Illustrated Architecture Dictionary
"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 ax (or sometimes two) amongst the rods, with the blade(s) 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." - Wikipedia
From the Latin word " fascis" meaning "bundle."
- The bundle of rods bound together symbolizes strength through unity which a single rod lacks.
- "The Fasces was adopted from the Etruscans. It symbolized the power of life or death that a Roman Magistrate had over the Roman citizen; who could be scourged by the birch rods, representing physical punishment for transgressions; or be beheaded by the ax for serious crimes." - The Fasces
The symbol is found in the US, e.g., Mercury dime, US Senate seal, Capital dome statue.
Italian fascism, which derives its name from the fasces, used the symbolism extensively.
Examples from Buffalo:
- Illustration above: City Hall