IDTG http://www.idtg.org Kimon Andreou's blog on heraldry, genealogy, history and other things Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:20:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Giakoumeloshttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1921-giakoumelos/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=giakoumelos http://www.idtg.org/archive/1921-giakoumelos/#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:23:32 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1921 On my paternal grandmother’s side I descend from one of the older families in the Hellenic region, that of the Giakoumelos (Γιακουμέλος) of the island of Zakynthos also known as Zante (Ζάκυνθος). According to the definitive book on the families of the island, Λεξικόν Iστορικόν και Λαογραφικόν Zακύνθου (Historical & Folkloric Dictionary of Zakynthos) volume 1 by Λ.Χ. Ζώης, the family has been on the island since before 1478. However, the family was not listed in the Golden Book (Libro d’Oro) of the island, maintained during the Venetian rule.

The family were the founders of the village of Gyri (Γύρι), located at the highest point on the island. For centuries, the family has led the village in a form similar to a señorío in Spain. Over the centuries, the family broke out into branches each with its own nickname but maintaining the surname:

  • Camberi (Καμπέρη)
  • Colovieni (Κωλοβιένη)
  • Cousoula (Κουσουλα)
  • Dairis (Νταΐρης)
  • Darios (Νταρίος)
  • Gialia (Γιαλιά)
  • Malouchos (Μαλούχος)
  • Roros (Ρωρός)
  • Roupa (Ρούπα)
  • Vardakastani (Βαρδακαστάνη)

The above are those I know about and there may very well be several more. In any case, of the ones listed above the Dairis and the Roros branches seem to have risen to the headship of the seignure and to have maintained that over the centuries. For example, the Roros were treated as the aristocracy of the village of Gyri. What is fascinating is that to this day, the family leads the small village and has a leadership role in the regional administration.

It should be noted that Gyri has always been a tiny village, out of the limelight and there back in the day it was very much isolated from the hustle and bustle of the islands capital, let alone the rest of the world. Marriages were usually with families in the neighboring, also tiny, villages such as the case of my paternal maternal great-grandmother who was a Moraitis.

Now, there is ample documentation about the Giakoumelos going to the mid 15th century but, what about before that? The family didn’t spring from out of nowhere so we need to see what was going on at that time on the island.

After the 4th Crusade of 1204 what was once the Eastern Roman Empire, better known as the Byzantine Empire, got split into a number of small kingdoms under the rule of the Western European Crusaders. As the Crusaders were all Roman Catholic and the general name for them in the Eastern Orthodox lands they conquered was “Latins” or “Franks”, the period during which these kingdoms existed is known as Francocracy or Frankokratia (Φραγκοκρατία). The rule ended truly in the 20th Century when Italy returned the Dodecanese to Greece after World War 2 though most would put the end in the early 19th Century when the Napoleonic controlled Republic of Venice ceded its Greek territories to the British Crown. To complete the story, the British gave those same lands to the new Kingdom of Greece with the coronation of King George I of Greece.

So, where does Zakynthos fit in this whole mix? Zakynthos was always treated as a package deal with Cephalonia (Κεφαλονιά), the latter usually having more noble families. This pair of islands has a particular history that starts diverging from their Greek Orthodox brothers in 1185 when the King of Sicily created the County Palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos for the services rendered to the Crown by Margaritus of Brindisi. After the first Count Palatine, the title went to the Orsini family in 1195. In 1325 it goes to the House of Anjou-Sicily and in 1357 to the Tocco family who kept it until 1479. This year was the first time that the two islands split rulers: Cephalonia was occupied by the Ottomans while Zakynthos went to the Republic of Venice. I should point out that 21 years later, Cephalonia joined Zakynthos and also came under the Venetians.

Notice the year that the Republic of Venice took over the island of Zakynthos and the year the Dictionary above uses as a mark for the family. This means that the Giakoumelos were on the island, with the name “Giakoumelos” before the Venetians took possession of the island. Unfortunately, there isn’t much about Zakynthos on the pre-Venice years, especially regarding its minor nobility or other genealogical records.

So, where does this leave us regarding the origins of the family? This is what we know:

  1. The family were the leaders of their village and treated like aristocracy however, they were not listed in the Golden Book (Libro d’Oro) of the island maintained by the Venetians
  2. They have been on the island for over 5 centuries and we don’t know much from before the mid 15th century
  3. Greeks of “Frankish” descent hellenized their names. For example, Capo d’Istria became Kapodistrias (Καποδίστριας).

Now that we have some background let’s try to take each item, one at a time.

