THE NATIONAL FLAG

THE FLAG OF ROMANIA IS A BLUE, YELLOW, RED TRICOLOR, WITH THE COLORS ARRANGED IN VERTICAL BANDS, OF EQUAL DIMENSIONS.

 

 

 

See LAW no. 75 of July 16, 1994 regarding the hoisting of the Romanian flag, the singing of the national anthem and the use of the seals with the coat of arms of Romania by the public authorities and institutions.

As a Romanian vexillological symbol, the blue, yellow, red tricolor is relatively recent, appearing in the first half of the 19th century.

About the more distant history of the flag in our ancestors, the information is scarce and incomplete.

Certainly, the Geto-Dacians (the northern branch of the great Thracian people) had as their symbol “draco”: a wolf’s head with an open snout, continued with a snake’s body, made of metal (bronze) and ending with a series of strips of cloth. This “devil” was stuck in the top of a pole; carried in the gallop of the horse during the fights, the “draco” hissed because of the air that entered through the open mouth of the animal and came out through a wooden “whistle” caught in the tail. “Draco” was not a Geto-Dacian “invention”, it was taken from the horsemen of Iranian origin, known generically as Scythians. However, the first attestation of the use of a “draco” by the Geto-Dacians dates from the sec. IV BC, a sketch of such a flag being written in the raw paste of a local vessel, handmade, discovered in the Getic settlement of Budureasa, jud. Prahova. In the sculpted scenes of Trajan’s Column, Dacian warriors often appear wearing such symbols, they are also found on funerary monuments of Roman soldiers of Dacian origin stationed in Britain. The only surviving specimen – only the metal part – was discovered in Germany, without being able to say if the piece represents a “trophy” won by a Roman military unit during the battles in Dacia and then deployed on the limes on the Rhine, a piece captured from other Scythian nations that had it as a symbol or a “flag” of a Roman auxiliary military unit recruited from the Geto-Dacians and which, according to current Roman practice, kept their specific weapons. they are also found on funerary monuments of Roman soldiers of Dacian origin stationed in Britain. The only surviving specimen – only the metal part – was discovered in Germany, without being able to say if the piece represents a “trophy” won by a Roman military unit during the battles in Dacia and then deployed on the limes on the Rhine, a piece captured from other Scythian nations that had it as a symbol or a “flag” of a Roman auxiliary military unit recruited from the Geto-Dacians and which, according to current Roman practice, kept their specific weapons. they are also found on funerary monuments of Roman soldiers of Dacian origin stationed in Britain. The only surviving specimen – only the metal part – was discovered in Germany, without being able to say if the piece represents a “trophy” won by a Roman military unit during the battles in Dacia and then deployed on the limes on the Rhine, a piece captured from other Scythian nations that had it as a symbol or a “flag” of a Roman auxiliary military unit recruited from the Geto-Dacians and which, according to current Roman practice, kept their specific weapons.

Rome, as a state, did not have a specific flag. Each Roman legion had its specific “flag”, “sigmum”, which was a plastic representation cast in bronze (eagle, lion, etc.), stuck in the top of a pole, on the latter being fixed the various “decorations” (phalerae). ) that the respective legion had acquired.

After the formation of the Romanian people, in the IX-X centuries, with the establishment of the first state-type formations both south and north of the Danube, the first Romanian heraldic insignia appear and, with them, gaps and disparate information on the “flag the great one ”which, in the language of the time, designated the vexillological symbol of the state. In addition to the “big flag”, there were different flags of the boyar groups, each in color and with specific heraldic representations, and later there were different flags and banners of military units. Sometimes the rulers had their own flag that combined elements of the personal coat of arms with the country’s coat of arms.

The “big flags” had heraldic elements of the coat of arms, embroidered or painted, represented on the canvas. The basic color of the flag of Moldova is generally red, and that of Wallachia, white or a light color (white-yellow), but there are exceptions. Such an exception is the very first written news describing such a flag from the time of Prince Vlad Vintilă of Slatina (1532-1535) – we are told that the canvas was made of red silk on which was embroidered the heraldic representation of the coat of arms : bird with a contoured head, having a cross in its beak and sitting on a mountain peak.

And the flag of Moldavia, during the reign of Stephen the Great, was also red, with a bull’s head with a star between its horns and flanked by the sun and moon. From the same period we have the image of Stefan’s royal flag in the engraving depicting the battle of Baia from 1467: long and narrow flag, with vertical stripes parallel to the hampa (the family coat of arms) and the ox’s head on the rest of the canvas.

According to a contemporary account, the delegation of the great Moldavian boyars present at the coronation of Henry of Valois as King of Poland (1574) had a blue flag with the star-studded ox between its horns.

Around 1600, the flag of Wallachia under the rule of Mihai Viteazul was white with a raven painted holding a double cross in its beak, standing above a branch of green juniper, while the flag of Moldavia under Ieremia Movila was red, with the ox having a star between the horns and flanked by two crescents, painted yellow; the edge of the flag was bordered with yellow and had the name and title of the voivode written on it, as well as the date when it was made.

Of the flags dating back to the seventeenth century, none “of the country” has been preserved. Instead, there is an interesting royal flag from the time of Mihnea III (1658-1659): on the dark red background, painted with gold, the Byzantine bicephalous eagle wearing a princely crown, having as supports two rampant lions, all crowned with a crown archduke supported by two angels; the name and title were written on the top of the canvas. “IO MIHAIL RADU WITH THE MERCY OF GOD THE LORD OF UNGROVLAHIA AND OF THE MEGIEŞITE PARTS ARCHED.” Another royal flag is that of Constantin Brâncoveanu, and he may have served as the country’s flag. On one side of the canvas was embroidered the coat of arms of Wallachia flanked by the holy emperors Constantine and Helen with the inscription: “KONSTANTINUS BRANCOVAN, VALACHIAE TRANSALPINAE PRINCEPS, ANNO DOMINI 1698”, and,

During the Phanariot reigns, the heraldic symbols of the two Romanian principalities appear for the first time joined on a flag; as is the case with the flag from the time of Constantin Ipsilanti, who, for a short time (December 1806-August 1807), ruled in both countries; the silk of the flag was white.

