Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Turkish Flag

There are many myths and legends around the Turkish flag and its origin. The most prominent is that the star and moon, although Muslim symbols, have a long pre-Islamic past in Asia Minor, especially in Constantinople (Istanbul). 
The origins can be found in the pre-Christian period, when Istanbul was not Constantinople but Byzantio. The moon and star symbol was dedicated to the Goddess Ekavi and became officially the city's symbol when Philip, Alexander the Great's father, tried to invade and capture the small city. During a cloudy night he sent a few soldiers to invade the city by surprising his enemies. Suddenly the moon appeared and they were spotted by the defending soldiers. From then the city recognised this as divine help from the Goddess Ekavi and the moon was established as the city's official symbol. This is even evident in a coin found in the region which is dated back to the period of Byzantio. 

Emperor Constantine renamed the city Constantinople and kept this traditional symbol. Mohammed the Conqueror established this symbol as one of the Ottoman emblems.
Another legend is that a reflection of the moon occulting a star, appearing in pools of blood after the battle of Kosovo in 1448, a battle which established the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe until the 19th century. This led the adoption of the Turkish flag by Sultan Murad II according to one tradition. Others refer to a dream of the first Ottoman Sultan in which a moon and star appeared from his chest and expanded, presaging the seizure of Constantinople by his dynasty. However, there are other legends around the origin and the predominance of the current Turkish flag.