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Battlestar Galactica (TV series) [2003]

Last modified: 2014-05-09 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
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Introduction

The original Battlestar Galactica was a sci-fi show from the 1970-s featuring the escape of the last remnants of humankind in a fleet of spacecraft, pursued by machine enemies, the Cylons. This page refers only to the second Battlestar Galactica series, made more recently. The original didn't have these vertical flags, although some flags were seen, used in the typical manner of "normal" interior flags.
Jorge Candeias, 12 October 2004 & 6 April 2006

A miniseries served as the pilot for the revived series.
Eugene Ipavec, 6 June 2006


Flags of the twelve colonies of Kobol

Sources

  • At Fabric Graphics a picture can be seen of the flags on the set, from the conclusion of the miniseries.
    Dean McGee, 4 June 2006, and Eugene Ipavec, 6 June 2006
  • In the first season episode Colonial Day the flags of the colonies occur in a verifiable sequence in a scene that can be seen on Battlestar Wiki.
    Eugene Ipavec, 8 May 2008
  • An image from the episode Medal of Distinction shows the details of the seal.
    Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 April 2008
  • Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine, #3 February/March 2006 contained on pages 50-55 information about the flags of all 12 colonies mentioned on the show. Scanned flag graphics and text from the magazine providing additional information on the mythology behind the flags and colonies are included on this page.
    Erik Bell, 20 February 2006
  • Commander William Adama can be seen speaking with the flags of the 12 colonies displayed behind him in this picture from Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3.
    Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Shared characteristics

The flags have skewed bottom edges. Most notable for the flag of Scorpia in the Fabric Graphics picture is that these edges have rods in them.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

All flags probaly have borders in the same ratio, close to 2:3. I expect both outer borders always correspond in colours, and likewise the inner borders. In the scans from the Official Magazine, for yellow only the flags consistently have the dexter side lighter than the sinister, which I think is supposed to indicate a metal hue changing with the light. In the Medal of Distinction picture, the outer border of the Tauron flag in the background is indeed reflective. Likewise, I expect the emblems are supposed to be in a single golden hue, with white fimbration. The emblems in that picture confirm this: they are darker, being away from the light, but they seem to be in a single shade. This matches the view of the Tauron flag in the Fabric Graphics picture. Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 April 2008

I drew these flags following the scans from Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3. The Medal of Distinction picture shows the details of the seal slightly different as I used another rendition of the seal as my example without noticing until too late that there were slight differences in style.
Eugene Ipavec, 11 & April 2008

The fields in the Fabric Graphics picture are definitely more blue than in our images, but it may be that the picture is too blue.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 April 2008


Caprica

[hanging banner, slanted bottom, 2 golden emblems]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
10 April 2006

In the series, Caprica is the most important of the 12 colonies, and the most prominently featured.
Eugene Ipavec, 10 April 2006

The flag of Caprica has the same colour scheme as for the coffin flags. The Battlestar Wiki shows an emblem differing in details.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Capricorn
Mythology: Capricorn is a mixture of goat and fish. According to Greek legend, the goat half is the god Pan, who was transformed into part-fish after diving into the Nile to escape the anger of Typhon.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Aquaria

[hanging banner, slanted bottom, 2 golden emblems]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
4 April 2006

The Battlestar Wiki shows a less wide emblem. In the Fabric Graphics picture, at the viewer's right, we see the emblem likewise almost touching the border.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Aquarius
Mythology: Aquarius is represented by a boy bearing a vessel of water. This is Ganymedes, son of Tros (founder of Troy). Zeus took the boy to be cup bearer to the Gods, taking the place of Hera's daughter Hebe. Hera was enraged but Zeus made the boy a constellation of stars.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Picon

[hanging banner, slanted bottom, 2 golden emblems]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
15 April 2006

