i've found another flag that fits our category, it has a cross in the center flanked by a crescent and a star on each side. it is a flag shown in Missouri at the eve of the Civil War. unfortunately it doesn't have any information with it. but i think its save to say that Tatars (and Islam) have nothing to do with it. I'll look out for more info.
meanwhile, check out this nice clip from one of my all-time favourite movies:
The crescent is associated with the Theotokos because of the following from the book of Revelation (NB the title is "Revelation" singular, *not* "Revelations"), 12:1 (this is the last book of the New Testament):
"And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
Revelation is a book of visions, allegory and symbols. The woman of the vision is not directly the Theotokos, because the next verse reads: "She was with child, and she cried out in her birth pangs, in anguish for delivery." It is a strong tradition among us Orthodox that the Theotokos did not suffer pain in giving birth; the woman is a figure of the Church, which as the Jewish church (the qahal of the Old Testament) figuratively gives birth to the Messiah (as the Theotokos did literally), and as the Christian Church is persecuted by the Dragon (verses 3 to 6). But as the Theotokos gives birth painlessly but literally as the Jewish church does figuratively but with pain, she shares the symbolic attributes. The crescent, then, is the moon under her feet. The Virgin of Guadelupe (Mexico) has also this same iconography; but it is not a recognized icon type among the Orthodox; we use it only in Mexico, where it is traditional.
To make a symbol of the Theotokos on the basis of this passage, you need twelve stars; one will not do it, and the star and crescent together will probably look like an Islamic symbol to most Orthodox.
There is another way in which the Theotokos is associated with the star: in iconography, she usually wears a blue mantel with three gold stars, one above her forehead and one on each shoulder. This is interpreted as follows: she was a virgin before giving birth, a virgin when she was giving birth, and a virgin after having given birth. The three stars, however, are not associated with the crescent.
The crescent at the bottom of many Russian crosses has been explained to me as commemoration of the victory of the Golden Horde (by this time Muslim) at the Battle of Kulikovo Pole. Similarly, the croissant is said to have originated after the repulsion of the Turks from the siege of Vienna.
So while Sarmat is correct in stating that 1) Ukrainians, and in particular the Zaporozhian Cossacks, had and have a strong devotion to the Theotokos and love the feast of the Pokrov, and 2) crescent symbolism is associated with the Theotokos, and 3) star symbolism is associated with the Theotokos, I do not believe that a flag with a crescent and a star would be recognized as a symbol of the Theotokos. The crescent is associated with a symbolism of *twelve* stars; the three golden stars on the mantle are not associated wiht the crescent, and a single star with a crescent is generally taken to be a Muslim symbol. The collocation of star, crescent, and cross is not easy to interpret.
BTW, in 1675 the Tatars besieged the famous Ukrainian monastery of Pochaiv, but fled when the Theotokos appeared in the siy over the monastery. This is certainly associated with the much older feast of the Pokrov or Protection of the Theotokos. I don't know if any stellar or lunar symbolism was associated with this, however.
You are welcome! Obviously I and a few friends had a special fondness for Ottoman history. We loved to do the research and reconstruction work, and also loved presenting to a heavily turkish audience at the 2 Turkish festivals... what a great audience who really seemed to appreciate us - especially the kids. We had hundreds of visitors and good history conversations over the 7 hours we presented last month. I understand we are famous in Istanbul:
However, since we are not turks, we do not have the deep fire in us to tell the ottoman story year after year. So we probabally can not continue beyond 2009, since after a few years the novelty wears off for the guys and we need to do something new. I hoped that a few turks interested in their history might join us, so that we could keep it up, but no luck. However, there is a small effort to start a living history group in Istanbul, and I hope it is supported.
I am so happy to find this forum in English with many turks and others participating. I wish I knew about you last year. I found you only because I was researching cossack and tatar banners. Thank you for the great information here about the cresant star and cross symbols - its a good puzzle. -Rick
I congratulate the foriegn people who are interested our history and discovered its huge richness. Thank you guys.
Post by H. Ihsan Erkoc on Nov 1, 2008 13:30:04 GMT 3
I am very glad people like you do things like that. Unfortunately, there is no reennactment culture in Turkey, and as far as I could see, even the news reporters didn't truely understand what you were doing (their style of writing wasn't very positive, they rather found what you done as weird - idiot ignorant Turks ). People just don't care about history in Turkey. Personally, I wouldn't advise you to continue yor efforts inside Turkey, because you wouldn't find much peole who would join you
Nomad, rider of the ancient east Nomad, rider that men know the least Nomad, where you come from no one knows Nomad, where you go to no one tells