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The Sardinian Flag: Meaning Of The Four Moors  0 Comments

The Sardinian Flag: Meaning Of The Four Moors 

The history of the Sardinian flag of medieval origin, white with Saint George's red cross that forms four squares, each containing a Moor’s head, runs between legend and historical truth in a fascinating journey that leads to the discovering of the island's past. Over the centuries the four Moors on the flag were depicted in different ways: without a bandage, with a bandage on the eyes or on the forehead, looking to the right, looking to the left, sometimes with the crown and sometimes not. Historically, the forehead is turned towards the flag pole. There are various hypotheses on the Sardinian flag’s origin, where the number four is recurring: four Judicates, four Saracen kings, four victories. Let's figure it out in detail. 

The emblem could have been adopted to represent the four Judicates, Torres, Gallura, Arborea and Cagliari, which got organized in 1073 to fight against the Moors, who were harassing the island with their raids since 705. The Sardinian Judicates were four small independent states which, between the ninth and fifteenth centuries, autonomously governed Sardinia, and strenuously defended their island from the continuous invasions of the Moors. They were sovereign states with summa potestas, governed by kings called Judges, in Sardinian Judikes. They differed from the feudal governments in force in medieval Europe, in the modernity of their organization. The States were not owned by the king but by the people who expressed themselves through the Coronas de Curatorias which in turn elected their representatives in the Corona de Logu (Crown of the Realm). It brought together the powers of the Court of Justice, the Council of representatives of the administrative areas called Curatorias and the Pìscamos (High Prelates), appointed by the judge-sovereign.

A second hypothesis, as an alternative, refers to the celebration of the victory in Alcoraz, in 1096, of King Peter I of Aragon. It is said that Saint George intervened during the battle in favour of the Aragonese, appearing on the field carrying his white shield with a red cross, symbol of the crusaders who fought the Moors in the Holy Land, and left on the field the severed heads of the four Muslim rulers, still adorned with their royal turbans. After the battle the four heads were brought to the Aragonese king, laid on Saint George’s shield, thus originating to the Four Moors Emblem. 

The third weaker hypothesis is linked to the four victories achieved by the Aragonese, who reigned from 1324 to 1479, won in Spain by the Catalan-Aragonese: Zaragoza, Valencia, Murcia and the Balearics. 

Whatever the right hypothesis is, the Four Moors became the symbol of the Regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae, and later became the flag of the island and its population. The meaning of what is represented on the flag certainly conveys an era in Sardinia of bloody conflicts between Islam and Christianity. In 1720 the Savoys, for the duration of their reign, superimposed their Savoy coat-of-arms on the Four Moors, blindfolded and turned to the left. The latest revision, dated 2005, fixed the bandages on the foreheads and the heads facing right.

Two things may be done with a flag: either wave it high or hold it passionately on your heart.” (Paul Claudel)

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Written by Daniela Toti

 

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