The domains of political and religious life make extensive use of signs and symbols. This is hardly surprising: a visual representation of a faith or an idea can, for some people, be overwhelmingly powerful. And history, unfortunately, repeatedly demonstrates that there is no shortage of religious or political symbols over which people are willing to fight. Many of these most recognisable signs tend to be set large and alone — on placards, buildings, flags. Those same symbols are typically not designed to be typeset at the font sizes used in a book such as this one; they can get lost in a muddle of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Nevertheless, for a book devoted to the stories behind signs and symbols I could hardly ignore some of the most potent of all characters. In this chapter, therefore, I discuss a personal selection of signs and symbols employed in politics and religion. I look at eight such symbols, taken from a variety of times and places.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.