The family was the equivalent to medieval seignures or señores (in the Spanish sense) or, to anglicize it, like a feudal Lord of the Manor. Not only that, they were of a village in the middle of the island and effectively, the middle of nowhere. So far removed they were from the center of power in city of Zakynthos (capital of the island) that many had never even been there! If one examines the Golden Book of the island one finds all the major players in the capital but none of these families were from the hinterland representing the less cosmopolitan parts. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Giakoumelos are not listed there as I’m sure dozens of other families of similar stature aren’t.

 So, where did they come from? The bibliography doesn’t say that they are native to the island nor does it say where they are from. This is where we can come up with hypotheses based on some circumstantial evidence.

As the island was under “Frankish” rule for 300 years prior to Venice taking over and the bibliography is silent about any families from Constantinople with a similar name migrating there, we can assume then that the family has a Western European origin. It’s the only alternative. Where, though, did these people come from? Considering that the Orsini and the Tocco were of Italian descent and that their County was under the protection of the Sicilian or Neapolitan Crowns, the most likely case is that the Giakoumelos come from what is today Italy. This prompted me to do a simple Google search restricted to Italy with the search word of “giakoumelos”. What I found was amazing!

I discovered that there is an ancient Italian family with the name of Giacomello that has had a long history in their region of origin. What is their region? Venice! It’s all now coming together. A family with a notably Italian sounding name, without any mention of them in the Greek lands other than on Zakynthos, an island under Venice’s control for 450 years, is probably related to a quintessentially Venetian family with almost the exact same name. It is self evident that Giakoumelos is an hellenization of Giacomello, following the pattern of so many other hellenized surnames.

The hypothesis is a good one but, can it be proven? This is the hard part. This is a research project that must be attacked from both ends: the Giakoumelos end and the Giacomello end. Is there documentation proving descent of the Giakoumelos from the Giacomello? Did the Giacomello go to Zakynthos and if so, when? If they were notable in Venice why do they not appear in the Golden Book of the island? Why did they decide to live in the most remote part of the island?

So many questions but, not many answers.

Searching backwards, from the Giakoumelos to Venice may prove to be the most difficult since there are sparse records today about the island. Unfortunately, as per the curator of the archives of the island told me, almost all the records were destroyed in a fire caused by the major earthquake of 1953 that ruined most of the island. I hope one day to find a definitive answer.

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Advice on genealogical researchhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1913-advice-on-genealogical-research/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=advice-on-genealogical-research http://www.idtg.org/archive/1913-advice-on-genealogical-research/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:56:20 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1913 I am frequently asked by people how to go about their genealogical research. Many have not started at all while others have some bits and pieces of data but, not at all organized and mostly in their head.

With this blog post, I’m going to try to share the same advice I’ve given friends and others that have contacted me with this same question. It may be of value to you or not but, I have found it works for me.

Write down everything you know or think you know
This is very important. Be as detailed as possible. It will give you a good idea of what it is that you know about your family tree, relations, legends, stories, etc. This will allow you to identify gaps in your knowledge and will help create a road map of what you need to tackle. You may discover that you don’t know the birthdays of any of your cousins or that you don’t have the names of your mother’s cousins.

Attempt to put it in the form of a tree, what do you get?

After you’ve analyzed what you already know, you will be able to start asking the right questions

Don’t discount family stories/legends

We all have that family story of the great-great-grandad who was the King or Prince or was the richest person in town or owned all the land in a region or something like that. More often than not, this is complete hogwash. However, within these stories are grains of truth. It may be that great-great-grandad was not a prince but he was an officer that worked for him or worked at the prince’s favorite bar. Examine the story and see what can be discovered. You will ultimately prove or disprove the story, which is an achievement in itself, but you will also find the truth and some fascinating stories about your family.

Talk to senior family members

The only certainties in life are death and taxes. This is why it is important to make the most of the time we have with the eldest members of our family. They can be parents, uncles, grandparents, cousins, whatever they all have a story to tell. Spend some time with them and just have a conversation about the family. Don’t make it an interview or an interrogation, just let them talk. You’ll find that all they need is a reason to tell their stories and off they go!

I would recommend having a recorder handy to record the conversation, this way you won’t be worried about committing it memory or keeping notes and can focus on the actual story, asking questions when needed and steering them away from tangents.

Don’t worry about inconsistencies or contradictions. Have them go back to the same event from a different path and see if they say the same thing. You will also, hopefully, have the chance to compare with other elder family members.

