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Ioannina (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2019-07-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: ioannina | anatoli |
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Flag of Ioannina - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 7 April 2019

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Presentation of Ioannina

The municipality of Ioannina (112,486 inhabitants in 2011; 40,200 ha) was formed in the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities of Ioannina (80,371 inh.), Anatoli (Ανατολή, 7,198 inh.), Bizani (Μπιζάνι, 4,241 inh.), Ioannina Island (Νήσος Ιωαννίνων, 347 inh.), Pamvotida (Παμβώτιδα, 9,925 inh.), and Perama (Πέραμα, 5,743 inh.).

Olivier Touzeau, 1 March 2013

Flag of Ioannina

The flag of Ioannina (photo; photo) is blue with the municipal emblem in the center, surmounted by the municipality's name, in white letters.
The upper part of the emblem portrays the ancient theater of Dodona. The lower part of the emblem portrays Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (c. 482-565; crowned in 527), as represented on the famous mosaic panel of the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna (Italy).

The theater of Dodona is built at the south-western edge of hilly strip running through the valley with the same name, oriented to the south-east. It was necessary to build a monumental theater of a capacity of 15,000-17,000 viewers in a sanctuary, which far from being important for the region of Epirus, it had gradually acquired a nationwide character. The theater’s construction is linked with the reign of King Pyrrhus (297-272 BC) and the organization of the Naia Games that were probably established during his rule.
Theater construction consisting of earthen-laid orchestra around which are found preserved a stone-made underground drainage pipe for rainwater, limestone-covered cavea sectioned by two concentric corridors-tiers in three parts and a rectangular stone-made stage of elaborate isodomic masonry.

Dodona was the site of one of the oldest and most important sanctuaries of th supreme Greek god Zeus. Its famous oracle was said to speak through the rustling of a sacred oak, but auguries were also taken from the flight and call of doves. Homer mentions it, and other writers claim that the goddess Athena included a piece of the tree in the ship used by Jason and the Argonauts.
Among prominent rulers who consulted the oracle were Croesus, Pyrrhus and the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate.
The sanctuary also had an important political function as an assembly place for the Epirotic League, which met in the rectangular assembly hall near to the theater.
[G. Gerster. The Past from Above: Aerial Photographs of Archaeological Sites. 2005]

Ravenna was still under the reign of the Ostrogoths when Bishop Ecclesius laid the foundations of the Basilica of San Vitale in 527. Incorporating a pre-existing fifth century sacellum (shrine) dedicated to the martyr St. Vitalis, the building took nearly 20 years to complete. By the time Bishop Maximianus had inaugurated and consecrated the basilica in 547, Ravenna was once again under the direct control of Constantinople, following Belisarius' conquest of the city during the course of the Greco-Gothic war (533-553).
The Roman emperor in Constantinople, Justinian I, subsequently designated Ravenna as the capital of the Prefecture of Italy – the wall mosaics of San Vitale providing an enduring testament to the splendor of his reign.
In 1996 San Vitale was designated a World Heritage site along with seven other Early Christian churches in Ravenna "by virtue of the supreme artistry of the mosaic art they contain and the crucial evidence that they provide of artistic and religious relationships and contacts at an important period of European history" (UNESCO).
[Livia Alberti, The Global Dispatches, 3 September 2018]

Ioannina was allegedly founded by Justinian; this imperial origin is supported by the interpretation of Procopius of Caesarea's The Buildings (Book IV, Part I, § 39-42):
There was a certain ancient city in this region, abundantly supplied with water and endowed with a name worthy of the place; for it was called Euroea [Fair-flowing] from ancient times. Not far from this Euroea a lake spreads out with an island in its midst upon which rises a hill. And a break is left in the lake just large enough so that a kind of approach to the island remains. The Emperor moved the inhabitants of Euroea to this place, built a very strong city, and put a wall about it.
[Dewing's translation, Loeb Classical Library, 1940].

The panegyric character of the source and archeological findings indicate that Justinian might indeed have revamped and increased fortifications dating back to the Hellenistic period.
While it is generally believed that the town was named for a monastery dedicated to St. John built inside the fortress, Pr. Charalamdou Charisis (University of Ioannina) recently proposed an alternative hypothesis related to Emperor Justinian. Charisis pointed out the lack of archeological evidence for the St. John monastery; using linguistic arguments, he claimed that the town's name is based on a feminine anthroponym. Accordingly, the fortress revamped by Justinian might have been renamed to Ioannina as a tribute to the daughter of General Belisarius (c. 500-565) and his wife, Antonina (c. 495-565), who was a close friend of Empress Theodora (c. 500-548).
[Eleutheria, 6 March 2019]

Tomislav Šipek & , 13 April 2019

Former municipality of Anatoli


Flag of Anatoli - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 1 March 2013

The flag of Anatoli (Kokkonis website) was yellow with its emblem.

Olivier Touzeau, 1 March 2013