Vergina Sun

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The Vergina Sun or Star of Vergina is the sixteen-ray star symbol that decorates the golden larnax found in burial site II, in Vergina, Greece, by archaeologist Prof. Manolis Andronikos in 1977. The larnax is generally believed to have belonged to King Philip II of Macedon. It is on display at the archaeological museum in Vergina, very close to where it was found.

Archaeologists do not agree whether the sun was a symbol of the ancient state of Macedon, a symbol of Phillip's dynasty, a religious symbol, or simply a decorative design. Eight-pointed suns often appear in Macedonian coins and shields of that period. Eight-, twelve- and (rarely) sixteen-pointed suns have been used as a decorative element in Greece, the Middle East and elsewhere for centuries, without any specific association with Macedonia. The exact configuration of the Vergina Sun, however (rays of differing lengths around a circle containing a sunburst) had never been seen by archaeologists before being uncovered in Vergina.

When Yugoslavia split in 1991, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia designated the Vergina Sun as its national symbol, and displayed it on its flag. This was seen by Greece, as a direct claim by FYROM, on the legacy of Philip II (and therefore his son, Alexander the Great), a territorial claim on the Greek province of Macedonia, the Vergina site, and a claim on the larnax itself [1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_the_Republic_of_Macedonia#Naming_dispute_with_Greece).

The Vergina Sun was removed from the FYROM's flag in 1995, as part of an agreement for the country's admission to the United Nations. A close-up of an 8-pointed sun is displayed on the current flag.

A Vergina Sun on a blue background is still used as the official symbol of the Greek province of Macedonia.

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