Document, document, document

Did I say document already? Everything you do or find should be documented. Try to find proofs of whatever it is you are examining. These proofs can be birth/baptismal certificates, death certificates, marriage certs, wills, court decisions, video, pictures, anything. Pretend that your genealogical research will have to be presented in court, that should give you a good feel of how well to prepare.

If you ever plan on petitioning to join any sort of hereditary society, you will need at least a birth/baptismal, marriage, and death certificate for every person in every generation in the line in question, going back as far as possible.

Use good software

If you are doing it all in pen and paper, more power to you. For the rest of us that live in the current century, we like computers. I won’t go into the benefit of using a computer for this as it should be self evident but I will go into the importance of using the right software.

Some may prefer to use Word or Excel and some may have even gotten creative and are tracking things in an Access database you’ve built yourselves. Great! But, it’s not good enough. You need specialized software that can handle all the aspects of genealogical research, handles backups efficiently, is easy to use, can generate reports, perform searches, organize sources, and can support the standard data interchange formats that have been developed specifically for genealogical research.

There are a lot of options out there ranging from desktop only solutions to iPad apps to web based ones. Some are completely free while others are paid for and still others are in between. The choice is yours. I do strongly suggest that you try before you buy, to make sure it does what you need.
Supporting the standard data interchange, called GEDCOM, is crucial. Especially if you’re going to transfer your data from one application to another or what to share with another researcher/family member. Re-entering 10-20 people is a pain but doable. Re-entering 10,000 is reason enough to crawl into a corner and start crying.

Use online sources cautiously

Sites such as FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com are amazing resources. However, one must exercise caution when using them and really examine the source information. If there are scanned images associated with the text, examine them. Never take anything at face value because mistakes can and do happen. This is more prevalent on sites such as Ancestry.com and Rodovid.org since individuals may basically enter whatever they want. For example, according to Rodovid.org I am a direct descendant of Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea!

Also, Google is a great tool. You never know what you may find simply searching on a name. Give it a try!

Patience

All the other stuff is important but, perhaps the most important thing to have when embarking on the journey of genealogical discovery is patience. This is a lifelong project and probably even longer. Disappointment abounds as do brick walls. However, patience and perseverance will help you push forward and make the discoveries that will make you feel it is all worth it. It IS worth it!

I hope this helps and I am open to discussing your own experiences. Feel free to post below in the comments section or shoot me an email.

 

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Reunión de Tejada en Antequerahttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1906-reunion-de-tejada-en-antequera/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=reunion-de-tejada-en-antequera http://www.idtg.org/archive/1906-reunion-de-tejada-en-antequera/#comments Mon, 11 Mar 2013 02:51:02 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1906 Reunión de Tejada en Antequera: Solar de tejada

By Javier Alfonso de Somalo y Mendiola:

La Junta de Gobierno del Antiguo e Ilustre Solar de Tejada, informa que el próximo 18 de Mayo de 2013 se celebrará en la ciudad de Antequera (Málaga) unas jornadas de convivencia del Solar, como se acordó en la Junta General de 2012.

La jornada comenzara con una recepción protocolaria en el Salón de Plenos del Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Antequera a las 11:00h, donde habrá una conferencia sobre “La Colonia Camerana en Antequera y su vinculación con la mesta” impartida por Doña Pilar Jiménez y Casaus, Profesora de Historia y descendiente de los Hernández de Tejada de Laguna de Cameros.

Tras la conferencia se hará la visita a la Iglesia de San Juan de Dios y a la Iglesia de Los Remedios (Iglesias muy vinculadas al Linaje de los Díez de Tejada)

A las 14:00 se hará un almuerzo en los Salones Pura Valle.

El precio del cubierto y de la visita al Museo Municipal es de 36€, habrá que ingresarlo en la cuenta 0081 7470 33 0006201134 de Banco Sabadell, poniendo en el concepto la familia que hace el ingreso y luego enviar al correo electrónico jjc....@hotmail.com del Divisero Joaquín Jiménez y Casaus el nombre completo de los asistentes correspondientes a ese ingreso.

El número de plazas del salón es de 160 personas, por el aforo limitado del salón se ruega la confirmación lo antes posible.

A las 16:30 iremos a visitar algunos edificios civiles vinculados a Diviseros del Solar y terminara la jornada con una visita al Museo de la ciudad (Palacio de Najera).