Uniquely, this flag has a white lower field, which would remove the need for the emblem's white fimbration. On the Battlestar Wiki the emblem does have that fimbration, though, since it's also the only emblem to be wider than the field and continue on the inner borders. The differences between our version and the Battlestar Wiki version are so big that at first sight they even don't look like the same emblem.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Taking a good look at Picon in the Official Magazine graphic shows it to indeed have a white colour all around it, though it's easy to miss as the image is not all that clear. Also, I think the ribbon is really an in between width: Wider than on the Battlestar Wiki, more narrow than in our image.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Pisces
Mythology: Pisces is two fishes. Greek mythology told that Eros and Aphrodite leapt into the waves and became fish to escape the anger of Typhon in an echo of the tale of Capricorn.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Aerelon / Aerilon

[hanging banner, slanted bottom, 2 golden emblems]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
4 April 2006

The Battlestar Wiki shows the horns a bit more rounded, giving them more of a ram's horns impression.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Aries
Mythology: Aries is represented by a Ram. In Greek legend, the Ram with a golden fleece was sacrificed to Zeus by Phrixus after he fled the wrath of Hera with the animal. Zeus placed the sacrificed Ram in the sky as a constellation of stars.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Tauron

The Battlestar Wiki, as a secondary source, shows the emblem and colours of the Tauron flag, but we don't know how accurate they are. Also, though it's likely that the top field is light blue, we don't know that for certain.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Taurus
Mythology: Taurus is represented as a bull's head and forelegs. In Greek mythology, Zeus disguised himself as a snow-white bull to carry Europa over the ocean to Crete. Europa bore Zeus three children, one of whom was Minos, King of Crete — who in turn had a son with the head of a bull: the Minotaur.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Gemenon

[hanging banner, slanted bottom, 2 golden emblems]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
12 April 2006

In the series, Gemenon is the center of colonial religion.
Eugene Ipavec, 12 April 2006

The Battlestar Wiki shows an emblem differing in the details, giving a considerably different impression. In the Fabric Graphics picture, at the viewer's left, we see the emblem looks a lot like our image.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Gemini
Mythology: The Greeks saw Gemini as two children, usually Castor and Pollux.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Canceron

[hanging banner, slanted bottom, 2 golden emblems]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
8 April 2006

The Battlestar Wiki shows the upper part of the emblem different.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Cancer
Mythology: Cancer is represented by a crab. This is the giant creature sent by Hera to battle Herakles in his attempt to destroy the Hydra. It nipped his heel and he crushed it with his foot, after which Hera set it as a constellation of stars. For Greeks, whose new year started in the month of Cancer's ascendancy, the story represented the cycle of one year flowing into the next.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Leonis

In the Fabric Graphics picture this flag is in the middle in clear, almost full view. The Battlestar Wiki shows an emblem with only minor differences from that actual flag. The top field colour not given there can be seen in the picture to be dark blue. The emblem, different from in the graphic, can be seen not to go into the border.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 & 14 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Leo
Mythology: Leo is seen as a Lion. Herakles first task was to destroy the fabled Lion of Nemea. Its skin was impervious to any weapon, and had killed many inhabitants of the region. When Herakles suceeded in slaying the beast, Zeus honored him by placing his prey as a constellation of stars.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Virgon

[hanging banner, slanted bottom, 2 golden emblems]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
6 June 2006

The Battlestar Wiki shows the emblem taller, with the inner white ring shaped differently.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Virgo
Mythology: Virgo is represented by a virgin or 'maid'. The provenance of this girl is uncertain — she could be the daughter of Jupiter and Themis, a nymph that the Romans and later Greeks associated with Libra. Or, she could be the daughter of Astraeus, or Icarus, or even the offspring of Apollo, Parthene, whose name means 'virgin'. She could also represent the first woman, Eve, who crushed the head of the serpent (Scorpio).

