Comprising an axe wrapped in birch rods and secured with cord (a pair of which are depicted here), the fasces has a long and colorful history as a political symbol.
The fasces was originally a Roman symbol of power, justice, and authority. While the axe alone certainly embodies some of these traits, the symbolism was reinforced by the fact that birch rods were a preferred tool of punishment and discipline, a trend that was widespread until relatively recently.
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