Last modified: 2019-10-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: zakynthos | zante |
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Flag of Zakynthos, two versions - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 1 July 2019
The municipality of Zakynthos (40,759 inhabitants; 4,076 ha), is made of the island of the same name, also known as Zante, which is the southernmost of the Ionian islands. It is separated from Peloponnese (Greek mainland) by the Strait of Zakynthos.
The current municipality of Zakynthos was formed in the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the six former municipalities of Zakynthos (16,810 inh.), Alykes (Αλυκές, 4,796 inh.), Arkadioi (Αρκάδιοι, 4,830 inh.), Artemisia (Αρτεμισία, 4,517 inh.), Elatia (Ελάτια, 2,503 inh.), and Laganas (Λαγανάς, 5,894 inh.).
Zakynthos was settled by the Achaeans, and was part of Ulysses' Kingdom. It was an important harbour station on the trade road to West.
Zakynthos was forced to set up an alliance with Athens in 455 BP; Sparta failed to invade the island in 430 BP.
In the Middle Ages, Zakynthos was looted by the Vandals, the Saracens and the Norsemen, and eventually conquered by Count Tocchi in the 14th century. The island was looted once again by the Turks in 1479 and taken over, with the other Ionian islands, by Venice from 1485 to 1797. France occupied the island from 1797 to 1800. From 1800 to 1807, Zakynthos was one of the seven components of the Septinsular Republic, placed under Russian protectorate. In 1807, Russia retroceded the islands to France, which incorporated them into the Illyrian Provinces. After the fall of Napoléon, Britain set up a Protectorate on the islands, which were eventually ceded to the Kingdom of Greece in 1864.
Zakynthos was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1953.
In the 18th-19th centuries, Zakynthos was nickanmed fior di Levante because it was a famous center of culture. The island was the birth place of three once famous Greek poets.
Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827) was an Italian Romantic writer. Foscolo related his youth in the short, autobiographic novel Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, 1798 & 1802), modelled of Rousseau's La Nouvelle Héloïse and Goethe's Werther. Foscolo's poems follow the mythological and classical traditions and are often patriotic (A Bonaparte liberatore, 1797; Tombs, 1807). Foscolo also wrote tragedies (Thyeste, 1797; Ajax, 1811; Ricciarda, 1813), in the style of the great Italian tragedist Vittorio Alfieri (1749-1803), and brilliant essays on the classical and modern Italian litterature (Dell'origine et dell'ufficio della letteratura, 1809; Saggio sullo stato della letteratura italiana nel primo ventennio del secolo decimonono, 1818; Saggio sul Petrarca, 1819; Discorso sul testo della Divina Comedia, 1825; Discorso storico sul testo del Decamerone, 1825; Della nuova scuola drammatica italiana, 1850). He translated Homer in hendecasyllabs (Esperimento di traduzione dell' Iliade, 1803) and the English writer Sterne into Italian; he also wrote witty chronicles on the upper society of London (Lettere scritte dall' Inghilterra, 1818).
Andreas Calvos (1792-1867) was a Greek patriotic poet. He moved
early to Leghorn and later to Florence where, aged 20, he met Ugo
Foscolo. Calvos was Foscolo's secretary and disciple and travelled with
him to Switzerland and London, where the two poets fell out in 1817.
Calvos published The Lyra in Switzerland (1824) and The new odes in Paris (1826), immediatly translated into French. Calvos came back to Greece, then insurrected against the Ottomans, and settled in Corfou, where he was professor at the Ionian Academy until 1852. He spent there a sad and lonesome life and emigrated to England, where he ended his life as a professor in a young girls' college directed by his second spouse.
Calvos published only 20 odes and nothing more for the last 43 years of his life. He is a model of the accursed poet, often considered as Solomos' failed twin. One of the reasons of Calvos' failure is his weird poetic expression and his lack of sense for the Greek language; Calvos broke the structure of the verses and the stanza, suppressed the rhymes, and mixed archaic and classical words in Pindarus' style.
Dionysos, Count Solomos (1798-1857) is the national poet of Greece.
Born in a family of Cretan origin ennobled during the
Venitian rule on the Ionian islands, Solomos studied in Italy, in Cremona
and Pavia, and wrote his first poems in Italian. The Greek War of independence (1821) and the release of books of popular songs of modern Greece by Fauriel (1824 & 1825) attracted him back to the Greek language, which he had to learn again from scratch. In 1823, he wrote the Hymn to Freedom, the
national anthem of Greece, translated into French by Stanislas Julien
and published by Fauriel in 1825, and the Poem on Lord Byron's Death in 1824. His Dialogue, on the use of the popular Greek language, was
modelled on Dante's Convivio. His pre-Surrealist text The Woman from Zante was published only in 1927. After the fall of Missolonghi,
Solomos wrote The Liberated Besieged, a philosophical and epic poem
celebrating the spiritual strength of the besieged, as opposed to the
brutal, material strength of the besiegers. Solomos is considered as
the founder of the Ionian poetry school and the father of modern Greek
A verse by Solomos is written on the flag of Zakynthos.
Ivan Sache, 26 January 2005
The flag of Zakynthos is white (photo, photo), sometimes used with a green border, with a representation of Zakynthos, the legendary first resident of the island and its namesake.
Olivier Touzeau & Tomislav Šipek, 1 July 2019
Flag of Artemisia - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 2 November 2012
The municipality of Artemisia was located in the central west coast of the island, with its seat at Machairado (Μαχαιράδο, 925 inh.).
The flag of Artemisia (Kokkonis website) was light blue with a representation of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, Forests and Hills. The flag has the name of the municipality beneath .
Olivier Touzeau, 2 November 2012
Former flag of Zakynthos - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 1 July 2019
The flag of Zakynthos, then seen outside every public building on the island, was green with an orange representation of Zakynthos, the legendary first
resident of the island and its namesake. The name of the man and of the island (ΖΑΚΥΝΘΟΣ( is written above the man. The motto placed horizontally below the man, ΘΕΛΕΙ ΑΡΕΤΗ ΚΑΙ Η ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ, means "Freedom needs virtue and courage".
These words are taken from Dionysios Solomos.
Thanos Tzikas, 4 July 2003
Flag of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos - Image by Thanos Tzikas, 4 July 2003
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos (website) was established in 1999 to protect a rare species of sea turtle, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta L.), which lives off the southern part of the island.
The flag of the Park is white with the logo of the Park, which shows the endangered turtle.
Thanos Tzikas, 4 July 2003