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Libris

The emblem and colours are shown at the Battlestar Wiki. The Fabric Graphics picture has this flag as the second from the right; the top field colour can be seen to be dark blue.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Libra
Mythology: Libra is the only one not to be represented by a living thing — instead, the sign is a pair of scales. The sign was not part of the earliest Greek Zodiacs, instead being added by the later Romans as a balance between Virgo and Scorpio.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Scorpia

In the Fabric Graphics picture this is the second flag from the left, in good view. The Battlestar Wiki shows an emblem with only minor differences from the actual flag in the picture. The top field colour not given there can be seen in the picture to be dark blue.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Scorpio
Mythology: Scorpio is a scorpion. Until Libra was added, Scorpio and Virgo were engaged in perpetual violence at every Autumnal Equinox — Scorpio stinging the woman's heel while she crushed the creature underfoot. Hera placed the scorpion as a constellation as a reward for slaying Orion the Hunter.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Sagittaron

The emblem and colours are shown at the Battlestar Wiki. The Fabric Graphics picture shows this flag as the third from the right, which shows the emblem to be slightly wider, and the top field colour to be light blue.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 contains graphics showing this flag.
Erik Bell, 20 February 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine #3 provides information on the mythology behind this flag:

Constellation: Sagittarius
Mythology: Sagittarius is a centaur using a bow and arrow. In Greek mythology this constellation was Crotus, son of Pan and Eupheme.

Erik Bell, 20 February 2006


Similarity of the flags

In the series I believe the Colonies are joined in a kind of loose confederal system, cooperating mainly in defense and otherwise enjoying near-total autonomy — and even that modest degree of centralization is in the series' timeline a recent development. Odd, then, that all of these banners are essentially identical except for slight color variations and the zodiac symbols — it suggests an almost Soviet-republic kind of uniformity, improbable for what had not long ago been independent states.
Eugene Ipavec, 6 April 2006

The original Kobol flags were already a set of flags with the constellations on them. Either this system has been in use through the ages or it was resurrected to show a new unity in the federation.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 April 2008


Combined displays

Originally, I expected a display to be a series going from Aerelon to Picon, through the entire Zodiac, but the Fabric Graphics picture didn't have that order. The Medal of Distinction picture on the other hand does have Tauron, Gemenon, Canceron, Leonis in that order, so I've returned to the idea. Curiously, as he stands in front of Gemenon and Canceron, he would be standing quite far to the viewer's left in that order. However, if the row were to start with Caprica he'd be standing in the exact centre. The scene from Colonial Day (seen at Battlestar Wiki) confirms that order. In this scene, the flags are in this order: Caprica, Aquaria, Picon, Aerilon, Tauron, Gemenon; Canceron, Leonis, Virgon, Libris, Scorpia, Sagittaron. This is the order of the Zodiac, but starting from the dominant Caprica colony.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 April & 8 May 2008

The Fabric Graphics picture didn't have that order, nor any order I could discern. Apparently, in the pilot, the film-makers hadn't as yet thought of using a fixed sequence. Or story-wise, in that time of turmoil portrayed by the pilot the order apparently wasn't always adhered to.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 April & 8 May 2008

In that Colonial Day scene the colonies' flags are draped in front of the delegates' podia for each colony, so as to just show the lower halves with the emblems of the colonies. While to us this might seem rather unusual, in this situation it serves to identify the colonies as represented by those sitting immediately above the banners.
Eugene Ipavec, 8 May 2008, and Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 8 May 2008


Historical flags of the colonies

A rare bit of vexillological exposition in a work of fiction occurs in the episode Home, part 2 (excerpt from the script at Sad Geezer's Cult Sci Fi Portal):

*Kobol - Tomb of Athena (?) Open Field*
*==============================================*
/There are 12 monoliths set in a circle, each with gems set// in the
stone in //a constellation pattern, with the actual constellation
visible above each monolith./

*Billy:* Uh... where the hell are we?
*
Roslin: *I don't know. Tomb of Athena, I think.

*Adama: *I thought we were already in the tomb.
*
Starbuck: *I think that was the lobby.