And the flag used by Tudor Vladimirescu during the revolutionary movement of 1821 was made on the model of the military flags of the Middle Ages. The canvas, made of white silk, had painted, centrally, the Holy Trinity, flanked by two military saints (St. Martyr George and St. Theodor Tiron). Under the Holy Trinity, in an oval crown of laurel leaves, was the crossed eagle of Wallachia and, to the left and to the right of the coat of arms, were written, in Cyrillic letters, the verses:

„All the Romanian people Glorify
you
Trinity of a being
Send me help.

With your great power
And in your strong arm
Hope of justice
Now let me have a part too ”.

Under the coat of arms was inscribed the date when the Proclamation from Islaz was read, considered as the “official” moment of the start of the movement initiated by the servant Tudor Vladimirescu. In addition to the actual flag, there are also tassels that were hung from the hook under the warhead. These are three groups of tassels, each consisting of longer braided threads, covered with up to half shorter threads. All these tassels were bicolor: red / blue, yellow / blue and yellow / red, all of which created the impression of the tricolor.

The first reunion of the three colors, as separate bands of color, as a vexillological symbol not of the principality of Wallachia, but of the ground militia units and merchant ships, dates from 1834, during the reign of Al.D. Ghica. The strips were arranged horizontally, with the red strip at the top and the blue strip at the bottom. On yellow was painted the crucified, crowned eagle, holding in its claws a mace and a sword, surrounded by an oval crown of oak and laurel leaves; in the corners, eagles were painted. Starting from Hatişerif in 1834, by which the sultan approved the three colors as a vexillological symbol, the followers of the “National Party” will see in this tricolor the national symbol of all Romanians. Undoubtedly, this option was strongly influenced by the national movement that the new political forces of the bourgeoisie were promoting throughout Europe, the vexillological model being the French one: blue, white, red. Following this model, Belgium adopts, at the proclamation of its independence, the black, yellow, red flag; the Italian revolutionaries – and then the Italian state – green, white, red, etc.

At the same time, during the “Regulatory” rule in Moldova, Prince Mihail Sturdza also distributed the flags and banners to the new units of the ground militia. Those of the Moldovan military units are two-tone: on the blue canvas they are placed at red square corners. On the obverse of the canvas, in the center, was the Moldavian ox with a star between its horns and the princely crown, while on the reverse was painted St. George on horseback, killing the dragon; on the red squares was the ruler’s monogram, “M.”

It should be noted that even during this period, the establishment of a “state” flag has not yet been established, the main flag of the country being that of the ruler. The royal flag of Gheorghe Bibescu (1842-1848) was made of red silk with edges embroidered with gold flowers; central, a shield, stamped with the princely crown, in which is the crossed eagle, the shield being supported by two rampant lions; Behind the shield are crossed a sword and a mace, and everything is placed on top of a panoply of flags, weapons, cannon barrels, drums and cannonballs. On the reverse of the flag is painted St. George on horseback, killing the dragon.

In the revolutionary context of 1848, with the hoisting of the new tricolor flags as symbols of some national states, the Romanian revolutionaries, in Paris at the outbreak of the revolution, will fly the blue, yellow, red, blue flag. This will be enshrined, as a national flag, by Decree no. 252 of the provisional government in Bucharest, although, initially, the tricolor flags had appeared with the bands arranged horizontally, as they had been hoisted by the Romanian revolutionaries from Transylvania at the National Assembly in Blaj on April 26th. We do not know the reason why the Transylvanians chose the horizontal arrangement of colors; it may have been a mimicry of the green, white, red tricolor of the Hungarian revolutionaries. It should also be noted that, initially, the tricolor of the Transylvanian Romanians was blue, white, red, with horizontal bands, on white being written in gold “VIRTUS ROMANA REDIVIVA” (Revived Roman Virtue). During the revolution, however, gradually, all Romanian flags will replace white with yellow.

As a national flag, the tricolor was imposed in 1859, with the double choice of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, but in the variant of the horizontal arrangement of the colored bands. The first flag from 1859, in use until 1862, had the blue stripe placed on top, then, in the second period of Cuza’s reign, the red stripe was placed at the top. With the arrival of Prince Carol I, in 1867, both the country’s flag and the flags and banners of military units will have the bands arranged vertically, with blue next to the pole. Romania thus aligned itself with the European vexillological rules for tricolor flags, all of which have the darkest band, the “cold” color, next to the stem.

It should be noted that there have always been differences between the national flag and the flags of military units around the world. In our country, the military flags bore the coat of arms of the country in the center and in the corners the logo of the sovereign, while the national flags, since 1872 when these aspects are legislated, no. In 1948, the communist regime, in an attempt to distance as much as possible from all that was the national tradition, replaced not only the country’s coat of arms, resulting from the combination of traditional heraldic elements, with a new one of Soviet origin, but also planted this new one. coat of arms on the national tricolor. In December 1989, people broke the symbol of communism on the flag and returned to what had been the Romanian flag from 1872 to 1947.

(source:  https://www.presidency.ro/ro/presedinte/romania/drapelul-romaniei )