National Geographic : 1917 Oct
g019.The chief of the staff of the German navy flies a flag of white fully quartered by a black cross, upon whose intersection is im posed a disk of white, a circle of gold rope, and a sword. 1020. The flotilla flag of the German navy consists of a swallow-tailed pennant, hung free from the flagstaff and bearing the black cross. 1021. The Sultan of Turkey flies a different flag afloat from that which is borne for him ashore. As commander-in-chief of the Turk ish naval forces he has a red banner upon which is centered a white anchor with a blaz ing sun in the center of each quarter of the flag. 1022. The religious flag of Turkey is green instead of the familiar red of the ensign and merchant banner. It bears the usual crescent and star in white and is the banner that is borne upon all religious occasions. It has been under this banner that untold thousands of Christians in the Mohammedan world have suffered at the hands of the followers of Islam. 1023. The customs banner of Turkey is of the same general design as the national ensign, except that the star and crescent are inclosed in a rectangle made of a thin white stripe close to and parallel with the border. 1024. The flag of Crete is quartered by a white cross. The first quarter is red and bears a five-pointed star in white, while the other three quarters are blue. This was the flag of the high commissioner appointed by Great Britain, Russia, France, and Italy, and later proposed by Greece with the permission of the Powers, who governed the island before its annexation to Greece. HEROIC FLAGS OF THE MIDDLE AGES The Geography of the Earth as Known in Medieval Times Symbolized in 96 Historic Standards (Nos. 1025-1120) HE earliest representation of the flags of all nations is to be found in an illuminated manuscript of a Franciscan friar, a native of Spain, who was born in 1305 and who, according to his own claim, wrote his monumental "Book of the Knowledge of All the King doms, Countries, and Lordships that there are in the World and of the En signs and Arms of Each Country and Lordship; also of the Kings and Lords Who Govern Them," after having visited all the places which he describes. Geographers and historians hesitate to accept the friar's claim as literally true, but it is evident that he was a great trav eler and a close observer, and though he is prone to weave legend and hearsay into his narrative, there is, nevertheless, a re markable fund of information in this priceless manuscript, written a century and a half before Columbus discovered America, and which now reposes in the Biblioteca Nacional at Madrid. "In the name of God the Father and Son and Holy Ghost, three individual persons in one essence. I was born in the Kingdom of Castile, in the reign of the very noble King Don Sancho, when the era of the world, ac cording to the Hebrews, was 5,065 years, and the era of the deluge 4,407 years, and of Nebu chadnezzar of Chaldea 2,502 years, and of Alexander the Great of Macedonia 1,617, and of Cesar, Emperor of Rome, 1,343, and of ARTIST AS WELL AS TRAVELER The manuscript of the anonymous Franciscan whose travels extended as far east as Java, by way of Mecca, was edited by the Spanish scholar Marcos Jimenez de la Espada, 40 years ago, with the aid of Don Francisco Coello, the eminent geographer. It was recently published in English, together with the flags (see page 371), by the Hakluyt Society. The devices are very beautiful and rich, both in color and in design, the Fran ciscan evincing great skill in reproducing in some instances the banners and in oth ers the coats-of-arms of the kingdoms and principalities which he visited. The story of these flags of the world 570 years ago and of the kings and coun tries over which they waved is best told in the words of the Franciscan himself, who makes no attempt to differentiate be tween what he actually saw and what he heard (the numbers in the text refer to the corresponding flag on page 371). Christ 1,304 years, and of the Arabs 706, on the IIth day of the month of September. "There are in the Kingdom of Castile 28 cities and many other towns, castles, and vil lages. Know that this Kingdom of Castile and Leon has all the seacoast of the west as far as Bayona the greater, and borders on Navarre and Aragon and Granada. The ensigns of the kings of this kingdom are a flag with two castles and two lions quarterly (1025).