*Roslin: *Again the ancient symbols. These patterns ...were on the
original flags of the 12 colonies back in the days when the colonies
were called by their ancient names: Aries... Taurus... Gemini...
Cancer... Leo... Libra... Virgo.

Not enough detail is given for a reconstruction, however.
Eugene Ipavec, 19 September 2006


The Twelve Colonies of Kobol

[Confederal flag, straight bottom edge, one emblem]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
17 November 2006

Confederal flag
[left]

This flag can be seen in the President's office, and in the fighter pilot briefing room, which is why I considered it the confederal flag. It's quite similar to the Colonial ones, except with a flat bottom and no zodiac symbol in the lower half. (detail of screencapture)
Eugene Ipavec 17 November 2006

I think this one might simply be the flag of Caprica or a variation of it: To me, the colours just seem too close to be meant as a distinctive one (which doesn't mean logic as anything to do with it).
Marc Pasquin, 23 December 2006

Coffin flags
[right]

In the Fabric Graphics picture a large number of coffin flags can be seen. They all seem to be of the same design, with the same general layout and colour scheme as the flag of the dominant colony, Caprica. However, they don't have emblems for a specific colony, and they're rectangular.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April 2008

I had thought that the Confederal flag was the same as this coffin flag, allowing for the differences in perceived color.
Eugene Ipavec, 29 April 2008

Colors

For the colours for the Confederal flag I used a screenshot from the last episode of season 2 – the main street of "New Caprica" has the flag every few meters (detail). The scenes on the planet were shot as washed out and colorless, though; to suggest alien sunlight I guess and also to match the gloomy mood.
Eugene Ipavec, 14 April 2008

Gloomier than the lighting on the coffins scene, yes; but then again, I get the impression the latter isn't actual film footage and it may be that its too blue.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 April & 8 May 2008

Unless I am deceived by color cast under diffferent lighting, the coffin flag, the flag seen in the President's office and in the fighter pilot briefing room (both on the refugee fleet), in Parliament, and on the streets of New Caprica (appearing in that order) are all the same flag, which I am reasonably sure is the flag of the federation, the "12 Colonies of Kobol."

The image I made of this flag had its colors based on the "New Caprica" scenes, greener than Peter's version, but those were shot under an overcast sky. See the image "Cylons march into New Caprica City" at the Battlestar Wiki. Eugene Ipavec, 8 May 2008

[coffin flag, straight bottom edge, one emblem]
image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg and Eugene Ipavec,
12 April 2008


Council flag

In a first season episode, "Colonial Day", in which the government is reconstituted shortly after the war, a huge example dominates the parliament chamber. (Seen at Battlestar Wiki.) That flag is even greener than my confederal flag version.
Eugene Ipavec, 29 April 2008

The reason this huge flag is even greener might be that it's not actually the same design. The confederal flags have the seal on a light background; the council flag has the seal on a dark background. (I do agree that the spot lighting out the flag seems to be a tad yellow; possibly to make the seal stand out more.)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 8 May 2008


Battlestar Galactica

[Battlestar flag, purpleish with yellow details]
image by Eugene Ipavec,
6 April 2006

The flags of the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus are also shown — they are black with the same badge in white and the ship name and serial number inscribed around the ring.
Eugene Ipavec, 6 April 2006

The Fabric Graphics picture is from the conclusion of the miniseries that served as the pilot for the revived series. Of note is the central banner behind the podium, the banner of the Galactica (there should be an inscription to the effect in the empty space between the rings).
Eugene Ipavec, 6 June 2006 & 11 April 2008

Erroneous

From context only, I originally made an assumption that the central banner behind the podium might be the flag of the colonies' confederal body, "The Twelve Colonies of Kobol." A good example of an error disseminating through a system was that Wikipedia at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Twelve-Colonies-Flag.png> lated showed the fictional flag of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol from Battlestar Galactica, swiped unacknowledged from FOTW – except that it was this wrongly identified flag.
Eugene Ipavec, 6 June 2006 & 8 & 11 March 2009