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Genoa (Liguria, Italy)

Genova

Last modified: 2003-08-09 by dov gutterman
Keywords: italy | genoa | genova | republic of genoa | liguria | gryphon | cross | janus | zeneise |
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by Anto'nio Martins, 23 Febuary 2002



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Overview

The first flag of the Republic of Genoa was red with Saint George riding an horse, attested after 1198. The Republic used in land after 1218 an white flag with red Saint George cross, later also used as ensign since 1238. This flag was in use until 1805.
Jaune Ollé, 13 October 1998

Red cross on white field. This flag is listed under number 54 at the chart "Flags of Aspirant Peoples" [eba94] as: "Liguria (Genoa) - North-West Italy."
AFAIK , Genoa is the capital of Liguria. Lega Liguria uses more complicated flags, including the red cross on white field.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 1999

The Statute of the Comune (Community) of Genoa states under Title 1 - General Principles, point 4:
"The Community of Genova has its own coat of arms, its flag - both a red cross on a white field - and its gonfalone, prized with a golden medal for Military Value for the contribute during the Liberation (in World War II) and it depicts Saint George killing the dragon."(See: <www.comune.genova.it>).

The story behind this is very interesting. Here follows a brief summary:
The vexillum beati Georgii (flag of Saint George) is first reported in the Annales Januenses of 1198 (Genoa Yearbook). A red flag with Saint George riding a horse and striking a dragon was the state flag till the first half of the XIII century. A picture of it appears in the Annales Januenses describing the capture of the city of Savona in 1227. The banner with four tails is placed before the Genoa commanders tents and its importance is stressed by the author, who wrote "vexillum" under it. Meanwhile, the Community flag, ie the red cross on a white field, was also used. It is first reported on 28 September 1218: the insignia cruxata comunis Janue (cross ensigns of the Community of Genoa) were flying on the city of Ventimiglia, which surrendered to Genoa. At this point it was a land flag only. It assumed a modern rectangular shape, with no tails, from mid of the XIV century. The vexillum beati Georgii is still described in 1241 for the fleet of Genoa, being the war ensign and the Admiral proper, but in 1242 the signum Communis, ie the cross flag, was also in use, displayed on the galleys. The vexillum beati Georgii was flown from the commander (Podesta') galley only. Until at least 1282 this was the Admiral standard. Today the flag of the Comune of Genova (Genoa) is still the red cross on a white background and the Gonfalone is the banner with the Saint striking the dragon.

Source: Aldo Ziggioto, Genova, in Vexilla Italica 1, XX (1993);
Aldo Ziggioto, Le Bandiere degli Stati Italiani, in Armi Antiche 1994.
Pier Paolo Lugli, 18 July 2000

I looked up Genua on the flagchart that forms the cover for Vlaggen - Sierksma, and this shows for 1756 the "Pavillon de Genes" to be a white flag with a red cross
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 18 July 2000

In 1099 in the first crusade a Genoese fleet conquered some cities along the coast of the Middle East. The Genoese went then straight to Jerusalem where they gave a determined help to the Christian warriors. Guglielmo Embriaco took the red cross up on to the top of a hill near Jerusalem and said "Pe Zena e pe San Zorzo" ("For Genoa and for Saint George"). Since that moment the red cross is synonomous with Genoa, even before it became a symbol of Milan, England etc...
Filippo Noceti, 22 Febuary 2001

I would like to invite everybody to treat carefully statements of this kind. Crusader flags were the patterns for many following banners and, eventually, flags, but at the time there was no concept of flags in the modern way. Aldo Ziggioto works on the Italian flags are the reference for everybody who wishes to study the topic.
Pier Paolo Lugli, 22 Febuary 2001

This is the flag of Genoa. Since 1099. It is dark red almost maroon.
Filippo Noceti, 22 Febuary 2001

