fasces (bundles) In ancient Roman ritual, birch or elm rods held together by a red thong. Fasces were carried by lictors as the symbol of authority of a Roman major magistrate. An ax was added to the fasces to signify that not only whipping but also death was within his power.
Italian Fascists adopted the symbol as well as the name for their party, which was nominally intended to restore the ancient power of Rome.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante