|Flag Name(s)||Galanolefki ("Light blue and white") [Flag Of Greece]|
|Color and Design|
Nine horizontal stripes, in turn blue and white; a white Greek cross throughout a blue canton.
|Meaning & Symbolism||The white cross symbolises Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the prevailing religion of Greece. The color blue and white are interpreted as symbolising the colours of the sky and ocean. According to popular tradition, the nine stripes represent the nine syllables of the phrase Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος ("Freedom or Death"), the five blue stripes for the syllables Ελευθερία and the four white stripes ή Θάνατος. The nine stripes are also said to represent the letters of the word "freedom" (Greek: ελευθερία). There is also a different theory, that the nine stripes symbolise the nine Muses, the goddesses of art and civilisation (nine has traditionally been one of the numbers of reference for the Greeks).|
|Description and Brief History|
The national flag of Greece, popularly referred to as the "sky blue and white" (Greek: Κυανόλευκη, Kyanólefki), is officially recognised by Greece as one of its national symbols and has nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white. There is a blue canton in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross. The blazon of the flag is Azure, four bars Argent; on a canton of the field a Greek cross throughout of the second. The shade of blue used in the flag has varied throughout its history, from light blue to dark blue, the latter being increasingly used since the late 1960s. It was officially adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus on 13 January 1822.
Greece is often called the birthplace of western civilization, but the modern nation is quite young. There was no Greece flag for the majority of the ancient period, but the modern flag does include several links to the symbols of Ancient Greece. Greek history stretches back for thousands of years. Classical Greece was divided among many independent cities that often fought with each other, and that lack of unity prevented any single flag from representing the entirety of the Greek world. The cities remained relatively independent ever after the Macedonian conquest of Greece, so no banner or flag can truly be said to represent the Greek people until the late Roman period.
Greece eventually became part of the Roman Empire, and that empire eventually split into two independent states. The Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, became the medieval kingdom of the Greek people. The Byzantine Emperors represented their nation with a flag of red and gold, but many military units used flags of blue and white on the battlefield. Those war banners were a precursor to the modern design.
Byzantine rule eventually gave way to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire had to deal with frequent rebellions in Greece, and the blue and white flag originated among the rebel forces. The design varied widely between revolutionary groups, but many of them featured blue and white colors with decorative crosses.
Greece became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1829 after the end of a revolutionary war that began in 1821. The revolutionaries decided to represent themselves with a blue and white flag with a cross in 1822, although the original flag used a lighter shade of blue and did not feature any stripes. The modern flag of Greece came into use in 1969.
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