The history of the Sardinian flag
The “Quattro Mori” (Four Moors*) coat of arms appeared for the first time in the lead seals of the Aragonese Royal Chancery. The earliest model was made in 1281, during the reign of Pietro il Grande. After Sardinia became part of the Aragonese Kingdom they were used to seal the documents of kings Giacomo II (1326), Alfonso il Benigno (1327¬1336) and Pietro IV (1336¬1387). Some models can be found in the Historical Archives of Cagliari, and, in Brussels, in a manuscript of 14th century, which contains the coats of arms of all Europe, Sardinia is represented by the “Quattro Mori”.
In the 15th century, a legend explaining the origin of the “Quattro Mori” coat of arms was established. According to it, the symbol celebrates the participation of St. George in the Alcoraz battle, which took place in 1096 during the “Reconquista" in northern Spain, between the Aragonese and the Moors. The Aragonese army succeeded in defeating the “Mori” who left the crowned heads of their four kings on the battlefield.
The “Quattro Mori” definitely identified Sardinia since the reign of Carlo V. At the funeral of the emperor, in 1558, represented in an engraving of the time, this symbol appears on a flag and on the saddle-cloth of a horse led by a group of Sardinian knights. From the 17th century, the “Quattro Mori” represented Sardinia in books, and on geographic maps, buildings and coins.
* The term Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of Muslim (and earlier non-Muslim) people of Berber, Black African and Arab descent from North Africa. Some of them came to conquer and occupy, for nearly 800 years, the Iberian Peninsula, which they termed Al Andalus, comprising most of what is now Spain and Portugal. Moors are not a distinct or self-defined people, but the appellation was applied by medieval and early modern Europeans primarily to Berbers, but also to Arabs and Muslim Iberians, as well as to West Africans from Mali and Niger who had been absorbed into the Almoravid dynasty.