- Historical event:
- 23 March 1919
- The Italian word "fascio", from which the term "fascism" originated, comes from Latin and signifies a bundle of rods with an ax in the middle.
On this day Benito Mussolini founded the paramilitary organization called “Fasci Italiani di Combattimento”.
The Italian word “fascio”, from which the term “fascism” originated, comes from Latin and signifies a bundle of rods with an ax in the middle.
It was a symbol of the government officials in ancient Rome. Namely, special bodyguards – lictors – carried bundles of twigs with an ax in front of the Roman consuls, dictators, and prefects, which symbolized the judge’s authority. An ax represented the power to sentence people to death, and the rods represented the power to give out physical punishment.
The Italian fascists took the symbol from the ancient Romans, and in their case the bundle of rods also represented the strength of a united community (a union).
Interestingly, the fascio symbol did not become as notorious as the Nazi swastika. For example, the U.S. 10 cents coins regularly depicted fascia signs up to 1945, and it is still legally used on the coats of arms of some organizations.