Labrys (λάβρυς in Greek, lábrys) is the term for a symmetrical doubleheaded axe originally from Crete in Greece, one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization; to the Romans, it was known as a bipennis.
The labrys was formerly a symbol of Greek fascism. During the period of the 4th of August Regime (1936–1941), the labrys was used as the main symbol of the regime-sponsored National Organisation of Youth (EON), as its leader, Ioannis Metaxas believed the symbol to be the first symbol of all Hellenic civilizations. Today it is sometimes used as a symbol of Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. It is also used by black metal fans in Greece as a symbol of Greek neopaganism. Further, it is used by Cretan folklore preservation societies and associations both in Greece and abroad, on occasion with the modern Greek spelling "lavrys".
The labrys is also used to represent lesbianism and feminism, and female or matriarchal power. These representations of the symbol were exemplified by Labrys Magazine, a successful gay women's publication launched in June 2004 in Atlanta Georgia by Maria Rivers. Labrys quickly became a platform in which women could voice their presence, eventually making gay women, a once hidden market, now a viable market. The magazine was in print for five years, with a readership documented over 50,000 in the metro Atlanta area, before consolidating to an online social media forum: www.labrysatl.com. Archived editions of the magazine are available at the University of Georgia public library.
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