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Jaén (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-02-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Jaén - Image from the Símbolos de Jaén website, 21 January 2017

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Presentation of Jaén

The municipality of Jaén (114,658 inhabitants in 2016; 42,430 ha; unofficial website) is the capital of the Province of Jaén. The municipality is made of the town of Jaén (113,201 inh.) and of the villages of Caño Quebrado (42 inh.), Brujuelo (8 inh.), GraŽntilde;ena (88 inh.), Las Infantas (426 inh.), Jabalcuz (606 inh.), Otiñar (4 inh.), Puento Jontoya (358 inh.), Puento Nuevo (651 inh.), Puente de la Sierra (295 inh.), Puente Tablas (530 inh.), Puerto Alto (63 inh.), Ventosilla (1 inh.), and Villar de Cuevas (19 inh.).

Jaén is "one of the oldest towns in Spain", as "evidenced" by the Neolithic settlement (2500 BC) excavated in Marroquíes Bajos; made of huts arranged in concentric circles, the village was equipped with freshwater supply. Subsequently settled by the Carthaginians, the town was submitted in 207 BC by Publius Cornelius Scipio and renamed to Auringi / Aurgi / Orongi (from Latin, aureus, "gold") by the Romans. The town was granted the status of municipality in 74 by Emperor Vespasian. The tradition says that Euphrasius of Illiturgis, one of the Seven Apostolic Men, introduced the Christian religion in the town.

Conquered in 712 by the Moors, the town was renamed to Yayyan / Geen ("the caravan's road") during the Muslim rule, Increased and fortified, Yayyan played a major role in the unrest that followed the fall of the Caliphate. The Arab baths of Jaén (11th century), the biggest in Spain preserved until now, were registered as an Historical and Artistic Monument on 3 June 1931.
Jaén was then famous for its Jewish borough, already mentioned in 612. Following the persecution exerted in 1391, the Jews were forced to convert to the Christian religion and the borough was renamed to Holy Cross. The Jews, however, secretly maintained their worship, which caused the establishment of the Inquisition Court in Jaén in 1463 and the expelling of the Jews from Andalusia. The main representative of the Jewish community of Jaén was the humanist Hasday ibn Shaprut (910/915-975). A poet, linguist, medical doctor and botanist, Shaprut served as Abd-ar-Rahman III's personal councillor and (kind of) Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He favoured the Jews all over Al-Andalus and introduced Talmudic studies in the court. Shaprut is considered as the initiator of the "Gilded Age of Spanish Jews".

Jaén was besieged on 25 February 1245 by King Ferdinand III the Saint; the town eventually surrendered on 28 February 1246, and was transferred three days later to the Order of St. James. The seat of the local diocese was transferred in 1249 from Baeza to Jaén, which became the capital of a kingdom, known as the "Holy Kingdom". As an outpost close to the "Moor"s Land", Jaén was granted several privileges.
From the 13th to the 15th century, the town was frequently besieged, seized and sacked. Miguel Lucas de Iranzo, Constable of Castile, lived in the town from 1460 to 1463. Jaén was used as a main base by the Catholic Monarchs when preparing the reconquest of Granada.
Living mostly from agriculture and quite isolated, Jaén declined in the next centuries. Several people left the town without hope of return, establishing towns named Jaén established in Peru and in the Philippines.

Ivan Sache, 20 January 2017

Symbols of Jaén

The flag of Jaén (photo, photo, photo, photo) is purple with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The flag does not appear to have been officially registered.

The coat of arms of Jaén is prescribed by Decree No. 2,729, adopted on 27 July 1964 by the Spanish Government and published on 10 September 1964 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 218, pp. 11,910-11,911 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The "rehabilitated" coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Shield with four quarters: 1. and 4. Or, 2. and 3. Gules a bordure of castles and lions. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown and orled by the writing as described.

Ferdinand III granted to the reconquerred town the arms featured on his banner, made of the quartered arms of Castile and León without any charge, that is "Quarterly gules and argent". A bordure of 14 pieces, in turn Castile ("Gules a castle or") and León ("Argent a lion rampant gules") was probably granted by Henry II, as a reward of the support of most of the town's nobility against his brother Peter I the Cruel, who had set up an alliance with the Nasrid king Muhammad the Old and looted the town in 1368. However, the privileged granted on 1368, 1369 and 1375 do not mention such an addition.
A grant signed on 9 June 1466 in Segovia by Henry II confirms the earlier privileges and adds to the arms a Royal crown; the legend "Muy Noble, Famosa e Muy Leal ‚ibdad de Jaén, Guarda e Defendimiento de los Reinos de Castilla", in use since Ferdinand III, was confirmed and added to the arms on an orle.

Several authors - Espinalt (18th century), Madoz (19th century), Pfiferrer (19th century), Luis Rubio y Canga Yarto y Bru (King of Arms of Alfonso XIII, 1905) added the charged of Castile and León to the quarters. The addition was proved to be inappropriate by several seals from the 15th to the 20th century, kept in different provincial and national archives. Moreover, the bordure of Castile and León would probably not have been added to a shield already featuring the full arms of of Castile and León.
Another disputed issue is the placement of the crown granted by Henry IV, either surmounting the shield or in it. The latter option was supported by Ozas Mesa, based on a seal dated 1503, kept in the Simancas Archives. This odd, unique version of the seal is not compliant either with the norms of heraldry or the other historical records: all other seals or stone arms feature the shield surmounted by the crown. After the coronation of the Bourbon kings in the 18th century, the crown open was substituted by a crown closed.

