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Samos (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2023-11-04 by randy young
Keywords: greece | samos | vathy | pythagoreio |
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Presentation of Samos

The municipality of Samos (32,944 inhabitants in 2011; 47,740 ha) covers the island of the same name, located off the western coast of Turkey. The municipality was formed in the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities of Karlovasi (Καρλόβασι, 9,533 inh.), Marathokampos (Μαραθόκαμπος, 2,837 inh.), Pythagoreio (Πυθαγόρειο, 9,003 inh.), and Vathy (Βαθύ, 12,517 inh.).

In ancient times Samos was a particularly rich and powerful city-state. It is home to Pythagoreion and the Heraion of Samos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Eupalinian aqueduct, a marvel of ancient engineering.
Samos is the birthplace of the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, of the philosopher Epicurus, and of the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, the first known individual to propose that the Earth revolves around the sun. Samian wine, well-known in antiquity, is still produced on the island.
Olivier Touzeau, 21 July 2013

Former municipality of Vathy

[Flag of Vathy]
image by Olivier Touzeau, 17 July 2013

The flag of Vathy (photos) was blue with a red (inner) / blue (middle) / golden (outer) border. In the center is the emblem of the municipality in gold with the words "ΔΗΜΟΣ ΒΑΘΕΟΣ / ΣΑΜΟΥ" (Municipality of Vathy / Samos).

The emblem on the flag is a stylized depiction of the municipal hall. This building was used during the principality years as the seat of the local "parliament." Just below the depiction of this building there is the inscription in small lettering "Η βουλή των Σαμίων" (The "Parliament" of Samos Islanders) to remind that.
Olivier Touzeau & Paraskevas Renesis, 21 July 2013

Former municipality of Pythagoreio

[Flag]         [Flag]
left, current flag, right, former flag - images by Olivier Touzeau, 18 June 2014

The seat of the municipality was the town of Pythagoreio, formerly known as Tigani (Τηγάνι). The town was renamed in 1955 to honour the locally born mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras. The port of the town is considered to be the oldest man-made port of the Mediterranean Sea.

The flag of Pythagoreio (photo, photo) is white with the municipal emblem and the name of the municipality in different shades of blue.
The flag in former use (photos) was blue with a red border and a golden yellow fimbriation, and the municipality's emblam and name, in golden yellow, in the middle.
Olivier Touzeau & Paraskevas Renesis, 18 June 2014

Historical flags of Samos

Samos during the Greek War of Independence

The flag of the fleet from Samos is blue with a red border. At bottom is a red crescent, pointing downward. Atop the crescent is a red cross in the middle, a red spear on the right. To the left of the cross is a yellow coiled snake. In the upper left corner is a white boat anchor.

According to the Naval Museum of Chania (Crete), the cross stands for Christendom (Greece), the crescent for Islam (Turkey), the snake for wisdom, knowledge and reason, the anchor for stability, the spear for power and the bird for the help from God.

The combination of these elements probably represents the resurrection of the Greek nation: the cross overpowers the crescent moon. To bring about a successful fight however power (the spear) was required, as well as stability and perseverance (anchor), knowledge and wisdom (snake), and God's help through faith and religion (bird).

The book Hellenic flags [k7k97] explains that the flag of the fleet from Samos knew several variants, still with the same elements, cross, crescent, etc... The bird is in fact an owl biting the tongue of the snake. The red border symbolizes the blood of the Turks, the anchor the hope for the successful outcome of the cause, the cross stands for faith in justice and the owl for prudence. Of course various interpretations of these elements exist and have existed.
Bruce Tindall & Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999

Principality of Samos (1832-1912)

History of the Principality

The Greeks rebels controlled Samos during the War of Independence, but it was returned to the Ottoman Empire in 1830, with special conditions. The Principality of Samos was created in December 1832, under Ottoman sovereignty. The island lived in peace until 1908, when the islanders revolted against Turkey. Prince Andrew Kopasis followed an anti-Greek policy and was murdered on 22 May 1912. His successor, Gregory Vegleris, was pro-Greek.

In May 1912, Turkey withdrew its army from the island when the war against Italy broke out and in September the Greek islanders, led by Themistocles Sofoules, revolted again. Vegleris escaped, and on 24 November 1912, the island was incorporated into Greece.

In 1925, there was a conflict and some discussion about the proclamation of the independence of the island, but nothing happened.
Jaume Ollé, 26 September 1996

Quoting the Vathi website:
Themistocles Sofoules is one of the most eminent personalities of Samos, during the last twelve-year period of the Principality. (...) In September 1912, Samos revolted under his leadership and on 11 November 1912 the island's national assembly declared its union with "the free Greek Kingdom".
The union was formally established in March, 1913. For two years, until 1914, the Temporary Government of Samosruled the island, having Themistocles Sofoules as President. From that moment on, Samos became an integral part of the Greek state.

Jan Mertens, 2 January 2004

Flag of the Principality

[Principality of Samos]
image by Herman De Wael, 26 September 1996

The book Hellenic flags [k7k97] shows the flag of the Principality of Samos, officially used from 1834 to 24 November 1912, as divided by a white cross, with red upper quarters and blue lower quarters.
Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999

The German flag chart Die Flaggen der Kriegs- und Handels-Marinen aller Staaten der Erde (The flags of the navies and merchant navies of all the states of the world, Moritz Rühl, Leipzig, 9th edition, no year given but showing the flag of French president Émile Loubet, 1899-1906) labels this flag Handelsflagge (civil ensign).
Jan Mertens, 22 December 2003

Erroneous version

[Samos (incorrect version)]
image by Željko Heimer, 22 December 2003

A red over blue flag with a small white cross near the hoist is shown as the flag of Samos by Lloyd's House Flags and Funnels, 1912 [llo12], available online on the Mystic Seaport Library website.
Ned Smith, 22 December 2003

The aforementioned German flag chart Die Flaggen der Kriegs- und Handels-Marinen aller Staaten der Erde shows this flag as Staatsflagge (state flag), but with the cross as thick as on the "civil ensign."
Jan Mertens, 22 December 2003

Prince's standard

[Princely standard]         [Princely standard]
Standard of the Prince of Samos
Left, after Hellenic flags [k7k97] - image by Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999
Right, after Fezvi Kurtoğlu [kur92] - image by Jaume Ollé, 8 October 1996

The standard of the Prince of Samos was blue with in the center a triangle charged with a Greek cross. Some sources says that the triangle is white and the cross red, whereas other sources show a red triangle and a white cross.
Jaume Ollé & Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999

On a Samos website, the two images on top show the island's flag and the princely flag held by a policeman. The last image on the sixth row (inauguration of horse tram, 1905) shows the island's flag together with the princely flag. If we compare the various hues on these flags, may we not conclude that the cross-bearing triangle was indeed white?

The aforementioned German flag chart Die Flaggen der Kriegs- und Handels-Marinen aller Staaten der Erde shows the Prince's standard as a blue flag with a white triangle charged with a red cross, the cross being much smaller than on the image shown above.
Jan Mertens, 2 January 2004


[Samos ensign]
image by Miles Li, 28 October 2023

In the book Constitutional Texts of the Principality of Samos published in December 2013 by the Greek Parliament, we can see the flag the Principality's ships were flying:, and

The Ottoman word translates to "second;" the first was the flag used on land.
Paraskevas Renesis, 28 October 2023

Does the text from the Greek Parliament translation of the Samos constitution give any dates for this flag? I noticed one of the document pages, the first shown on the mqain link above says "1902" on it. Does that mean this flag dates from 1902 itself?
Ben Cahoon, 28 October 2023