Para aquellos que necesiten hacer noche en Antequera se recomienda los siguientes hoteles:

  • Hotel Coso Viejo (en una típica casa señorial antequerana, en pleno centro de La Ciudad)
    Teléfono: 952 70 50 45
  • Hotel Antequera Golf
    Teléfono: 951 06 04 00
  • Parador Nacional de Turismo
    Teléfono: 952 84 02 61

Javier Alfonso de Somalo y Mendiola

Teniente Diputado por Almarza de Cameros

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Arms of the Royal House of House of Karađorđevićhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1878-arms-of-the-royal-house-of-house-of-karadordevic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=arms-of-the-royal-house-of-house-of-karadordevic http://www.idtg.org/archive/1878-arms-of-the-royal-house-of-house-of-karadordevic/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2012 04:01:38 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1878 Arms of the Royal House of House of Karađorđević: coa karageorgevich

The arms above are a new emblazonment of the arms of the Royal House of Karađorđević (Karageorgevich) as created by Royal Heraldic Artist Ljubodrag Gurjich.

Below is the text on the work coming from the artist himself:

Performing my duties as the heraldic artist to the Royal House of Karadjordjevic I worked on the new emblazonment of the house coat of arms of the House of Karadjeordjevic during December 2011 and January 2012. The Herald of the House, Mr Dragomir Acovic, graciously gave me initial advice and his detailed reconstruction study of the Order of Saint Prince Lazar done in 1982, and then granted me full autonomy in execution of this work. The emblazonment was approved by the Head of the House, HRH Aleksandar II by the end of January, and was officially used for the first time on 14th February 2012.

This heraldic composition was first used in Serbdom in 1917 and the same blazon version was reconstituted in post-Yugoslav period.

As it is well known, Crown Prince Alexander is the current head of the dynasty and pretender to the Serbian throne.

Official website of the Royal House of Serbia: http://www.royalfamily.org/

Official website of Royal Heraldic Artist Ljubodrag Grujich: http://www.ljubodraggrujic.com/

 

 

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Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Churchhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1779-orders-of-the-serbian-orthodox-church/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=orders-of-the-serbian-orthodox-church http://www.idtg.org/archive/1779-orders-of-the-serbian-orthodox-church/#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2012 12:25:21 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1779  

 

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: Coats of arms of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Like her sister churches in other countries, the Serbian Orthodox Church has a number of orders of merit it gives out to deserving people, in recognition for their services. Though there are a number of decorations the process for awarding them is similar across: the candidate needs to be recommended by a diocesan bishop to the Holy Synod that will, in turn, confer on the matter and decide.

For those who are not familiar with the Orthodox Communion, the highest authority within any particular Church is the Holy Synod and not any particular individual.

 

Order of St. Sava

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: order of st sava serbian church

The creation of these awards of merit started in 1985 with the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its first Archbishop. It was at this time that the Holy Synod decided to create the Order of St. Sava in three classes:

  • The first class has the colors of the order being white
  • The second class has the colors of the order being red
  • The third class has the colors of the order being blue

To qualify for the next higher class, one must be in the previous one for at least three years. The brevet for the order is signed by either the Patriarch or his deputy.

 

Order of St. Simeon the Myrrh-streaming

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: order of st. simeon the murrh streaming serbia

This award was created in 2009 in honor of the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja who lived in 12th century Serbia and was canonized under the name of St. Simeon the Myrrh-streaming due to the reported miracles attributed to him. The award is given to statesmen that have contributed to the improvement of relations between Church and state. This award is open to both Serbs and foreigners.

 

Order of St. Emperor Constantine

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: order of st. constantine serbia

Honoring the life and enormous contributions to the Faith that St. Constantine the Great made, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church created the Order of St. Emperor Constantine. This high distinction is reserved for thos that have made great contributions to the freedom of religion and the promotion of human rights. There aren’t any nationality restrictions for the award

 

Order of the Holy King Milutin

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: order of holy king milutin

Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia was king of Serbia between 1282 to 1321 and managed to elevate his country to one of the most powerful states in the region. He also introduced much of the Byzantine culture to the kingdom and founded a large number of monasteries. Since King Milutin was such a great benefactor for Serbia, it is in his honor that this particular order was created in 2009 and it is meant to reward great philanthropists.

 

Order of St. Peter of Cetinje

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: order of st. peter of cetinje

Named after Petar I Petrović-Njegoš, this order was created in 2009 by the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It should not be confused with the order of the same name that is under the Royal House of Petrović-Njegoš (Montenegro).

This distinction is awarded in recognition of missionary work, evangelism, promoting peace and personal sacrifice.

 

Order of the Holy Empress Milica – Venerable Jevgenija

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: order of the empress milica

Named after Empress (Tsaritsa) Milica, wife of Serbian Prince Lazar, who is most famous for her poem of mourning for her husband “My Widowhood’s Bridegroom”. After the death of her husband, she became a nun under the name of Jevgenija. This particular award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions for the improvement of the lives of the poor, the sick, and the helpless.

 

Order of the Holy Despot Stefan Lazarevic

Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Church: order of the despot stefan lazarevic

Named after the ruler of the Serbian Despotate between 1389 and 1427, he was the son of Prince Lazar and Empress Milica. He was an enlightened ruler and can be considered the one to have brought the Renaissance to the realm.

This distinction is awarded to those individuals who have made significant contributions to culture, where it be literature, poetry, the arts, etc.

 

It should be noted here again that the Holy Synod reserves the right to revoke any honor previously bestowed if the awardee violates in some way the Serbian Orthodox Church. It should also be stressed that the awarding of any Church award is not a form of salvation as the awardee must remain committed to the path of Christ and be an example to others.

All awards by the Holy Synod are gazetted in the official journal of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

 

Source: Very Reverend Protopresbyter Savo B. Jovic. “Ордени Српске Православне Цркве које додељује Свети Архијерејски Сабор, односно Свети Архијерејски Синод“. “Orthodoxy” newspaper of the Serbian Patriarchate.

 

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Acta Apostolicae Sedishttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1846-acta-apostolicae-sedis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=acta-apostolicae-sedis http://www.idtg.org/archive/1846-acta-apostolicae-sedis/#comments Mon, 14 May 2012 14:23:34 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1846 Acta Apostolicae Sedis: Emblem of the Holy See

The Acta Apostolicae Sedis or Acts of the Apostolic See (in English) is the official gazette of the Holy See, functioning like the official gazette of any government or state around the world. In here, one finds encyclicals, official decisions, appointments, etc. The gazette was established in 1908 by Pope Pius X and has been published every month since then.

Just on the face of it, this is very interesting to anyone that enjoys such things. However, what is particularly fascinating and an excellent source for those of us in the chivalric/heraldic world is that all those who have had the honor of being admitted into any of the papal orders are mentioned in the gazette. In other words, this resource is a quick and easy way to validate whether someone who claims to be a, say, Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester really is so.

As most of those that are involved in orders of chivalry, there are many (way too many) false orders and even more pretenders that claim to have more knighthoods than even the King of Spain! A very (un)healthy market has been the sales of false membership into papal orders. This has gone on for a long time and a few years ago was wildly popular. Naturally, this was completely false and many people were taken in as victims of these scams.

The availability of the Acta online is a veritable boon to all those who like to validate such claims.

The link to the online archive of every single publication of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis since 1909 is: http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/index_en.htm

 

I’d like to thank Dr. Charles Drake for alerting me to the existence of the archive!

Note: image from Wikipedia

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The shaping of a symbol – The double headed eaglehttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1836-the-shaping-of-a-symbol-the-double-headed-eagle/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-shaping-of-a-symbol-the-double-headed-eagle http://www.idtg.org/archive/1836-the-shaping-of-a-symbol-the-double-headed-eagle/#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2012 04:01:52 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1836 The shaping of a symbol The double headed eagle: Byzantine eagle

In what is perhaps the best online digital library of Greek or Greece related texts, I found an article written in the 1920s by the Archimandrite Zacharias Lianas (Ζαχαρίας Λιανάς, d. 1952), head of the Rizarios Hieratic School between 1923 and 1925.

The article gives a concise history, from a Greek Orthodox perspective (with emphasis on both Greek and Orthodox), of how the double headed eagle came to have the meaning it has today. Below is my translation of the Archimandrite’s words (apologies for the run on sentences but, that’s how the original is too):

It has always been that people used places, shapes, images, plants and animals as symbols to express an idea. These symbols, called hieroglyphics, are found in all populations and all religions. In those, the imagination of the people borrowed much from the kingdom of the plants such as the olive, the laurel, the lilly, the pomegranate, etc. These were used to express different meanings and ideas.

Also, since antiquity all peoples used as an expression of power, force and majesty the Lion. As an expression of height, poetic elation, wisdom and ingenuity was the Eagle. For this reason the Lion is used in the palaces of kings and the heraldry of nations and sovereign Houses, whereas the Eagle is found on the friezes of temples. Lions decorate the palaces of the kings of Babylon and Persia. Lions decorate as well the palace at Mycenae. Lions [in sculpture] were raised in Marathon, Thermopylae, Chaeronea, etc.

The Eagle, on the other hand, is the symbol and the messenger of the Olympian Zeus. An Eagle transfers Ganymede to Olympus. An Eagle eats, on Zeus’ orders, the liver of Premetheus who is bound to the Caucasus. An Eagle is places on the frieze of the temple of the Olympian Zeus and on the temple of the Capitol Zeus. With the meaning of ingenuity and inspiration, the Eagle was given as a symbol to the Apostole and Evangelist John the Theologian.

