Pisan cross

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Pisan Cross Croce Pisana.jpg
Pisan Cross

The Pisan Cross is the symbol of Pisa.

It was the coat of arms of the people of Pisa: the symbol of the cross was granted, in fact, to Pisans by Pope Benedict VIII to fight Saracens in Sardinia in 1017.

Pope Benedict VIII pope

Pope Benedict VIII reigned from 18 May 1012 to his death in 1024. He was born Theophylactus to the noble family of the counts of Tusculum, descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, like his predecessor Pope Benedict VII (973–974). Horace Mann considered him "...one of the few popes of the Middle Ages who was at once powerful at home and great abroad."

<i>Saracen</i> Archaic term referring to Muslims

Saracen was a term widely used among Christian writers in Europe during the Middle Ages to refer to Arabs and Muslims. The term's meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries of the Common Era, Greek and Latin writings used this term to refer to the people who lived in desert areas in and near the Roman province of Arabia Petraea, and in Arabia Deserta. In Europe during the Early Middle Ages, the term came to be associated with tribes of Arabia. The oldest source mentioning the term Saracen dates back to the 7th century. It was found in Doctrina Jacobi, a commentary that discussed the event of the Arab conquests on Palestine.

Sardinia Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula and to the immediate south of the French island of Corsica.

The Pisan cross is technically described as with keys (or paws) and three spheres on every arm. Its symbolism is unknown; the cross itself may represent Christ, and the twelve spheres his Apostles.

Although the symbol of the Pisan cross dates to 1017, the oldest surviving representation is in the city walls, built in 1156 by counselor Cocco Griffi. The city flag, red with the white cross on it, was officially recognized by Pope Callixtus II. In fact, originally the flag of Pisa was simply vermillion red, being derived from the Imperial Rome flag.

Pope Callixtus II Pope from 1119 to 1124

Pope Callixtus II or Callistus II, born Guy of Burgundy, was pope of the western Christian church from 1 February 1119 to his death in 1124. His pontificate was shaped by the Investiture Controversy, which he was able to settle through the Concordat of Worms in 1122.

Nowadays the cross is still the symbol of the city of Pisa. A red shield with the cross on it is the symbol of the Comune of Pisa. It appears in the ensign of the Italian Navy along with the emblems of the other medieval Maritime Republics: Venice, Genoa and Amalfi.

<i>Comune</i> third-level administrative divisions of the Italian Republic

The comune is a basic administrative division in Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality.

Maritime republics group of city-states, mostly in Italy, prosperous in the Middle ages

The maritime republics of the Mediterranean Basin were thalassocratic city-states which flourished in Italy and Dalmatia during the Middle Ages. The best known among the maritime republics are Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi. Less known are Ragusa, Gaeta, Ancona, and Noli.

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Pisa Comune in Tuscany, Italy

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Saint Georges Cross red cross on a white background

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