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Fasces Around Charm City

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Washington Monument Marquis de Lafayette Battle Monument Patterson Park

Fasces is a bundle of rods bound in ribbon with an axe contained within. Roman lictors, bodyguards of the republic, carried the symbolic weapon as they faithfully protected government officials. Lictors were physically capable men with the power to arrest citizens compromising the establishment. Fasces became a powerful mark of the Roman Republic, an emblem of democratic principals.

Baltimore has several examples of fasces decorating public monuments and architecture. Robert Mills designed the ornate wrought-iron fence around Mount Vernon’s Washington Monument. On the base of the nearby Marquis de Lafayette Monument is a subtle fasces representation. Both contain the axe.

The Battle Monument is a large bundle without an axe. Architect Maximilian Godefroy omitted the cleaver from America’s first servicemen memorial. The column’s ribbon is decorated with the names of those who lost their lives in the Battle of Baltimore. George Aloysius Frederick, architect of City Hall, added fasces to the main entrance markers to Patterson Park. The pillars occupy the northwest corner of the park adjacent to the pagoda.

Italian leader Benito Mussolini adopted fasces as motif for the National Fascist Party. Mussolini retained the axe at center as a message of potential applied force. The negative association confused the overall directive of the historic bundle. The examples above precede Mussolini’s application of the symbol.

Written by monumentcity

January 18th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Posted in All Posts,Marker