I have a fascination with flags. This is not because I am Canadian and wear my flag with pride on my backpack, hat, t-shirt, underwear and socks but I find them truly and utterly beautiful. They flap effortlessly in the wind and they represent their country with amazing pride.
When I first moved to Sardinia 4.5 years ago and noticed the flag of Sardinia floating angelic like against the blue sky, I was shocked. Why shocked? Well, because of the four heads blindfolded. I silently pondered the meaning behind this odd flag and vowed to find out more.
I asked my husband what the flag represents and he told me some fable about four Africans taken into the mountains and shot. This can’t be true. I allowed my Italian language skills to improve over the years and asked the same questions to the same people, no one seemed to know what the flag stands for. I can understand the confusion of the locals as the flag over the years has changed without notice and without explanation adding only increased mystery and confusion.
Over the centuries the 4 Moors have changed at times they are looking left, other times right, sometimes blindfolded other times wearing headbands, eyes open, eyes closed, bareheaded and sometimes with a crown.
I was perplexed and curious. I would get to the bottom of this mystery.
The Four Moors Flag | Bandiera dei Quattro Mori
The original flag of Sardinia
Official flag of Sardinia | 1999 – present day
The flag consists of a plain white background, St. Georges Cross and a moor’s head in each quarter.
“Some sources (who? I have no idea) state that the flag is of Spanish origin representing four Moorish invaders blindfolded for execution. However, the Sardinian Autonomous Region states that the emblem dates back to 1281, and can be seen on a seal of the Royal Chancellery of Peter the Great of Aragon.
It wasn’t until the 14th century when the Kingdom of Sardinia became part of the Confederation of the Crown of Aragon, that the Four Moors became associated with Sardinia.
It was not until the 18th century that the arrangement of the heads was fixed, with the Moors facing left and being blindfolded. On July 2, 1952, by decree the emblem became the official symbol of the region, and on April 15, 1999, the official flag, but this time with the Moors facing right, wearing headbands, and with their eyes open.”
Beach vendors continue to sell Sardinian souvenirs like beach towels, umbrellas, t-shirts and cooler bags with the 4 Moors’ heads facing left or right, blindfolded or not. Why? I don’t have the answer.
Confused? Yes, so am I.
Source: Wikipedia – The Flag of Sardinia
Source: To My Sardinia – has a fantastic article on the 4 Moors.
Do you know the real story behind the 4 Moors? Please tell me below.