Ptolemy Lagus of Alexandria first placed the Eagle on the flags of his army as a symbol of the state and military power. From the Ptolemaic state of Alexandria, dissolved by the Romans, did the Roman Emperors take the Eagle for their military flags. Slowly, the Roman Eagle became the symbol of the entire Roman Empire. As the Roman Empire was split during the reign of Diocletian and Maximilian into two states, the Eastern and the Western, so was the Eagle split into two. The Eagle of the Western Empire had its head facing west and the Eagle of the Eastern Empire faced East. When the Roman State, through Constantine the Great, was united into a single Empire, the two symbolic Eagles were reunited into one. However, the previously single headed Eagle became double headed, symbolizing the unified empire with the two capitals: Old Rome and New Rome. For this reason one of the heads faced West towards Old Rome and the other faced East towards New Rome – Constantinople.

When the Emperor Constantine the Great saw in the sky, at high noon, the divine symbol of the cross with the epigraph ΕΝ ΤΟΥΤΩ ΝΙΚΑ [translated to Latin as "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES"], he was instructed in a vision where he was visted by Jesus Christ to construct a copy of the image of the cross and to use it throughout his military ranks so that he may be victorious through it. This is when Constantine the Great, according to the instructions he received, constructed the Labarum and replaced the until then national military flag of the Double-headed Eagle with the new Christian banner of the Cross. However, he maintained and established the Double-headed Eagle as the symbol and state emblem of the Imperial Dynasty of the Byzantine Roman State. In the following centuries of the height of the Byzantine State, the Double-headed Eagle was used as the Coat of Arms of the Byzantine Emperors, placed on the Imperial Palaces, decorating the chests of the imperial guards and the courtiers in general. It was embroidered on the imperial clothes, the saddles of the imperial horses and on the imperial shoes. In the sacristy of the Holy Monastery of Great Lavra on Mount Athos, is preserved the imperial coat with Double-headed Eagles embroidered in gold, once belonging to the Emperors Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimiskes from the 9th century.

After the Fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453) the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople was recognized by the conqueror Muhammed II as the Ethnarch [national leader] of the Romans. As such, he inherited along with the other imperial symbols (the crown, sceptre, robes) the Double-headed Eagle as the symbol of the Nation. This symbol has been used ever since as the emblem of the Ecumenical National Patriarchate and used in the seals of the Patriarchal Bulls. Because of this, it is carved as the Coat of Arms above the gate of the Patriarchal churches. It is also carved on the walls and the floors of the Patriarchal churches and stavropegial monasteries and those houses made stavropegial. It is also conserved on the floors of many temples among which is the temple of the Metropolis of Mistras. It is embroidered in the Patriarchal clothing and robes. Embroidered on fabrics or tapestries, wherever Constantinople is depicted. In time, whenever a cleric in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is ordained and the floor of the particular temple does not have the Double-headed Eagle carved, a tapestry with the symbol is placed under the feet of the ordained to show that he is stepping and is on Patriarchal ground, as spiritual subject of the Patriarchate.

As a Patriarchal emblem, the Double-headed Eagle became part of the Patriarch’s vestments. It is curious how this particular item did not become more widely adopted by other Bishops like the other imperial emblems did such as the Crown (mitre), the Purpure robes and the Sceptre (pastoral staff).

The spirit of the Greek people maintained alive throughout the years after the Fall [of Constantinople] the Byzantine tradition of the Double-headed Eagle and in the expression of Greek art. The Double-headed Eagle, that before the Fall has such symbolic value, did not lose it later. On the contrary, it was conciously kept as the symbol of the continuing Byzantine tradition and became the premier symbol of the national ideal of the recreation of the Great Empire.

For this reason, it is the most beloved theme of neohellenic art and has an excellent place there. How closely tied is the Double-headed Eagle with the popular concious [of the Greek people] is shown the innumerable depictions in all forms of Greek popular art whether it is in textile, woodwork, metalwork, jewelry etc. Even in our own century [20th] the wave of nationalism raised the Double-headed Eagle to the first and most honored position. It is still carved onto many objects of the Church and the residential furniture, woods, silver and gold objects. It is painted on many icons and carved onto seals. The seal of the Archbishopric of Athens as well as many other Metropolia use the Double-headed Eagle. It is also depicted on every other form of art upon which a national meaning is desired to be given.

