This T-Shirt bears a Legionary Roman Eagle symbol from Ancient Rome.
100% Pre Shrunk Cotton Shirt made in the USA - Black Eagle Printed on Storm Gray T- Shirt. Available in Sizes M-XXL.
The Eagle represented the power of Rome and the honor of the legions.
The ancient Roman soldiers worshiped their military standards. The eagle or Aquila was the most important of the standards. To lose the legions eagle was the utter disgrace for the soldiers. Why was the eagle so important?
In Roman myth and religion, the eagle was the bird of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. He was the king of the gods. His power was the legal right to rule as a just ruler. His was the supreme “Imperium”. Jupiter embodied Rome’s legal right to rule the other nations of the empire.
The Roman Empire was of course conquered by the brutal force of the Roman legions. However, military force is not enough to rule. The Romans needed a divine legal right to conquer other nations. The symbol of Jupiter, the eagle, was a constant reminder of this special right of the Roman legions to conquer. It made their wars, just wars. Their deeds, rightful deeds. “Jupiter wills it”.
To lose the legions eagle then, was to lose the right to conquer. It made honourable Roman soldiers into a band of illegal killers and looters.
The eagle as the symbol of the “imperator”.
All this was fine and beautiful from a religious and legal point of view. Nevertheless, to conquer an empire you need powerful armies and a real powerful leader to sustain and command them. The only living Roman who had the economical and political power to do this was the Roman emperor. He had been given the “Imperium”, the legal right to rule the Roman world. He was the living Jupiter on earth.
Therefore, the eagle was not only the symbol of the immortal ruler of the Romans, Jupiter, but also the symbol of his mortal counterpart, the emperor. By giving the legions their eagles, the emperor placed the legions under his command. The legions were fighting the emperor’s battles, because he alone had the right to wage a just war. The eagle was a constant reminder for the soldiers that their battles were just and a constant reminder of their godlike supreme commander in Rome.
To lose the legions eagle therefore was to lose the legal right to fight and an insult to the imperial ruler. An emperor without his legions eagles was symbolically powerless.
The Romans venerated power. This could be an immortal power or a mortal power. The fact that a god or a human being had some kind of power gave him a right to veneration. A powerless god was not worth venerating. A powerful man was. If the powers of a mortal man were as large as the powers of an immortal god, that superman was venerated like a god. And so were his power symbols. The eagle was the power symbol of the emperor, the mortal Jupiter on earth. His practical and legal power to rule was venerated by his loyal troops. They venerated the powers of their supreme commander by venerating his eagle.