during the opening ceremony.

Greece at the Olympics

Greece has a long presence at the Olympic Games, as they have competed at every Summer Olympic Games, one of only four countries to have done so and the only one of them to compete under its national flag in Moscow, despite the Greek government's support for an American-led boycott of the 1980 Games, and most of the Winter Olympic Games.

Greece has hosted the Games twice, both in Athens. As the home of the Ancient Olympic Games it was a natural choice as host nation for the revival of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, while Greece has also hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics. During the parade of nations at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Greece always enters the stadium first and leads the parade to honor its status as the birthplace of the Olympics, with the notable exception of 2004 when Greece entered last as the host nation. Before the Games the Olympic Flame is lit in Olympia, the site of the Ancient Olympic Games, in a ceremony that reflects ancient Greek rituals and initiates the Olympic torch relay. The flag of Greece is always hoisted in the closing ceremony, along with the flags of the current and the next host country.

Greek athletes have won a total of 116 medals in 15 different sports and the country currently ranks 33rd in the all-time Summer Olympics medal count. Athletics and weightlifting have been the top medal-producing sports for the nation and in the latter Greece is placed among the top 10 countries overall. Gymnastics, shooting and wrestling are the other sports that have produced ten or more medals for Greece. In the inaugural 1896 Olympics, Greece finished second in the medal counts, but won the most medals in total, in their best Olympic performance. The Greeks finished third in the 1906 Intercalated Games with 8 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze medals (35 in total), which were considered Olympic at the time but are not officially recognized by the IOC today.

Greek nationalism

Greek nationalism (or Hellenic nationalism) refers to the nationalism of Greeks and Greek culture. As an ideology, Greek nationalism originated and evolved in pre-modern times. It became a major political movement beginning in the 18th century, which culminated in the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829) against the Ottoman Empire. It became a potent movement in Greece shortly prior to, and during World War I under the leadership of nationalist figure Eleftherios Venizelos who pursued the Megali Idea and managed to liberate Greece in the Balkan Wars and after World War I, briefly annexed the region of İzmir before it was retaken by Turkey. Today Greek nationalism remains important in the Greco-Turkish dispute over Cyprus.

Index of Greece-related articles

This page list topics related to Greece.

Leonidas Sabanis

Leonidas Sabanis (sometimes spelled Leonidas Sampanis Greek: Λεωνίδας Σαμπάνης, Albanian: Luan Shabani) is a Greek retired weightlifter, who represented Greece in 1996, 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics. He has also been a World Champion representing Greece.

List of Greek flags

This is a list of flags used in the modern state of Greece or historically used by Greeks.

List of flags by color

This is a list of flags by color. Each section below contains any flag that has any amount of the color listed for that section.

National Youth Organisation (Greece)

The National Youth Organisation (Greek: Εθνική Οργάνωσις Νεολαίας, Ethnikí Orgánosis Neoléas, EON) was a youth organization in Greece during the years of the Metaxas Regime (1936–1941), established by the regime with the stated goals of helping the youth in the productive spending of their free time and cultivating their national values and cooperative spirit.

Membership was not mandatory, and—unlike most contemporary political youth organizations in Europe—EON was not affiliated with a political party, but there was widespread successful campaigning by the regime to include the largest part of the youth to EON, and later took over the scouts and other such organizations, although typically membership still remained strictly voluntary. However, only Christians could enroll and Muslims and Jews could not become EON members. There were some exceptions on Jews though.Some of the activities that EON members were involved in included athletics events, parades and marches, military training, reforestations, recycling.

The official -monthly- magazine of EON was The Youth (Greek: Η Νεολαία).

The emblem of EON was a labrys surrounded by laurel wreaths and topped with a royal crown, while the flag of EON was similar to the flag of Greece—featuring a white cross on a blue fiend—with the emblem of EON charged in the center in gold and the royal crown moved to the upper hoist side quadrant. The motto of EON was "One Nation, One King, One Leader, One Youth".The EON disbanded in late April 1941 with the start of the German occupation of Greece when some of its former members created the secret occupation resistance/liberation organizations "National Youth Commity" and—the strictly female—"SPITHA" under the leadership of Metaxas' daughter Loukia Metaxa.

National colours of Greece

The national colours of Greece are blue and white.

Blue and white are also the national colours of Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, were the ancient national colours of Portugal, and are the colours of the United Nations.

Outline of Greece

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Greece:

Greece – sovereign country located on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula in Southern Europe. Greece borders Albania, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both parts of the Eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.

Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is heir to the heritages of ancient Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule. Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games (for this reason, unless it is the host nation, it always leads the Parade of Nations in accordance with tradition begun at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics), Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama including both tragedy and comedy.

Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981, a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001, NATO since 1952, the OECD since 1961, the WEU since 1995 and ESA since 2005. Athens is the capital; Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Volos, Ioannina, Larissa and Kavala are some of the country's other major cities.

Pasithea (ship)

The Pasithea was an ore-bulk-oil carrier that disappeared during Typhoon Vernon off of Kashima, Japan in August 1990. At the time of her loss, she was at the end of a voyage from Australia, with a cargo of iron ore,and anchored off shore on 1 August. Her last communication occurred on 4 August, shortly after getting under way to ride out the storm further off shore.Pasithea was built in 1971, had a deadweight tonnage of 155,407, and was sailing under the flag of Greece at the time of her loss.

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