 

Archmandrite Zacharias A. Lianas

 

The link to the original Greek is found here: http://anemi.lib.uoc.gr/metadata/c/0/0/metadata-908460e12ec80b3429d525c3e6f42648_1251357873.tkl

Link to the Rizarios Hieratic School: http://lyk-rizar.att.sch.gr/

Link to the Rizarios Foundation: http://www.rizarios.gr/

 

Note: Images from Wikipedia

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No comment…http://www.idtg.org/archive/1833-no-comment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=no-comment http://www.idtg.org/archive/1833-no-comment/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2012 15:52:31 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1833 I haven’t posted in a while due to work overload but, I felt I had to share this.

I’m posting the link to this site without any comments: http://www.nobility.co.uk/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=139

 

OK, maybe one link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There’s_a_sucker_born_every_minute

 

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Orthodox Ecclesiastical Heraldryhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1820-orthodox-ecclesiastical-heraldry/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=orthodox-ecclesiastical-heraldry http://www.idtg.org/archive/1820-orthodox-ecclesiastical-heraldry/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 05:01:39 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1820 Orthodox Ecclesiastical Heraldry: nenad idtg

Back in July of 2006, in the journal of the American College of Heraldry “The Armiger’s News”, the late Dr. David Pittman Johnson wrote a very good article trying to codify the system of ecclesiastial heraldry of the (Eastern) Orthodox Church.

As opposed to the Roman Catholic Church that has many established rules regarding its heraldry, the Orthodox Communion does not, mainly due to its decentralized structure.

Among the difficulties of this attempt is the fact that (1) heraldry is not very common in the East and in particular among the Orthodox clergy (at any level) and (2) each Orthodox Church is independent of each other and has its own particular rules and traditions within its hierarchy.

A good introduction on the organization Orthodox Church can be found, where else, on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Church_organization

I won’t reproduce the text here but will urge anyone with an interest in ecclesiastical heraldry and particularly Orthodox heraldry to read this very well written article. 

At this point, I want to make a note to say that the rules presented not only may apply to the Orthodox Communion but also those classified as “Eastern” or “Greek” Catholic.

I feel it necessary to say that what Dr. Johnson describes are not the rules of heraldry within the Orthodox Communion but rather a combination of observations and suggestions. Until such time as there are rules established by the Head of a particular Orthodox Church, every member of the clergy is pretty much free to do as he pleases. It is though recommended to try to create some standards and Dr. Johnson has provided us with an excellent foundation to do so.

The arms at the top of this post are those of the Rev. Fr. Deacon Nenad Jovanovich, head of the Board for Heraldic & Genealogical Studies at the Center for Research of Orthodox Monarchy (CROM-BHGS). These arms were emblazoned by the talented new heraldic artist Terry Sarros (who is also an associate and artist of the CROM-BHGS) following the basic principle of the rules described in the cited article but with a variation more appropriate for Serbia.

 It should be noted that the CROM-BHGS, under the leadership of the Rev. Fr. Deacon, has done much excellent work in the creation and promotion of heraldry within the Orthodox ecclesiastical community worldwide. A small sample of the work this group has done can be seen in their online gallery of ecclesiastical heraldry at this link: http://www.czipm.org/galerija-heraldika02-02.html

The article in question can be found at this link: 
http://www.americancollegeofheraldry.org/ORTHODOX.htm
and reprinted at the CROM-BHGS: http://www.czipm.org/dpj.html

 

Note: The image above was used with the approval of the Rev. Fr. Deacon Nenad Jovanovich and the artist Mr. Terry Sarros.
Note: I too am an associate of the CROM-BHGS.

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The Sultanate of Suluhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1802-the-sultanate-of-sulu/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-sultanate-of-sulu http://www.idtg.org/archive/1802-the-sultanate-of-sulu/#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2012 14:03:54 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1802 The Sultanate of Sulu: Royal Sultanate of Sulu Greater National Coat of Arms

About a month or so ago I wrote about the heraldic privileges of the Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl of Sulu. Now, I feel is a good time to present a short summary of this very old Sultanate of SE Asia.

Recently, in the October-December 2011 (#44) issue of “Il Mondo del Cavaliere” the official journal of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (better known as ICOC), an in depth article on the Sultanate was published written by the Chancellor of the Order of the Pearl. Interestingly enough, the Raja Muda Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram (the Crown Prince of Sulu and Head of the Royal House) was on the cover of the journal.

Though I recommend very much to read the original article in the journal, I will try to provide a quick summary of the history of the Sultanate and some information that may of interest.

