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Full Version: The most recognizable symbols of Rome
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I can't help but think that because of Gladiator, it's the "SPQR" :lol: . Of course up until Constantine's rule, it was the Eagle. But was there others specific to the Roman Army? Laural wreathes? Spear points?
I think many people will mention the disciplined manoeuvers, like shown in Spartacus.
Bright shiny seggies peeking out from behind rectangular scuta.
I was thinking more along the lines of actual symbols, like military standards and the like.
Quote:I was thinking more along the lines of actual symbols, like military standards and the like.
In that case, I'm at a blank. As far as I know, pretty much everything was borrowed. For example the laurel wreath comes from it's classical Greek use as a symbol of victory, originally in the games, which actually originates from Greek mythology.

It's a long story, but the summary of it is that due to an argument with Eros, Apollo was made to fall in love with and pursue a mortal. At the same time the mortal was made unable to love, and thus to flee the god's advances. Being only a mere mortal she appealed to Gaia for help, who turned her into a laurel tree just in time. Apollo, reaching for her hand as she was turned, grabbed a branch. Being so lovestruck, and saddened Apollo wove a wreath from the branches of his beloved, and wore it in her memory. In the Pythian games, supposedly originated by Apollo, the victor was awarded a laurel wreath in His honor.
Hello Caius here Since you mentioned Constaine well two symbols come from the late Roman period 1) The Draco, was a Roman Military symbol used by Legions anf Palatina Auxillia in the late Empire. The Late Roman Vex withits Cho-Rei Device on it with a combined P and X. The Roman Wolve and of course the Eagle. Also keep in mind that other legions had symbols that symbolized them The VIII had as its symbol the Bull,other legions lions and such.Cheers Caius/thomas
Temples seem to crop up on equipment a fair bit (helmets, pugiones, and there's at least one gladius scabbard locket).

I think you'll have a hard time differentiating military symbols from civilian, as they're mostly (I think) religious or applicable to the entire identity of the state itself anyway. I'm pretty sure 'SPQR' was as much applicable to civilian political life as to military, but then the division between military and civilian is a very blurred one anyway, or so it seems. Certainly politically, given the pre-requisite for a military experience before a political career makes me see it that way.
Quote:Hello Caius here Since you mentioned Constaine well two symbols come from the late Roman period 1) The Draco, was a Roman Military symbol used by Legions anf Palatina Auxillia in the late Empire.

I almost mentioned the Draco in my previous post. It was one of those that came to Rome as a war trophy, and later used by the Roman army. The Chi-Ro is a good example, although late and more commonly associated with the Holy church and being made of the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ. According to the written histories of Lactantius, it came to Constantine in a dream the night before his battle with Maxentius. In the dream, he was told the symbol would bring him victory.
The eagle comes to mind, as Caius said. I'm not sure if it was used by any other military force before the rise of Rome.

Another symbol might be the fasces. But that seems to represent the state more than the legions.

Quote:I can't help but think that because of Gladiator, it's the "SPQR"

Actually, I hear that the SPQR is ubiquitous in modern Rome, appearing even on manholes. Confusedhock: I'm not sure if this was done by Mussolini or some prior Italian government.

~Theo
Quote:SPQR is ubiquitous in modern Rome
That's Mussolini indeed and I wonder whether that is also the reason SPQR is so widely recognized now.
Yes, in fact I was so entertained by that fact, that I took pictures of them when I was last in Rome. You should have seen the odd faces people gave me for taking those pictures.

Although, I would still consider the SPQR to point directly at the Roman ... not really empire, because I'm pretty sure that one is a product of the republic. Anyway, it's use in the 20th Century was a poor attempt at making a claim to Rome's former glory, much in the same way as the Nazi's used the Eagle, the open hand salute, and hooked cross (aka Zwastika, which oddly enough is also called a 'Greek cross') to stake claims to the older German nationalism.

As for the eagle standards. The eagles have always been a symbol of power in many cultures all around the world. Hardly uniquely Roman. The Romans also borrowed it from the Greeks, when they borrowed Greek mythology. The eagle was one of the symbols that represented Zeus, thus for Romans, a symbol of Jupiter.

I guess to go back to the original question, as what would be most recognizable. I think the eagles would be. However, it's not uniquely Roman. Certainly, if the average person walking down the street saw an eagle standard, vexillum, and likely even the laurel wreath is going to think of Rome first. The identity of Rome is more of a combination of things than just a single piece to identify it.
Quote:he eagle was one of the symbols that represented Zeus, thus for Romans, a symbol of Jupiter.
Aha. Thunderbolts and lightning.

[Image: scutum.gif]
Quote:I hear that the SPQR is ubiquitous in modern Rome, appearing even on manholes

Not just manhole covers, it's also on the street light posts!
Yeah, and my left arm!
Don't forget the cornicien! There have been many cultures that used a straight horn (tuba) but AFAIK The Romans were the only ones with a wrap around horn until the Sousaphone was invented.
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