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Aegean State (Greece)

Last modified: 2013-12-29 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Aegean State?]         [Flag of Aegean State?]

Flag of the Aegean State, two possible reconstructions - Images by Earinos, 23 November 2012

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Presentation of the Aegean State

I had read some online sources which said that the Dodecanese islands proclaimed a state before the Italian occupation, which commenced 27 April, but all the published books, journals, and contemporary newspapers I've found mention only the attempt in June 1912, after the Italian occupation. Nothing about any prior attempt, or "Federation of the Dodecanese" from any source to which I'd give a lot of credence.

Further, from what I have read, the Italians initial aims did not include annexing the Dodecanese. The invasion was undertaken for strategic reasons, to block any Turkish attempt to send reinforcements to Libya, which was Italy's intended annexation. The occupation of the isles stretched out longer than planned - first as a bargaining chip to guarantee Turkish compliance with theterms of the peace treaty; secondly because of the unsettled conditions around the Balkan Wars; then because of Italo-Ottoman belligerence in WWI. After the war Italy was going to cede the Dodecanese to Greece in return for a free hand on the coast of southern Anatolia. It wasn't until the aftermath of Ataturk's victories thwarted those plans that Italy actually annexed the Dodecanese.

The full text of the proclamation of the "Aegean State" issued on the island of Patmos, on 17th June 1912, can be found on page 329 of "The Island of Roses and her Eleven sisters, or the Dodecanese from the Earliest Time Down to the Present Day" (Michael D. Volonakis; Macmillan and Co.; London; 1922) - the book can be found online at Google Books

Ned Smith, 24 August 2009

Flag of the Aegean State

The book Feasts of Memory says it was a white flag on blue, with a portrait of the god Apollo.
The aforementioned proclamation indeed says: "... VI. Give as symbol of this State a blue flag intersected in the middle by a white cross and, as emblem, the portrait of Appollon Helios."
Unfortunately, no illustration was provided - and we must remember that at this point we don't know if one was ever done; let alone whether an actual flag was ever produced.
Clause VI in the proclamation, while a bit ambiguous, does seem to read as if the emblem was meant to be a separate item, and not part of the flag.

The Italian occupation authorities rejected the islanders' proclamation, forced their congress to disband, and arrested some of the leaders. So I would conclude it as almost certain that they would not allow the flying of this flag. Heck, one source I read said the Italian occupiers even forbade the Greeks to paint their houses blue and white.

Ned Smith, 29 August 2009

In 1988, in memory of the 40 years from the annexation of the Dodecanese Islands by Greece, a handbook was given to the pupils of all school grades.
In this book there was a short story of the islands starting from early antiquity until modern times. According to the book, during the last years of Italian occupation, the Italian authorities allow the Greek population to fly the "Aegean State" flag, but not the Greek flag itself. The flag was identical to the Greek flag but a portrait of god Apollo was displayed on the center of the cross. The Greek flag of the time had a golden crown on the center of the cross. So probably, the Italian authorities consider the two flags as different.
In the book there wasn't any picture of the said flag, or any mention about the colour of Apollo's head.

A few years ago there was a documentary on Greek State Television. There was a mention of the annexation of the Dodecanese by Greece, and I remember that I saw some women wearing traditional costumes holding the "Aegean State" flag. It was probably during the celebration of the Union with Greece in 1948. I guess that the flag that it was lowered it was that of the "Aegean State" since the Dodecanese was under a British/Greek administration since 1946.
The portrait of Apollo was identical to a portrait that was on a stamp issued by the Aegean State, or the Italian authorities. Since the documentary film was black and white, I can't tell whether the portrait was black, blue or golden. The said stamp is in Greek language and it has a seal from the Town Hall of Kos island. The seal is written both in Italian and Greek. The stamp is of 10 cents/lepta and the legend writes "Koinon Nisioton" (Community of Islanders).

Earinos, 23 November 2012