Fasces


A plural tantum, from the Latin word fascis, meaning bundle are a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the centre, which is an image that traditionally symbolizes summary power and jurisdiction, and/or ‘strength through unity’. Fasces frequently occur as a charge in heraldry, and should not be confused with the related term, fess, which in French heraldry is called a fasce.

The traditional Roman fasces consisted of a bundle of white birch rods, tied together with a red leather ribbon into a cylinder, and often including a bronze axe or sometimes two, amongst the rods, with the blade on the side, projecting from the bundle. It was used as a symbol of the Roman Republic in many circumstances, including being carried in processions, much the way a flag might be carried today.

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