The Origins And Meanings Of Some Of The World’s Most Famous Symbols


The symbol of Hermes and Mercury in Greek and Roman mythology features two snakes around a winged staff.


Now also known as the Jesus fish, before early Christians adopted it the ichthys was used by the Greeks, Romans, and many other pagans.

Peace sign

In the '50s, the peace sign, as it is known today, was designed by Gerald Holtom as the logo for the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

All seeing eye

Often misused as a symbol of control and surveillance, this symbol of God represents spiritual sights and higher knowledge.

Evil eye

Found in many cultures in the Mediterranean region, it is believed to be a curse cast by a wicked glare, usually to an unaware victim.

Hammer and sickle

A symbol meant to represent proletarian solidarity and union between agricultural and industrial workers, it was first adopted during the Russian Revolution.

Trinity knots

Illustrating faith and devotion, the Celtic trinity knots can be traced back to the 6th century. Its three points represent the Holy Trinity.

The cross

Across the globe, the cross is associated with Christianity, specifically representing Jesus' crucifixion.


An ancient symbol used by Wiccans and in paganism, the pentagram is made up of five points.

Yin and yang

The basis of almost all Chinese philosophy, the yin and yang symbol represents perfect balance. Mostly used in Taoism, it symbolizes two halves, who combined make for complete wholeness.

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