The Sultanate of Sulu has a fascinating story that goes back to the 15th century when a Mecca born Arab explorer, Sayyid Abu Bakr Abirin, reached Sulu in 1457. Abu Bakr held the title of “Sayyid” as an accepted male descendant of the Prophet Muhhamed’s grandsons (sons of the Prophet’s daughter) and thus considered to be of the highest nobility in the Muslim world.

After arriving in Sulu, Abu Bakr married Paramisuli, the daughter of the local lord Raja Baginda. As the Raja did not have any male children, he chose to name Abu Bakr as his heir and to continue the Royal House. The local lords accepted the Sayyid as their sovereign and spiritual leader, assuming the role of Caliph and the title of Sultan.

The male descendants of Abu Bakr have ruled the Sultanate for all these centuries from the late 15th century and well into the 20th.

One of the first serious encounters with the European powers was in the late 1600′s during the reign of Salahud Din Karamat (Baktial) when there were a number of invasions by the Dutch, asserting their own rule in present day Indonesia. It should be noted that Sulu after this and throughout the Spanish rule of the Philippines never lost is freedom. Though it was considered a client state of the Spanish Crown it retained its own autonomy and local class system and rule under the Sultan. This pact was solidified in 1737 and in 1750 Sultan Alimud Din was baptized in the Catholic Church as Ferdinand I of Sulu.

The Sultanate of Sulu: Suluflag

This close relationship with the Spanish Crown continued well into the 19th century with accords signed with Captain General Salazar (in 1836) and ratified by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The relationship between the Sultanate and the Spain was reaffirmed a few decades later in 1844 by Sultan Muhammed Pulalun where full sovereignty was ceded to Madrid.

Beyond Spain, Sulu had a close relationship with the British when Sultan Jamalul A’Lam leased his posessions in North Borneo (Sabah) to the British North Borneo Company the possessions for the sum of 5000 Mexican dollars a year.

In 1878, a further agreement with Spain was reached whereby the Sultanate became a protectorate and under the complete control of the Spanish government of the Philippines.

After the end of the Spanish American War of 1898, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II signed a treated with General John C. Bates who was representing the United States in the negotiations. The treaty concluded with the sovereignty of Sulu passing to the United States in 1899.

The transition of sovereignty to the USA was reaffirmed in 1915 with the Carpenter Agreement that Sultan Jamalul Kiram II subscribed to. What is interesting to note here is that even though Sulu was under the administration of the USA, the position of the Sultan was still recognized and the Sultan was even welcomed by President Roosevelt to the White House. This makes the Sultan one of the handful of royals to have ever been recognized by the United States government in US administered territories.

During the Japanese occupation, Sultan Ombra Amilbangsa worked with the Japanese forces who in turn recognized his position as Sultan of his possessions. After the liberation, he worked through Congress to retain his position.

The Sultanate of Sulu: 1974 Sulu coronation

In 1962, Sultan Ishmael E. Kiram I cedes to the Philippine Republic, under the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, the territories of North Borneo. Later, in 1974, Sultan Ishmael’s eldest son Mohammed Mahakuttah A. Kiram succeeds him to the throne and is is recognized as such by President Marcos and the Philippine Republic. Sultan Mohammed Mahakuttah A. Kiram was to become the last Sultan recognized in law by the Republic of the Philippines.

His son, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram was named Raja Muda (Crown Prince) at the same time as the coronation of the Sultan in 1974 and also recognized as such the same year by the Republic. The Raja Muda is the current head of the Royal House of Sulu and the current pretender to the Sultanate.

It is indeed odd for a Republic to recognize native royalty and titles of “king” or “prince” however, it is not unheard of. We have seen similar examples in other countries of the world such as Uganda, where local traditional kings are recognized in the constitution, or even European countries where the former royal families are recognized in law.

Unfortunately, due to the relative lack of information from that part of the world, there are numerous pretenders to the Sultanate that range from completely ludicrous to fantastical. However, the only one with a wholly valid claim, the only to have been officially named Crown Prince by the last Sultan and recognized as such in law by the Philippine State is Raja Muda Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram.

One of the main areas of focus of the Royal House is the philanthropic works  for the benefit of the people of the Raja Muda’s island of Jolo. The biggest need there is access to fresh water. The charity set up has as a stated goal to accomplish this for the impoverished families of the island. The link to the charity page is http://www.royalsultanateofsulu.org/#!charity

The official site of the Royal House of Sulu is: http://www.royalsultanateofsulu.org/

A good page on the Raja Muda and the false pretenders is: http://www.fakesulusultans.com/

The official page of the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry is: http://www.icocregister.org/

 

Note: All images from Wikipedia

 

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