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The Flag of Galatia                                                                                                                                                                   Return to Main Page
A flag? In 56 B.C.? Of course, there was no such thing!  I made it up.  However, the very provocative thought of such a flag made me think about it , and I designed the one that you see below.
  
Galatians reached their unity for the first time under one ruler, during the time of King Deiatorix.  Although Celtic clan kings were generally called “rix” or “ris,” (akin to modern Turkish “reis”) the word by no means meant a “king” in the same sense as a medieval king.  A Celtic king was more like  a chieftain of a clan or like a Native American chief.  Deiatorix was the first Celtic king in a true sense in that he was the bono fide king of the entire Galatia, and he passed on to his son by the same name and then on to Amyntas.
Although provocative, it is unreasonable to imagine that Celts had flags when Romans had not, yet, started using flags but standards in their legions.  The first flags are said to have come from India and China to the West.  National flag is an artifact of the later years of humanity, and Celtic flags are no exceptions.  The earliest Celtic flags date back to the 12th century with some of the symbols dating back of few centuries earlier.  Many of the current Celtic flags were designed following the birth and rise of nationalism in the 18th century.
Many flags reflect the historical ideals, cultures, etc. of the people that they belong.  Had there been a flag of Galatia, it, too, should have reflected the history of Galatians.  I chose three crescents because crescent was a popular symbol among the druids as well as in the West until the great religious divide of the east and the west occurred following the crusades of the medieval ages.  It is also known that , as Julius Caesar recorded, Celts used to start the new day by night.  Even during the crusades we can see many banners or coats of arms adorned with crescents .  I chose to make my crescents as half-moon crescents unlike the full crescents depicted in the Islamic flags of later times.  This would be more an authentic presentation of the earlier crescents on historical banners as used in Europe.  Interestingly, a similar preference for the design of the crescents on banners can be observed even on earlier Ottoman flags.   The symbols of crescent are also abundant in family coats of arms in Ireland and Scotland.    
There used to be a tradition for making a new coat of arms in the old Scotland.  Traditionally, the first born son would inherit his father’s flag.  If any of the other sons depart from the clan, then they would take the same coat of arms and add a crescent on it if he is the second son and a star if he is the third son.
There appears to be three major clans of Celts settled in Turkey, namely: Tolistoboii’s, Trocmi’s and Tectosages. The Tolistoboii’s are related to “Boii’s”  who lived in the Boiiland (or modern Bohemia as we know it) until they were driven from their lands by Teutonic tribes.  Fernand Lequenne claims that “tolisto-boii” means “boii’s who separated” from the main clan.  On the other hand, the clanTectosage is related to the Tectosages of Toulouse (France,) and Trier (Germany) and apparently there were still Tectosages living in Europe following the arrival of Galatian Tectosages in Asia Minor.  Therefore, it is logical to assign the symbol of crescent to these clans since long after the migration of these “sons” there were still Tectosages and Boii’s in Europe.  On the other hand, the relationship of Trocmi’s to their European clans is not clear for there is no known record of a Trocmi clan in Europe.  Unless they are discovered at a later date, it is currently assumed that Trocmi’s took their name from their leader and they were a mixture of smaller clans from the remnants of other clans in Thrace.  At any rate, it would seem appropriate to assign a crescent for each of the major Galatian clans on the imaginary flag of Galatia.
Furthermore, the historical records mention 17 chieftains passing to Asia Minor (Turkey).  However, the Flag of Galatia, if any, could have been designed following the union of all Galatia under one ruler, Deiatorix.  By then, we know that there were 12 tetrarchs ruling in Galatia.  Therefore, in addition to three crescents, a circle composed of twelve stars representing the twelve smaller clans on the Galatian flag is reasonable as well.
Coincidentally, a flag that looks like the Galatian flag already exists.  It is the Ottoman Navy flag of the 16th century.


However, we do not know the exact origin of this flag.  All we know is initial green background was replaced with red background in the 16th century and the green background version was reserved for the Ottoman Navy and red background was used by the Army.  Could it be that the Galatian flag that was adopted by Seljuks ruling over the Galatia and later adopted by the Ottomans, as well, following the collapse of the Seljuk dynasty? Still later, Ottomans designed several versions of the three-crescent flag with red background with or without stars.  The later official Ottoman flag contained a single crescent and a star rising from the shadow of the crescent on red background.
        
And, the current flag of the modern Turkish Republic contains a more refined version of the Ottoman Flag.

As Turkey had been the leader of the Islamic world during the Ottoman Empire period, many of the later independent Islamic countries and Islamic factions adopted the crescent and star as their national symbols with varying modifications, including the Farakhan’s religious group (Nation of Islam) in the USA.
Could it be that Galatians, the first Christian nation of the New Testament, had promoted the use of crescent and star for their now Moslem descendents, as well?  Let us continue with this thought provoking fantasy with further details.
Ottomans established themselves during the 13th century in Turkey, in an area exactly where the Celts settled: in northern Galatia.  However, prior to Ottomans, There was a “Rum Sultanate of Anatolia,” whose rulers were of Seljuk dynasty.  Furthermore, the lands that they reigned also comprised of the lands known as Galatia, earlier.  Towards the end of their reign, the sultanate gave a flag to the Ottoman clan, signifying their sovereignty.  However, this flag is said to be a solid white flag according to at least one source.  It is possible that Ottomans may have borrowed the Green flag with crescents from Seljuks as well.  And Seljuks, in turn, may have inherited the original design from Galatians.  After all, Seljuks were a military elite ruling a large population of non-Turkic subjects at the time in a land called Galatia.  As a matter of fact, Seljuks had significant Franko-Gaulish cavalry in their army imported as mercenaries from Europe, and local non-moslems were required to serve their country in the military, and many of them intermarried to the Seljuk aristocracy.
Come back again!  There will be more of this..

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