While the original arms were "Quarterly gules and argent", the arms in current use are "Quarterly or and gules". The colours in current use are those of the charges of the arms of Castile and León, not of the fields. The oldest mention of this design is credited to Argote de Molina (Nobleza del Andalucía, 1588); this was repeated by Méndez Silva (Poblacion general de España. Svs trofeos, blasones, y conqvistas heroycas, descripciones agradables, grandezas notables, excelencias gloriosas y svcessos memorables, 1645).
[Andrés Nicás Moreno. El pendón de Jaén (Consideraciones históricas, vexilológicas y heráldicas). Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses 2005, 192: 63-84].

Ivan Sache, 20 January 2017

Banner of Jaén


Banner of St. Silvester - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 January 2017

The banner (pendón) of Jaén is kept in a window placed in the meeting room of the Town Hall of Jaén. A replica is used every 11 June, during the celebration of the Festival of the Two Governments [municipal and ecclesiastic] held in the St. Ildefonso parish church; the town's patron saint, the Virgin of the Chapel, is also celebrated during the festival.

The banner is a purple flag, nearly square (151 cm x 141 cm - the replica is 200 cm x 200 cm), featuring the coats of arms of the two governments, municipal, at hoist, and ecclesiastic, at fly. The shields, in French-Spanish style, are placed on a parchment and tied by a ribbon with a hanging tassel, all or. The shields are each surmounted by a Royal crown closed, the whole being surrounded by the legend "Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Jaén Guarda y Defendimiento de los Reinos de Castilla".

The municipal coat of arms is as described above.
The coat of arms of the cathedral of Jaén is "Argent a lizard vert in chief a Virgin in her majesty holding Baby Jesus on her left arm over a cloud all proper in base a wall with four towers surrounding a rock all proper a bordure inscribed with 'SANCTAE ECCLESIAE CATHEDRALIS GIENNENSIS'."
The lizard recalls the dragon that threatened the Magdalena borough and was eventually killed by a knight, a prisoner or a shepherd (depending on the version of the legend). Some authors say that the lizard is a representation of the topography of the town. The arms of Pascual, Bishop of Baeza before the transfer of the diocese to Jaén, feature St. Isidor and a lizard, indicating that the lizard is not "autochthonous" to Jaén. Montes Bardo (La fachada de poniente del Sagrario de Jaén. Actas del I Congreso La Ilustración y Jaén. 1996:133-134) proposes a more symbolic explanation of the arms, related with Biblical traditions.

Toral Peñaranda (Los pendones medievales de las ciudades y villas de Jaén, y el de Úbeda (I). Revista Ibiut, 101, 1999) describes a pendón as a military banner, c. twice longer than wide, ending in a point and attached to a staff carried by the "alférez del pendón". The banner was monochromous and featured an heraldic design in its upper part. The banner was carried in front of the marching troops; otherwise, it was rolled for the sake of transportation.
The aforementioned privilege granted in 1466 by Henry IV states that the banner of Jaén shall have precedence over all the banners of the other towns of the Kingdom of Jaén. Toral Peñaranda believes that this specific privilege was obtained by the very influent Constable Iranzo.

There is only one textual reference describing the original banner of Jaén; a chronicle of the border wars relates the battle fought in 1425 by Gonzalo de Stúñiga, Bishop of Jaén, against the Granada Moors. The Jaén militia carried the pendón rabo de gallo (rooster's tail pennant). Cazabán (El pendón rabo de dallo. Revista don Lope de Sosa, 1925:219) thinks that the lower part of the banner was curved.
The banner of Jaén is further mentioned, without description, by Argote de Molina: in 1438, the knights of the Kingdom of Jaén could not decide which banner would enter first the reconquerred town of Huelma; the 1st Marquis of Santillana made a bundle of all the banners to solve the quarrel.

The modern banner of Jaén is purple (morado), while the original banner was crimson (carmes’) or red (rojo), the colour of Castile, most probably granted by Ferdinand III the Saint. The change in the colour of the banner must be related to a misunderstanding of the "Castilian colours" in the 19th century.
Declared of age by the Cortes, Queen Isabel II was enthroned on 8 November 1843. Serrador y Añino (Iniciación a la Vexilología, 1992) relates that the Royal standard used during the ceremony was purple instead of red as used before, being equivocally presented as the "banner of Castile". The next kings kept in use the purple Royal standard.
During the regency exerted in 1869-1870 by General Serrano, Duke of la Torre, after Isabel II's abdication, çngel Fernández de los Ríos (1821-1880) proposed, to no avail, to change the red stripes on the national flag to purple, presented as the colour of the Comuneros, and, therefore, a symbol of the opposition to absolute power. Antonio Cánovas del Castillo (1828-1897) established that the banner of the Comuneros was crimson or red. The purple flag charged with a red castle presented by Fernández as the flag of the Comuneros was indeed the flag used during the Liberal triennium (1820-1823) by a Masonic society called "Los Comuneros".
The purple flags used as their colours by the units of the Royal House were another source of chromatic confusion. The design dates back to Philip IV (reigned, 1621-1665), who granted a purple flag to the newly established Regiment of Infantry Guards.

It is therefore highly probable that the banner of Jaén was crimson or red at least until 1833, the year of proclamation of Isabel II, the last time banners were hoisted during such a ceremony. The colour of the banner must have been changed to purple after the appearance, in 1843, of the purple Royal standard.
[Andrés Nicás Moreno. El pendón de Jaén (Consideraciones históricas, vexilológicas y heráldicas). Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses 2005, 192: 63-84]

Ivan Sache, 20 January 2017

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