Maybe it is true that during the crusades we can't speak of official flags but the Republic of Genoa was born in 1099 and all over the Mediterranean Sea a red cross meant Genoa. In 1248 at the battle of Victoria near Parma the Genoese crossbow-men conquered the new imperial city. Milan asked to take the red cross and the allied Genoese allowed them to take the flag. The Genoese and Pisan fleet cleared the western Mediterraneum of the Musulman fleet but after 1284, when Pisa was defeated at the battle of Meloria, and remained the only maritime police (Venice had been beaten at Corcula in 1297). When the Saracens saw the red cross they fled and didn't attack. In 1992 for the genoese columbus festival in Genoa teh Duke of kent have written some words about the relatinship trough Genoa and England in past history: "...The St. George's flag, a red cross on a white field, was adopted by England and the City of London in 1190 for their ships entering the Mediterranean to benefit from the protection of the Geonoese fleet. The English Monarch paid an annual tribute to the Doge of Genoa for this privilege..." You can find the full text at the site <www.francobampi.it> . In 1304 Venice took Constantinople but in 1361 the Genoese fleet helped Michele Paleologo (scismatic Emperor) to take power in the Eastern Empire, so the trade route to the Black Sea becamed Genoese and they fortified lots of cities and the cities they colonized in south-eastern Europe in fact have arms with a red cross.
Filippo Noceti, 2 March 2001 and 6 June 2001

At J.W Norie - J.S. Hobbs: Flaggen aller seefahrenden Nationen, 1971[ nor71] (original print 1848):
197 Genoa- As above.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001


The Gonfalone


by Filippo Noceti, 27 June 2000

Official city gonfalone is this one. The Gonfalone of Genoa reppresent St. George killing the Dragon
Filippo Noceti, 27 June 2000

The gonfalone of Genoa has the gold medal for the resistance during the second world war, because Genoese fought for their freedom by themself.
Filippo Noceti, 19 September 2001

At <www.comune.pisa.it>, one can see another gonfalon, probably wrong one.Another photo is at <digilander.iol.it> .
Dov Gutterman , 6 September 1999


Coat of Arms


by Filippo Noceti, 8 June 2001


by Andre' Serranho

The symbol of the city of Genoa is with Griphons, St. George cross and at the top Gianus the roman god with two faces, the Roman god of Genoa.
Filippo Noceti, 22 Febuary 2001

The god is usually spelled Janus in English.
Ole Andersen, 22 Febuary 2001

At the base, on the both, there is the spur of a roman allegoric ship whith the snout fo a wild boar.
Filippo Noceti, 8 June 2001

I believe he meant a Roman ship with a boar's head figure on the bow. I cannot see enough detail to confirm it, but suspect Filippo is referring to the small embellishments upon which both griffin supporters are  resting a paw.
Ned Smith, 8 June 2001

There is an error in my previous text. . The spur is a real thing that have been found in 1597 in the Gulf of Genoa and it's really a part of a roman ship, it isn't an allegoric picture. Now it's in Turin in a museum, Savoia taked it during their reign. You can see this image on lot of genoese monuments, like the monument to Columbus, the Triumphal Arch builded after 1st world war or on the paint of the admiral Andrea Doria. At <www.fotodigenova.com/acquaverde6.html> you can see them all around the rounded base of Columbus munumet and at <www.fotodigenova.com/piazzavittoriasf.html> on the top at the level of arch in the corners. You can see it at the site of the Gallery of Tourin <members.it.tripod.de/~gat/collezione.htm>.
Filippo Noceti, 22 June 2001


Lengua Zeneise

Anyone knows what is the language that is represented by a red St. George cross on white at <www.acompagna.org> ?
It is probably connected with Genoa or Liguria since it looks like some coltural organization from Genoa. Their gonfalone at: <www.acompagna.org/gonfalone.htm>.
Dov Gutterman, 11 July 2001

The word "zeneise" maens citizen of Genova in the local language of Genova. The red cross on a white background is the flag (vexillum) of Saint George, a saint which Genova is devoted to. This flag was adopted in the age of the first Crusade and lately England was allowed to use it by the Republic of Genova.
This is a short story. You can find a longer explanation (in English) at my pages.
Franco Bampi, 12 July 2001

In the Liguria Region is spoken as native tongue a language called "Ligurian" that, I think, was also the official language of Genoa Republic.Zeneise is the local dialect of this language spoken in the city of Genoa and is the main dialect of this language, it's like a standard ligurian.
Edoard Salza, 12 December 2001


Flag According to Steenbergen Book (1862)


by Jaume Ollé, 11 April 2003

No. 430 - Duchy of Genoa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 11 April 2003


by Jaume Ollé, 8 June 2003

No. 649 - Genoa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 8 June 2003


by Jaume Ollé, 15 June 2003

No. 692 - Genoa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 15 June 2003


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