The flag designed in Hydra during the Greek War of Independence with it's plethora of symbols, aiming to inspire the fighters in their struggle for freedom. The main symbol of the flag, as with most revolutionary flags of that era, is the cross symbolizing faith and Orthodoxy. The flag to the right with, either the helmet of Themistocles, or the godess Athena in some variations, reminds of the triumphant victories of ancient ancestors, while the anchor on the left symbolizes hope for the victory of Hydra’s naval fleet. The snake coiled around the anchor symbolizes the power of the Greek nation, while the dove coming out of the mouth of the snake represents the freedom of the nation. The eye of divine Providence at the top left represents hope for the victory of the Greeks and a fair end to the struggle. All these on top of a white crescent (symbolizing the Ottoman yoke) with the ancient Spartan motto “H TAN H EPI TAS” which translates roughly to “Come back with your shield, or on it.”** Obviously this monochromatic depiction excludes the flag colors, the blue background symbolizing the sea, and the red frame symbolizing the fighting & revolution.
** When a mother in ancient Sparta farewelled her son who was leaving for war, she handed him his shield and told him this, meaning "Come back carrying your shield, or come back on it [dead]". It was considered a disgrace for an ancient Greek warrior and its relatives to leave his shield on the battlefield, while warriors killed in battle were carried back to their relatives on their shields.
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April 27th, 2021
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